Monday, August 20, 2018

Nauru is farming refugees

World Vision has launched a campaign to get the New Zealand government to resettle refugees from Australia's concentration camp on Nauru in New Zealand:

World Vision national director Grant Bayldon said they were asking Ardern to make the offer directly to Nauru, rather than Australia.

"While there remains an obligation on Australia under international law, it doesn't look like they are going to do the right thing any time soon."

Another element of the campaign was that they were asking for the evacuation of children and their families to be prioritised, Bayldon said.

They should be brought to safety in New Zealand before Universal Children's Day in November, he said.

"These vulnerable people seeking refuge and asylum should be resettled in New Zealand as part of an emergency intake over and above our refugee quota," he said.

Of course we should do this - its the humanitarian thing to do. But I suspect Nauru's response will be a firm "no". And the reason for that is that being Australia's concentration camp is big business for the Pacific despotism. Australia pays Nauru by the prisoner, and releasing any of them has a direct impact on the government books. Last year's budget took a 10% hit from "uncertainty surrounding the number of refugees who will be resettled in the United States" and another 5% due to less tax from foreign concentration camp workers. Once you include the families, rescuing these 120 children would likely have a similar financial impact. The Nauruan government just isn't going to want to give that up.

Of course, refusing to release people because you'll lose money is morally reprehensible. But "morally reprehensible" pretty much describes the Nauruan government these days. In addition to the crime of running a concentration camp, they've jailed the opposition, undermined the judiciary, and banned foreign journalists. So I expect Baron Waqa and his cronies to reject any offer of resettlement New Zealand makes. The only way they'll surrender any of their refugee cash cows is if Australia cuts off the funding.