Monday, July 5, 2010

'Boat People' are human beings too!

Next time you hear someone crapping on about how 'boat people' should just 'join the queue' and stop trying to 'illegally immigrate' to Australia, perhaps you'd like to share the following facts with them . These come courtesy of Amnesty International.

* There is nothing illegal about seeking asylum. It is a human right that is officially protected under Australian law.

* Anyone reading the papers or listening to talkback radio lately could be forgiven for thinking we are suffering a veritable hoard of asylum seekers arriving by boat everyday. No, we're actually not. Asylum seekers arriving by boat only make up 1% of our annual immigration intake. The vast majority (96%) of refugees seeking asylum in Australia do not arrive by boat.

* More than 90% of asylum seekers arriving by boat are subsequently round to be genuine refugees.

* A 'refugee' is someone who is forced to flee their own country as a result of severe persecution perhaps on the basis of their ethnicity, their religion, or their political affiliation. These people fear for their lives. I think I'd probably be jumping in a boat with my baby too if I honestly thought we'd be tortured or killed otherwise. Is it really fair for us to be casting these people as criminals?

Lets all just approach this issue with a bit more compassion.

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