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Pages tagged "people smugglers"
MR: PNG agreement an opportunity to reset priorities and expand refugee intake
· July 22, 2013 10:00 AM
For release: Tuesday, 23rd July, 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby says the Papua New Guinea arrangement is an acceptable response to the tragedy of deaths at sea as long as humanitarian concerns are met and it allows Australia to expand its refugee intake to areas of greatest need.
ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said there were no easy or perfect solutions to stopping the deaths at sea generated by people smugglers exploiting asylum seekers.
“This new policy hinges on a lot of complex detail which is yet to be resolved, including providing humane living conditions for asylum seekers whose claims are being processed in PNG,” Mr Shelton said.
“However, if it is successful in stopping the deaths at sea and re-settling people humanely, Australians must not be lulled into thinking that our responsibility as a nation to asylum seekers is over.
“The impasse over people smuggling has diverted both public and parliamentary attention from areas of real and pressing need.
“We must prioritise our offer of refuge to those who are proven vulnerable minorities and Syria and Egypt should be our immediate focus,” Mr Shelton said.
“Then we must look to resettle those who as a result of previous conflicts are still languishing in refugee camps – some for as long as ten years.
“There are 45 million displaced people fleeing persecution and we have a responsibility as a nation to do our part and to work with the international community to help these people regardless of whether or not the boats are stopped.
“ACL welcomes the government’s plans to increase our humanitarian intake to 27,000 and urges bi-partisan support for this. There is capacity for us to be even more generous with our humanitarian program,” Mr Shelton said.
“If people smuggling ceases, Australia will be in a position to do more to help refugees languishing in camps who had no ability to pay smugglers and any so-called PNG solution is a sensible response to people smuggling, but must be the circuit breaker that allows us to prioritise our support to those in greatest need and danger.
“In this regard Government and Opposition calls to see the Refugee Convention reviewed are timely,” Mr Shelton said.
“Its post-World War II context takes no account of the fact that people can be in equal fear of their lives from famine or natural disaster and should also be treated as refugees.”
MR: ACL urges Coalition not to scrap Labor’s increased refugee intake
· November 23, 2012 11:00 AM
For release: Friday, November 23, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby has urged a future Coalition Government not to scrap the Houston panel’s recommended increase to the humanitarian intake of refugees to 20,000.
ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said he understood the need to find savings in the budget but believed it was in our national interest to be generous to refugees.
“ACL commends the Coalition for seeking to preference refugees languishing in camps above those who can afford to pay people smugglers but opposed moves to cut back the refugee intake.
“It is important that Australia sends a message to people seeking passage on a boat with smugglers that Australia will act justly and generously towards those in camps who have already been designated as refugees by the UNHCR.
“Apart from being the right thing to do, increasing the humanitarian intake also sends a clear message to people smugglers and UNHCR-designated refugees in camps that Australia is serious about fairness,” Mr Wallace said.
“The cost of settling an increased humanitarian intake of people should not be the only calculation as refugees do tend to become hard-working and productive members of our community.
“Quite apart from our national interest considerations, a comparatively wealthy nation like Australia can and should do more to alleviate the global humanitarian crisis of displaced people.”
MR: ACL welcomes expert panel’s recommendations on asylum-seekers
· August 13, 2012 10:00 AM
Monday, 13th August, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the Independent expert panel’s recommendations on asylum seekers, as reported in Angus Houston’s briefing to the press.
The ACL’s Managing Director Jim Wallace said the recommendations strikes the right balance between compassion and the need to end the people smuggler’s trade.
“The ACL welcome’s the panel’s advice to process refugees on Nauru and PNG’s Manus Island and to continue to develop the Malaysian solution as a pilot model for a regional solution, provided, necessary protections can be ensured,” he said.
Mr Wallace said the committee’s recommendations on increasing the refugee intake to 20,000 immediately is a sensible idea, which is Labor policy and has been considered by the Coalition.
“The ACL has long advocated that Australia raise its humanitarian intake and that that be sourced from refugee camps, which would send a clear message that those in most need, the UNHCR-designated refugees, will be treated with real priority and generosity,” he said.
Mr Wallace said it was imperative for the Parliament to act on these recommendations and condemned the Greens for continuing to demand onshore processing when it clearly provides the magnet that sustains the dangerous people smuggling industry.
“It’s time for all parties to use this opportunity for genuine reform by government - too many people have died between Indonesia and Christmas Island for the political impasse over asylum seeker policy to be allowed to continue any longer,” he said.
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