News / Asia

Australia Goes Online to Dissuade Asylum Seekers

Phil Mercer

Australian immigration officials say they have a new plan to deter asylum seekers from making the trip to Australia by boat.  The immigration department says it will film the first group of asylum seekers processed under the new refugee swap deal with Malaysia and post the video on YouTube.

How it works

The Australian navy intercepted 54 detainees, early Sunday. They are the first boat people to be taken into custody since Canberra agreed to send 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia.

In exchange, Kuala Lumpur will transfer to Australia 4,000 refugees whose claims for asylum have been approved.  The authorities in Canberra say the agreement will deter asylum seekers from making the perilous journey by boat into Australia’s northern waters and will disrupt the activities of people smugglers.

The 54 recent arrivals are being taken to an offshore detention center on Christmas Island, a remote Australian territory in the Indian Ocean. They will be filmed as they are flown from the island to Malaysia, a move expected to take place in the next week.  The video of their journey will be Yes.posted on YouTube.

Discouragement

Immigration officials hope Australian diaspora communities including Iranian, Iraqi, Afghan and Sri Lankans will watch the film and discourage family and friends who are considering making the journey.

An immigration department spokesman says the Internet film will be a “very potent message” that shows the “futility” of trying to reach Australia by sea, only to be put on a plane to Malaysia.



For security reasons the faces of the asylum seekers will be pixilated.  The government says 10 clips posted online will be available in up to eight languages: English, Tamil, Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Pashto, Sinhalese and Bahasa.

Tough stance

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says those sent to Malaysia may have to be forcibly deported.

“Obeying instructions here is not a question of volunteering.  We are determined to get this done," Gillard said. "The Australian Federal Police can speak on operational matters, but we will do what is necessary to ensure that people who should be taken to Malaysia under the agreement are taken.  Well, it means taking appropriate steps to get people to board the plane and to disembark the plane the other end.”

Criticism

Human rights groups have criticized the deal with Malaysia, insisting that Australia may be in breach of its international obligations.  There are also concern  about possible mistreatment of asylum seekers in Malaysia, which is not a signatory to the United Nations convention on refugees and imposes harsh punishments for illegal entry, including caning.

Border protection is a high priority with Australian voters, although United Nations figures show their country receives less than a half-percent of the world's asylum seekers.

Australia grants about 13,000 humanitarian visas each year.  Among the recipients are refugees from Burma, Iraq and Bhutan.

A quarter of the Australian population was born overseas.   The country attracts large numbers of migrants from neighboring New Zealand and the United Kingdom, Australia’s former colonial master.  In recent years migration from Asia has increased significantly.

You May Like

AU Takes Action on Boko Haram, Defers on S. Sudan

African Union is moving forward with a request for a military force to stop the spread of Boko Haram insurgency in West Africa; Ban Ki-moon welcomes decision to form a five-nation force More

Mass Protests Held for 58 Killed in Pakistani Shi'ite Mosque Bombing

Thousands of Shi'ite Muslims took to the streets across Pakistan Saturday to protest a powerful bomb blast at a mosque in Sindh province during Friday prayers, killing dozens of people More

Williams Wins Australian Open with Straight-Set Victory over Sharapova

The win is Serena Williams' sixth in Australia, and her 19th overall Grand Slam title More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid