News / Asia

    More Boats Arrive Despite Tough Australian Asylum Plan

    Women hold posters bearing messages against the Australian Labor Party during a rally in support of asylum seekers in Sydney July 22, 2013.
    Women hold posters bearing messages against the Australian Labor Party during a rally in support of asylum seekers in Sydney July 22, 2013.
    Phil Mercer
    More than 1,200 asylum-seekers have sailed into Australian territory since the government announced a hardline policy to stop the steady flow of boats. Last week, Canberra said people arriving unauthorized on boats would have no chance of being resettled in Australia, and would instead be sent to Papua New Guinea. The U.N. Refugee Agency says it's uneasy with the plan, while protests against the policy are taking place in Australia.
     
    Despite the government’s promise to shut the door on asylum seekers arriving by sea, the boats continue to arrive. In the week since Canberra announced its plan to send unauthorized migrants to Papua New Guinea, 16 vessels carrying 1,200 people have sailed into Australia’s northern waters. The boats have come from Indonesia, and are organized by trafficking gangs that charge asylum seekers, mostly from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, thousands of dollars for passage to Australian territory.
     
    Despite the arrival of hundreds of people in recent days, Richard Marles, a senior government minister, denies that the policy already has failed.
     
    "We didn't suggest that boats would stop coming overnight. In fact, quite the opposite, I think we all imagined that there would be a process of people smugglers testing what the government has put in place and the new policy that we have. But we need to be very clear here. What this policy has done is taken Australia off the table. It will no longer be possible to get on a boat and be resettled in Australia and that message will get through,” said Marles.

    Human rights concerns

    The United Nations refugee agency is warning Australia that its decision to send asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea could breach international law and its human rights obligations. The UNHCR says that indefinite detention can damage the “physical and psycho-social wellbeing” of families and children.
     
    The agency's regional representative, Richard Towle, also is worried about the lack of protection for detainees sent to PNG.
     
    “There is no adequate legal framework for receiving, processing of refugees as of today, to govern the access to detention facilities. At the moment, people who are held there are held indefinite and what we found to be arbitrary detention, which is a fairly serious shortcoming," said Towle.
     
    The Australian government says it is confident its Papua New Guinea asylum plan will withstand any legal challenges. Demonstrations against the policy are being held in Australia’s major cities. Organizers expect hundreds of people to attend the rallies to challenge what they say is a rise in “anti-refugee sentiment in the Australia.”
     
    Canberra grants visas to about 13,000 refugees each year under official international resettlement programs.

    You May Like

    Video Somali, AU Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    Somalia’s Western backers frustrated over country’s slow progress in establishing its armed forces to bring security after 25 years of chaos

    Israel Makes Push for Gaza Strip Recovery

    After years of economic blockade and attempts to disable Hamas, Israeli leaders eventually realized that Hamas’ downfall could lead to chaos or the rise of a more radical Jihadist group

    Slump in Chinese Tourists Hitting Hong Kong Retail

    Mainland Chinese account for up to three-quarters of visitors to Hong Kong, but that number is falling, and shopping centers are struggling to 'shift gears' and maintain sales

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: victoria
    July 29, 2013 3:25 AM
    Australians are fed up with people who believe we are obliged to take them without any obligations on their part. We expect these people to respect and obey our laws, not demand we change to suit them. They supposedly come here because they are persecuted, yet they want to fight other tribes or religious sects. We are sick of the increase in crime, shootings, rapes, destruction of property like the $60 million damage to a facility two weeks ago. That wasn't the first. We have a generous resettlement program for proven refugees, yet the people smugglers send in boat after boat of people who destroy their ID before phoning our Navy to pick them up. We are over it !!! The UN convention for refugees was signed in 1952...time to update it.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shababi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    April 28, 2016 4:20 PM
    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Town Receives Refugees but Lacks Resources

    A wave of refugees is pouring into the Kurdish town of Afrin in northern Syria as a result of fighting between rebel forces and Islamic State militants. VOA’s Amina Misto went to the town and reports local authorities are finding it difficult to cope with this influx of internally displaced people. Bronwyn Benito narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Build Human Tissue on Animal Matrix

    The question has always been, if a gecko can grow back its tail, why can't we regenerate our lost body parts? Well, maybe we can, someday. Scientists are moving towards the ability to rebuild fully functioning organs, and have made significant progress replacing muscles and other tissue.
    Video

    Video Containing Chernobyl Radiation Continues 30 Years After Explosion

    April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Hundreds were killed following the explosion and it's estimated that thousands more have died from cancers caused by the radiation. Henry Ridgwell traveled to Chernobyl and reports for VOA on the continuing efforts to decommission the site -- and on the fledgling plans for a new future in the vast exclusion zone.
    Video

    Video Frustration Builds Among Refugees Trapped at Macedonian Border

    On the Greek border with Macedonia, 12,000 refugees continue to wait. Since the route to the rest of Europe was closed last month, the makeshift camp at Idomeni has seen protests and tear gas. But while those here wait, their frustration grows — as do reports of people attempting to find new ways of continuing their journey. John Owens reports from Idomeni.
    Video

    Video Researchers: Bees Help Kenyan Farmers Fend Off Elephants

    Elephant crop-raiding continues to be a major source of human-wildlife conflict in Kenya, so one elephant researcher is helping to alleviate the problem near Tsavo East National Park with beehive fences, which use elephants’ natural aversion to bees to deter them from farms. VOA’s Jill Craig visited the area ahead of this month's Giants Club Summit, which will bring together dignitaries at Mount Kenya to find solutions to combat poaching, the No. 1 threat to elephants.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora