My experience working with Asylum Seekers on Christmas Island

In 2016, I was deployed by the International Organisation for Migration to set up an office and a new repatriation program for the Australian government.


1. The deterrence policy through offshore processing has been around since about 2001 - since the TAMPA incident - this policy is so entrenched in our laws, that it is really hard to go back. 
2. Part of how the offshore processing policy works is - the Australian Government shirks responsibility of (mostly) vulnerable people by declaring them outside our territory or zone. 
3. Australia needs to focus a lot more of its efforts and resources on hunting down and locking up the people smugglers. People smugglers are international criminals who gain from taking advantage of (mostly) vulnerable people. 
This is dealing with one of the sources of the illegal movement of people. 
Smugglers are criminals who go into war torn villages and impoverished communities and recruit 'asylum seekers'- they sell them an ideallic way of life/a new start ... For only the cost of their entire possessions while risking their own lives on the journey. 
4. Smugglers also need to be a focus of our international law enforcement operations in order to reduce the amount of 'asylum seekers' who are opportunistic, criminals or 'wanna-be's - clogging up the system with genuine asylum seekers. 
(The Gillard Government pulled AFP anti smuggling operations funding into Indonesia) 
5. Yes, we should support asylum seekers and accept them into our nation - thank you for accepting me! 
Yes, we should have a compassionate but measured response. 
Yes, we should have a quota system focusing on assessing genuine refugees under the UNHCR but also under our selection process - giving precedent for example to categories of asylum seekers annually. 
Eg: persecuted Christians from Syria etc. 
6. We need to do more internationally. By the time asylum seekers enter our shores, They have transited through a hand full of counties. 
There exists what is referred to as a 'refugee highway across the globe. 
We know the expected and projected movements of refugees. 
We need to resource these initial counties of entry by supporting them to assist the most vulnerable persons trough UNHCR and other agencies programs. 
We need to strengthen our support to Orgs such as UNHCR and strengthen our relationship with them - ensure we have account ability measures for the $ we give them. 
7. We need to place conditions on our funding to UNHCR and initial country of entry countries, including accountability and transparency measures as well as specific project funding. 
We know for a fact that Christian refugees are pushed out of many of the UNHCR camps and left to fend for themselves - vulnerable to predators. 
They once again face severe persecution and threat to life. 
8. We need to put into place national security measures which ensure we assess criminals, opportunists and those with harmful ideologies who Wish to enter our shores with impure and evil motives (you'd be surprised how many ASIO have identified. 
The challenge that this policy approach has created is the 60 or so in the category on 'indefinite detainees'. 
They are so, because they have been found to Be genuine refugees, but also found to have had a negative security clearance. 
They therefore cannot be settled in Australia, but they cannot be returned for reasons of the international principle of non-refoulement. 
I agree, this area of policy is difficult, but I'm going to give it a red-hot go anyway!! 
I owe it to my country! 
It is my way of saying - thank you - for accepting me and my family as humanitarian refugees who fled persecution and sought political asylum in the best country in the world!

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