Australia to post expulsions on YouTube in bid to deter refugees
Wednesday 03 August 2011
There are 54 of them, and they include four women and a young boy. They say they are from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Little more is known about them, but they are about to become famous; soon after arriving in Australia, these asylum-seekers will be filmed being expelled and the footage posted online.
Intercepted in the Indian Ocean last Sunday, the group – currently being escorted to Christmas Island, the Australian staging-post – will be the first people sent to Malaysia under a controversial swap. If they try to resist, there could be ugly scenes. Police have been authorised to use force to make sure they board the plane to Kuala Lumpur and riot officers have been training daily in a jungle clearing on Christmas Island.
Under a deal finalised last week, Australia will dispatch 800 asylum-seekers to Malaysia for processing. In exchange, it will take 4,000 refugees currently in Malaysia awaiting resettlement. The aim of Australia's Labor government is to show voters that it is tough on boat people – as tough as the conservative opposition – and to deter them from making the often perilous journey. Hence the plan to film the unfortunate 54 as they land on Christmas Island, board the plane to Malaysia and arrive in camps in Kuala Lumpur for processing. The footage will be posted on the video-sharing website YouTube and the social-network site Facebook, with asylum-seekers' faces pixelated.
The Malaysia Solution, as it is being called – following on from the Pacific Solution of the former conservative prime minister, John Howard, which saw asylum-seekers sent to remote Pacific islands – has been condemned by human-rights organisations. Kuala Lumpur has not signed the UN refugee convention and Malaysia has a record of mistreating refugees.
Ric Towle, the representative in Australia of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, told The Australian this week that it was "too early to say" whether asylum-seekers would be properly protected in Malaysia.
Julia Gillard, Australia's most unpopular Prime Minister in decades, is pressing ahead with the plan despite the fact that the refugee problem is, on a global scale, tiny. Less than half of 1 per cent of the world's asylum-seekers reach Australia and the numbers are dropping. More than 6,500 people came by boat last year; by mid-April this year fewer than 1,000 had arrived.
Most asylum-seekers pay people smugglers to transport them to Christmas Island, after flying to Malaysia or Indonesia. An Immigration Department spokesman said that footage of the 54 being expelled "will be a very potent message that demonstrates the futility of engaging with the people smugglers... risking your life at sea, only to be put on a plane to be flown back to Malaysia".
- 2 Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
- 3 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 4 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...
£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...
£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...