• Lily Diep

Ill-treated refugees and asylum-seekers in Australia?

By the end of last year, over 75.5 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced. Throughout the last decade, more than ever before, asylum seekers and refugees are faced with racism and prejudice in places they immigrate to.

We should all remember that seeking asylum to any country is NOT illegal. It is a fundamental human right. Anyone should be able to seek for better living conditions under any circumstances.

Last year, the Australian government accepted to protect 18,750 refugees, all entering Australia by air, not by boat. Refugees and asylum-seekers who arrive in Australia are forced into detention centres with horrid conditions. Despite so, only a small percentage of seekers are granted to move into mainland Australia and gain its protection. After being resettled, refugees are faced with numerous racism and prejudice by a small number of Australian citizens.

Even though the attitude towards refugees and asylum-seekers have gradually become more positive, we are far off from having the majority of the nation welcome refugees with open arms. For the last 20 years, the Australian government have sought numerous strategies to reduce the number of asylum-seekers from arriving on Australian shores. The treatment of asylum-seekers in Australia would depend on which Australian party is in office. Numerous protests by Australians have decreased the times periods in which asylum-seekers must stay in detention centres, from over seven thousand seekers in 2013-14 to less than two thousand seekers spending more than 730 days in centres in 2019-20.

"...we are far off from having the majority of the nation welcome refugees with open arms"

Thus, the fluctuating behaviours from the government have reflected onto its citizens resulting in prejudice and racism. Here are the top three reasons Australians are against welcoming refugees and asylum-seekers:

1. Believing that seeking asylum is illegal. Seeking refuge in a safer country to live in is not illegal, whether asylum-seekers come by boat or by air neither of these transportations is illegal. Yet media have perceived them to be unlawful. Click here for more information on Australian regulations on refugees and asylum-seekers.

2. Negative attitudes: Some Australians have an ongoing negative view on asylum-seekers, such as fearing them, feeling threatened and angry.

3. Islamophobia: In the last decade, the majority of refugees comes from nations, such as Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia, where Islam is a prominent religion. Islamophobia is a relevant issue in today’s society as it leads to prejudice, abuse and hatred.

You can read more on the reasons for Australia’s dislike towards refugees and asylum-seekers here.

In short, to treat asylum-seekers and refugees better, Australians should work together and support organisations aiding refugees and asylum-seekers.

A little support from you could end up being a big step for refugees and asylum-seekers, whether they are young or old, they will have a chance to live a safer and more independent life.

Written by: Lily Diep (Hub Volunteer)

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