Should we call asylum seekers ‘illegals’? > Check the facts
Who: Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has instructed staff to publicly refer to asylum seekers as ‘illegal arrivals’.
The Claim: The people who arrive on boats seeking asylum are doing so illegally.
The Facts: Under the UN Refugee Convention, which Australia has signed, it is not illegal to arrive by boat and seek asylum in Australia. The Convention states that everyone has the right to seek asylum in Australia.
Discussion of evidence: A previous fact published in June this year outlined why arriving on boat and seeking asylum is not illegal. This evidence has been republished below in light of the change in government rhetoric surrounding asylum seekers.
Under the UN Refugee Convention, which Australia has signed, everyone has the right to seek asylum from persecution in other countries, regardless of their method of arrival.
Article 31 of the UN Convention states that asylum seekers cannot be punished for entering a country without authorisation. It is recognised that refugees do not have to obtain travel documentation or travel through authorised channels because it is not always safe or practical to do so.
The Refugee Council of Australia states that asylum seekers do not break any Australian laws by arriving on boats without formal documentation. In a 2002 Federal Court decision Justice Merkel stated that asylum seekers have a “lawful entitlement” under international and domestic law to seek asylum in Australia.
The use of the term ‘illegal’ when referring to asylum seekers has also been recognised by the Australian Press Council as incorrect. They have warned the press that the use of this term is a breach of journalistic ethics and complaints can be brought against them.
Amusing when you think about it.
I mean shouldn’t those pesky Asylum seekers get their passports in order and a Visa sorted before they set off so they don’t carry out an ‘illegal’ act?
Purely a ploy by those that push fear and propaganda to help the voting public stigmatize asylum seekers in the same boat (pardon the pun) as criminals and other who carry out ‘illegal’ acts.
Imagine if the Australian voting public bothered to look at Asylum seeking numbers around the world (we take 1-2%) and the undeniable fact that vast majority come from war torn countries or those where their rights are severely curtailed. Considering you can catch a plane to Australia and claim asylum (as 80% of arrivals do) you’d have to recognize the desperate situation of most you come by boat….Unless of course you were hood winked by the conservative party of Australia (Nothing liberal about their values and policies)
Wasn’t it widely reported earlier this year that 2013 was expected to be the first year boat arrivals exceded plane arrivals? What about the Indonesian crew? Are they illegals? What about when they have not yet applied for asylum. Do we just assume that everyone who arrives unannounced on a boat is an asylum seaker? It’s not illegal to apply for asylum, but it is illegal to enter a country without a visa, unless you have a good reason eg seeking asylum. Up to the point where such asylum is sought you are an illegal entrant i would have thought.
Peter – sorry but you have missed the point.
There is no offence under the Migration Act for arriving in Australia without the “proper documents eg a passport and visa’ – see section 14. These people are classed as “unlawful non-citizens”. Unlawful does not mean illegal.
Arguably if those arriving by boat could get a visa they would fly in – just as 79% of asylum seekers did in the 10 years 2002-2012.
I’m not so sure the distinction between illegal and unlawful would be appreciated by the man in the street. I’d be interested in the percentage change between 02-07 and 07-12 if you have the data.
Peter, did you read the article or jerk your knee? It is not illegal to arrive by sea, ergo the Indonesian crew are not doing anything illegal either.
I read the article and the relevant section of the law. There actions aren’t illegal but they are unlawful. If I break into your house that’s illegal but if I walk in through an open door that’s unlawful, either way I think you would be concerned if you didn’t know I was coming.
The real vice in calling asylum seekers “illegals” is that it suggests criminality, which is utterly false, on any view of the law.
It is reinforced by Scott Morrison’s repeated suggestions that asylum seekers in the community should be required to “report to police” and should “not be placed near vulnerable people”.
The clear implication is that these are dangerous people.
The purpose in so stigmatising asylum seekers is to make it seem respectable to mistreat them.
Exactly. Especially when they ARE the vulnerable people.
Dear Peter, Lets say I had a sign on my house saying Safe House, because I had previously signed an agreement to be one.And you were a small child fleeing someone terribly dangerous who was threatening your life.So you ran in my front door.Now lets argue for years over whether your act was unlawful or illegal….oh, after I tossed you back to your attacker.Which of the three is the greater transgressor?
I don’t think Obama’s drones over Pakistan is helping!!!!
Comments are closed.