To add to Australia’s already deep troubles over thousands of Muslim asylum seekers arriving in boats, now Somalis are saying they have to go illegally to Australia because they aren’t being considered for refugee status there due to their skin color.
If you are a regular reader here you know Australia is in turmoil over the asylum issue. But, one thing that Australia and Canada have in common that we don’t have in the US is that the conflicts and public debate over refugee/asylum issues are out in the open in the mainstream media. When is the last time you heard any public debate on how many refugees we should be taking and from where in the likes of the Washington Post or the New York Times, or even Fox News?
Come to think of it, that story in the LA Times about the US taking Syrians may be one of the most forthright articles I’ve seen in the US press which normally stays mum when there is opposition to resettlement.
Here are two mentions of the latest headache for the Australian government. Somalis say they are going illegally to Australia because Australia won’t let Africans in through the front door.
From Radio Australia:
Somali refugees waiting in Indonesia, say they’re being forced to take dangerous boat voyages because Australia is refusing to resettle Africans.
The refugees say they have been told by the United Nations refugee agency, in Jakarta, that there’s no point applying to be resettled in Australia.
They wonder whether they’re being rejected automatically from Australia’s humanitarian program because of their skin colour.
Then here is The Australian (you will have to sign-in for the whole story):
PEOPLE-SMUGGLERS in Kenya and Somalia are telling Somalis seeking asylum they can easily get them to Australia through Malaysia and Indonesia. Australian Somali Association president Abdullahi Farah said he had been expecting an influx of Somalis arriving by boat as the message of an Australian option grew.
It comes as a woman was found dead on an asylum-seeker boat carrying about 60 Africans and people from the Middle East after it was stopped by HMAS Warramunga east-northeast of Christmas Island on Saturday.
Meanwhile little Collie in Western Australia was not consulted before being informed that asylum seeking families would soon come to live there. But, they say they will be “welcoming” to the “seed” community nonetheless. (The seed reference comes from Welcoming America, here, where refugees are seeds and your community is the soil in which they grow!).
LOCAL community leaders have expressed disappointment at a lack of consultation surrounding the relocation of asylum seekers to Collie.
The Collie Mail last week reported that nine families seeking asylum would be relocated to Collie later this month.
Collie Shire president Wayne Sanford said council found out about the plan through the press.
“There was no briefing to councillors before the decision to consider Collie was made,” he said.
Cr Sanford said he was disappointed the Department of Immigration did not consult with the local government body from a planning perspective.
“Collie is a very inclusive and welcoming community and I am sure the community will welcome these people and make sure they are provided with a safe and positive environment and support where and when needed,” he said.
So, for all readers who imagine you can escape to Australia, forget it!