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Asylum, what do you think?

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posted on Apr, 1 2006 @ 02:10 AM
ASYLUM [asylum], extension of hospitality and protection to a fugitive and the place where such protection is offered. The use of temples and churches for this purpose in ancient and medieval times was known as sanctuary. In modern international law, the granting of asylum to refugees from other”

Turning back the pages of history, we have seen a lot many Great individuals fight for an equal right in human society. Travelling back into time, haven’t we seen a number of countries trying to abolish slavery? Haven’t we seen equality been established within the global village, be it a social, political avenue or be it between men and woman. Though we haven’t achieved what we could have, due to religious or community background, in a global village, the term has formed a strong stance. The vision of yesterday is today’s reality. Society plays a major role on human behaviour. Change is good, but the time to absorb these changes vastly lies in the core of an individuals exposure. The global village is a vast community of individual with different thought patterns and a different approach to situations faced in life. To form a society based on the visionaries of the past, we must all understand that among all the benefits of being a homo spean race, we do have emotions to deal with. Patience and tolerance be it in any form are qualities which bring about the best and the worst in humanity. “The story of my Experience with Truth”** an Autography of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a Non-Violent Freedom fighter who fought for the Independence of India, is a great source of information of a man who had to balance tolerance with the diversity in Religion and custom in India and who with patience achieved what India had but dreamt of.

In 1951, the world community got together under the United Nations banner and formed a regulation on legal status of refugees. An extract from the treaty “The convention consolidates previous international instruments relating to refugees and provides the most comprehensive codification of the rights of refugees yet attempted on the international level. It lays down basic standards for the treatment of refugees, without prejudice to the granting by states of more favourable treatment. The convention is to be applied without discrimination as to race, religion or country of origin and contains various safe guards against the expulsion of refugees” Adding to the challenges faced, “With the passage of time and the emergence of new refugee situations the need was increasingly felt to make the provisions of the convention applicable to such new refugees. As a result, a protocol relating to the status of refugees was prepared and submitted to the United Nations General Assembly in 1966. The authentic text of the protocol was signed off by the President of the General Assembly and the Secretary-General in New York on 31st January1967 and transmitted to governments. It entered into force on 4th October 1967, upon the deposit of the sixth instrument of accession” ***

In Australia:
“Australia's Refugee and Humanitarian Program offers protection to asylum seekers who have entered Australia, either without a visa or as temporary entrants, and who are found to be owed Australia's protection under the United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (the Refugees Convention) and relevant Australian laws”

An amendment by the international community is a huge step for humanity in this sensitive issue and there will always lay possibility of error or oversight in this process. However let us consider some of the challenges which Australia faces,
Friday, June 24, 2005 10:08 AM
David Spitteler
with Gil Cann
Few issues have caused such controversy in Australia in recent years as the issue of asylum seekers. The questions of how to regard and respond to people from other countries who are seeking asylum here are matters of constant debate. What is a Christian response?

In the interests of truth, we must first try to sift fact from opinion as to the status of asylum seekers, often called 'boat people', and their impact on the community. Misconceptions and accusations are widespread. Here are eight of them, and some relevant facts in each case.


Let us consider the statics collected around the world******

Canada has one the best records for treatment of refugees with innovative programmes and a strong humanitarian ethos. But will it survive?
Refugees and asylum seekers:
Percentage of world total: 0.47%
Ratio of refugees to total population:
1 to 443
Asylum approval rate:2
Refugees mainly from: Hungary, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, China
Approval rates by nationality: Afghanistan (97%) Somalia (92%) Hungary (27%)
Pending asylum cases: 25,800
Fast, comparatively. Within three days an immigration officer decides whether a claim is eligible to be heard; decision-time for refugee status is 10 months. Anyone guilty of a serious crime, human-rights abuses or deemed a security risk can be immediately rejected. Appeals can be made against deportation – but not if the person is being extradited or has come from a safe third country. Some 10,900 refugees were resettled in 2001 – healthcare and immigration loans are available.

In the aftermath of 11 September refugee rights have deteriorated (see article here). In June 2002 Canada and the US signed a preliminary agreement that neither is obliged to accept asylum seekers arriving from a ‘safe third country’. Critics argue that the US system is far harsher than Canada’s and asylum seekers will suffer from such deals.

The traditional country of immigration is now in the grip of paranoia over domestic security. This is dictating refugee policy.
Refugees and asylum seekers:
Percentage of world total: 3.3%
Ratio of refugees to US population:
1 to 578
Asylum approval rate:2
Refugees mainly from: Mexico, China, Colombia, Haiti, India, El Salvador
Approval rates by nationality: Mexico (7%) China (64%) Colombia (62.5%) Haiti (36%) India (57%) Somalia (81%) Afghanistan (89.5%) El Salvador (16%)
Pending asylum cases: 396,000
Spot decisions to deport can be made at the border if the asylum seeker does not have proper documents and no ‘credible fear of persecution’. It takes up to 180 days for asylum claims to be processed or referred to immigration judges. Asylum seekers can appeal against decisions. Temporary Protected Status may be granted to those who face ‘extraordinary and temporary conditions’ that prevent safe return. After 11 September the refugee programme was frozen and the use of detention increased. Data on numbers is withheld. The US also interdicts at sea would-be asylum claimants. Public benefits are not available to asylum seekers but they are entitled to limited cash and medical assistance. Permission to work is given if a claim has taken more than 180 days.

The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 has broadened the definition of ‘terrorism’, providing a mandate to deport or refuse entry to prospective immigrants and asylum applicants. It also enables the indefinite detention of any non-citizen the attorney general considers a terrorist suspect.

Britain’s new asylum policies claim to be aimed at ensuring both ‘secure borders’ and ‘safe havens’. Hypocrisy and confusion are its hallmarks.
Refugees and asylum seekers:
Percentage of world total: 0.47%
Ratio of refugees to British population:
1 in 972
Asylum approval rate:2,3
Exceptional Leave to Remain (ELR): 23% of those rejected are given four-year protection from deportation
Refugees mainly from: Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Iran and Yugoslavia
Asylum applications pending: 39,400
Britain makes use of both detention and ‘dispersal’ or enforced scattering of asylum seekers around the country. Under a new strategy, arrivals are to be held in secure ‘induction centres’, from there to be dispersed to accommodation centres. New large-scale detention centres are also planned. Asylum decisions can take years. Failed applicants can appeal via a new fast-track process. Financial support for asylum seekers is available at 70 per cent of normal income support. After six months asylum seekers may seek work. Deportations are set to rise dramatically. Snatch squads of immigration officers have powers to break into homes and make arrests.

Arbitrary detention and accommodation centres isolate asylum seekers from the community. Britain’s focus on increased border controls and removals rather than protection mocks its position as signatory to the Geneva Convention, while new anti-terrorism measures further erode the rights of refugees.

Australia has gained international notoriety for its harsh treatment of asylum seekers. There are few signs of a softening of approach.
Refugees and asylum seekers:
Percentage of world total: 0.15%
Ratio of refugees to Australian population: 1 to 849
Asylum approval rate:2,4
Mainly from: Afghanistan, Iraq, China, Indonesia, Fiji and Iran (‘onshore’); former Yugoslavia, Iran, Sudan (‘offshore’)
Pending asylum cases: 5,385
All non-citizens who unlawfully enter Australia are detained, most until their cases are considered. This can take months or years. Detention facilities are remote and far from legal help. Some asylum seekers may be granted temporary protection visas valid for three years. They may be able to work but are excluded from many benefits. Failed asylum seekers can appeal – but have to pay a fine of $500 if they lose. The asylum system changed in 2001, prompted by the arrival of 1,200 unauthorized ‘boat people’. The Government initiated the ‘Pacific Solution’ whereby Papua New Guinea and the tiny island of Nauru have become ‘offshore’ refugee-screening sites for Australia-bound asylum seekers.

An Australian parliamentary committee has called the detention system a ‘disgrace verging on the inhuman’. The denial of asylum to parched and desperate ‘boat people’ has brought criticism from international refugee agencies.

Immigration is new to Ireland, traditionally a country of emigration. It’s in no great rush to open its door.
Refugees and asylum seekers:
Percentage of world total: 0.06%
Asylum approval rate:2,5
Refugees mainly from: Nigeria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Russian Federation, Croatia
Pending asylum cases: 8,200 (on first instance decisions)
The system is slow: in February 2002 one in seven applicants had waited more than a year for a decision. The criteria for rejection is broad: an application may be declared ‘manifestly unfounded’ if an applicant refuses to have fingerprints taken. Free legal aid is available to all asylum seekers. Appeals against decisions must be made within two weeks. Anyone who receives a deportation order may apply for ‘Temporary Leave to Remain’. Asylum seekers are sent to remote accommodation centres on full board and reduced social welfare payments. Free health services and exceptional needs payments are provided. Asylum seekers are generally prohibited from working.

A report by the Irish Refugee Council charges that the authorities have fast-tracked deporting asylum applicants to countries with well-documented histories of human-rights abuses, relying on outdated country information when assessing applications. Accelerated procedures highlight the Government’s priority of preventing abuse of the process rather than protecting asylum seekers.

Aotearoa has shown itself more humane than many countries. However, recent events have tarnished its record.
Refugees and asylum seekers:
Percentage of world total: 0.02%
Asylum approval rate:2,5
Refugees mainly from: Thailand, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka
Applications pending: 1,424
Asylum seekers are rarely deported until their cases are heard and decisions made by the New Zealand Immigration Service. This takes two months. If anyone overstays a visa by more than 42 days they can be deported immediately with no right of appeal.
Asylum applicants are eligible for government-funded legal help and hostel accommodation for up to three months. They may receive one work permit per family while their claims are pending, and their children may attend school. Detention was rare in Aotearoa until 11 September, after which nearly all newly arrived asylum seekers are held.

Refugee advocates in Australia and Aotearoa often compare the two countries’ policies. Australia detains virtually all asylum seekers while Aotearoa often lets them live and work in the community, providing comprehensive access to welfare services. When last year Aotearoa admitted 131 Afghan asylum seekers who had been among the 400 Afghans Australian had refused and taken to the remote island nation of Nauru instead, the contrast appeared even sharper. But Aotearoa’s response to 11 September sets a worrying precedent.

Iran has taken in more refugees than any country in the world. Its treatment of them has become harsh.
Refugees and asylum seekers:
2.55 million
Percentage of world total: 17%
Ratio of refugees to population: 1 to 26
Mainly from: Afghanistan and Iraq
Iranians seeking resettlement outside Iran: 23,700 living in Iraq, 10,000 seeking asylum in Europe
Labour laws used to be ignored and asylum seekers were allowed to work. But with unemployment high, the Government has clamped down. In 2001 refugees were registered as a means to deport those without work permits. Around 82,000 Afghan men and 8,300 families were deported between January and July 2001.6 During this time between around 1,000 Afghans continued to arrive daily in Iran. Around 111,000 Afghans were returned to Afghanistan in the last six months of 2001. As the US and the Northern Alliance began their military campaigns Iran closed its border to new arrivals. Instead it set up two border camps just within Afghanistan which filled up so quickly hundreds of women and children had to be turned away.

Iran’s harsh asylum policy must be seen in the context of the fact it receives around 17 per cent of the world’s total displaced peoples and little assistance from the international community.

WARNING: statistics on refugees are often inexact and controversial. Those used on these pages represent USCR’s ‘best judgement’.

Researched and compiled by Katya Nasim
1 All statistics are taken from USCR (United States Committee for Refugees) unless otherwise stated. Figures are based on totals and projections at end of the fiscal year 2001.
2 Approval rates calculated on basis of interview decisions, excluding closed or withdrawn cases.
3 Not including appeals or ELR cases.
4 Onshore applications, primary stage.
5 Not including appeals.
6 UNHCR figures.
7 Figures stated in the Keynote are for the beginnng of 2002.

“Actions speak louder than words”. The message to the world community is quite clear and loud. We must consider the harshness that these individuals have endured to ensure a better future for them and their families. The time frame is a very crucial factor adding to the frustrations. There have been cases which would have had success and there would be a lot many who have achieved a permanent residency status in Australia, but unconquerable time is what we fail to notice. Though it has been clearly highlighted in the above articles, I strongly believe, that when these individual left there country they were free men and woman, without any harm incurred to the Australian community, why are they being kept behind bars as criminals and under such apphauling conditions? Something must be done to ensure human conditions are met and the applications accessed and proceeded within a given time frame and keeping in mind Australia stance on this sensitive global issue.

*** bin/texis/vtx/protect/opendoc.pdf?tbl=PROTECTION&id=3b66c2aa10

I did this reseach some time ago as i saw some a programe about immigration in australia. Its taken me some time to collect this information.
Thoughts? Comments?

What do you think about this in your country?

I did find this thread on ATS and thought it would interesting that this topic has been raised...but did not have much of a response.

I hope we all can think of something....

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[edit on 2006-4-1 by wecomeinpeace]

[edit on 1-4-2006 by knowledge23]

posted on Apr, 1 2006 @ 04:39 AM
I don't think governments should be required to grant asylum to anyone and they certainly should not be required to provide them with housing and financing.

The costs for asylim seekers aren't as high as I thought they were in Britain but I still don't see why British taxpayers or anyone else should have to support them.


Earlier this year, David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, estimated that over the past two years more than £3.5 billion had been spent on administration costs, legal bills, accommodation and subsistence. This compared with a "broad estimate" from the Home Office in 1998 of a cost of about £500 million - including litigation, support, benefits, legal aid, health and education.

Five years later, and the spending has quadrupled. Last year, more than £1 billion was spent simply on support for asylum seekers through the National Asylum Support Service.

Here's a somewhat older article on the costs of Asylum seekers and refugees:


A new study by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development concludes that the cost of caring for refugees and asylum-seekers averaged about $10,000 per person per year in the four Scandinavian countries. Sweden accounted for almost half of the $2.5 billion spent to care for the average 262,000 foreigners in these countries for the equivalent of 12 months in 1994.

The average costs of caring for asylum seekers in Scandinavian countries were more than twice the $4,000-$4,500 average in Switzerland and Austria. Sweden spent an average $10,000 per year to care for an average 64,000 asylum seekers or persons granted humanitarian status or TPS, while Switzerland spent an average $4,500 on an average 121,000 asylum seekers and refugees in its system in 1994.

The costs of processing asylum seekers and refugees is typically less than 10 percent of the overall costs of the asylum-refugee system. The major factor in the cost estimates is the number of persons who depend on public assistance, either because they do not or are not allowed to work.

[edit on 1-4-2006 by AceOfBase]

posted on Apr, 1 2006 @ 09:35 PM
I agree, no government should bear the cost for asylum seekers.

Quite interesting to note, from the extract, is about the number of people dependent on public assistance either because they don’t work or are not allowed to work.

The problem is but evident. As a community there needs to be a system in place to assist these people to work and stand on their own feet. Programs can be set up to assist these individuals develop into respectable citizens within our advanced society. Some of the Asylum seekers do not know how to speech English correctly, let alone write, hence the first start should be to train them to understand and speech the language correctly. Understanding and acknowledging the values of the society are some key factors which they will be entering into is an important part of exposure to the world that they will be calling home.

The time frame for processing such an application is another factor which needs to be considered. In some cases a wait of 3 years is expected before they are even granted a visa. People like yourself and myself can complete a 3 year degree programme by that time or even complete a two masters degree within that time frame. What I am suggesting is if that is the time frame for a normal process, why not use it effectively as I have suggested above, by providing educational programmes which in the end will support them and support the public assistance system.

Regarding the point on granting or not granting asylum by the government, I think is a tough call. These people could be deprived and they have come to our shores for help and assistance. It would be an unfair call to turn them around without even listening to the problems they have faced or are facing. It is fair to say that once deduced, granting of visa is a clause which only government individuals can decide.

In a global economy it is essential to have a diversified and multicultural society. A lot of information can be shared from individuals coming from different backgrounds. Let me give you an example to justify my statement. Let us take the term Negotiation. The Oxford Dictionary definition is “to confer (with another) for purposes of arranging some matter by mutual agreement” The Latin origin is : neg (not) and otium(leisure) which suggest negotiation is a conscious process that is not easy. Different cultures have different approach of negotiation. English Hindi = Give and Take, Indonesian = Discuss and Decide (formal)/Meet and Discuss (Informal). The point is that we can understand the different cultures and there manner of discussion, when we live in such a globalised society.

The government of the world is spending so much of money on war would it not be better to utilise some portion of that money to help those who need it. The money used for war has a part of the tax payers hard earned money.

posted on Apr, 5 2006 @ 05:56 AM
Isnt there much thought out there, with respect to this....

It is quite interesting to note, that we are all talking about War and what will happen to the people or what is happening to the people in the war zone....

Quite Odd to note that, we have a chance to do good here...and there are no thoughts....

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