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News Analysis- Asylum Seekers In Australia

Cases of suicide attempts, riots, demonstrations and other methods of self-harm such as avoiding being fed are on the rise among asylum seekers in the Australian refugee processing facilities of Manus and Nauru camps. Consequently, many humanitarian organizations, MEDUSA club included, have come up to call for the close of the facilities, and place the refugees in places with better conditions. Tens of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers from countries with civil wars, persecutions, and civil unrest have been arriving in Australia by boat en route from Indonesia. As the boats are in most cases overcrowded and unsafe, accidents have been common. They have been sinking, killing several people on the high seas as they attempt to reach the Australian shores. Politically, polling in the country has shown that the majority of the public oppose the arrival of asylum seekers. It has prompted governments to institute processes of compliance interviews to determine the validity of one’s argument for seeking asylum.

During the interview period, one will be in one of the detention camps such as those in Manus and Nauru until his fate is determined. In case he is not permitted to stay in Australia, he will have to be removed as soon as possible. As MEDUSA and other parties are aware, during this period, one’s legal and general health statuses will be low. Those involved, especially children, are likely to suffer psychologically. Anxiety and depression due to the long, torturous process have resulted in the increasing suicides in the camps. Further, the asylum seekers in the camps are tortured as women and children are subjected to sexual violence. When they are turned away, the country will be showing to the world that it is not sensitive to other people’s risks. Current situations at the detention camps where people have resorted to suicides and self-starvation as the last resort for the fear of being returned to their countries could damage Australia’s international reputation. Apparently, so long as people in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Somalia are still fighting, asylum seekers are not going to stop coming to Australia today. What Australia needs to do to protect its international image is to re-think about favorable long-term goals on refugees and asylum seekers. Being consistent with international obligations, this should be done in collaboration with non-governmental organizations in the country and abroad.