5-minute guide to refugees, people seeking asylum and…IDPs

5-minute guide to refugees, people seeking asylum and…IDPs

published by Save the Children  –  26 September 2016

  1. Refugee. What exactly does it mean?
  2. And how many refugees are there in the world?
  3. Ah yes, illegal asylum seekers.
  4. What are these people running from? Why can’t they go home?
  5. So IDP stands for…?
  6. If refugees and asylum seekers come here, are they going to change our way of life?
  7. OK. So what’s Australia doing to help people caught up in the refugee crisis?

Refugees and people seeking asylum are just people looking for safety. Is Australia doing enough to help them? On 13 September, Save the Children and UNICEF Australia released the report At What Cost, which examines the real costs of Australia’s inefficient and inhumane system – including how much it has cost Australian taxpayers since 2013.

Read the full article here

New York Declaration


New York Declaration – September 2016


19 September 2016

Press Release:

New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants adopted by all Member States at historic UN Summit …

By adopting the NY Declaration, Member States are making bold commitments including:

  1. to start negotiations leading to an international conference and the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018;
  2. to develop guidelines on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations;
  3. to achieve a more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees by adopting a global compact on refugees in 2018.

What will happen next?

The New York Declaration also contains concrete plans for how to build on these commitments.

View the full text of the draft New York Declaraton.

UNHCR logo

Refugee Summit Should Address Conflict Prevention

What’s Driving the Refugee Crisis

A record 65 million people have been displaced from their homes, mostly by war. Half are children. Crisis Group looks at the UN’s list of the top ten countries driving the exodus to explain what’s happened.

Refugee Summit Should Address Conflict Prevention

Immediate palliative care is a vital response to the world’s record numbers of refugees and internally displaced. But any sustainable solution to this global crisis must go further, buttressing international law and ending the wars that drive so many from their homes.



What is the difference between asylum seekers, refugees and economic migrants?

What is the difference between asylum seekers, refugees and economic migrants?

By Will Mumford

SBS – 13 September 2016 

Often the terms ‘migrant’, ‘refugee’ and ‘asylum seeker’ are used interchangeably.

But they each have explicit legal definitions that distinguish one from the other, and prescribe specific obligations for governments and the international community.

The distinctions are important, particularly for those being labeled.

Read the full article here



At What Cost? Save the Children & UNICEF Report


The Human, Economic and Strategic Cost of Australia’s
Asylum Seeker Policies and the Alternatives
September 2016

Read the full report here

This report explores the human, economic and strategic cost of Australia’s current policies which seek to deter asylum seekers from migrating to Australia by sea. It examines the impact of these policies in a domestic, regional and global setting, taking into account the unprecedented scale of global forced migration at present and the limited range of options currently available to those in the region with protection needs. It provides a set of alternatives which would bring an end to the harm that is being done and ensure the protection of a much greater number of refugees in the region.


Forbidden island

Forbidden island by John Martinkus

The Saturday Paper – 10 September 2016

Nauru 7

Wilkie told The Saturday Paper: “Nauru is a client state of Australia and does exactly what Canberra orders. For the prime minister to claim otherwise is downright fanciful because everyone in government circles knows that we bought Nauru many years ago.”

Read the full article here


Men of Manus

Men of Manus – Nick McKenzie, SMH, 10 September 2016 

The Human Rights Law Centre recently travelled to Manus in an attempt to document the stories of the 1000 or so asylum seekers on the island. Around half have so far been assessed as refugees. The centre interviewed dozens of men about their experiences in offshore detention. Detained for up to three years, the men are in limbo after the federal government ruled out settling any of them in Australia, including those with family here.

Omid*, 37, Afghanistan (not real name)

Mohammad Sharif Rahmati, 37, from Afghanistan.

Omid loves the Bard. The husband and father has, with a dictionary in hand, read Romeo and Juliet five times while on Manus. Each reading brings a new understanding of the play and the English language. He sometimes catches himself crying while reading a scene. His work for a US military contractor led to death threats from the Taliban. A member of the Hazara minority, he planned to seek sanctuary in Australia, followed by his wife and son. Instead, he now calls them twice a week from PNG, where he has been deemed a refugee. They are in hiding in an unnamed country.

Then there’s …

Mamud el Hasson, 20, Rohingyan, Abdul Aziz, 26, Sudan,  Shahzad Ahmad, 26, Pakistan,  Mehdi, 31, Iran, Aadil*, 25, Iran (not real name),, Amir, 23, Iran, Imran Mohammad, 22, Rohingyan, Ali Muhammad, 42, Pakistan, and so many more. 

Read the full article here

And go to GetUp’s #BringThemHere campaign for the Men of Manus here

Summit for Refugees and Migrants

Summit for Refugees and Migrants – 19 September 2016


The UN General Assembly will host a high-level summit to address large movements of refugees and migrants, with the aim of bringing countries together behind a more humane and coordinated approach.

This is the first time the General Assembly has called for a summit at the Heads of State and Government level on large movements of refugees and migrants and it is a historic opportunity to come up with a blueprint for a better international response. It is a watershed moment to strengthen governance of international migration and a unique opportunity for creating a more responsible, predictable system for responding to large movements of refugees and migrants.

When and where?

It will be an all day event on Monday 19 September 2016 at the UNHQ in New York. See the detailed programme below or download it here:

Academics call for better refugee policy


Is it possible for Australia to adopt a just and humane approach for refugees? A group of Australian academics think so, and have published a policy paper with some suggestions for how we get there.

Where are now and how do we get out of this?

The policy paper draws attention to harmful effects of our current asylum policies. These include:

  • the terrible effects on their mental health
  • sexual assaults
  • enforced poverty and dependency
  • the high costs of running the offshore processing regime, and
  • the potential legal consequences.

In light of this situation, the paper proposes a series of practical and sound measures that the Australian government should adopt in order to provide a just and humane approach towards asylum seekers. In particular, the paper recommends four things:

  • close detention centres and end mandatory detention
  • start to comprehensively reform to ensure we comply with our international legal obligations
  • promote a decent livelihood and thriving communities for people seeking, or granted, protection, and
  • encourage more empathy towards people seeking protection.

The paper recommends that Australia work to create a new regional approach based on equity, capacity, responsibility and solidarity.

Finally, the paper calls for a National Policy Summit to initiate a national conversation about Australia’s response to people seeking asylum. The aim of the Summit is to produce concrete and practical proposals for change.

This paper demonstrates that there are practical, humane solutions to the situation. It is not true that the only choices are that people either ‘drown at sea’ or we ‘stop the boats’. The options presented in this paper aims to be the starting point for the proposed summit, and for a national discussion.

If you are an academic and wish to support this policy paper, you can sign an open letter which will be sent to the Prime Minister and all members of Parliament.

Read the Policy Paper here