Refugees on Nauru and Manus need help before South African white farmers, UNHCR says
By Jane Norman – ABC News – Monday, 16 April 2018
- UNHCR in Canberra says it is yet to receive any queries from white South African farmers seeking protection in Australia
- Spokesperson said those transferred to offshore processing centres in PNG and Nauru should be first priority
- Government has told refugees in those centres they will never be resettled in Australia
The United Nations has urged Australia to resettle the refugees who have been languishing on Manus Island and Nauru for the past five years, rather than focusing on the plight of persecuted white South African farmers.
As pressure mounts within the Coalition to help resettle the farmers, the UNHCR has cast doubt on whether South African farmers can be classified as refugees and granted protection under Australia’s humanitarian program.
“The UNHCR Regional Representation in Canberra has not received any queries from South African farmers seeking protection from Australia,” said UNHCR spokesperson Catherine Stubberfield.
“Under the 1951 Refugee Convention, a person must be outside their country of origin in order to claim asylum.”
In contrast, she said the hundreds of refugees on Manus Island and Nauru have sought protection “directly from Australia” and deserve the Government’s attention.
“Those who have been forcibly transferred to Papua New Guinea and Nauru under the ‘offshore processing’ arrangement should be Australia’s first priority after almost five years,” she said.
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