Regional Solution for Refugees Makes Sense: Brotherhood
12 July 2010 at 12:32 pm
The Brotherhood of St Laurence believes that a regional framework for the processing of refugees is a step in the right direction.
The General Manager of BSL Community Services, Sarina Greco says the Brotherhood supports a regional solution which tackles this complex issue in a cooperative and collaborative manner.
Greco says the Brotherhood, through its’ Ecumenical Migration Centre, has been assisting refugees settle in Australia for nearly fifty years and along with other community organisations involved in this work they have been calling for a regional approach for some time.
She says a regional processing centre can provide access to fair and just determination processes without the need for a dangerous journey and this would begin to address the backlog of refugees languishing in third countries with their lives on hold.
She says the Brotherhood believes it is crucial the asylum seekers are treated fairly and afforded the best possible outcome in line with the Refugee Convention.
The Brotherhood says it understands that this policy is still in development and it will require ongoing review and consultation and it is important that the Government spends the time to get this policy right.
- Specifically, the Brotherhood highlights the following areas when considering regional reform:
- Appropriate resourcing of neutral UNHCR staff to enable fair determination of refugee claims.
- Guaranteed resettlement of those found to be a refugee.
- A better balance in favour of fairer determination processes for refugees waiting outside Australia to bring these in line with the standards and approach of refugee law applied in cases in Australia.
- Broadening of the family reunion definitions so that siblings can be reunited through the family stream of migration, rather than applying through the already overcrowded offshore refugee and humanitarian programs.
- A timetable for processing that takes into account the impact of detention on asylum seekers.
• Recognition of the positive skills that refugees bring to Australia and consideration that intake numbers should increase in proportion to increases in Australia’s skilled migration program.
The Brotherhood says it looks forward to working with the Government as details of the regional approach are developed.