Why Do People Migrate? Part 1: Facts

Chapters 5 › Unit 5: SCROLL DOWN FOR INSTRUCTIONS View instructions Hide instructions


Read this article and share your views with colleagues. Is the Australian "Pacific solution" against human rights? What do you think of Nauru and the other "prison islands"?

As always, you can share your view by writing in your own journal, but also commenting on what others have written.

Pacific Solution : a new way of imprisonment in modern world


Pacific solution is the immigration policy by the Australian government to transport the asylum seeker or refugees to the island nations like Nauru in the Pacific Ocean. Whether this policy is right or wrong, it is highly debatable. In the broad spectrum of human rights, I find it very hard to believe that in modern world an Australian government was able to exercise an imprisonment rule. Australian government has set up detention centres in Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Manus Islands etc. in the pacific ocean to keep the irregular migrants away from their mainland. Australian governments have set up a strict rule that any migrants that come to Australia without proper visa "will never be settled in Australia". But the problem they faced with such rule is that UNHRC might not agree with such policy. So, they find a alternative way to keep the irregular migrants away from the mainland until they receive protection, visa or legal documents from the Australian Government.

This is serious violation of human rights. Before going into in depth discussion, I would like to bring an example of not so similar situation but I find them strikingly resemblance. During colonial British rule in Indian subcontinent, British government used to exile political prisoners and freedom fighters during the Indian independence struggle in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. People who were against the British government were sent to far way from the mainland to the island or archipelago. In modern scenario, Australian government is also applying the same practice. A detention centre is a place where irregular migrants are kept for screening of their cases. There is no physical deference between a prison and a detention centre. Only difference I can find is that within detention centre people are not locked up at any given time. Everything else is same. I am not against the immigration procedure to detain a person but I am against the whole concept of detaining in offshore land is simply not up to human rights standard. Prison Islands were set up by the British government during those colonial days to send people away to remote places where they will only have means of living like food and shelter. These people will be away from their loved ones and live a very painful life.

One might argue that in the case of Australian immigration policy, people when send to those islands are not send alone, they are send with their family. Yes it is quite true but you must take into account that these people could have been held at any detention centre in the mainland. Costing is not any factor here. Setting up a detention centre, running its functionality will cost the same if you run it in mainland or in any offshore island. I certainly believe it is a way to put those immigrants on exile as punishment. This is simply against liberty of a person, degrading treatment, arbitrary allotment. These are people who are fleeing a warzone, conflict ridden area, they must have been taken care off with sympathy. you cant simply put them into situation where they will be open to more harm, mental illness. We must strongly condemn them.

As I said earlier that I believe that the whole process is a modernised prison system. Please note that people like Mohsen Soltani spent four years in detention centre. Think twice before making any action, comment that you will be in an island with all your worries and the reason for it just that you were unable to acquire visa to come to Australia. I think these people are being treated as criminals for such as offence and they are holding as modernised prison.

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