Monday, May 05, 2014

An Iranian opens up on refugees

Rita Pahani is a columnist for the Melbourne Herald Sun. She is a member of the Iranian community in Melbourne which is why her comments on Iranian asylum seekers carry some weight:
The lies sold by the refugee advocates have been laid bare in the past four months. We were told that the boats couldn’t be stopped, that they were full of frightened souls fleeing persecution and fearing death, despite the inconvenient fact that they were boarding boats in a country that is stable and safe.

We were told that there were no pull factors; that nothing Australia did could slow the flood of boats and yet they have stopped. There has not been a single boat in more than four months. Compare that with last year where 47 boats arrived in April alone carrying more than 3300 asylum seekers.

When the Rudd government came to power in 2007, there was only a handful of people in detention. After completely losing control of our borders, Labor finally admitted what anyone with an IQ above room temperature knew; that pull factors were the key.

Former foreign minister Bob Carr said as much last June: “They’re not people fleeing persecution,” he said. “They’re coming from majority religious or ethnic groups in the countries they’re fleeing, they’re coming here as economic migrants.”

Carr’s comments came after a surge in the number of Iranian asylum seekers arriving by boat in the first half of 2013. More than 4300 Iranians arrived by boat between January and June last year. Carr was right to say the majority were economic refugees.

It’s well known in the Iranian community that having your claim of asylum approved is as simple as reciting a story that can’t be disproved and has worked successfully in the past. Those paying smugglers know what to say and what to omit when interviewed. They are not going to uproot their whole life, sell everything and risk their life at sea and not have a compelling story to tell. The attitude of many in the Iranian community, even those who have been here for decades, is that those arriving by boat are essentially decent people who have sacrificed a great deal to come here for a better life, so if they have to tell a few “white lies” to appease the white man, then so be it. Though many are scathing of those who put their children’s lives at risk by putting them on a leaky boat.

I'd like here to reiterate my own policy suggestion for asylum seekers. I believe that the wealthier nations (not only of the West but also those in Asia and the Middle-East) should pay into a central fund to resettle asylum seekers. However, an asylum seeker would be resettled in whatever country was nearest in living standard and culture to that which he had fled.

This policy would enable genuine refugees to find asylum whilst at the same time discouraging economic migrants and allowing for relatively easy assimilation and resettlement of displaced persons.

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