The increasing inflow of refugees and asylum seekers has become one of the major concerns for Australian policy-makers, journalists, human rights activists, and tax-payers. In particular, it is necessary to reconcile two needs. At first, the Australian government must ensure that people, who are at the risk of torture, persecution, or discrimination, can find shelter and appropriate assistance.
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Additionally, they should consider economic constraints that limit the resources of policy-makers. According to a widespread opinion, the country should limit the inflow of asylum seekers into the country. Overall, it is possible to argue that asylum seekers should not be perceived as the economic or cultural threat to the Australian society.
As a rule, these people are extremely vulnerable because they have to struggle with economic and administrative difficulties. Moreover, they can be treated in a prejudiced or biased way (Crock 2010). Therefore, the government should make sure people seeking shelter can receive the necessary protection; moreover, they should receive adequate services; for instance, the children of asylum seekers should get access to education and healthcare as soon as possible.
So, the government should comply with the international agreements regarding the status of these people. Nevertheless, Australia has a right to control its borders, even with the help of such measures as Operation Sovereign Borders, provided that this policy does not infringe on the sovereignty of other states.
Conceptions of national interests
In this case, the conception of national interest relies on the defensive neo-realism. This framework implies that the country has a right as well as duty to protect the interests of the citizens of the state. In turn, there are no rules requiring national policy-makers to work on the global welfare (Baylis, Smith, & Owens 2013, p. 131). In turn, this theory also implies that the country should recognise and respect the sovereignty of other states.
This is why it is not permissible to cross the borders of other nations without proper authorisation. This argument is particularly relevant if one speaks about the Operation Sovereign Borders during which the Australian naval forces violated Indonesian waters (McAdam 2013). Such actions are not acceptable. Nevertheless, precautionary measures are permissible if they are aimed at protecting refugees.
In many cases, these people can suffer from famine, thirst, or insanitary conditions (McAdam 2013). This is one of the pitfalls that should be avoided. At the same time, the Australian government has a right to limit or even eliminate the activities of organisations that can transport Asylum seekers in an illegal way. Nevertheless, these actions should not be aimed against individuals who seek asylum.
For example, it is not permissible to force them return to the countries in which they can be imprisoned, tortured, or even killed (Showler 2006, p. 213). However, governmental officials have a right to investigate the background of people who intend to find shelter in Australia. This necessity becomes particularly relevant at the time, when the threats of terrorism have increased dramatically.
So, it is critical to consider the security interests of Australia. This task should be one of the main priorities for Australian policy-makers. Admittedly, one should consider the economic interests of the country since nowadays the Australian government needs to spend money to support asylum seekers.
Yet, these interests are more likely to be threatened if refugees are not allowed to integrate into the society. One should keep in mind that some of these people can be rather skilled professionals; however, they have to struggle with many bureaucratic obstacles.
Proposed solution and its sustainability
Overall, the strategy involves several steps. At first, governmental official should make sure that children of asylum seeks can get access to the educational services as quickly as possible. They should not be detained in Nauru or Papua New Guinea (Amnesty International, 2013, p. 15).
One should keep in mind that some of them can be separated from their parents. Therefore, the immigration officials should focus attention on the re-union of families. This is one of the tasks that should be performed as quickly as possible because the separation of family members can produce detrimental effects on individuals, especially children whose development can be significantly impaired.
Furthermore, it is vital to increase the processing capacity of refugee facilities in Nauru as well as Papua New Guinea (Government of Australia, 2012). One of the key tasks is to make sure that refugees are not detained for a long time without any explanation. In other words, it is critical to raise the standards of governmental accountability, since this policy is critical for supporting asylum seekers.
Additionally, the country should not send refugees to those countries where they can be discriminated due to their race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. By trying to prevent asylum seekers from entering Australia, the government exposed many of these individuals to the threat of the state persecution (Amnesty International, 2013).
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Thus, Australia should not rely on the assistance of such countries, provided that they do not provide adequate protection to refugees. Admittedly, this decision can increase the expenses that the country has to incur. However, this choice is important for meeting the ethical obligations to people who seek shelter from persecution.
As it has been said before, the government should eliminate the smuggling of asylum seekers in Australia. This is why Operation Sovereign Borders should not be abolished. Nevertheless, one should not violate the waters of Indonesia since such actions can undermine Australia’s relations with this country and other Asian states.
These relations are critical for strengthening Australia’s influence in this region (Griffiths 2010). This issue becomes particularly important nowadays, when the proportion of Asian people in the country increases (Burke 2010; Rumley 2001). In the long term, it is necessary to develop an international agreement about the prohibition of human trafficking (Government of Australia 2012).
Additionally, the policy-makers should launch programs that will assist asylum seekers in finding employment. Much attention should he paid to the needs of people who do not speak English fluently. This policy is important for reducing for the dependence of these individuals on governmental assistance. This is one of the overarching goals that should be attained in the long term.
This policy is beneficial because it is not exclusionary, and it can assists people in integrating the Australian society without becoming too dependent on the state. Overall, researchers note that by empowering asylum seekers through employment programs, governmental officials can assist people in integrating into the society (Gold 2013, p. 112).
Apart from that, this approach is helpful for reducing the victimization of asylum seekers because they will not be transported to the country in an illegal way. The proposed approach is more sustainable because by legalising asylum seekers, the government can increase their economic contribution to the Australian society. These are some of the main benefits that should be taken into account.
Compatibility of the proposed solution with the international obligations
The proposed solutions focus on the internal policies of Australia. Nevertheless, they also touch upon the international relations of the country. The chosen approach lays stress on the respect for the sovereignty of other nations such as Indonesia.
Overall, this approach is compatible with the security agreement signed by Australia and Indonesia (Rumley 2001). This agreement emphasises the inviolability of national borders. One should keep in mind that Australia tries to work out the policies regarding the support that should be given to asylum seekers.
Nevertheless, at present, there are no agreements signed between Asian countries and Australia. This is one of the problems that have not been addressed because in many cases, asylum seekers have to struggle with the bureaucracy of governmental institutions.
Overall, inclusive policies of the Australian government can minimise the risk of international conflicts with other Asian nations that cannot adequately support refugees. This is one of the main improvements that should not be overlooked by Australian policy-makers.
Refugee policies and rights
It is possible to distinguish several international norms related to the status of asylum seekers. As a rule, a refugee can be described as any individual who has to leave the country of his/her birth due to the fear of being persecuted or killed (Showler 2006). More importantly, this persecution is based on political, ethnic, or religious discrimination (Showler 2006, p. 213).
This interpretation is included in the U.N. Convention on the status of refugees. This international agreement implies that the state must provide assistance and shelter to people who can demonstrate that their lives or freedom is at risk. Additionally, one should speak about people who may flee their own countries due to the military conflict or famine.
It is critical to consider the needs of women and children who can be harmed in the course of armed conflicts, discriminatory policies of the state, or natural disasters. These issues are examined in the Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency (Kinnear 2011, p. 192). One should mention that the existing norms do not explicitly prohibit the use of off-shore detection centers (Geiger 2010).
Nevertheless, these detention centers must not be transformed into prisons in which asylum seekers can be held on the permanent basis. The proposed solutions are compatible with these international norms. In many cases, they provide a stronger support to asylum seekers who wish to move to Australia.
On the whole, this discussion demonstrates that people, who seek asylum due to some reasons, can become the victims of bureaucratic barriers, lack of cooperation between governments, and prejudices. The strategy that has been proposed is based on the premise that these individuals should be given the opportunity to integrate into the new community.
Moreover, they should be not exposed to further discrimination. However, the policy is supposed to ensure the security interests of the country and eliminate human trafficking because this practice can undermine social stability of the state and increase the risk of terrorism in the country.
The chosen strategy is not based only the national interests of the country; it also emphasises the importance of the ethical obligations to people who may face dire threats. These are the main arguments that can be advanced.
Amnesty International, 2013, This is Breaking People: Human rights violations at Australia’s asylum seeker process centre on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. Web.
Baylis, J, Smith, S & Owens, P 2013, The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Burke, A 2010, ‘Questions of Community: Australian Identity and Asian Change’, Australian Journal of Political Science, vol. 45, no. 1. pp. 75-93.
Crock, M 2010, ‘Alien Fears: Politics and Immigration Control’, Dialogue, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 20-30.
Geiger, M 2010, The Politics of International Migration Management, Granite Hill Publishers, New York.
Gold, S 2013, Routledge International Handbook of Migration Studies, Routledge, New York.
Government of Australia, 2012, Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, Government of Australia, Melbourne.
Griffiths, M 2010, ‘Taking Asia Seriously’, Australian Journal of Political Science, vol. 45, no. 1, pp. 13-28.
Kinnear, K 2011, Women in Developing Countries: A Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO, New York.
McAdam, J 2013, Refugees: Why seeking asylum is legal and Australia’s policies are not, UNSW Press, Melbourne.
Rumley, D 2001, The Geopolitics of Australia’s Regional Relations, Springer Science & Business Media, New York.
Showler, P 2006, Refugee Sandwich, Stories of Exile and Asylum, McGill-Queen’s Press, New York.