Asylum seekers: breakthrough or debacle?

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Bruce Duncan

harmony day resizedThe Rudd government is taking an enormous gamble in refusing to accept asylum seekers arriving by boat. If the prospect of spending years languishing on Nauru or Manus Island is a strong enough deterrent, it may end or slow boat arrivals and the loss of life at sea. Some 1,100 people have drowned since 2008 trying to reach Australia.

But the boats keep coming, and the numbers of asylum seekers may overwhelm the limited capacity of offshore centres. The worst case scenario is for increased rioting, self-harm and suicides, centres in flames, systemic human rights abuse, and disintegration of community life in the islands – truly nightmarish prospects.

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Photo Harmony Day by DIAC Images, flickr cc.
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