Take refugees in Papua New Guinea and Nauru - Australian Advocacy for Good Governance in Sri Lanka urges Biden

Sri Lankan asylum seekers

The Australian Advocacy for Good Governance in Sri Lanka and the Voice for Democracy in Sri Lanka Collective President-elect Joe Biden, and Senator Kamala Harris as Vice President-elect, to revive the 2016 deal with Australia and give the refugees languishing in offshore detention centres an opportunity to start their life anew.

Most of them have been languishing in offshore detention centres for far too long under extremely inhumane conditions.

In a deal made in 2016 between President Barak Obama and then Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the USA publicly agreed to take up to 1,500 refugees, predominantly from Iran, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. However, President Trump who replaced his great predecessor months after branded this deal ‘dumb’ and was very selective in allowing only a few to immigrate as an act of calculated grandstanding. Many refugees – including those certified by the IOM as genuine refugees – are still held in the Australian offshore island-camps in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

The UN Refugee Convention recognises that refugees often need to enter a country without permission. Australia is in violation of the Convention as under Article 31, countries who have signed the Convention cannot punish refugees for entering or living without permission, or unnecessarily restrict their freedom of movement.

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