Australian minister bluntly tells asylum seekers to leave
'You will not be resettled in Australia, you will never live in Australia'
Pixture: AFP Photo/William West
- Oliver Laughland for The Guardian
- June 25, 2014
Extraordinary film footage has emerged of Australian immigration minister Scott Morrison directly threatening asylum seekers detained in Australia’s offshore detention centres in Papua New Guinea and Nauru to return to the countries they have fled from or spend a “very, very long time” in detention.
The footage, obtained by Guardian Australia, shows the immigration minister staring down the lens of a camera and telling asylum seekers in a pre-recorded message: “There are new rules in place under this government so I urge you to think carefully about your next decision and to make a decision to get on with the rest of your life and to not remain here and take the option to go back to the country from which you’ve originally come.”
To see the video message, click here
It is further evidence of the concerted attempts by Australia’s right-wing Coalition government to coerce asylum seekers to return and follows news published by Fairfax newspapers that some are being offered an increased repatriation incentive of $10,000.
Australia is a signatory to the Refugee Convention, of which non-refoulement – the rule of not returning asylum seekers to persecution – is a core principle.
Before urging asylum seekers to return, Morrison warns: “If you choose not to go home then you will spend a very, very long time here and so I urge you to think carefully about that decision and make a decision to get on with the rest of your life.”
Guardian Australia understands the video message was recorded in early September, soon after the Coalition government gained power, but was never shown to asylum seekers.
At this point asylum seekers from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and other war-torn countries were detained on Manus and Nauru.
Uncertainty over processing times has been identified as a key factor leading up to the unrest in the Manus centre which left one Iranian asylum seeker, Reza Barati, dead and dozens injured. Morrison has used numerous media appearances to argue that processing of asylum claims is being done in a timely manner.
Guardian Australia has previously revealed how Syrian asylum seekers on Manus were offered repatriation despite articulating fears of certain death if returned, which Human Rights Watch say is in contravention of international law.
The video message is understood to have been recorded before Morrison visited Manus in late September, where he directly addressed some detained asylum seekers, telling them they would never be resettled in Australia under the government’s hardline “PNG solution”, which sees all asylum seekers who arrive by boat processed and resettled offshore.
Source: The Guardian