Wednesday April 18, 2007 7:30am WST
For Immediate Release
"The refugee exchange deal with the US Bush Administration as announced by Minister Kevin Andrews yesterday, where up to 200 Australian boat arrivals are taken to the US from Nauru while Australia receives in exchange up to 200 Haitians and Cubans claiming protection to the USA, is yet another sign of how the Howard government desperately seeks to keep avoiding Australia's obligations under the Refugee Convention," WA Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"Instead of proudly assisting asylum seekers arriving by boat on our shores and settling them in Australia, an attitude openly promoted under the previous Liberal PM Malcolm Fraser when he was in government, John Howard has now so far undermined Australia's understanding of the Convention, that even the Labor party has started to loose their understanding of our obligations," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"The US Exchange deal is yet another step through which Howard seeks to erode his responsibilities to unannounced boat arrivals under the Refugee Convention. John Howard despises refugees, and the only way he can feel better about 'his problem' is when he in this process can help out his 'biggest friend from Texas', George Bush."
"Australia does not have a refugee problem, Australia never had a refugee problem, the only one who has a refugee problem is John Howard. His solutions are paranoid, increasingly bizarre and in the process he has put countries offside he has approached under the sanitized term of 'burden sharing', starting at the time that Ruddock was Immigration Minister."
"John Howard's international bartering attempts, where he treats refugees as a livestock commodity and tries to do deals with country after country, has seriously undermined Australia's international standing. Howard has now run out of refugee trading credits, and he needs to go to his best mate George W Bush to save his stubborn unwillingness to save his day and take responsibility for boatpeople."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]