Monday October 30, 2006 - 8:40am WST
For Immediate Release
"The Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone's newly invented spin (ABC Report - see below) where she claims, when testifying to the Senate Estimates Committee, that using the term "climate refugees" is incorrect, is an smartly put cover-up of Australian inaction on this issue, and the minister is out of step with the world community's use of the term", WA Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"The fact that the UN Refugee convention does not currently mention as yet, people who are displaced as a result of climate change and related climate disasters, or include them in refugee assessment criteria, is of course nice and opportune for the Minister, but international lobbyists and consultants are working to get these criteria included in the UN Refugee Convention, spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"While New Zealand has an annual intake of climate refugees from Pacific Islands already, and while the United Nations Institute for the Environment and Human Security estimates that we could well have 50 million climate refugees by 2010 and perhaps 150 million by 2050, the Minister for Immigration falls in line with the usual strategies of the Howard government - that is, to underplay, to deny, to apply aggressive spin and if possible, a well-crafted misrepresentation of the crisis the rest of the world acknowledges," Mr Smit continued.
While the world burns, everyone takes action, with the exception of the Howard government of course. Once again John Howard makes sure that his Ministers put out his usual spin lines. John Howard's "beds are not burning" at all," Mr Smit continued.
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]
No such thing as climate change refugees: Vanstone
ABC ONLINE NEWS
Monday, October 30, 2006. 10:42am (AEDT)
Immigration Minister Senator Amanda Vanstone says her Department has not made any plans to deal with so-called "climate change" refugees.
Senator Vanstone says she is not aware of requests from Pacific nations to look at the issue of people whose homes are under threat from rising sea levels.
She has told a Senate Estimates Committee the term "refugee" is being wrongly used.
"There's no such thing as a climate [change] refugee," she said.
"... In my view it diminishes the importance the international community should put on refugees to call everyone else who might need to be relocated for humanitarian reasons a refugee."