Tuesday March 9, 2010 7:00am WST
For Immediate Release
"Today's arrival of the Indonesian President in Australia is a rare chance for Kevin Rudd to absolve Labor from its populist debacles dating back to the 2001 Tampa Election, when Kim Beazley felt he had no choice but follow John Howard's dark saga in passing the two Tampa Bills," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"Kevin Rudd has today a unique chance to put people smugglers in Indonesia and Malaysia out of business. Instead of pouring more millions into the unfathomably deep hole of the 'War Against People Smuggling', Rudd should establish a resettlement strategy in Indonesia, increase funding to UNHCR in Jakarta and give a commitment to a rapid processing and resettlement strategy in a number of countries, so the 2,000 to 5,000 asylum seekers stuck in our northern neighbour's territory are not left in limbo for up to ten years," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"It is because of Australia's inaction in Indonesia, that the asylum seekers there end up paying smugglers to rescue them out of the black hole of their limbo. This is totally understandable in the context where Australia takes just 35 people per year from UNHCR - as it did last year."
"In Amsterdam in the 1970's, the city police ended the illegal marihuana trade overnight - not by investing more police to catch users and small traders, but by establishing a number of legal outlets where smoking could take place."
"The model used in Amsterdam can be used to undercut the people smuggling trade and kill it off - by applying decency, responding as we should as a country that has acceded to the UN Refugee Convention, and resettling people within a rapid time frame. They are arriving in Indonesia and Malaysia because of the Refugee Convention, and we owe it to them to respond."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]