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New Zealand repeats offer to take Australia's camp refugees

6 Comments
By NICK PERRY

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The problem with the current global refugee system is that it operates on a first come first serve basis. If you make it to the borders of a western country, you get all the spoils. But if you are a woman who fears for her safety, or physically disabled, or too poor to pay people smugglers, or too conscientious to illegally cross borders and evade police, then you get absolutely nothing.

There are billions of people living in misery and oppression around the world and they cannot all come to live in the west. How then should we decide who will be rescued and who is condemned to stay behind? Should we have a lottery? Should we tighten the definition of who is a refugee to make sure we only take the most urgent cases? Should we invade and colonise countries which produce far too many refugees so that we can implement the ideas and institutions that make the west such a desirable place to live?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Always surprises me that there are always so many many men, and almost no women.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@M3M3M3

Good post. I’d go with tightening the definition of who is a refugee. There will no doubt be plenty of heated debate over the definition and some will justifiably feel hard done by, but it seems the most workable solution. Emptying out despotic or theocratic hell holes just can’t be done.

Should we invade and colonise countries which produce far too many refugees so that we can implement the ideas and institutions that make the west such a desirable place to live?

I’m sure you’re with me in saying no to this.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@M3, agree with jimizo, another excellent post on the subject of refugees and migration (you should run the UNHCR, just sayin'!). The sad truth is, the poorest, most vulnerable, most oppressed and persecuted ppl on earth simply can't 'afford' smugglers. They are the forgotten ones.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Jimizo, @goldorak

Thanks, but I doubt the UNHCR would be interested in anything I have to say. I think tightening up the criteria for refugees (or at least clarifying it) would be good, but I suppose even the most restrictive definition won't help if dubious asylum seekers keep coming and we find that it's nearly impossible to deport them. Ultimately, I think we need to do more to address the causes of why so many people are fleeing these countries. I read a great book a few months ago called 'Why Nations Fail' (by Daron Acemoglu) and it was a real eye-opener about why so many third world countries are mired in problems and how they often lack the incentives to make things better. I highly recommend it.

Should we invade and colonise countries which produce far too many refugees so that we can implement the ideas and institutions that make the west such a desirable place to live?

I’m sure you’re with me in saying no to this.

I certainly don't support any sort of invaision (but I suppose if millions of people are genuinely being persecuted in the worst ways imaginable, then that might have to be on the table as a last resort), but I think the West can be far more aggressive when it comes to applying economic pressure on countries that need to clean up their act in terms of basic security, human rights, democratic institutions, and fighting corruption. For example, I think there should be economic boycotts and sanctions which are triggered automatically once we recieve over a certain number of refugees from any single country within a 5 or 10 year period, or when they fail to meet the minimum standards we set for our trading partners, or if they refuse to cooperate in repatriating failed asylum seekers. I think we should have no hesitation about saying to Burma that they must amend their discriminatory citizenship laws or we will boycott their exports, or to Dubai that they must de-criminalise homosexuality or we will deny permission for Emirates to land at our airports. However, current WTO rules make it illegal for us to flex our economic muscle in this way so we would either have to re-write them or quit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Been deported before even though had a valid visa. Mystified why people can just enter and stay.

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