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The monsters we feared, we have become

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By Judith Reen

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With the US and countries in Europe struggling to develop appropriate policy responses to the refugee crisis Judith Reen looks at the approach of another country of immigrants –Australia- in dealing with the growing numbers of the desperate and war-weary.

In Part 2 next week, Judith provides a first hand, harrowing account of the detention center on Nauru set up by the Australian government, where asylum seekers- including children- wait indefinitely in deplorable conditions while their claims are being processed. In tomorrow’s post, as part of our Special Series on Refugees and Immigration, we’ll look more closely at the human rights impacts of Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers in isolating them indefinitely on remote Pacific islands.

-Safi
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Part 1

Australia has led the world in current refugee crisis- in a race to the bottom on conversations around the treatment of asylum seekers. The dialogue in Canberra could not be more toxic or politicised and the resulting xenophobia is the fruit of ten years of toil convincing Aussies that they are under siege. Our sovereign borders, we’re told, are under threat and asylum seekers deserve our derision and contempt.

A hard-line response is necessary.

And that’s what they get.

Continue reading The monsters we feared, we have become

Special Series: What else we need to know about the refugee and immigration crisis

We’re back after a long summer break!

And to kick off the year, this week we’ll be featuring a Special Series on Refugees and Immigration, including a look at some of the issues not covered in the mainstream media, concerning what UNHCR has called a ‘Refugee Emergency’, and the global debate on immigration.

Today’s post looks at what Pope Francis  is likely to say about the refugee crisis and immigration reform during his visit to the United States this week. We look at his existing positions and proposals on these issues and ask whether he is likely to have an impact.

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Later in the week we’ll look closely at ‘external processing’ of refugees, an option  that both the USA and European countries have been considering given the increasing numbers of asylum-seekers. We have an exclusive first-hand account and photos of the situation of child refugees held indefinitely in the Nauru and Manus Island detention centers while their asylum claims are being processed.

In the third post in the series, in collaboration with the Oxford Human Rights Law Hub we explore the human rights ramifications of the external processing of refugees based on the Australian experience.

In our final post of the series we’ll explore how the current refugee crisis has changed the widespread discrimminatory attitudes towards immigrants and ask whether this is likely to last, and how its impacting policy.

Look out for the original artwork, including sketches from our resident artists Max B and Jason Crislip, as well as pictures from DC artist Maryanne Pollock‘s intergenerational project on Refugees and Shelter with the University of Maryland and Barrie School, DC.