Facts & Statistics
10 FACTS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT ASYLUM SEEKERS
- Everyone has the right to seek asylum (Article 14 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
- While it is usually illegal to enter a country without a valid visa, it is not to be considered as illegal, if it is for the purpose of seeking asylum. (Article 31 1951 UN Refugee Convention)
- As a UN Refugee Convention signatory, Australia is prohibited from imposing penalties on people entering if they are coming directly* from a territory where their life or freedom is threatened.(Article 31 1951 UN Refugee Convention)*Coming directly, means that people haven’t been offered protection and allowed to settle in another country first. (UN High Commission on Refugees guidelines on detention of Asylum Seekers)
- Asylum seekers cannot stay in Indonesia. Indonesia is not a UN Refugee Convention signatory. Refugees are not offered protection and are not allowed to settle there. Asylum seekers can be gaoled or deported if they are discovered.
- People seeking protection must not be prevented from entering a UN Convention signatory country. They must not be returned to a country where their life or freedom is threatened. (The 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol, UNHCR, page 5)
- 92% of people arriving by boat since 2008 have been assessed to be genuine refugees, fleeing things like war, persecution, genocide and torture. (Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Asylum Trends Australia, 2012-13 – Annual Publication, page 30)
- There’s no such thing as a queue. Anyone who wants to claim asylum must leave their home country first, so they flee to other countries. This is the standard way to seek asylum. “The concept of an orderly queue does not accord with the reality of the asylum process.” (Asylum Seekers and Refugees. What are the facts, Parliament of Australia website)
- International law prohibits the use of arbitrary detention. People cannot lawfully be held without a valid charge. Anyone who has been arrested must have their case brought to trial without delay or else be released (Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights). Yet at 31 October 2013 there were 6,401 people in immigration detention facilities. Some of them had been detained for over two years (Australian Human Rights Commission website).
- The UN and Amnesty International have both presented reports which condemn the conditions in detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru as being unsafe and inhumane. There are currently 116 children held in detention in those conditions on Nauru. (Asylum Seeker Resource Centre)
- Australia receives a fraction of the world’s asylum seekers each year. In 2013 alone, Sweden received 54,300 requests; France received 60,100; USA received 88,400; and Germany received 109,600 requests for asylum. In 2013, 24,300 people requested asylum in Australia. (www.unhcr.org)
Queenscliff RAR is a member of the Combined Refugee Action Group (CRAG).
See the LINKS page for further information about CRAG)