Please, please stop saying that stopping the boats had stopped the deaths

P

The Prime Minister is fond of suggesting that turning boats around, and perhaps even paying people smugglers to turn them around, is “the compassionate thing to do”, for it prevents asylum seekers drowning at sea.  I’m sorry Prime Minister, but no matter how many times you repeat it, it simply is not true.

I’ve blogged on this previously, but here’s a little more data.

It is estimated that between 2000 and 2014 approximately 1437 asylum seekers lost their lives in transit to Australia.[i] This is clearly something that on compassionate and humanitarian grounds Australia should seek to minimise. Yet the current policy settings simply cut off the supply of asylum in Australia without doing anything to address the reason people get on boats in the first place.

Asylum seeker flows are driven by the lack of durable solutions available to those fleeing persecution.  Unable to return home, often not welcome in the country to which they have fled,  and with only .5% of the world’s refugees offered resettlement each year, refugees have nowhere to go. The failure of the international community to provide protection leaves refugees languishing in dangerous and extraordinarily difficult circumstances  For years on end. Two thirds of the world refugee population have been without a solution and living in danger for an average of 20 years. Dangerous journeys in search of asylum are for many the only option. By closing its borders to asylum seekers without addressing the factors driving their journeys Australia simply pushes them to journey somewhere else.

This is borne out in the chart below, which shows that the number of asylum applications being lodged in Australia has declined, yet the number of asylum seekers in the world is increasing. This suggests that asylum seekers continue to make their way to industrialised nations, but with Australia a less attractive option, other destinations, particularly Europe, are being sought out.


asylumapplications

Like the journey from Indonesia to Australia, these other journeys are risky  and many die.

Regional Estimates of Migrant Border-Related Deaths
Region Number of Deaths Years
Sahara 1790 1996-2013
USA-Mexico Border 6029 1998-2013
European External Borders 22400 2000-2014
Australian Waters 1495 2000-2014
Horn of Africa 3104 2006-2014
Bay of Bengal 1500-2000 2012-2014
Caribbean 188 2012-2014
Source: IOM (2014) Fatal Journeys

Australia’s policies have succeeded in stopping the flow of boats to Australia, but they do not address the underlying cause of dangerous asylum journeys. Consequently Australia has not stopped drownings at sea, but simply exported them elsewhere.

[i] Brian,T and Laczko, F., Editors (2014), Fatal Journeys. Tracking Lives Lost Through Migration, IOM

Leave a Reply

23 Comments on "Please, please stop saying that stopping the boats had stopped the deaths"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Wayne L Belcher
Guest

Wayne L Belcher liked this on Facebook.

Barbara Higgins
Guest

Barbara Higgins liked this on Facebook.

Benton Wecker
Guest

Benton Wecker liked this on Facebook.

Meralyn Zimmer
Guest

Meralyn Zimmer liked this on Facebook.

Lyndal Sherwin
Guest

Lyndal Sherwin liked this on Facebook.

James Clarke
Guest

James Clarke liked this on Facebook.

Annette Bartlett Davis
Guest

Annette Bartlett Davis liked this on Facebook.

Monique ten Hoopen
Guest

Monique ten Hoopen liked this on Facebook.

Ben Williams
Guest

Ben Williams liked this on Facebook.

Doug Hynd
Guest

what cnnot be quantified but is also relevant would be the people who have died because as a result of Australian policy they have not left their homeland to seek asylum,

Kim Burwood
Guest

Kim Burwood liked this on Facebook.

Vikki Howorth
Guest

Vikki Howorth liked this on Facebook.

DouginCanberra
Guest

Please, please stop saying that stopping the boats had stopped the deaths http://t.co/GqEcNj8miT

OzRefugeeCounc
Guest

RT @DouginCanberra: Please, please stop saying that stopping the boats had stopped the deaths http://t.co/GqEcNj8miT

katiemilofrank
Guest

RT @DouginCanberra: Please, please stop saying that stopping the boats had stopped the deaths http://t.co/GqEcNj8miT

Thomas W Schmid
Guest

Thomas W Schmid liked this on Facebook.

Alan Marr
Guest

Alan Marr liked this on Facebook.

Hazel Shute
Guest

Hazel Shute liked this on Facebook.

Melinda Cousins
Guest

Melinda Cousins liked this on Facebook.

Bill Brown
Guest

Bill Brown liked this on Facebook.

Steve Cooke
Guest

Steve Cooke liked this on Facebook.

Ralph Reilly
Guest

Ralph Reilly liked this on Facebook.

Joanne Elliott
Guest

Thank you very much for your brilliant post with which I agree absolutely.

wpDiscuz
By Scott

Subscribe

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Meta

Never miss a post

Join our mailing list to receive a weekly email with my latest blog posts

You have Successfully Subscribed!