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Reopening Nauru won’t stop asylum seekers fleeing for their lives

The government's disappointing decision to try reopening the Nauru detention centres won't deter people who are determined to keep running until they feel safe, the Australian Greens said today.

"This is a very sad moment for people who wanted their government to stand firm and treat asylum seekers humanely and offer them durable options for safety," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

"The government says it's trying to deter people from boarding boats, but it's not giving them any other option.

"In June 2002, Julia Gillard herself said the Pacific solution was ‘an illusion, not a solution'. She was right.

"Both the government and opposition are wrong to believe that treating people harshly is a magical quick fix to a humanitarian issue.

"Instead of buckling to the Coalition's demands and cutting bilateral deals with Nauru or Malaysia the government should negotiate a multilateral response as the Fraser government did.

"The Fraser government showed leadership when dealing with a far greater number of people fleeing conflicts in Indochina in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The government worked with Australia's neighbours to ensure a regional response to a regional problem.

"Ignoring our international obligations to assess people's claims on-shore by expelling them to Nauru or Malaysia or elsewhere for short-term political gain won't prevent people who will continue to try escaping persecution.

"Australia should also increase its humanitarian intake to up to 25,000 and take thousands of people directly from Indonesia and Malaysia to remove the need for asylum seekers to risk their lives on a boat."


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