UN queries Australia's asylum seeker policy

10:00, July 19, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

The United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees on Monday asked the Australian government to explain why the number of Afghanistan asylum seekers it has accepted as refugees has plunged since 2009.

In an interview with Fairfax newspapers, UN assistant high commissioner for protection Erika Feller confirmed the UN had asked the Labor government why fewer asylum seekers from Afghanistan were being accepted compared with last year.

Feller's comments follow a recent prediction from Prime Minister Julia Gillard that "many more" Afghan asylum seekers would be returned to Afghanistan if a recent rejection rate of 70 percent held up once appeals against their deportation were heard.

"We believe that the (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) guidelines are accurate and that they should be the basis for decision-making," Feller told Fairfax.

"If we are told now that the guidelines are not the basis for decision-making in Australia or any other country, we want to understand why. It surprises us."

The asylum seeker issue had become a "political football" for both major parties in Australia, Feller said.

"We're talking about people with serious humanitarian problems and these problems shouldn't be bandied around as part of the politicking in the election run-up," she said.

Feller described the Gillard government's proposed East Timor regional refugee processing center as "problematic" and "not a substitute for a fully functioning, fair national assessment process".

Source: Xinhua


  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • The graphics shows the launch procedures of the carrier rocket of Tiangong-1 space lab module, Long March-2FT1 on Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Lu Zhe)
  • Image taken from Beijing Aerospace Control Center shows a Long March-2FT1 carrier rocket loaded with Tiangong-1 unmanned space lab module blasting off from the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu Province, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua)
  • On Sept. 28, tourists travel around the Mingshashan Scenic Area in Dunhuang, Gansu province by camel. With the National Day vacation right around the corner, more and more tourists from home and abroad are going to Dunhuang. Riding on a camel, they travel in the desert to enjoy the cities rare form of natural scenery. (Xinhua/Zhang Weixian)
  • Chinese forest armed forces work together with forest firefighters on Sept. 28. (Xinhua/Chai Liren)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows strong wind blows trees in Sanya, south China's Hainan Province. Typhoon Nesat heads towards south China and is moving at an average wind speed of 20 km per hour toward the west coast of China's Guangdong Province. (Xinhua/Hou Jiansen)
  • A fallen tree is seen on a road in Qionghai, south China's Hainan Province, Sept. 29, 2011. Typhoon Nesat was predicted to land in Hainan later Thursday, bringing heavy rainfalls to the island. (Xinhua/Meng Zhongde)
Hot Forum Discussion