Saturday, July 10, 2010

Refugees dilemma

Australia's new Prime Minister has targeted refugee policy and her primary concern.
The world is full of poverty. Does that give every poor person the right to leave their country, destroy their ID documents and claim refugee status?

This article by Australian journalist Greg Sheridan raises a number of very interesting points.

Today, those who sympathize with refugees, those who believe we should assist refugees first and ask questions later base their argument on the UN Refugee convention of 1951. But consider this...

A decade ago, Straw pointed out: "The (1951) convention was designed for an era when international flows of people were on a much smaller scale than they are today. Intercontinental travel was rare, difficult and expensive. Fifty years on, new technology, global communications and cheap international travel have all contributed to a world where rapid long-distance migration is a realistic option."

The 1951 convention was set up by the Western powers essentially in the context of the Cold War. It was certainly set up in the moral context of the overwhelming experience of the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were killed by the Nazis. One of the many ironies of the convention is that it has had no effect in stopping subsequent quasi-genocidal events, such as in Rwanda and Darfur, and even in the Balkans. It has been totally ineffective in protecting masses of people subject to murderous violence.

But in truth it was never intended to do that anyway. It was meant to protect individuals fleeing from communism.

This means very explicitly that a person is not a refugee simply because there is military conflict in their homeland. But most people today genuinely fleeing danger are fleeing military conflict. Enforcing the convention leads to an often meaningless, and generally wholly subjective, process of determining a person's fear of being persecuted.

Here is where the unintended consequences and perverse incentives come in. The best book on these issues ever written is Christopher Caldwell's Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West. With a mountain of irrefutable data, Caldwell establishes beyond doubt that the vast Muslim immigration to Europe in recent years is simply a determined illegal immigration, and has almost nothing to do with genuine refugee questions.
He also shows in minute detail how asylum-seekers learn the questions they will be asked, under the provisions of the convention, and what answers will gain them acceptance. He demonstrates how much easier it is to gain such acceptance if you throw away your documents and then tell a story designed to tick the boxes on the 1951 convention criteria. In recent decades, more asylum-seekers have gone to Europe than legally accepted foreign workers. Asylum-seeking thus became a method of immigration.

He (Christopher Caldwell) also demonstrates, incidentally, that uncontrolled Muslim immigration of this kind has been a catastrophe for Europe.

An Iraqi who was vilified for selling American music CD's in Iraq seeks political asylum in Australia who has been denied refugee status.
OK, so not all refugees have spurious reasons for seeking asylum but sorting out the wheat from the chaff is a very expensive business.

1 comment:

Patrick Carroll said...

This left wing mob MUST be kicked out. We MUST return to sensible conservative governing.