Australian immigration minister Scott Morrison proves once again he knows little to nothing about the developing world or the plight of refugees. The Guardian reported on April 11 that Australian officials are in early talks with Cambodia about transering refugees to the Southeast Asian country.
In a direct quote, Morrison proves himself to be completely disconnected from the world at large, a sad state for an immigration minister.
“Are we going to get behind a process which expands the number of countries that can participate in global resettlement where there’s a dearth of places, or are we going to hold out and say that, well, we’re only interested in freeing people from persecution if they can do so in a first-world economy?” Morrison said.
His comment would not be off if he was speaking about other wealthy nations or even a country like Thailand ( except Thailand is already a main stop for refugees and has recently been discovered to send refugees to human traffickers ) but instead he is talking about Cambodia, one of the poorest nations in the region. The Guardian also addressed this issue.
The Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the Cambodia plan was aimed at “shipping human suffering around our region”.
“Boosting refugee processing in the region and resettling larger numbers of people in Australia will ease the burden and give people a safer option than boarding a boat,” Hanson-Young said. “The current offshore detention regime is untenable and expanding it to include Cambodia, one of the poorest nations in the region, will only make it worse.”
Cambodia is a country still haunted by genocide with corruption and lack of basic necessities like clean water in many rural communities. How is this nation suppose to support asylum-seekers? The answer is that they won’t.
If Australia wants to be seen as a nation of power and position in the region, they need to take responsibility such a global position demands. Pushing off refugees to an already poor, struggling nation is as almost as cruel as pushing their boats back into the water when (if) they finally land in Australia.