UMSU Pledges Support For Refugee Rights

The University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) today reaffirms its support for refugee rights by signing on to the Pledge for a Just Refugee Policy.

The pledge, launched last month by The Canberra Refugee Action Committee, calls on the Federal Government to put an end to the mandatory detention of asylum seekers.

UMSU believes that community, union and activist organisations collaborating to campaign for refugee rights is the most effective method of pressuring the Government to put an end to the aspects of refugee policy that cause harm.

The text of the Pledge is as follows:

Pledge for a Just Refugee Policy – March 2016

Our Vision

Our aim is for an Australia in which asylum seekers and refugees are treated with dignity and humanity, not with punishment and cruelty. It embodies the values of fairness and generosity towards those who are vulnerable and in need of sanctuary.

The adoption of the five points will positively reshape the narrative that underpins public opinion on refugees and asylum seekers. It will recreate an Australia that upholds its commitment to human rights and leads the world in embracing its international obligations. This is an Australia we can all have pride in.

Five Point Plan – positive solutions for people seeking asylum:

Signing the pledge means that you or your organisation stand by the five points contained in the pledge and will work to bring them about.

1. Immediate release and settlement for all those suffering at our hands. This means immediately shutting down offshore centres and without delay bringing all persons seeking asylum and those assessed as refugees to Australia for permanent settlement.

2. End mandatory detention. There should be no detention of asylum seekers. There should be open reception centres, genuinely independently monitored, for health identity and security checks.

3. Raise the refugee intake substantially. Australia must substantially increase the number of people to whom we offer asylum.

4. Safe and just passage of asylum seekers to Australia, with no punishment based on means of arrival. Working with the UNHCR, Australia needs to provide safe alternatives to people seeking asylum with fair and rapid processing of their claims in countries of transit such as Indonesia and Malaysia. Those who are successful in their claims should be flown to Australia for resettlement. There should be no discrimination against people who arrive on our shores by boat seeking asylum. We should not turn back boats containing asylum seekers.

5.  Give permanent settlement visas, citizenship with full rights including work and family reunion.  Those applying for refugee status should have the full legal rights available to others, such as tourists, including legal review rights. Those accepted should have the same permanent rights as other Australians. Whatever the outcome, there should be no refoulement/deportation to danger.