#967 for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 28 Sep 2014.
As the Abbott government moves to reintroduce Temporary Protection visas, remove references to the Refugee Convention from the Migration Act, and introduce a raft of related measures designed to deter asylum seekers and punish those who come to Australia, the world faces an unprecedented crisis in forced displacement of persons as a result of persecution, conflict, generalised violence and human rights violations.
According to UNHCR Global Trends 2013, by the end of last year:
- 51.2 million people were living in forcibly displaced situations, 17 million of these as refugees.
- Developing countries hosted 86 per cent of the world’s refugees.
- Some 25,300 asylum applications were lodged on behalf of unaccompanied children in 2013.
- Children under 18 years constituted half the refugee population.
These figures represent the highest level of displaced persons on record since comprehensive statistics have been collected.
Our world is a cruel and unjust place. We must do more, not less, as a nation to seek peace and justice for those at risk.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.