Genuine asylum seekers must be treated with dignity and compassion. The bipartisan support for off-shore processing, in order to discourage dangerous boat journeys to Australia, should be matched with an increase in the humanitarian intake to at least 27,000 places per year. However, priority should be given to timely (preferably within 12 months) resettlement to appropriate countries, working together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Above all, Australia must play a key role for an orderly regional solution to this crisis.
Examples of what needs to be done:
- Depending on the outcome of the assessment, individuals must either be returned to their country of origin where safe and practical to do so, or settled in another country with the co-operation of the UNHCR.
- Government must ensure the safety and security of refugees in offshore processing centres, including timely health and mental health care.
- International agencies such as the UNHCR, Red Cross and media organisations should have access to any detention centres.
- Whistleblowers must be protected for speaking out.