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Human Rights

Australia’s refugee policy and offshore detention centres are a disgrace

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 April, 2018, 4:55pm
UPDATED : Monday, 30 April, 2018, 4:55pm

Australia’s silence in recent regional humanitarian crises and our inhumane incarceration of desperate souls that survive perilous sea journeys to reach our cruel shores is shameful (“The human cost of Australia’s offshore detention centres, where freedom does not equal opportunity”, Post Magazine, April 29). 

Australia’s lost moral compass has cast adrift the children born in offshore detention centres to demoralised parents who long ago sought refuge and safety here, only to encounter this nation’s heart of stone. 

If only the Australian public were made aware of altruism and charity as being the wellspring of lasting happiness, we might feel better for looking beyond ourselves and attending to the plight of others. 

Noted Chinese artist in exile Ai Weiwei, in a 2016 BBC interview, distilled the inhumanity by stressing that “the tragedy is not only that people [refugees] have lost their lives,” but that “people in rich nations have lost their humanity”.

And in Sydney in March, he labelled Australia’s offshore detention policies as “shameful”, as he called on Australians not to forget the plight of the refugees just because they have an idyllic lifestyle.

Joseph Ting, adjunct associate professor, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane