Israel’s attempt to send asylum seekers to Rwanda failed – but relocation from Australia still wins votes

A 2018 study by legal experts from the University of Oxford found that deportees did not have proper identity papers when they arrived in Rwanda. Their only such document, a travel document produced by Israel, was confiscated.

“Throughout the journey, those interviewed faced human trafficking, incarceration, the threat of forced deportation to Eritrea, harsh starvation conditions, violence, slavery in torture camps in Libya and a dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Europe,” the study says.

The policy was unpopular in Israel, with thousands protesting outside the Rwandan embassy in the Israeli town of Herzilia.

In January 2018, Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the program suspended because aspects of the government’s approach were inconsistent with the 1951 Refugee Convention.

The following April, Netanyahu announced he was abandoning the program so that Israel could “rethink” its approach to the refugee crisis, but did not give further details.

Australia’s ‘peaceful solution’ continues to win votes

Australia’s asylum system is considered one of the most rigorous in the world.

Although the country has taken in thousands of refugees over the past decades, many in search of a new life have been sent to offshore detention centers in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, an island remote northeast Australia that was once famous for its phosphate. production.

Most of those falling victim to Australia’s strict asylum policy are boat people from Asia and the Middle East who have made the dangerous journey south from Indonesia in the hope of finding refuge in a land based on strong migratory traditions.

But politics has not always been popular. In 2001 the government introduced the “peaceful solution”, with potential refugees refused entry to Australia and sent to remote island states who were paid millions of dollars to host them.

The policy at the time ensured that no asylum seekers from these offshore camps would be resettled in Australia, sending a message to other boat people that they would not be welcome. This proved successful, stopping the flow of illegal migrants and securing another term for the then Liberal government under Prime Minister John Howard.

The problem has only recently been resolved, with many asylum seekers virtually imprisoned on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea finding new homes elsewhere. Some have entered the United States and more recently New Zealand.

But not all have been reinstalled. Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court ruled last year that the detention center on Manus Island was illegal. Those left behind were either sent to Nauru or invited to become permanent residents of Papua New Guinea.

Although not seen as an acceptable outcome for asylum seekers, it continues to win votes – a proposition that will not be lost on the Liberal-National Party coalition government in Australia’s general election this month. next.

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