Sir Mo Farah perhaps worded it best when he said: “The Queen made me a knight, Donald Trump made me an alien,” in response to a US ban on refugees from predominantly-Muslim countries.
In a move President Trump claimed was “extreme vetting” to “keep terrorists out”, the new US President signed an executive order to stop all refugee arrivals into the United States for four months – and Syrians indefinitely.
This is devastating news for the adults and children fleeing danger in countries such as Iran, Iraq, Syria and Somalia and has been met with disbelief, chaos and extreme distress. Thousands of protesters marched across the US over the weekend in opposition to the order.
While other world leaders showed their solidarity, Prime Minister Turnbull and senior members of his cabinet have refused to condemn Trump’s actions. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop went as far as to say the Australian Government will support Donald Trump’s “strong immigration and border protection policies.”
To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 28, 2017
“While we’re seeing global condemnation by many world leaders, our Prime Minister has once again failed to live up to values of decency and a fair go for all, instead taking Australia’s well-trodden path of supporting cruel and inhumane policies,” said Dr Graham Thom, Refugee Coordinator at Amnesty International Australia.
“The Australian Government once again needs reminding that this is about vulnerable people who are seeking safety. Hateful xenophobic rhetoric both at home and overseas must be condemned by all politicians, not supported.”
Refugee resettlement deal now uncertain
Amnesty International is calling on the government to define details of the agreement with the USA to resettle refugees from Nauru and Manus Island, following news of the suicide attempt of a refugee teen on Nauru.
— Stephanie Anderson (@stephanieando) January 30, 2017
Mr Turnbull told reporters in Port Lincoln on Saturday: “You will have seen the executive order that has been published today and we are very confident and satisfied that the arrangement, the existing arrangements will continue.”
However, Thom says vague statements aren’t enough.
“The people on Nauru and Manus Island have suffered enough at the hands of Australia’s deliberately cruel policies, the vague state of the arrangement and lack of information being provided to them in the current turmoil is deeply distressing,” said Thom.
“The mental health and wellbeing of the people on Nauru and Manus Island is paramount and Prime Minister Turnbull must immediately provide clarity and commit to finally resolving the unsustainable situation that is offshore detention and immediately get the people off the islands.
Amnesty International is making the following calls to the Australian Government:
- Show global leadership by publicly and strongly speaking out against President Trump’s discriminatory refugee ban
- Define details of the agreement with the USA to resettle refugees from Nauru and Manus Island
- Help the people who Trump has rejected by increasing Australia’s annual humanitarian intake to 30,000 people