Council explains asylum seeker status determination processes
The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council yesterday released a background paper providing what it believes is a much needed explanation of the way in which Australia's refugee status determination processes work.
The paper, titled Are We Welcoming the Stranger?, is intended to assist those working with asylum seekers and lobbying for change in Australia's treatment of asylum seekers.
"The procedures by which people seeking asylum in Australia have their status determined are complex and time consuming," said the Council's National Executive Officer, Sandie Cornish. "It is important that we have a clear understanding of these processes in order to be able to assess the opinions presented in the media by politicians and others."
The paper was prepared for the Council by Kerry Murphy, an immigration lawyer who has detailed knowledge and firsthand experience in how Australia's refugee status determination processes function.
Ms Cornish said: "There seems to be a public perception that people in immigration detention are somehow abusing the system, but very few people actually understand the system itself and how harsh it can be on genuine refugees and people with real humanitarian cases."
She added: "I believe that most Australians would be shocked at the treatment of people in immigration detention if they were aware of the things from which so many of these people have fled, and what they suffer while in detention in Australia. Australians are generally generous people who respond to those in need."
Are We Welcoming the Stranger? (PDF version of Background Paper)