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Australia's Pacific Solution: BAD HISTORY

Other | Thursday 19th November 2015 | Craig

The Pacific Solution is the name given to an Australian migration policy that was crafted to stop migrants from landing on Australian soil. The policy, which saw its most active years between 2001-2007, joined forces with tiny island nations situated around the pacific. It was the job of these small nations, such as Nauru and Papua New Guinea, to provide migrants with a safe heaven whilst Australia decided what to do with them. 

Australia makes payments to each island for the amount of migrants they were accepting in order to build shelters, supply food and provide other essential items. However, the money was far from enough. Although Nauru looks like a paradise from the coastline, it’s had its natural resources basically stolen over the last century and now lacks safe drinking water, power cuts are common and petrol is a luxury item. 

Many horrible stories have been reported over the years dealing with the living conditions of migrants before and when they arrived on islands such as Nauru. One such report claims that the first group of migrants taken to Nauru, back in 2001, were at sea for a whole month before being allowed onto Nauru. 

Why does this matter today?

It’s still happening. The migrant stories are getting worse. In 2012, a fourth attempted suicide was reported in a detention centre on Nauru and another man who cut his own wrists was left without medical treatment. Some migrants have taken to writing letters about their troubles and have been posting them online, a summary is available here.

With regards to this year’s migrant problems in Europe, (which are far greater than Australia’s) Australia’s approach is an example of exactly what not to do. When people around the world are fleeing for their liveswe need to look at them as human beings, not as expendable people of country x, y or z. Open your arms and learn from Australia’s mistakes.   

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