Australia opposes accepting asylum seekers

PM Tony Abbott says ‘nope, nope, nope’ to Australia offering resettlement to desperate migrants stranded in South Asian waters

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott has refused to help any Rohingya refugees on Thursday, claiming it will be an "encouragement" to offer them settlement in "a Western country."

"Nope, nope, nope," he answered to questions about if Australia would accept any asylum seekers, mostly Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar.

“We will do absolutely nothing that gives any encouragement to anyone to think that they can get on a boat, that they can work with people-smugglers to start a new life. If we do the slightest thing to encourage people to get on the boats, this problem will get worse, not better.”

Australian PM said they could "offer assistance to neighbors in other ways" but will not accepts people coming "through the back door."

Australia has a poor reputation in terms of treating asylum seekers, it has implemented controversial policies aimed at ending boats reaching their shores. Anyone who arrives is detained and they are processed either in Nauru or Papua New Guinea.

Last year, Australian authorities have confirmed that they turned back 429 migrants in 15 vessels and forced them to go back to the countries where they had fled , since the government enacted its military-led Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB).

The United Nations refugee agency has warned Australia over its policy towards refugees, claiming its action could be breaking international law.

TRTWorld and agencies