//
you're reading...
Australian Current Affairs

People smugglers hit hard by Australia’s Papua New Guinea solution


Afghan asylum seeker Noor Agha (black shirt) and friends discuss the Australian policy changes in Cisarua

Afghan asylum seeker Noor Agha (black shirt) and friends discuss the Australian policy changes in Cisarua

Kevin Rudd’s Papua New Guinea solution has bit savagely in west Java, where Afghan asylum seekers have immediately begun telling people smugglers they are cancelling their planned boat trips to Christmas Island.

After the Prime Minister’s announcement, it did not take long for the news to circulate in the mountain-top resort city of Cisarua, where an estimated 5000 asylum seekers were awaiting to make boat trips.

By Saturday morning, groups of Afghan men, who are highly visible on the streets, were saying they would never accept settlement in Papua New Guinea and began instructing intermediaries working for the smugglers that they would not be going.

The Afghans generally do not pay the smugglers in advance. Because the Afghan networks have become such an established business here since 1999, the smugglers trade on their good name and their guarantees to deliver people to Australia.

Afghans – who travel cheaper by boat than people of other nationalities, usually paying around $3000 – told News Corp Australia that they would now register with the UNHCR and wait for legal resettlement because the idea of PNG seemed too shocking to them.

One man, Noor Agha, 35, an ethnic Hazara, told how he had arrived on Ashmore Reef in 2001 and had been shipped on HMAS Tobruk to Nauru. He waited there a year and a half but finally accepted a voluntary repatriation to Afghanistan after his son was born in terrible conditions in the camp.

He said his return to Afghanistan had been disastrous, with his life in constant danger.

Noor arrived back in Indonesia last month, ready to try again – and hoping he could bring his family after him.

He was awaiting word of a time to be put on a boat when Mr Rudd’s announcement changed his world.

“The decision of Kevin Rudd will stop the boats,” said Noor, who with a group of friends, also recent arrivals, said they would no longer be going.

“I am hopeful after this decision, Kevin Rudd will take refugees (registered with) UNHCR much quicker.”

Asylum seekers rely on smugglers of their own nationality. But Iranians, who have recently outstripped Afghans as the biggest group trying to get to Australia, do not have the same smuggler or information networks as the Afghans.

We spoke to a group of Iranians who had each paid $8000 to get to Australia. These men were hiding out in a villa awaiting passage, and in the company of lower-rung Iranian in the smuggler network who became irate that we were talking to his clients.

The men were confused about the news from Australia and asked us to explain what was going on.

Told of Mr Rudd’s plan – that anyone arrive by boat after Friday would not have any chance of settling in Australia, but could go to PNG if they were found to be refugees – they said they would be going to Australia anyway.

“We can’t get our money back,” said one of the Iranians. “We go anyway. We paid the money.”

The men, who had all arrived a month ago from Tehran, comforted themselves by saying that the Rudd plan was a political ruse.

Amid the disappointment, there is some hope for the people here who have registered with the UNHCR and are awaiting resettlement to a country, preferably Australia.

They are slowly coming to terms with the fact that the reason they have languished so long in this area without being resettled is because those who have gone ahead in the boats have taken their place in Australia’s resettlement program.

But some have lost hope altogether and are stuck, not knowing what to do. One family, who identified as ethnic Tajic from Afghanistan, a group rarely seen in Indonesia, have lost all appeals to be recognised by the UNHCR as refugees.

The father, Abdul Basir BaShardost, 47, paid money to the smugglers in 2011 to take his wife and five children to Australia but were ripped off.

Mr BaShardost worked for government intelligence in pre-Taliban times and says he is despised by both Taliban hardliners and the current regime. “We have no answers,” he said.

Like all families, they are unable to send their children to local schools.

For many who have registered with the UNHCR, the boats were always a last resort – but it was at least an option. Now that has changed. No one we spoke to said they would ever consider taking up a new life in PNG.

For most, it is Australia or nothing. Mr Rudd’s PNG solution appears to be having the desired outcome in the heart of the people-smuggling world.

Source: News.com.au – Rudd’s decision will stop the boats, Afghan asylum seekers declare
 

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 17,663 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

Coronation Of Emperor Xi and the world thereafter

Coronation Of Emperor Xi and the world thereafter

A few days ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s arrest news took social media by storm. The atmosphere was jubilant as if the whole world looked forward to Xi’s exit. The rumor turned out to be fake news; Xi’s third term looks secured. Xi Jinping is all set to snatch the historic third term in the […]

China is coming for your land

China is coming for your land

Drought has plunged water levels to the lowest in China in decades. The temperatures have also soared to record levels, and hydropower plants failed to meet the sharp rise in power demand. However, this is just a glimpse of the worst things to come. Floods, droughts, and record-breaking temperatures would have a catastrophic effect on […]

Chinese drones now almost a daily appearance over Taiwan

Chinese drones now almost a daily appearance over Taiwan

The Chinese military has intensified its drone incursions into the skies above Taiwan with almost daily flights of combat and reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) TB-001 drone was spotted crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait, the de facto boundary between the island and China’s […]

India says disengagement along disputed area with China to be completed by September 12

India says disengagement along disputed area with China to be completed by September 12

India’s foreign ministry said on Friday that disengagement along a disputed border area with China will be completed by Sept. 12. Both countries began disengaging from the Gogra-Hot Springs border area in the western Himalayas on Thursday, over two years after clashes at the frontier strained diplomatic ties. The disengagement comes ahead of a meeting […]

How to make EVs without China’s supply chain

How to make EVs without China’s supply chain

Two electrifying moves in recent weeks have the potential to ignite electric vehicle demand in the United States. First, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, expanding federal tax rebates for EV purchases. Then California approved rules to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035. The Inflation Reduction Act extends the Obama-era EV tax […]

Anti-India forces: Techniques and agendas exposed

Anti-India forces: Techniques and agendas exposed

In the post-cold war era, India has moved from a policy of non-alignment to a policy of multi-alignment. This means that India has friendly relations with almost all-powerful and developing nations. Today India is carving out a unique path for itself. Such an approach provides prominence and exposes India to the harmful behind-curtain activities by […]

Taiwan’s Kinmen serves as a reminder of China’s aggression

Taiwan’s Kinmen serves as a reminder of China’s aggression

Taiwan’s frontline island of Kinmen was once again in the headlines when President Tsai Ing-wen paid tribute this week to the soldiers and civilians who “operated in solidarity and safeguarded Taiwan” 64 years ago. On Aug. 23, 1958 mainland Chinese troops attacked Kinmen in a key battle that marked the beginning of the Second Taiwan […]

Terrorism: The glue that holds China and Pakistan together 

Terrorism: The glue that holds China and Pakistan together 

The father of communism, Karl Marx, once famously said — “We have no compassion, and we ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror”. This statement summarises how terrorism and communism go hand in hand. Maoist China alone destroyed between 44.5 to 72 million lives. During […]

‘New normal’ across the Taiwan Strait as China threat looms ever closer

‘New normal’ across the Taiwan Strait as China threat looms ever closer

China is attempting to establish a “new normal” across the Taiwan Strait, eroding self-ruled Taiwan’s territorial control and increasing the threat of a strike with each military sortie, officials and analysts say. Beijing has ramped up military maneuvers in the 110-mile (180-kilometer) wide stretch of water that separates Taiwan from mainland China — and the […]

When Beijing was burning, Xi was playing personal games 

When Beijing was burning, Xi was playing personal games 

A great fire destroyed Rome for six days in the summer of AD 64. Famous Roman historian of that time, Tacitus, recorded that 70 percent of the city was destroyed and half of the city’s residents were displaced. Roman ruler Nero was accused of being indifferent, ineffective, and careless. The end result of this neglect […]

%d bloggers like this: