The Maybes of the Asylum Resettlement Arrangement

I was not convinced, actually, I felt insulted by the basic explanation given in a full paged Q&A taken by the Honorable Minister Rimbink Pato, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration in the Post Courier (Aug 12 2013, pg 44) regarding the Regional Resettlement Arrangement signed between the government of Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The Q&A can be read here.

There is no doubt about it, PNG will always be grateful for Australia’s’ role in the birth of this nation and her continued support. We, as Melanesians know the hand that feeds us and in time, I am sure, we will reciprocate, but not in this manner.

The PNG PM should not lie and say that we are helping a friend in need, because clearly this is a business deal where money is going to be exchanged for a favor. The donor is the master of the receiver thus, our PM is compelled to rewrite the PNG laws to suit the deal. Seems Australia also paid for the right to call a sovereign nation, “hellhole” in front of the global audience, since we have not heard any official rebuttal from the Haus Tambaran about that label.

If PNG was a responsible neighbor, then the West Papuan plight would have been addressed long time ago. It is surprising that an extradition deal was signed with Indonesia and in just a few weeks from that, PNG announced that she will waive the citizenship fees and settle the Papuan Refugees in PNG. Which will come first, the extradition or the resettlement?

Nor were we being good Christians. The ancestors of this land were animists; we only adopted Christianity from our colonizers. Fair enough. Christianity says, extend your hand to the needy. But how generously should we give when 80% of our own flesh and blood live well below the poverty line? Does the world need charity from PNG?

If Australia is serious about preventing more people from losing lives at sea, then why not process them in Indonesia and stop them from getting on the boat in the first place. Better still use that money to bring peace to wherever the people are running away from.

Maybe boat mishaps are not the concern, maybe the asylum seekers have become an inconvenience to the Australian way of life. But, is it right to outsource your inconvenience to your brother who has minimal capacity to deal with the issue? What is stopping Australia from approaching the UN to rescind her decision to take in refugees?

Maybe, Australia wants to keep PNG in a state of chaos to justify Australian Federal Police in PNG. Whatever happens, those settled in PNG , with the help of Australia, will become a class of people well above the class of the standard PNGean. This disparity will ignite citizens into acts of rebellion and terrorism.

Maybe it is an election ploy; or maybe this is one of those “soft approaches” for Australia to establish her presence in the Pacific. If the latter, then a honest dialogue would not cause such strong feelings of animosity.

Perhaps this is all it is – a deterrent – to discourage Muslim Asylum Seekers to risk their life only to end up in a country where the pig is a legal tender. Only time will tell if this will work – the prognosis is not rosy but we shall wait and see.

%d bloggers like this: