August 1, 2013

Drowning in neglect

What responsibility does Australia have toward boat refugees?

Three people have drowned and about 40 others were still missing after a fishing boat carrying mostly asylum seekers to Australia sank off Indonesia's Java island. (EPA/STR)

Does Australia have any legal or moral responsibility toward refugees coming to its shores by boat? The country signed an agreement with Papua New Guinea (PNG), which would redirect refugees arriving by boat to its oceanic neighbour. The UN and human rights organisations criticised the deal, citing serious allegations of mistreatment, including rape and torture, at the PNG camps. So, is Australia’s policy justified or is this xenophobia and negligence? Join the conversation at 1930GMT.

In this episode of The Stream, we speak to:

Nick O'Malley @NPOMalley
Correspondent, Sydney Morning Herald

Bernard Keane @BernardKeane
Writer, Crikey

Sandi Logan @SandiHLogan
Communications manager, Australia Dept. of Immigration & Citizenship

Sharon Pickering @BObservatory
Criminology professor, Monash University

Abdul Karim Hekmat
Afghan refugee in Australia

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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