Academics for Refugees call for National Refugee Summit and Policy Paper Announced

The Academics for Refugees Policy Paper calls for A Just and Humane Approach for Refugees.  It makes a numbers of recommendations that are supported by sound scholarly research. It also call for a National Policy Summit.

The Policy Paper can be downloaded here.

Over 2,000 academics from universities across Australia have now signed an Open Letter to Prime Minister Turnbull and Members of Parliament. You can view the complete list of signatories here. Academics at universities in Australia can add their name to the Open Letter here

The Policy Paper recommends that Australia end its harmful policies of offshore processing, boat turnbacks and the mandatory detention of people seeking asylum. The Policy Paper sets out practical and sound measures to be considered by the Australian government in order to adopt a just and humane approach towards people seeking asylum in Australia. Such an approach recognises that it is lawful to seek asylum and that people should not be penalised for how the arrive in Australia.

We recommend that the Australian government should adopt the following four measures:

  • close immigration detention centres and end mandatory detention;
  • initiate comprehensive law reform to ensure that Australia upholds its international obligations;
  • promote a decent livelihood and thriving communities for people seeking asylum or people who have been granted Australia’s protection; and
  • foster positive and empathetic narratives about people seeking asylum.

New regional and global approaches are required. The Policy Paper recommends that Australia should:

  • work with states in the Asia Pacific region to create a regional framework based on equity, capacity and responsibility; and
  • contribute towards making the international system more sustainable, equitable and humane.

Finally, the Policy Paper calls on the Australian government to convene a National Policy Summit in 2017. The Summit should bring together asylum seekers, refugees and former refugees; migrant and refugee advocates; policy experts; community representatives; and politicians from all parties. The Summit should result in constructive policy options and solutions for people seeking asylum that:

  • recognise the need for people to seek a life of safety;
  • recognise and facilitate the positive contributions of refugees to Australia’s communities;
  • respect Australia’s international obligations;
  • reflect a respectful relationship between Australia and its regional neighbours; and
  • recognise Australia’s potential for leadership on this issue.

The Policy Paper was written by several scholars from a variety of disciplines across Australian universities. It was published in August 2016.

We are grateful to the NTEU (Victorian branch) for their work in formatting the Policy Paper.