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Title: Introduction to UNEAC Asia Papers - Special Issue: Refugees and Refugee Policies in the Asia-Pacific Region
Contributor(s): Kaur, Amarjit  (author); Metcalfe, Ian  (author)
Publication Date: 2007
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Abstract: In 2006 the total number of people designated as Refugees and Asylum Seekers by the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) stood at 12 million. The refugee and asylum seeker population in East Asia and the Pacific was estimated at 1,029,400. Of these, the largest refugee/asylum seeker populations are in Thailand (477,500), China (352,700), Malaysia (152,700) and Australia (14,800). Japan, by contrast had 2,600 refugees/asylum seekers (USCRI, World Refugee Survey, 2006). Australia was one of the first countries in the Asia-Pacific region to ratify the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (the Geneva Convention) - an agreement which commits Australia to providing asylum to those on its territory, or people arriving at its borders, with a well-founded fear of persecution on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. But Australia's leadership in refugee affairs in the region changed when it excised its offshore possessions along its northern coast from its migration zone under a series of laws passed in 2001. Under this legislation, asylum seekers who arrived at these locations or those authorities intercepted at sea are not permitted to apply in Australia for visas (USCRI 2006). Subsequently, in 2003 Australian authorities turned away a boatload of Kurdish asylum seekers from Turkey who had reached Melville Island, forcing them, first to remain at sea in a small boat for four days, and then to return to Indonesia. The Government also adopted the 'Pacific Solution', in which foreign territory is used for the incarceration and processing of detained asylum seekers (Morris-Suzuki 2006:8). And recently the Government has agreed to a 'refugee exchange' program with the United States under which Australia and the United States will 'each resettle up to 200 refugees processed in the other country every year'. This action has been interpreted to stem from the Government's 'vow that unauthorised boat arrivals would not make it to the Australian mainland' (Australian, 18 April 2007).
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: UNEAC Asia Papers: Journal of the UNE Asia Centre, 12-19(Special Issue: Refugees and Refugee Policies in the Asia-Pacific Region), p. 1-2
Publisher: UNEAC: University of New England Asia Centre
Place of Publication: Armidale, Australia
ISSN: 1442-6420
Field of Research (FOR): 160303 Migration
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 940399 International Relations not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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