Fake or Real Refugees – How to separate the chaff from the wheat?
The refugees’ crisis has always been a hot topic in the political contexts of the West. The way that political parties depict this issue has raised to be so central that it can lead to the winning or losing of elections. Although Norway has always welcomed refugees, the current top of the agenda is that the Norwegian authorities consider a new approach to the evaluation of refugee cases.
There are some strategies encouraging the authorities to accommodate the refugees in countries other than Norway. This is the policy that has been previously adopted by the Australian authorities.
The Norwegian government can draw on the Australian experience and inoculate itself against the unpleasant disadvantages of such decisions. this article will address the topic of refugees and settling of them in a third country from three dimensions: economic, security and human rights. But first, let’s have a brief background review of what happened in Australia.
Australia’s handling of refugees
In 2013, the Australian government announced that it will not let any illegal refugee step onto its soil. All refugees who do not possess official, legal documentation of identity, will be accommodated in a third country (Papua New Guinea). Papua New Guinea accepted the migrants in exchange for huge financial support from the Australian government. Although these agreements were hugely criticized by the United Nations and nearly all the humanitarian organizations, the Australian authorities were determined to stop refugees entering their country.
Meanwhile, there has been a lot of heart-breaking reports regarding these places: the awful situation in the camps, sexual harassment, refugees who were abused, physical and mental issues that refugees had to struggle with and rising number of suicides. Adding to this, there were some reports about clashes inside the camps between the migrants themselves, which resulted in the death of some of them.
Moreover, the refugees were attacked by the local people in Manus Island that resulted in some casualties and escalated the existing human tragedy in the camps. Meanwhile, an Iranian-Kurdish refugee – who wrote his autobiography using his smartphone – won a prestigious literary award and drew international attention to the tragic life of the refugees in that camp.
Consequently, the international pressure of humanitarian organizations made the Australian government pay $55,000 to each refugee. The Australian taxpayers faced the economic disadvantage of this decision. In fact, the taxpayers are going to compensate for the government’s mistake due to its hasty policy decision.
Which lessons can be learned?
In spite of all the drama and international criticism the offshore detention policy of the Australian government, it achieved great success in securing its country from human trafficking. This is where the Norwegian government can benefit from that experience. Before the offshore detention law was enforced by the Australian government, a lot of lives were being sacrificed due to the false hopes of the refugees and greedy smugglers; Smugglers conned thousands of desperate refugees with sweet lies and empty promises. After the imposture of the strict Australian policy, the number of refugees on that path dwindled to zero.
Executing such regulations by the Norwegian government will stop human trafficking and terminate the abusive and vicious dynamics between smugglers and refugees – without imposing unnecessary financial and humanitarian costs on the taxpayers. Also, it is important that the government invest in training skilled officers, who investigate the cases and raise their accuracy in separating the chaff from the wheat.
The other major advantage of such measures is the elevation of security. Filtration of the refugees, and separating refugees from terrorists, is one of the other advantages of such regulations. It is worth-while to remember that terrorist groups have abused the term “refugee” to manufacture fake legends; in order to transport their members into Europe. Consequently, checking the refugees in order to clarify their background will help to establish security in the destination countries.
The last and most important issue is the matter of human rights. The refugees who flee their homelands have suffered from nearly all kinds of abuse and they need to be taken care of. Unfortunately, the situation in the camps, and being in limbo, is not going to help them, but rather build a more stressful situation for mentally fragile persons.
Governments that put the human rights high on their list of priorities, will accommodate actions to ease this transition. Definitely, this doesn’t mean that they have to accept all refugee cases, but it means that governments can focus their actions to provide the mental and material aid for the refugees, so they can both cope with the existing situation and prepare themselves for the future.
This future may well be vague and terrifying, yet still a part of the story of their life.
This article is written by Zahra Moravvej for Norway Today.
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