In order to deepen my understanding of the issue of refugees and asylum seekers, I identified two scholarly sources to add to my archive of research. Analysing these two pieces allowed me to reach past the often surface level opinions presented in popular media and gain insight into the more substantial and factual perspectives of peer-reviewed authors.
Europe, don’t copy Australia
Keeya-Lee Ayre for the Forced Migration Review
Letter to the Prime Minister
Father Malcolm P. Fyfe for Compass
For my scholarly research, I decided to focus on discussion surrounding Australia’s current Asylum Seekers’ Policy, particularly from those who have chosen to position themselves as activists for its reform. Keeya-Lee Ayre, a writer, researcher and Masters student of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development, highlights the pitfalls of Australia’s current policy of turning away asylum seekers in her piece titled Europe, don’t copy Australia.
Affiliated with the Australian National University, Keeya writes for the Forced Migration Review, bringing with her a background in international development, humanitarianism, multimedia journalism and social enterprise.
Writing regularly about issues of social impact, Ayre uses this piece to question the morality of Australian anti asylum-seeker rhetoric, by dismantling the politically constructed distinction between good and bad refugees that lies behind the current policy of turning back the boats. Highlighting this as a contravention of international law, she deplores the government’s evil portrayal of those seeking protection, and demands that the human rights of these individuals be respected.
Father Malcolm P. Fyfe’s Letter to the Prime Minister echoes a number of Ayre’s sentiments. The Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese Darwin, Fyfe is not a regular contributor to any journals, nor has he written substantially about refugee issues before.
He does, however, write from his own first-hand encounters and conversations with detainees, as a ministering Priest. Furthering Ayre’s questioning of the government’s portrayal of asylum seekers, Fyfe expresses his frustration regarding the demonisation and inhumane treatment of ‘our fellow human beings’ (Fyfe 2016).
Requesting the closure of offshore detention centres, the Vicar General’s point of view is one that is becoming increasingly common among the public. I agree with both Ayre and Fyfe in their appeals for the government’s recognition of Australia’s moral and international obligations as a signatory of the Refugee Convention.
Ayre, K.L. 2016, ‘Europe, don’t copy Australia’, Forced Migration Review, vol. 51, viewed 8 August 2016, <http://www.fmreview.org/destination-europe/ayre.html>.
Fyfe, M. 2016, ‘Letter to the Prime Minister’, Compass, vol. 50.1, viewed 8 August 2016, <http://tinyurl.com/gmso9jt>.
The Huffington Post 2016, Keeya-Lee Ayre, viewed 8 August 2016, <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/keeyalee-ayre>.