A High Court decision upholding Australia’s offshore detention system for people seeking asylum has prompted calls for civil disobedience. Many people are particularly outraged that there are 80 children including 37 babies among 267 people currently facing deportation. Among them is a five year-old boy allegedly raped on Nauru.
A campaign focusing on the children, based on the theme of #LetThemStay, had commenced before the judgment.
First Dog on the Moon’s cartoon for the Guardian Australia captured the widespread revulsion:
The current policy for ‘border protection’ is aimed at refugee arrivals who come by boat. It has two main arms:
1. Offshore detention on either Nauru or Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island, with the aim of resettlement in regional countries for those successful in their asylum claims. Essentially anywhere but Australia. Most remain in detention centres because of the lack of acceptable countries for relocation.
2. Turning back of refugee boats heading for Australia.
The stated goals include defeating people smuggling and ending deaths at sea.
The BBC canvassed the broader issues in a November 2015 article Australia asylum: Why is it controversial? Public opinion is divided:
Domestically, asylum is a hot political issue. Polls have shown that a significant number of Australians approve of taking a tougher stance
The Australian Human Rights Commission also has an online guide for anyone seeking detailed information.