history & humanitarianism

Today I watched a clip of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott effectively admitting that Australian refugee policy is counter to human rights. His government was the one for the job, Abbott claimed, because any other would ‘quickly succumb to the cries of the human rights lawyers’ and fail to police the border properly – that is to say, to punish refugees sufficiently to provide a supposed deterrent. As Sean Kelly noted in the Monthly Today, which is what directed me to Abbott’s comments, ‘The importance of the PM’s words yesterday was that he finally made clear the line that divides the asylum seeker debate in Australia. The government has decided that on one side lies the ability to stop the boats. On the other side are fundamental protections for all people, as enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.’

Separately, from a different news source, I…

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