Saturday, July 14, 2012

Travel lift-out consulted

Andrew Bolt believes that the political situation in Sri Lanka is sufficiently benign for the Australian government to immediately deport any and all Sri Lankan asylum seekers back to their country of origin.

His basis for this assessment? Why, no lesser authority than the travel lift-out in his newspaper.

The front page today of Escape, the Herald Sun’s travel lift-out, is dominated by a picture of two smiling Sri Lankan children, over the headline “Back to Sri Lanka”.

The report tales [sic] of “endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people”, and notes correctly that “years of war” are “over” and “Sri Lanka’s looking up”.

So why is the Gillard Government still allowing boatloads of “asylum seekers” from Sri Lanka to stay? Are we again being played for suckers?

Well, it may be that his newspaper’s travel lift-out isn’t necessarily a credible source for gauging the political situation in any given country. Here’s the reality behind the rhapsodic spread quoted by Mr Bolt...

Investigations by Human Rights Watch have found that some failed Tamil asylum seekers from the United Kingdom and other countries have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and torture upon their return to Sri Lanka. In addition to eight cases in which deportees faced torture on return reported in February, Human Rights Watch has since documented a further five cases in which Tamil failed asylum seekers were subjected to torture by government security forces on return from various countries, most recently in February 2012.

The above is freely available information from a respected international NGO. I last night emailed Mr Bolt apprising him of this material, requesting his response to the following queries:

  1. Will you inform your readers of the above pertinent information, of which I can only assume you've been completely unaware?
  2. Can you confirm or refute whether the spread in the Herald Sun’s travel liftout, Escape, was or was not paid for by the Sri Lankan government or some agency there of?
  3. If so, would you consider repudiating your blog post (or at least the quotes around the expression: asylum seekers)?

At time of writing, I’ve as yet had no response. Meanwhile, Mr Bolt’s shallow, agenda-pushing idiocy remains on display on his blog for all the world to see.

Doctor Easychair is as he does. Some people, it seems, just have no self-respect.

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Blogger Caz said...

At least he's now using primary sources. :-D

16/7/12 10:01 PM  
Blogger Caz said...

I agree that the country-shopping by boat must stop, but Bolt doesn't do anything to ague the case appropriately. Of course, neither do any of our leaders in Canberra, so why should I expect any better of Bolt or any other opinion writer?

16/7/12 10:02 PM  
Anonymous Jacob said...

Re primary sources, Doc Easy today quoted from a UNHCR situation report on Sri Lanka that I think he may have even googled independently himself.

Naturally he only quoted a couple of fragments that support his view of Sri Lanka as being like Sunny California; while ignoring the detail that presents what UNHCR euphemistically calls a "challenging operational environment."

Still, it's nice to know one's efforts have some effect, however infinitesimal.

I agree -- country-shopping by boat ought to be discouraged. They should rather be encouraged to do it by jet. But looking at the list of Refugee Convention countries in our region, there's slim pickings between a few decent places and many basket-cases.

Gawd, it's a mess out there.

17/7/12 12:05 AM  
Blogger Caz said...

I stumbled across Bolt's primary source: ENDLESS beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people, oodles of elephants, cheap prices, famous tea, flavourful food. Need we go on?

Err, no, they need NOT go on! Forget holidays, I want to go and live there!

It's the "oodles of elephants" and "famous tea" that really does it for me.


Yes, it's a mess, Jacob.

My head wants to explode when I think of Gillards perverse, cruel, trading idea - 800 people, hey? Sort of bartering bodies. What happens then? Hasn't she counted the illegal landings? And we do need to stop with the semantic play: it IS illegal to land in Australia without a visa; it's not illegal to seek refuge.

Why Gillard or Abbott or Marilyn Sheppard (yep, Sherp is still out there, goading boat people to our land - latest letter in The Australian only yesterday) believe it's ok to let this continue, while millions are in camps, for up to 20 years (I guess most of them die there), while millions don't have the money to hop through various countries, don't have the money to arrive by air or sea in their country of choice.

The boat situation DOES displace THOSE people. They have already been identified, already classed as refugees, already waited in shocking conditions for many many years. I'd like to see those people offered a home here, not the people who have the luxury of country-shopping, claiming desperation. It's opportunistic, but it's not desperate.

Our politicians treat the whole thing like some sort of spat between a bunch of five year olds - ALP, Greens, the Libs - damned lot of them are appalling, like the worst kids in the kindergarten sandpit.

They SHOULD be held accountable. Voting them out is not sufficient accountability.

22/7/12 8:20 PM  

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