Liberals Fudge Unhcr Figures

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15th February 2010, 08:23pm - Views: 384
Senator Chris Evans
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

Liberals fudge UNHCR figures

The Liberal Party's claim that UNHCR figures show Australia alone experienced a rise in asylum claims in 2009 is simply disingenuous.

The data that Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison is using is from an incomplete UNHCR report.

The UNHCR has not yet published its final figures for asylum applications in 2009.

Based on the data that is available, trends for many of the countries that receive large numbers of asylum applications indicate that the worldwide number of asylum applications for 2009 may not be much different from 2008.

On the latest UNHCR data available, Australia was not alone in seeing an increase in asylum applications in 2009.

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway and Poland also
experienced significant increases in 2009. Asylum claims in France alone rose by 6800 to almost 42 000.

Australia, like the rest of the world, experienced an increase in the number of asylum seekers from war-torn Afghanistan. Worldwide asylum applications from Afghans were up 34 percent last year (24,657 compared with 18, 452 in 2008).

Mr Morrison also ignores the fact that the number of asylum claims in Australia last year was less than half than in 2000 and 2001 under the Howard Government, when more than 12 000 claims were lodged in each of those years.

Mr Morrison and Tony Abbott are in denial about the conflicts in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka which have seen tens-of-thousands of people flee for safety.

The Opposition offers no solution other than a return to the failed and inhumane policies of the past and to appoint a committee with Philip Ruddock on board.

When Mr Ruddock was Immigration Minister, hundreds of children were locked behind barbed wire and desperate and vulnerable people who had fled war and persecution were left to languish in detention centres for years on end with no resolution in sight.

Media Contact:
Simon Dowding
(02) 6277 7860
or 0411 138 541

SOURCE: Minister for Immigration
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