Australian and NZ Greens ask Australia to take some of Afghan refugees The following is a joint statement by Australian Green Senator Bob Brown and New Zealand Green MP and Immigration spokesperson Keith Locke:
“We are a part of the community of nations and we have an obligation to take people who are seeking asylum.
“The Prime Minister John Howard has shown lack of humanity in dealing with the situation from the start. He treats the boatpeople as if they are criminals, not the ordinary people fleeing from terrific and horrific circumstances in Afghanistan.
“We are shocked that the Australian Prime Minister has effectively blockaded Australia and left Papua New Guinea, Nauru and New Zealand to do what his government refused to do.
“We are pleased that New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has offered to take some of the asylum seekers
“However, we urge John Howard to reconsider and take in the rest of the refugees currently on board the troop ship Manoora. We support those civil libertarians who have argued in court that Australia has a legal duty to let the asylum seekers on to Australia territory to be processed.
“We think the Australian government’s policy of imprisoning refugees is abhorrent. We also ask the New Zealand government not to use the emergency legislation passed in 1999, which allows the detention of boat people.
“Australian and New Zealand are relatively rich countries, which have a moral duty to help those whose live have been shattered by shattered by conflict and repression
We are alarmed at the way the world will see Australia’s introduction of warships and troops into handling asylum-seekers.