Europeans trying to deal with the mass and deadly migration from Libya and other countries were seeking information about Australia’s controversial success in stopping asylum seeker boats from reaching its shores, the Australian prime minister said Monday.
People in support of refugees and human rights groups have criticized Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s conservative government for the tactics they have used under its Operation Sovereign Borders policy to stop the boats carrying hundreds of people heading from Indonesian ports with asylum seekers from Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
The Prime Minister did not reveal which European country or countries asked for their migration advice. “My understanding is that there has been some contact at official level between Australian people and Europeans,” Abbott told reporters.
“Obviously Operation Sovereign Borders is an object lesson in how to do the right thing by everyone. Do the right thing by our people and ultimately do the right thing by poor, misguided people who for all sorts of reasons want a better life but who very often end up dead if they succumb to the lure of the people smugglers,” he said.
Australia does everything they can by refusing to allow those attempting to arrive by boat to ever settle in the nation.
Australia pays poor Pacific nations Nauru and Papua New Guinea to keep asylum seekers in detention camps. Australia has also agreed to pay Papua New Guinea and Cambodia to resettle genuine refugees under bilateral deals that critics argue are putting aside Australia’s responsibilities under the Refugee Convention.
Since Abbott’s group was elected two years ago, Australian Navy and Customs boats have routinely turned asylum seeker boats back to the countries they came from, mostly Indonesia. They complain that sending foreigner to its shores is disrespectful to Indonesian sovereignty, but the number of boats intercepted has decreased by a lot and that shows their success, which some European countries are willing to duplicate.
During the previous Labor Party’s six-year reign, an estimate of 50,000 people headed for Australia in more than 800 boats. A lot of them were stopped.
In Italy, the Coast Guard and Navy as well as other boats have joined forces to rescue migrants coming from different countries in at least 16 boats Sunday, saving hundreds of them and recovering 10 bodies off Libya’s coast. They say smugglers took advantage of calm seas to send packed vessels across the Mediterranean. The numbers of boats coming over has increased recently. Is Italy the one asking for advice?
The Coast Guard said the bodies were found in three separate rescue operations near Libya’s coast. In one of the many rescue operations this weekend, a cargo ship was found with three migrants dead and 105 survivors on a dinghy in the waters north of Tripoli, Libya.
Sunday’s dramatic rescues came a day after almost 4,000 migrants were saved from smugglers’ boats. Most of those migrants were still being taken to southern Italian ports even as the fresh rescues were taking place.
The increasing numbers has made some politicians call for drastic action to prevent these boats from leaving and trying to come over. Hundreds of migrants have lost their lives trying to cross the last few days, will it stop anytime soon?