Thursday, September 13, 2007

Day 63: Byron Bay

From Brisbane to Byron Bay. We had intended to take some surf shots in Byron – the further south we get, the colder the weather is and so we want to get some good images before the ice-bergs start appearing. Alas, there was no surf. So we hung around Byron for a few hours. Not such a bad outcome.

Also heard that 72 of the Sri Lankans who are on Nauru having been intercepted off Christmas Island have been found to be refugees. That is, they have been found to have a well-founded fear of persecution in Sri Lanka. This is a good outcome for those people. But a significant problem remains: Because they have been processed in the offshore system – i.e. the system set up by excision, the Sri Lankans have no automatic right of resettlement in Australia or any other country. The Australian government has said that it will not allow the group to be resettled in Australia. So the 72 must wait while Australia negotiates with other countries to accept them. There is no time limit for these negotiations. So these people, people whose lives have been disrupted and dislocated due to their being the targets of human rights violations, must live in limbo for the foreseeable future, unable to rebuild their lives that have been shattered by the refugee experience.

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