Messages that lead with values encourage people to identify with people seeking asylum, rather than see them as ‘other’
In October last year, it was reported that the home secretary, Priti Patel, had been looking into the use of offshore detention facilities to house people who come to Britain seeking asylum. In practice, this would mean that people arriving in Britain in need of safety would be shipped to some kind of detention centre on islands far away from mainland UK. We are both people with close personal ties to Australia and know all too well the grotesque consequences of such a system. Australia’s offshore detention has denied people their basic rights and caused incalculable suffering. Indeed Australia’s system was so cruel, the British government actually condemned it at the United Nations in 2015.
But although the current UK government likes to mimic Australian-style migration policies, this World Refugee Day is marked by a turning point in both countries, with grassroots activists, concerned citizens and refugees themselves joining together to demand a fair and efficient asylum system that processes people quickly and allows them to rebuild their lives in our communities.