RCV critical of asylum seekers policy

July 22, 2013 by  
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The Rabbinical Council of Victoria has expressed its dismay at the federal government’s new policy on boat people redirecting those who may well be seeking asylum to Papua New Guinea.

Rabbi Sholom Mendle Kluwgant, Leon Schnall and Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant

Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant

In a prepared statement, the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) views with grave concern the latest government policy, that denies asylum-seekers entering Australia illegally, by boat, any possibility of settling in Australia.

Whilst mindful of the need for secure borders, the safety of the asylum-seekers, and of the cost of integrating asylum-seekers into the community, Jewish teaching, and our own historical experience, informs us that these considerations cannot and must not override our ethical and moral obligation to help “the stranger”, and to offer refuge to those fleeing persecution.

Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant, RCV President, said “We hope that this policy will only be a temporary measure, and that the time will come when Australia will once again continue its proud tradition of welcoming those in genuine need into our country”.


7 Responses to “RCV critical of asylum seekers policy”
  1. Ashley says:

    These asylum seeker boats originate from Indonesia, what “persecution” exactly are they fleeing from there? What “genuine need” do they have to come to Australia of all places, other than the economic benefits?

    Sorry, but the RCV has lost me on this one.

  2. Ittay says:

    Hi jay,
    The PNG solution does not remove the risk of people drowning, as it only comes in to effect AFTER someone has boarded a boat destined for Australia. In order to actually prevent people dying at sea, a better solution is to increase our intake for people fleeing persecution. With just a small increase of 7000 per year, Australia could grant asylum to all the people who the UNCHR have assessed as genuine refugees in Indonesia at the moment. Like the RCV, I too hope that this policy will only be a temporary measure, and that Australia will again revert to being a generous country to those most in need, like we were under the Fraser government towards the Vietnamese, who have gone on to make a meaningful contribution to our multicultural society.

  3. jay says:

    Nice to know that these rabbis encouraging innocent women and children to pay people smugglers to get the chance to drown…

  4. Larry says:

    Compare this to the spineless statement from the ECAJ which washes its hands of its (considerable) influence in Canberra on issues to do with racism, immigration, and related matters. To be totally cynical, are people in the ECAJ concerned that they may be subject to some sort of political revenge (such as not getting an Order of Australia), if they don’t speak out on such a critical issue that speaks to the lack of political morality in this country?

    Statement by ECAJ President Dr Danny Lamm on new regional settlement arrangements between Australia and Papua New Guinea – 22 July 2013

    “There are as yet too many unknowns about the legality, workability and effect of the new regional settlement arrangements between Australia and Papua New Guinea to enable any informed judgements to be made. We will closely follow developments and will make a further statement if and when we consider it appropriate to do so.

  5. Ittay says:

    W is correct. Seeking asylum is a human right according to the 1951 Refugee Convention, to which Australia was one of the first signatories. Therefore, the correct term, as used in the RRA is ‘unauthorised maritime arrival’ (UMA).

    That point aside, this in an important statement, in keeping with a long Jewish tradition of empathy for the marginalised and stranger within our midst.
    Well done RCV.

  6. Dana says:

    Its a shame they don’t publish the same opinion on Israel’s disgraceful asylum seeker policies…or lack of policies.

  7. w says:

    Whilst it is noted that the RCV is making announcements relating to a critical human rights issue, it should be noted that, despite the inaccuracy of the statement, seeking asylum in Australia is not illegal, nor is entering Australia without a visa for the purposes of seeking asylum illegal.

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