Making assumptions on asylum seekers risky

Two days ago, I wrote that it was notable in the case of the 41 asylum seekers returned to Sri Lanka that nothing had been proven about whether they had political reasons for leaving or not.

Still nothing has been proven, but Jason Koutsoukis writing in The Age today about one of the families concerned has cast doubt on Bolt’s sweeping claims that these were all economic migrants. Allegedly, this is a relatively well-off family that because of political views has endured kidnapping and ransom.

(An observation to add from my previous post: Having material wealth does not mean that someone is an economic migrant. In contrast to the conservative commentariat’s seizing upon iPhone 5s and credit cards being confiscated, it has never been the case that the wealthy are never persecuted.)

Bolt’s quick conclusion that none of the 41 sent back were at any risk of being mistreated looks increasingly like jumping the gun. Sure, it may still be the case that none really needed Australian protection. But that doesn’t detract from the broader argument that Australia should’ve assessed their claims seriously rather than offloading them at the first chance.


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