World View: Australia to Send 'Boat People' to Papua New Guinea

This morning's key headlines from

  • Australia to send 'boat people' to Papua New Guinea
  • EU's threat to Syria's Assad was an empty bluff

Australia to send 'boat people' to Papua New Guinea

Australian ad warning boat people to stay away (AFP)
Australian ad warning boat people to stay away (AFP)

Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced that any asylum seeker who arrives by boat without a visa will have "no chance" of being resettled there as a refugee. Instead, they will be sent directly to neighboring Papua New Guinea and its Manus Island detention center. According to Rudd:

"From now on, any asylum-seeker who arrives in Australia by boat will have no chance of being settled in Australia as refugees. ... If they are found to be genuine refugees they will be resettled in Papua New Guinea — an emerging economy with a strong future, a robust democracy which is also a signatory to the United Nations refugees convention."

The number of boat people that arrived from Sri Lanka, Indonesia and other southeast Asian nations has totaled 15,610 so far in 2013, almost approaching the 17,202 that arrived in the entire year in 2012.

Kevin Rudd has only just become prime minister, having ousted Julia Gillard, the country's first female prime minister, who offended a lot of people by calling anyone who disagreed with her policies a "misogynist," in the same way that President Barack Obama's supporters call anyone who disagrees with his policies a "racist." However, Rudd ousted Gillard within their own party, Australia's Labor Party, largely on the issue of dealing with the flood of boat migrants, and he's wasted no time announcing this new, highly controversial refugee policy.

Rudd said that Australia would pay the government of Papua New Guinea an unspecified sum of money under a so-called "Regional Settlement Arrangement," and that the deal would be reviewed after 12 months.

On Saturday, Australian authorities intercepted the first boat smuggling refugees since the law was passed. It was sailing near the Christmas Islands and was crammed full with 81 people, who will be taken to the sparsely populated jungle island of Manus, which is a part of Papua New Guinea. Global Post and CNN and International Business Times

EU's threat to Syria's Assad was an empty bluff

At the end of May, the EU removed the law preventing individual countries from sending weapons to the opposition rebels to the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad. (See "28-May-13 World View -- EU lifts weapons embargo to Syria's opposition militias") It was thought that Britain and France would take advantage of the changes, and supply weapons to rebels.

Well, it now turns out that the whole thing was a bluff. According to one analyst:

"Britain and France seemed, naively, to believe that by simply threatening to arm the rebels, that would alter Assad's behavior."

Unfortunately, almost nothing comes out of either Washington or Brussels these days, except empty bluffs. The National (UAE)

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