The Myth of the Queue


People who are resettled through the humanitarian program have access to refugee camps where they await resettlement. People who come here by boat are coming from countries where there are no refugee camps, therefore they have no access to resettlement options. The only option for them is to flee.��By definition, to be considered a refugee you must be outside your country of origin.��

There are no ‘immigration offices’ in places like Sri Lanka, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan therefore peoples only choice is to physically flee the country. These people would not be ‘getting on boats’ if we actually offered them resettlement options – which we don’t. Therefore we leave people desperately needing to leave immediately with no other choice.

Very few countries in our region are signatories to the Refugee Convention. Asylum seekers who arrive in countries that have not signed the convention, such as Malaysia or Indonesia, are subject to anything from neglect to abuse, torture and indefinite imprisonment.����Only 0.5% of the world���s 15.37 million refugees will have access to a queue in 2011. With only around 80 000 places allocated each year for resettlement, if all of the world’s refugees were to join a queue, the wait would be 192 years.¹


¹Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (


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