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Crackdown on asylum seekers will increase disadvantage

Published: 29 August 2017

The legal and social justice sector’s rapid objections to the withdrawal of support to asylum seekers and refugees shows that many Australians still value fairness and compassion, says the President of the Australian Association of Social Workers, Professor Karen Healy AM.

“The proposal to deny refugees basic human rights also highlights the extent to which the government is out of step with the community,” said Professor Healy.

“Like doctors and other human rights advocacy groups, social workers know the proposal will be destructive to refugees’ wellbeing.”

Professor Healy says refugees’ inherent human rights to health, housing, and education cannot be separated from political and civil rights.

“Many AASW members work closely with refugees and witness firsthand the trauma they experience as the result of punitive government policies,” she said.

“Stripping these vulnerable people of income support, health services and housing, increases disadvantage and would drive them back to unsafe conditions. Such an approach is also in contravention of Australia’s human rights obligations.”

The government’s inhumane treatment of refugees and asylum seekers has been the subject of frequent criticism by the AASW in recent years. Read our position papers.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers