On the lovely island of Nauru is a makeshift detention center, constructed in a state of emergency in order to divert the “hoards” of political asylum seekers, primarily from South East Asia and Sri Lanka, seeking asylum in Australia and New Zealand. Apart from the absurd politicization of the concept of hoards (which usually tends to be an exaggeration in order to push through policy decisions) there is something to be said about the convergences this act of outsourcing asylum claims has with offshoring manufacturing and extraordinary rendition practices (however, we’ll save this for a future post).
The foiled attempts made by a number of asylum seekers, to reach the shores of a country with enough infrastructure to provide some modicum of economic stability and physical security, have left them wasting away in the Nauru detention center. Recently, 15 iranian asylum seekers have been charged by the Nauruan police for causing $24,000 worth of damage to kitchens, tents, and lights at the islands processing center. In my opinion, this certainly seems to be a sensible way of reacting to the bureaucratically organized treatment of asylum seekers as disposable. Perhaps we could call it a demand to be reckoned with, acknowledged. It certainly casts light on the inexcusable paradox that “There is no law to process asylum seekers, but plenty of laws it seems to persecute them” in the words of Mr. Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition in Australia.