Another refugee boat tragedy off the coast of Australia is one too many. People who have fled countries of oppression and violence have taken the extreme risk and chance of travelling across dangerous seas to escape another danger from their homeland, which to them is far greater than attempting to find refuge in Australia. While politicians continue to aimlessly debate over the problem with no real solution in sight, asylum seekers are dying off our shores. Like all displaced people, the stories of those that have survived will eventually come out. One of the projects that I am currently working on is about examining what drives refugees to take such risks, to give voice to the issues in a different form and to challenge the perceptions of what many perceive is right or wrong about ‘illegal refugees’ . In the research I have conducted so far, I have found that their stories are varied but have common themes of survival and hope. We need to place greater pressure on our Government to provide safer, more immediate options for asylum seekers.
Amnesty International is providing a voice to refugees who have successfully made it to Australia. Australians need to realise that these people have real cases for fleeing their countries. Ultimately we need to ask ourselves – if we were in their place what would we have done?