Leaked document suggests Australia crackdown on refugees | News | DW | 05.02.2016
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Leaked document suggests Australia crackdown on refugees

A leaked Australian cabinet document has made a connection between refugees and terrorism. Major changes could be made to its humanitarian resettlement program, making it harder for refugees to obtain citizenship.

An Australian cabinet document has been leaked which suggests the country is considering dramatic changes to its humanitarian resettlement program.

The document, marked "sensitive: cabinet," outlines proposals to make it harder for refugees to obtain permanent residency and citizenship, adding there was a connection "between onshore terrorist attacks and humanitarian intake."

The draft document singles out refugees from Syria, saying they may hold beliefs that "leads them to advocate or engage in politically motivated or communal violence," and suggests further that they should be monitored even after they gain Australian citizenship.

The Lebanese Sunni Muslim community was also singled out as a "national security risk associated with unsuccessful immigration."

The document, which was first reported on by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), was presented to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to put forward this year.

However, a spokeswoman for Dutton said the minister had not seen the report, saying, "Government departments produce draft documents for consideration all the time. This is a draft document which has not been seen by the minister or his staff – nothing more."

Australia agreed to accept 12,000 Syrian refugees last year, helping to ease the refugee crisis in Europe.

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Amnesty accuses Australia

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has accused Australia of paying people smugglers to take migrants back to Indonesia. Amnesty's report was released on Wednesday.

According to the report, titled "By Hook or by Crook," officials paid thousands of US dollars to crew members to send migrants to Indonesia, instead of sending them to New Zealand.

Indonesian police confirmed they found cash in crisp $100 bills when they arrested crew members.

"All of the available evidence points to Australian officials having committed a transnational crime by, in effect, directing a people-smuggling operation," said Anna Shea, a refugee researcher at Amnesty International.

In addition, some 250 asylum seekers were recently deported to an offshore immigration camp in Nauru on Wednesday, in a decision that sparked protests and criticism from the United Nations.

smm/ng (Reuters,dpa)

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