Une solution pour les demandeurs d’asile en Australie

CANBERRA – Il arrive qu’un pays ne parvienne à formuler une politique adéquate qu’après avoir épuisé toutes les autres possibilités. C’est le cas de l’Australie, qui après des années de querelles politiques, a tardivement adopté ce mois-ci une nouvelle approche, « ferme, mais pas insensible », envers les demandeurs d’asile arrivant par voie maritime.

Le cœur du problème – qui en fait une question internationale au lieu d’un problème de politique intérieure australienne – est le nombre terrifiant de réfugiés (principalement de l’Afghanistan, du Pakistan, d’Irak, d’Iran et du Sri Lanka) qui périssent en mer. Au cours des trois dernières années seulement, plus de 600 hommes, femmes et enfants sont morts noyés – et il ne s’agit que des cas répertoriés – lors de leur traversée hasardeuse vers les côtes australiennes, souvent sur des embarcations de fortune affrétées par des passeurs opérant en Asie du Sud-Est.

Le nombre total d’immigrants clandestins arrivant par la mer – plus de 7000 par an – est relativement faible comparé à d’autres destinations. L’influx annuel de migrants d’Afrique du Nord vers l’Europe s’élève par exemple à près de 60.000 personnes.  Et les demandes d’asile déposées par ceux qui rallient l’Australie, par voie aérienne ou maritime, ne représentent qu’une fraction de celles auxquelles font face l’Europe, les Etats-Unis et le Canada chaque année.

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