Uma Salvação Para os Refugiados da Ásia

CAMBERRA – Por vezes os países só chegam a boas políticas depois de esgotarem todas as alternativas disponíveis. Assim aconteceu com a tardia adopção pela Austrália este mês, depois de anos de disputa política, de uma nova abordagem “pragmática mas não insensível” ao tratamento dos requerentes de asilo que cheguem por via marítima.

O cerne da questão – e que a tornou um tema internacional em vez de um mero problema Australiano – é que os potenciais refugiados (principalmente provenientes do Afeganistão, Paquistão, Iraque, Irão e Sri Lanka) morrem em quantidades trágicas. Só nos últimos três anos, afogaram-se mais de 600 homens, mulheres e crianças – e estes são apenas os casos documentados – enquanto tentavam a longa e difícil viagem até à costa Australiana em barcos muitas vezes decrépitos, geridos por contrabandistas operando a partir da Ásia do Sudeste.

O número total de chegadas por via marítima não autorizadas – mais de 7.000 por ano – permanece pequeno relativamente a outros destinos de refugiados; o número anual análogo para chegadas à Europa provenientes da África do Norte é próximo de 60.000. E o número total de pedidos de asilo daqueles que chegam à Austrália por qualquer via é apenas uma pequena fracção do número que a Europa, os Estados Unidos e o Canadá enfrentam todos os anos.

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