Un salvavidas para los fugitivos en barcos de Asia

CAMBERRA – A veces los países no dan con una buena política hasta después de haber agotado todas las demás opciones disponibles. Así ha sido en el caso de la tardía adopción por parte de Australia este mes, después de años de muchas disputas políticas, de un nuevo criterio pragmático, pero no insensible, para abordar el asunto de los buscadores de asilo que llegan por mar.

El meollo del problema –y lo que lo ha convertido en un asunto internacional más que un simple problema interior de Australia– es que los aspirantes a refugiados (principalmente procedentes del Afganistán, del Pakistán, del Iraq, del Irán y de Sri Lanka) han estado muriendo en cantidades espeluznantes. Tan sólo en los tres últimos años, más de 600 hombres, mujeres y niños se han ahogado –y se trata tan sólo los casos documentados– cuando en un viaje largo y peligroso intentaban llegar a las costas australianas con barcos en muchos casos destartalados y conducidos por contrabandistas procedentes del Asia sudoriental.

El número total de llegadas por mar no autorizadas –más de 7.000 al año– sigue siendo menor que el de otros destinos; la cifra anual de dichas llegadas a Europa desde el norte de África es de casi 60.000 y el número total de solicitudes de asilo hechas por los que llegan a Australia por cualquier ruta es sólo una pequeña fracción del número que Europa, los Estados Unidos y el Canadá afrontan todos los años.

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