Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Australia: Hookers, drugs banned in Aussie warnings to illegals: sharks and crocs are OK
From: Melanie Orhant (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Feb 05 2001 - 11:22:54 EST
Hookers, drugs banned in Aussie warnings to illegals: sharks and crocs are OK
The Associated Press, January 12, 2001
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- The Australian government said Thursday it has
scrapped a campaign criticized by human-rights groups for warning illegal
immigrants they could be forced into prostitution, poverty and drug
addiction if they come to Australia.
But another campaign featuring the threat of sharks, man-eating crocodiles
and deadly snakes remains part of the Immigration Department's official
drive to discourage boat people trying to slip into Australia.
The scrapped campaign, which also warned of threats of racial violence and
family breakdown, was backed by Minister for Immigration and Multicultural
Affairs Philip Ruddock.
The warnings were included in a kit that was to have been distributed to
foreign media to try to discourage illegal immigrants. Thousands of illegal
immigrants from the Middle East and Asia have tried to enter Australia in
recent years, many of them making perilous voyages on decrepit ships that
sometimes sink without trace.
But amid outrage from human-rights and refugee groups and the opposition
Labour party, the campaign was scrapped last weekend, just hours ahead of a
news conference to be held by Ruddock in the Iranian capital Tehran.
Ruddock has been touring the Middle East and Europe to warn people not to
attempt entering Australia illegally.
During the last year, the government said, more than 4,000 illegal
immigrants have arrived in the country, mainly by sea from Indonesia. Most
originated in the Mideast and southern China.
Margaret Piper, executive director of the Refugee Council for Australia,
slammed the scrapped campaign.
"I find it quite extraordinary for a minister for multicultural affairs to
be portraying Australia overseas as a country where there is racist
violence, that refugees will end up living in slums and be subjected to
exploitation," Piper said.
"Going in and using alarmist language and inaccurate facts is not the way
to combat it at all."
Ruddock's office said the media kit is being redrafted but the new kit
would still be a "very tough document."
The immigration department last year began using scare tactics to
discourage illegal immigrants. Three videos featuring footage of some of
Australia's most deadly wildlife were distributed with warnings anyone
coming ashore on a remote coast could be attacked.
The kits were distributed to media in Iran, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Pakistan
and other countries.
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