Australia proposes visas for white South Africans
Max Newman and Mike Head
6 April 2018
The Australian government, notorious around the world for blocking refugee boats and indefinitely detaining asylum seekers, is pushing ahead with plans to grant humanitarian visas to selected white South African farmers.
After first announcing on March 14 that the farmers “deserve special attention and we’re certainly applying that special attention now,” Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton this week declared he is considering “several” such visa applications.
Around the world, more than 65 million people are facing closed borders as they flee persecution and wars, many as a result of military interventions by the US and its allies, including Australia. Nearly a million Rohingya refugees are currently living in squalor and danger in tents and huts in impoverished Bangladesh, driven out of Burma by the military supported by the Western-backed government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
While shutting the country’s borders to these desperate people, Australia’s government is moving to grant expedited visas to white South Africans. Dutton last month provocatively declared that the farmers deserved help “from a civilised country like ours,” claiming they face “horrific conditions” of violence and seizures of their land. South Africa called in Australia’s high commissioner to demand an explanation.
Dutton has responded by ramping up his inflammatory remarks this week. He accused the South African government of falsely claiming, for “domestic” reasons, that the Australian government had retracted his comments. “There has been no retractions of my comments or our desire to assess some of these cases,” he told Sky News.
In his original remarks, Dutton insisted that the…