Australia’s Refugee Policy Once Again In Spotlight After A Woman Begs ScoMo To Help Her
Last year, the Australian government reduced the number of intakes from 18,750 down to 13,750.
A woman has begged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to help her family in Cameroon, in an emotional exchange that highlights the human rights violations taking place there.
A video shows the woman gripping onto the Prime Minister’s legs as she pleads for his help at the Beef Australia 2021 expo in Rockhampton, Queensland today.
This woman approached the Prime Minister after a news conference and got down on her knees and begged him to help her family escape violence in Cameroon. pic.twitter.com/y4k01rxdDW
— SBS News (@SBSNews) May 4, 2021
The Prime Minister tried to deflect to Queensland MP, Michelle Landry, before hearing her out.
“I’ve talked to Michelle, I’ve talked to her, but they haven’t done anything,” she replied.
“Everyday my people are being killed. I go through trauma everyday.”
“I’m the only one in this country, I’m alone in this country. I can’t go and be, visit the family. My brothers have been killed.”
The woman, known only as Lillian, told SBS she has been here since 2009, and approached the Prime Minister because she fears for her family’s safety back home.
“We’re bringing many people across under our refugee program, from Africa, so we are doing that,” ScoMo told her. “And if there are family members or others, who are part of that process, I know Michelle will pursue those matters with the Immigration Minister.”
She told the broadcaster she was “very happy” with his response.
Human Rights Watch identified extrajudicial executions and massacres, terrorist attacks, and restricted freedoms as being of concern in Cameroon, in their 2021 World Report.
“[T]he pandemic was also used as a pretext to silence the opposition and quell dissent,” they published.
Last October, at least eight children were attacked and killed in Southwestern Cameroon.
In the 2020-21 budget, Australia allocated $61 million in development assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa, where Cameroon is located. However, the Australian government also reduced the number of refugee intakes from 18,750 down to 13,750 last year.