PEN International’s call for greater protection of refugees worldwide
The statement issued by PEN International for World Refugee Day, a week ago, is an eloquent appraisal of the crisis facing the record numbers of asylum seekers in search of protection, globally and, more specifically, seeking protection in Europe today. While it focusses on the challenges, and the acute dangers encountered by writers and journalists who are bearing witness to both those fleeing conflict—especially in Syria and other parts of the globe —and the conflicts themselves, it also provides a succinct summary of the dimensions of the refugee crisis, the daunting numbers, as well as the policy challenges facing governments in dealing with the crisis. The statement is obviously relevant to the challenges faced by Australia and the Asia-Pacific region—indeed PEN International makes the challenging assertion that the world’s current system for protecting refugees is simply not working, and that the system may well be broken. The decision, days ago, by British voters, to leave the EU, further compounds the problem and threatens the viability of concerted global and regional responses to the crisis. Policy makers, refugee advocates, governments, individuals—we are all being challenged to find humane, workable policies, in increasingly complex and challenging circumstances. We look forward to your comments, and your responses.