Why Asylum?

We have chosen Asylum as the title of our blog. It is a word with a long history. Its deepest meaning can be detected in the etymology—asylum, from the Greek, άσυλοn (asulon) ‘without the right of seizure.’ In other words, the concept is closely associated with the ideal of protection, and the basic right to be safeguarded from being seized and held captive. In this sense, asylum is conceived as a place of refuge, a haven. It is aligned with the ancient ideal of sanctuary, which was regarded as a sacred place, a retreat—a place of safety from violence.   The right to protection, now enshrined in the Refugee Convention, also involves, as do all rights, an obligation and a duty-bearer, without which the right is meaningless. In modern times the duty-bearer is usually government. But in its most fundamental form it is another citizen who recognizes the needs of the asylum seeker, the perils they face, and who responds with compassion and generosity. Continue reading “Why Asylum?”

Welcome to Asylum

Minas Pic Blog

Welcome to Asylum, the Melbourne Refugee Studies Program (MRSP) blog. The blog is intended as a space for discussing policy, programs and any other issues of importance to asylum seekers and refugees. It is for posting your ideas and initiatives, for sharing research and reports, and for posting information about public forums and events. We welcome all who are interested in asylum seeker and refugee policies and programs to contribute – researchers, educators, students, health, social services and legal professionals, those who work in community agencies providing services to asylum seekers and refugees, policy makers, program managers…. We hope, above all, that it becomes a place where refugees and asylum seekers can directly express their views and experiences, and contribute to the continuing discussion of asylum seeker and refugee issues that currently rarely include the voices of the people being discussed. Continue reading “Welcome to Asylum”

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