Australian Prime Minister John Howard has very publicly condemned the rule of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe labeling him a "grubby dictator". Howard has even gone so far as to prevent his beloved Australian cricket team from playing a test in Zimbabwe. However, a damning Amnesty International report puts the two leaders side by side, describing them both as 'short-sighted fear-mongers dividing the world'.
The report accuses Howard of portraying Asylum-seekers as a threat to National Security. "The Howard government portrayed desperate asylum-seekers in leaky boats as a threat to Australia's national security and raised a false alarm of a refugee invasion…'' writes Amnesty secretary-general Irene Khan.
Howard was quick to complain, "Hey, leave me the hell alone."
Obviously Howard is terrified of boats. There can be no other explanation.
The report also condemns the agreement between the US and Australia to exchange refugees.
The move, as bizarre as it is inhumane, will see Haitian refugees, whose claims have been approved, sent from Guantanamo Bay to Australia and, likewise, genuine refugees sent from Nauru to the US. Ms Khan, speaking on ABC radio, said the program only existed "…so that they do not have to face the shame of having to release these people into their own countries… It's a cover-up, it's not a solution."
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore… and we'll send them to Australia.