Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Statement Concerning Asylum Seekers in the Wake of the Attacks
September 14, 2001

“The crude generalisation made by the Australian Minister of Defence, Peter Reith, in a statement following the terrorist attack on the USA arouses deep concern and dismay,” said the Minister for Foreign Affairs Anna Lindh and the Minister for Development Cooperation, Migration and Asylum Policy Maj-Inger Klingvall in a joint statement today.

Reith maintains that the attack proves that his government was right to send away the Afghani boat refugees in view of the “security risk posed by asylum seekers”.

To draw such groundless parallels not only stigmatised innocent asylum seekers as potential terrorists, it was also a grave assault on the right of asylum and the Geneva Convention.

“The attack must be vigorously condemned. But it must not be used as a pretext to threaten the right of asylum or to stir up animosity against asylum seekers and refugees,” said the ministers.