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"From Extraterritorial Asylum Processing to Shared Responsibilities Towards Asylum Claimants: Reflections from the Australian Experience"

Ponsiano Ngondwe, S.J. (Uganda)

Licentiate in Sacred Theology with field of specialization in Migration Theology
Adviser: Fr. Graziano Battistella, C.S., Ph.D.


Australia has always insisted on using legal means to enter its territory, whatever the reasons for entry. In the recent past, Australia has been sending irregular maritime arrivals to detention centres in Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea for processing before they are either resettled in another country, or sent back home through voluntary repatriation. This program of detention is unacceptable because it does not meet the standards by which human beings should be treated. To be treated with utmost respect and dignity is the right of every human being, be it asylum seekers or resident communities and cannot be traded for any other thing, including border control. Australia argues that the practice of offshore processing other than breaking people smugglers’ business model, reduces the high deaths at sea as well as acting as a deterrent to people leaving their homes for safety elsewhere. And yet, Filippo Grandi, the head of UNHCR notes that there is a “fundamental contradiction in saving people at sea, only to mistreat and neglect them on land”. The Australian approach to asylum seekers arriving at its shores might set an example that other countries will follow. If this happens, the possibility for asylum seekers to find protection in countries where they are not in fear of persecution is seriously undermined. Therefore, to respond to the urgent need for protection, there is a need for States to share responsibility in ensuring that all vulnerable persons are protected.

Final Defense:

Date of Oral Defense: August 12, 2017

Board of Examiners: Dr. Emmanuel Serafica de Guzman (Principal Examiner), Fr. Graziano Battistella, C.S., Ph.D., and Fr. Mariano Cisco, C.S., S.T.L., S.T.D. cand.

Proposal Defense:

November 29, 2016 (Tuesday), 9:45 am, Tipanan ni San Ignacio, 2nd Floor Loyola School of Theology

Board of Examiners: Fr. Graziano Battistella, C.S., Ph.D. (Adviser), Fr. Mariano Cisco, C.S., S.T.L., S.T.D. cand., and Fr. Romeo Intengan, S.J., M.D., S.T.L.

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