Slamming the door on Africa

oct 07 smh

It is not fair for Mr Andrews to put all African migrants in one basket. There are at least 210,464 African migrants in Australia from 43 countries, census figures show. This includes 104,128 South Africans, who are mainly white. Only 19,049 African migrants are Sudanese. Using drink-driving or rape-related crimes committed by individuals and generalising the pattern across the African migrant population is unacceptable.

Closing the door on African refugees illustrates the Federal Government's failure to achieve its goal of integrating African migrants. Unless services are available to these migrants to help their transition into the culture, then the Government should face its failures with contrite apology and a resolution to try harder, rather than a decision to put African migrants in the "too hard" basket ...

The media coverage of African migrants' social issues has been characterised by vilification and dehumanisation under the pretence that these refugees are unable to integrate in the wider Australian society. It is neither acceptable to reduce African migrants to alienated delinquents, nor to reinforce cultural imperialism by discussing their social issues without involving Afro-Australian migrant intellectuals.

Dr Andre Renzaho is a senior research fellow within the School of Health and Social Development at Deakin University