Asylum Seekers And The Asylum Seeker

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“My hope finished now. I don’t have any hope. I feel I will die in detention.”
Unaccompanied 17 year old, Phosphate Hill Detention Centre, Christmas Island, 4 March 2014. 
Few social justice issues in Australia have attracted as much attention and controversy in recent times as the issue of asylum seekers. An asylum-seeker ‘is an individual who has sought international protection and whose claim for refugee status has not yet been determined’. In contrast, a refugee is an individual whose protection has been deemed necessary by the UNHCR or a State who is a signatory to the Refugee Convention. 
The issues surrounding asylum seeker has divide opinions and evoke strong emotional responses across the community. We are aware that asylum seekers are often vulnerable people, desperately fleeing civil unrest, warfare and persecution from across the world. We know that Australia is a destination of choice for many people seeking to embark on a new life in safety. And we know that there are people who will exploit the vulnerability of asylum seekers by offering them unsafe passage by sea to our shores. 
There were 584 children detained in immigration detention centres on mainland Australia and 305 children on Christmas Island. A further 179 children were detained on Nauru as at 31 March 2014.
Almost all children in Australian detention centres either travelled to Australia by boat without a visa or were born in detention. The number of people arriving by boat rose substantially from

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