Friday, April 29, 2016

Sean Kelly

Hot Docs 2016: Chasing Asylum

The mistreatment of refugees seeking asylum in Australia is revealed in Chasing Asylum. Australia has some of the harshest asylum policies in the world, with the country being ranked 67th in refugee intake. With politicians in the country determined to stop "illegal asylum seekers" from arriving to Australia via boat, those seeking asylum are sent to detention centres on the islands of Nauru and Manus, where the conditions are much worse than the countries these asylum seekers are leaving from.

Probably one of the biggest negative effects of 9/11 is an increasing distrust in those travelling from middle eastern countries seeking political asylum. The 1951 refugee convention, created as an apology for the Holocaust, is supposed to guarantee that asylum seekers be granted refugee status. However, the Australian government is more concerned with "stopping the boats" and sending asylum seekers to offshore detention centres, where the conditions are not much better than the World War II concentration camps.

Chasing Asylum is a documentary that is almost sure to anger those who care about human rights. Even though Australia can be assumed to be a "safe and humane country," they end up sending asylum seekers "out of sight and out of mind" with little apparent care for the appalling living conditions in these detention centres. Chasing Asylum makes heavy use of footage secretly shot in the detention centres to reveal how horrible a place they truly are. Even more horrible is the physical and sexual abuse that happens at these detention centres. Chasing Asylum is indeed a documentary that will make you appalled at the actions of the Australian government.

8 / 10 stars
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Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).