Saturday, 5 October 2019

Myanmar not listening to anyone: Hasina

Source Banglatribune, 30 Sept

Bangladesh now hosts nearly 1.1 million Rohingyas. PIDBangladesh now hosts nearly 1.1 million Rohingyas. PID

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called upon Myanmar to take action to ensure the Rohingyas' safety and security and live-up to previous agreements made with Bangladesh over the return of the refugees.

The premier said this when she was interviewed by Dan Keeler of The Wall Street Journal in New York this week on the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), reports state-owned agency BSS.

Asked if she would consider forcing the Rohingyas to return to Myanmar, the prime minister told WSJ: "Definitely they should go back to their own country."

But she (Sheikh Hasina) did not suggest Bangladesh would use force to make that happen, the WSJ report said.

She also said the international community seems to be failing in not convincing Myanmar to welcome the refugees back, but added "I cannot blame anybody because Myanmar is not listening to anyone," it continued.

WSJ report quoted her as saying "Bangladesh would continue to host the refugees but that their presence was taking a toll."

"Our land is just 147,000 square kilometres and we have a population of 160 million, so how we can keep these people for a long time? Our local people are suffering, there's a deforestation-a big chunk of our forest in the area where they are living is already gone," she told the newspaper.

The premier laid out a plan to enable the more-than-a-million Rohingya currently taking refuge in her country to return to Myanmar said the WSJ report titled "Bangladesh prime minister urges more cooperation from Myanmar over Rohingya"

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

European Parliament resolution on Myanmar, notably the situation of the Rohingya

Source EUROPARL, 17 Sept


with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law

pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure

on Myanmar, notably the situation of the Rohingya


Anna Fotyga, Karol Karski, Raffaele Fitto, Ruža Tomašić, Jadwiga Wiśniewska, Valdemar Tomaševski, Veronika Vrecionová, Assita Kanko, Jan Zahradil

on behalf of the ECR Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0050/2019
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.


European Parliament resolution on Myanmar, notably the situation of the Rohingya


The European Parliament,

  having regard to its previous resolutions on Myanmar and on the situation of the Rohingya;


  having regard to previous Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on the situation in Myanmar;


  having regard to statements by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the situation in Myanmar;


  having regard to the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the additional protocols thereof;


  having regard to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights of 1966;


  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989;


  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948;


  having regard to the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief of 1981;


  having regard to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court;


  having regard to the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol thereto;


  having regard to the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness;


  having regard to the Final Report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State;


  having regard to the European Parliament report on Statelessness in South and South East Asia of 13 June 2017;


  having regard to the Memorandum of Understanding between Myanmar and Bangladesh on the repatriation of Rohingya people signed on 23 November 2017;


  having regard to the Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis issued in March 2018 by the United Nations and partner organisations;


  having regard to Rule 144 of its Rules of Procedure;



  1. whereas Rakhine State in Myanmar has been home to close to 1,3 million Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim minority group facing repression and continued serious human rights violations, including threats to life and security, denial of the rights to health and education, forced labour, sexual violence and limitation of their political rights; whereas the Rohingya are considered one of the largest stateless groups; whereas institutional discrimination against the Rohingya still continues today; whereas the crisis has exacerbated the already dire humanitarian situation in a region which is already considered one of the poorest in the world;


  1. whereas since August 2017 more than 900 000 Rohingya, 534 000 of them children, have fled the violence against them and have sought refuge in Bangladesh while fearing for their lives; whereas there is very limited access to healthcare in the refugee camps in Bangladesh;


  1. whereas Rohingya children have experienced or witnessed traumatic events, including in many cases the loss of one or both parents, separation from their families, physical abuse, psychological distress, malnutrition, illness, sexual exploitation and witnessing crimes against humanity in Rakhine State, including the systematic burning of homes, physical attacks and rape perpetrated against Rohingya;


  1. whereas those living in refugee camps in Bangladesh face a communications blackout after the government ordered a ban on mobile phone services and sim cards in September 2019;


  1. whereas on 22 August 2019, alleged Rohingya refugees killed Omar Faruk, a local leader of the ruling Awami League's youth wing in Teknaf; whereas law enforcement officers then killed four Rohingya refugees who they said were involved in the murder; whereas in recent months, more than 40 Rohingya have been killed, amid concerns that some refugees are involved in smuggling illegal drugs to Myanmar;


  1. whereas in August 2019 a second attempt to start repatriating Rohingya refugees failed, after none of the 3,450 people approved by Myanmar to return agreed to do so because the refugees believe that the current conditions in Myanmar make their return unsafe;


  1. whereas reportedly entire Muslim Rohingya villages in Myanmar have been demolished and replaced by police barracks, government buildings and refugee relocation camps;


  1. whereas the absence of any realistic prospect of safe and voluntary return and the lack of political progress in resolving the crisis in Myanmar suggest that this situation will not be resolved in the short term and therefore requires a sustainable approach;


  1. whereas the ongoing fighting between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army has displaced more than 46,000 people in Rakhine and southern Chin States; whereas UN human rights experts have expressed grave concerns about the use of incommunicado detention by the military in Myanmar, along with allegations of torture and ill-treatment and deaths in custody since the outbreak of armed conflict in December 2018 in northern Rakhine and Chin; whereas there is an ongoing disruption of internet services imposed on four townships in Rakhine and Chin States, making it increasingly difficult to document and verify new abuses and monitor the situation of Rohingya who remain in Rakhine State;


  1. whereas reports and updates from OHCHR, the UN Special Rapporteur all point to a pattern of gross human rights violations which suggest a widespread and systematic attack against the Rohingya community by the Myanmar military and security forces, possibly amounting to crimes against humanity and in the case of the ongoing fighting against the Arakan Army to war crimes;


  1. whereas the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) affirms that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, in particular genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, must not go unpunished; whereas in April 2018 the ICC prosecutor asked the court to rule on whether the ICC can exercise jurisdiction over the alleged deportations of Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh; whereas a ruling affirming the ICC's jurisdiction was delivered on 6 September 2018;


  1. whereas Myanmar has so far refused to allow a fact-finding mission of the UN Human Rights Council to enter the country, and has barred the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, rejecting nearly all allegations of atrocities committed by its security forces in Rakhine;


  1. whereas on 2 September 2019 the European Commission has announced a new humanitarian aid package worth EUR 9 million to address the needs of families affected by violence in Myanmar; whereas this comes on top of the EUR 91 million mobilised in 2017 and 2018; whereas the United States is the leading contributor of humanitarian assistance in response to the Rohingya crisis, providing nearly 542 million USD since the outbreak of violence in August 2017; whereas in March 2018 the UN launched an appeal for USD 951 million to aid the Rohingya refugees for the rest of 2018, but only around 25 % of that target sum has been received to date;


  1. whereas on 29 April 2019, the Council prolonged the restrictive measures in place on Myanmar for one year;




  1. Condemns the violence against Rohingya men, women, and children since August 2017, including grievous human rights violations, including mass rapes, targeted killings and the destruction of civilian property;


  1. Regrets that two years since the violence against and forced migration of the Rohingya people of Myanmar there appears to be no realistic, sustainable, peaceful solution to the crisis, or for their safe return home, while the circumstances on the ground in Rakhine have deteriorated significantly;


  1. Demands that the Myanmar authorities grant immediate and unfettered access to the UN,  independent monitors, international human rights organisations, journalists and other international observers with the aim of conducting independent and impartial investigations in to allegations of serious human rights violations against the Rohingya community;


  1. Notes that as a consequence of the violence the presence of up to one million refugees in Bangladesh is placing a significant strain on local resources and communities already contending with their own domestic challenges;


  1. Praises the Government and people of Bangladesh for their humanitarian response to the Rohingya crisis, and encourages further international support to those communities hosting the refugees, including in addressing domestic social, educational, economic and healthcare challenges; calls on the Bangladesh government to revoke the ban on mobile phone services in the refugee camps;


  1. Further praises the work of the humanitarian aid agencies in supporting the Rohingya community; calls on the Myanmar authorities to grant humanitarian aid organizations sustained and unfettered access to all displaced populations in need of assistance, including those located in armed opposition territory;


  1. Reminds the Myanmar authorities that international humanitarian and human rights law prohibits the targeting of individuals or groups based on religious or ethnic identity, as well as attacks against civilians not taking part in hostilities, and individuals bringing humanitarian aid to those trapped by the conflict;


  1. Stresses that all efforts must be made to ensure that the conditions are met for a safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return of refugees from Bangladesh to Rakhine State;


  1. Calls for transparent and verifiable implementation of the full range of recommendations by the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State relating to human rights, including by establishing clear a timeline, specific targets, and indicators of success, identifying necessary financial, human and technical resources and a providing regular public reporting on progress;


  1. Raises its concern about the lack of independence, impartiality, and competence of International Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) and calls on Myanmar to cooperate with international efforts to ensure accountability, including by allowing the newly operational Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) access to the country; encourages the relevant UN bodies to move rapidly on operationalisation of this mechanism, that should operate in full recognition of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and cooperate closely with any investigation by the ICC pertaining to the most serious crimes committed by the military and security forces in Myanmar;


  1. Calls on the government of Myanmar to restore full internet access that is critical for freedom of expression, for the population's safety and the work of aid agencies;


  1. Urges Aung San Suu Kyi to restore her moral authority and to continue her efforts to build a genuine, transparent democracy in Myanmar, to have effective civilian control over the military, to make peace among the ethnic groups, and to build a country where people's lives steadily improve and where ethnic cleansing is unthinkable; stresses that the democracies, including the countries of the EU, should be prepared to give every assistance in this;


  1. Urges a reinvigoration of the Myanmar-EU Human Rights Dialogue to specifically discuss issues relating to the Rohingya community and violence against other minority groups;


  1. Welcomes the prolongation of restrictive measures by the Council in place against those responsible for violence and crimes against the Rohingya people where credible evidence supports such measures;


  1. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government and Parliament of Myanmar, Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the EU Member States, the Government and Parliament of Bangladesh, the Government and Parliament of Myanmar, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the UN Human Rights Council.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

600,000 Rohingya still in Myanmar at 'serious risk of genocide': UN

Source FrontierMyanmar, 16 Sept

A Myanmar border guard policeman stands near a Rohingya Muslim family in front of their home in Buthidaung Township, northern Rakhine State in January. (AFP)


YANGON — Rohingya Muslims remaining in Myanmar still face a "serious risk of genocide", UN investigators said Monday, warning the repatriation of a million already driven from the country by the army remains "impossible".

The fact-finding mission to Myanmar, set up by the Human Rights Council, last year branded the army operations in 2017 as "genocide" and called for the prosecution of top generals, including army chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

Some 740,000 Rohingya fled burning villages, bringing accounts of murder, rape and torture over the border to sprawling refugee camps in Bangladesh, where survivors of previous waves of persecution already languish.

But in a damning report, the United Nations team said the 600,000 Rohingya still inside Myanmar's Rakhine state remain in deteriorating and "deplorable" conditions.

"Myanmar continues to harbour genocidal intent and the Rohingya remain under serious risk of genocide," the investigators said in their final report on Myanmar, due to be presented Tuesday in Geneva.

The country is "denying wrongdoing, destroying evidence, refusing to conduct effective investigations and clearing, razing, confiscating and building on land from which it displaced Rohingya", it said.

Rohingya were living in "inhumane" conditions, the report continued, adding over 40,000 structures had been destroyed in the crackdown.

'War crimes'

The mission reiterated calls for the UN Security Council to refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or to set up a tribunal, like for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

It said it had a confidential list of over 100 names, including officials, suspected of being involved in genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, in addition to the six generals named publicly last year.

The report also repeated calls for foreign governments and companies to sever all business ties with the military, calling for a "moratorium" on investment and development assistance in Rakhine state.

The maligned Muslim community has long been subjected to tight movement restrictions, making it difficult or impossible for many to access healthcare, work and education.

The Rohingya are denied citizenship in Buddhist-majority Myanmar and are accused of being illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.

The army justified the crackdown as a means of rooting out Rohingya insurgents.

Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a repatriation deal two years ago, but virtually no refugees have returned to date.

The investigators described conditions in Myanmar as "unsafe, unsustainable and impossible" for returns to take place.

They also accused the army of fresh abuses against civilians in the north of Rakhine state.

The area has once again become embroiled in conflict as the military wages war on the Arakan Army (AA), rebels fighting for the rights of ethnic Rakhine Buddhists.

The UN probe accused the military of "war crimes", including forced labour and torture and said the AA was also guilty of abuses on a smaller scale.

Myanmar military spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun rejected the team's findings, calling them "one-sided".

"Instead of making biased accusations, they should go onto the ground to see the reality," Zaw Min Tun told AFP.


Nicholas Koumjian (IIMM) - 1st Meeting, 42nd Regular Session Human Rights Council

Source UNweb, 9 Sept

Nicholas Koumjian (IIMM) - 1st Meeting, 42nd Regular Session Human Rights Council

9 Sep 2019 - Presentation of report by Nicholas Koumjian, Head of International Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar


Available languages:
Nicholas Koumjian (IIMM) - 1st Meeting, 42nd Regular Session Human Rights Council 

Friday, 6 September 2019

Myanmar forcing Rohingya to accept ‘foreigner’ label

Source Presstv, 3 Sept

In this file photo, taken on September 17, 2017, Rohingya refugees are seen protecting themselves from the rain in Bangladesh. (By AFP)In this file photo, taken on September 17, 2017, Rohingya refugees are seen protecting themselves from the rain in Bangladesh. (By AFP)

A human rights organization says Myanmarese authorities are forcing members of the persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority to accept identity cards that strip them of the chance to become citizens.

In a report published on Tuesday, Fortify Rights said that the National Verification Card (NVC) scheme targeting Rohingya Muslims was part of a systematic campaign by Myanmarese authorities to erase their identity.

The government has coerced Rohingya to accept the NVCs, "which effectively identify Rohingya as 'foreigners,'" the group said.

The report, titled "Tools of Genocide," also said Myanmarese authorities used torture and abuse to force Rohingya into accepting the verification cards.

"These findings demonstrate that the NVC process has not been a response to the crisis in Rakhine State, as the government suggests, but rather a fundamental part of the crisis," it added, referring to the state where the Rohingya had been concentrated before hundreds of thousands of them fled state-sponsored violence to neighboring Bangladesh.

The group also says "citizenship scrutiny" processes have progressively limited their rights, including freedom of movement, access to education, and freedom of expression.

Matthew Smith, the group's chief executive officer, also said, "The Myanmar government is trying to destroy the Rohingya people through an administrative process that effectively strips them of basic rights."

The United Nations Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar also found an increase in pressure on the Rohingya to accept the NVC in the months leading up to August 2017.

More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Rakhine to neighboring Bangladesh following a military-led crackdown in 2016 that the UN has said was perpetrated with "genocidal intent."

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims were killed, injured, arbitrarily arrested, or raped by Myanmarese soldiers and Buddhist mobs mainly between November 2016 and August 2017.

The latest development comes days after a second failed attempt to repatriate the refugees from Bangladesh.

Citizenship is at the heart of Rohingya demands for a return to Myanmar.

The Rohingya have inhabited Rakhine for centuries, but the state denies them citizenship. Bangladesh refuses to grant them citizenship, too.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

What is Myanmar offering the Rohingya to return home?

Source Aljazeera, 29 July

It has been almost two years since more than 700,000 Rohingya fled a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar.

The United Nations labelled the offensive "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing" with soldiers accused of rape, murder and burning down Rohingya villages.

Since their escape, the mostly Muslim ethnic group has been crammed into the world's largest refugee camp in Bangladesh, but Myanmar's government is under pressure to take them back.

A high-level delegation from Myanmar visited Bangladesh's southern Cox's Bazar district on Saturday to persuade the Rohingya they should return to Rakhine state.

But so far the refugees have refused, demanding guarantees about their safety and for them to be granted citizenship.

So, what exactly is the Myanmar government offering?

Presenter: Martine Dennis


Aman Ullah - Rohingya researcher and writer

Phil Robertson - Deputy director of the Asia Division at Human Rights Watch

Ronan Lee - Visiting scholar at the International State Crime Initiative at Queen Mary University of London

Extreme Speech| Extreme Speech in Myanmar: The Role of State Media in the Rohingya Forced Migration Crisis

Source IJOC

by Ronan Lee


This article considers the role of the state authorities in perpetrating extreme speech and the processes by which state power is used in normalizing hateful expressions against minoritized communities. Drawing attention to Myanmar's 2017 Rohingya crisis, a human rights and humanitarian catastrophe, the article examines how the state media publication, the Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper, has actively produced anti-Rohingya speech in its editions and influenced violent narratives about the Rohingya Muslims circulating on social media. It shows how official media contributed to a political environment where anti-Rohingya speech was made acceptable and where rights abuses against the group were excused. While regulators often consider the role of social media platforms like Facebook as conduits for the spread of extreme speech, this case study shows that extreme speech by state actors using state media ought to be similarly considered a major concern for scholarship and policy.


Myanmar, Rohingya, extreme speech, Facebook, forced migration

Full Text:


Monday, 29 July 2019

Bridging visa 'blow out' now bigger than Hobart and Government expects it to keep growing

Source ABC news

The number of people in Australia waiting for a visa decision has swelled to a size equivalent to the population of Hobart.

Key points:

  • The number of people in Australia on bridging visas has more than doubled in the past five years
  • Experts wonder what impact this new influx of workers is having on the labour market
  • Migrants appear to be taking advantage of delays to stay in Australia longer

According to the Department of Home Affairs, 229,000 people on bridging visas were in Australia in March. Hobart's population at the latest census was 222,000.

And a new report has identified the impact of this group on the labour market for the first time.

The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) analysed the census to find this group had an unemployment rate of about 20 per cent.

That is high compared to the Australian average, but it still means four in five who were looking for work were working — equivalent to many tens of thousands in the labour force.

A migrant is granted a bridging visa when one visa has expired but they are still waiting for their new visa application to be finalised.

Processing times for visas and the number of migration-related court appeals have increased in recent years. These prompt delays, meaning more people remain on bridging visas.

Melinda Cilento, chief executive of CEDA, said that temporary migrants had improved Australia's prosperity overall, though the growth in bridging visas did warrant closer inspection.

"The community's looking at that and wondering how well the system's working and is it actually working the way that we want it to work," she said.

"Many of these people on bridging visas still have working rights — that's also a question the community will be asking: Is this the outcome we're looking for?"

Senator Linda Reynolds, representing the Home Affairs Ministers, told the Senate on Tuesday that the growth in bridging visas was caused by increased arrivals generally and she anticipated further growth.

"As numbers increase, of course you will get an increase in all sorts of categories of people arriving, and making claims to stay," she said.

"So you would expect that number to grow merely by the fact of the amount of people who come here by air."

Behind the growth

A recent parliamentary committee highlighted the growing trend for Malaysians arriving in Australia on a tourist visa then applying for asylum.

In June 2014, just 7 per cent of Malaysians temporarily in Australia were on bridging visas, according to Department of Home Affairs figures.

By March this year, the share had risen to 34 per cent.

Now more Malaysians are on bridging visas than on any other visa, even the popular subclass 500 student visa.

But it is not just an issue with the Malaysian group — the number of bridging visas has increased for most nationalities.

Peter McDonald, a professor in demography at the University of Melbourne, said the bridging visa cohort had "blown out" and was now "enormous compared to any past history".

"For a long time the numbers on bridging visas were seen as an indicator of the government's efficiency in processing applications because the vast majority of people on bridging visas are applying for permanent residence," he said.

Immigration Minister David Coleman sought to highlight "declining" onshore protection claims.

"These fell by 12 per cent in the 2018-19 program year, a result of the Government's focus on stopping unmeritorious claims."

Professor McDonald said the growth was due not only to the growing number of people arriving by plane then claiming asylum — such as the group of Malaysians identified — but also the lengthening queue for partner visas.

"Normally, in the past, [spouses] get their permanent residency immediately," Professor McDonald said.

"But the Government has now introduced a long delay in that process, and there are now about 80,000 spouses of Australian citizens waiting for their permanent residence."

Senator Reynolds said on Tuesday the Government was taking "appropriate steps" to deal with airline arrivals.

She said there had been a 32 per cent decline in the number of protection visa applications from Malaysians in the first five months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. Across all nationalities, the decline was 20 per cent.

Labour market impact

A separate report from the University of Adelaide released in March found the horticulture sector was reliant on Malaysian workers, but also that workers were vulnerable to exploitation.

As part of a series of interviews, it reported one stakeholder saying "the Malaysians … are the ones who are exploited".

"When you know there's Malaysians on a farm, very few of them could be legal," the stakeholder said.

A labour hire contractor was reported to have said Malaysians "just use the visitor visa to come to Australia and they stay longer than three months and just work in Australia, and that's what happens … they are very hard workers and then they become illegal people".

Malaysians can travel to Australia on an official tourist visa obtained online.

Australian border officials are refusing entry to 20 Malaysians at Australian airports every week, to address what has been dubbed an "orchestrated scam".

The working holiday maker or 'backpacker' visa, the most popular low-skill visa in Australia, is not available to Malaysians.

Topics: government-and-politicshorticultureimmigrationimmigration-policyaustralia

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Australian Human Rights Commission calls for action over 30,000 asylum seekers living in 'limbo'

Source ABC, 17 July

The Department of Home Affairs has rejected dozens of recommendations made by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), aimed at improving the lives of tens of thousands of asylum seekers living in Australia.

Key points:

  • People who arrived in Australia by boat before 2014 face tight restrictions on the right to remain and in accessing welfare
  • The AHRC has urged the Government to relax restrictions and remove the ban on asylum seekers gaining permanent residency
  • The Department of Home Affairs has not accepted the recommendations

There are roughly 30,000 people living in Australia that are not eligible for permanent residency, because they attempted to reach Australia by boat before 2014.

They are often referred to as the "legacy caseload".

Under rules aimed at deterring others from attempting to make such a trip, people who arrived by boat face tight restrictions on the right to remain in Australia and access to financial support and other welfare.

The AHRC has urged the Federal Government to relax those restrictions, and most critically, remove the ban on asylum seekers gaining permanent residency.

Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow said they were seriously concerned about the situation many of these people find themselves in.

"We are increasingly worried about people in this group ... we are hearing more reports of people who simply can't afford to pay for medicine, can't necessarily afford accommodation, that sort of thing," he said.

Mr Santow said the AHRC had made a series of recommendations he felt would dramatically improve the lives of many.

"We think that there are some steps that the Government could take that would be relatively straightforward, that would provide protections against these people falling into poverty and homelessness," he said.

The recommendations include boosting mental health services, increasing welfare support and revising who is eligible for the status resolution support services program.

"We ... have to be pragmatic," he said.

"People who are in desperate situations are much more likely to do desperate things."

The Department of Home Affairs has not accepted the recommendations.

It insisted income support was needs based and there were adequate mental health services already in place.

The department said the Government's measures upheld the integrity of the humanitarian program and deterred people smuggling.

'We should be allowed to stay permanently'

Reza Rostami was among 45 asylum seekers on a boat bound for Australia six years ago and has described the trip as the most trying four days of his life.

"We had just lost hope of life to be honest, everyone was just thinking that we were lost in the sea," he said.

"Everyone was waiting for when death would come to them."

Mr Rostami, his wife and two young daughters left Iran in 2013 because they feared persecution, and travelled to Indonesia to board a boat.

"On the fourth day, the boat was intercepted by an Australian Navy vessel and brought to Christmas Island," he said.

"I felt like I was born with a new life, it was a good feeling."

Mr Rostami took up studies in Australia and is now a research officer at the School of Psychiatry at UNSW Sydney.

But despite securing a job, Mr Rostami said he and his family had become increasingly worried about what their future holds under the current rules.

They are now on Safe Haven Enterprise visas, which are one of two types of temporary protection visas.

"My family and children don't know what will happen to us after five years," he said.

"The Australian Government has recognised that I have a legitimate claim to refugee status.

"For this reason we should be allowed to stay permanently."

'Human emergency'

The Asylum Seekers Centre in New South Wales provides support for people that are part of the legacy caseload, and CEO Frances Rush said the mental health of many was deteriorating.

"Some people have been in Australia waiting to have their claim for asylum to be processed for seven years," she said.

"It's a long time to be in limbo, a long time to live with the uncertainty and not knowing what's going to happen."

Ms Rush said a growing number of people were asking for financial support or access to crisis accommodation because they did not have enough money.

That is because the eligibility for support payments has been tightened, meaning many asylum seekers that used to receive income support are no longer entitled to it.

And Mr Santow said for those that are receiving income support, the amount is still too low.

"For a family of two parents and two kids, the Henderson Poverty Line says that a family needs $970 a week to survive," he said.

"The SRSS [Status Resolution Support Services] payment — if you are lucky enough to be on it — is $714 a week.

"So even the group within the 30,000 people in the legacy caseload that are receiving a payment, are receiving a payment that is below the poverty line."

Ms Rush has praised the Australian Human Rights Commission for raising concerns around welfare support.

"It sounds extreme to say it, but I think it does becomes a human emergency," she said.

Government rejects recommendations

The Department of Home Affairs rejected the recommendations.

It insists income support is needs based and that there are adequate mental health services already in place.

The Department also said the Government's measures uphold the integrity of the humanitarian program and deter people smuggling.