Media Release. Address push factors in responding to the refugee problem. 18 April, 2016

Members of the No Airport Arms Ads campaign today drew attention to the close links between global refugee flows and warfare.

Rallying near Canberra Airport, the group displayed a banner “Weapons fuel wars.  Wars create refugees” and urged the airport to stop its prominent advertisements for the weapons industry.  Group spokesperson Dr Sue Wareham said that the ads promote a militarised view  of how to handle tensions in the world, which will ultimately make the global problem of refugees even more overwhelming.  The number of people displaced by armed conflict, generalised violence, persecution or human rights violations is over 50 million, and rises every time we go to war. 

Canberra is a Refugee Welcome Zone, but the prominent images of large weapons systems at Canberra Airport, are totally inappropriate for arriving refugees.

Dr Wareham said “Australia’s policies towards asylum seekers are in desperate need of change so that these people are treated with humanity and in accordance with our human rights obligations.  But also we should be doing everything possible to address the factors that drive people to leave their homes in the first place. A key driver is armed conflict, and a key driver of that is the weapons flows into tense regions.  The role of the arms trade in prolonging wars needs far greater attention.”  Weapons companies have enormous lobbying and promotions budgets with which they promote a very sanitised image of their products.

NAAA believes that the “normalisation” process by which warfare is becoming a standard part of Australia’s national life is not in Australians’ interests and must be challenged.

The No Airport Arms Ads campaign was initiated by the Medical Association for Prevention of War, and launched in Canberra last year, to get rid of the prominent weapons advertising at Canberra Airport.

Disclosure:  Dr Wareham is a Senate support candidate for The Greens.  The NAAA campaign is not associated with her election campaigning, is not a party political campaign, and welcomes support from any individuals or political parties.