Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights

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Regional resettlement – solving the ‘refugee problem’ at any price?

Australia - No you can't come in copy

By Emma Larking

Is there anything money can’t buy? It buys most things, apparently. A list compiled recently by American philosopher Michael Sandel includes a prison cell upgrade, the services of a surrogate mother, the right to shoot an endangered black rhino, and admission to a prestigious university.  Sandel’s list is a prelude to his investigation of what he calls ‘the moral limits of markets,’ and to his claim that ‘there are some things money should not buy.’  [1] Here I want to ask if money can buy us out of our moral obligations to asylum seekers. Kevin Rudd would like us to think it can. He maintains that the ‘Regional Resettlement Arrangement’ (RRA) signed last Friday with Papua New Guinea PM Peter O’Neill will ‘ensure that we have a robust system of border security and orderly migration, on the one hand, as well as fulfilling our legal and compassionate obligations under the refugees convention on the other.’

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