The way we talk about other human beings matters. We may use hurtful language. We may deny them their identity by giving them numbers or names that are not their own names. We can assign them identities based on the name of the boat that arrived in, seeking refugee protection. We may decide to draw on stereotypes that negate the personhood of individuals or groups. Such stereotypes then are utilised to deny their humanity and rights as human beings. Or we can choose to be principled and stand up for those who are demonised by politicians. We can decide to avoid negative tropes in the media. We can question policies based on cruelty. One such policy is that of indefinite detention.

In this article, published by Asylum Insight, the authors Dr Claire Loughnan and Prof Philomena Murray, consider how narratives can be adopted that become harmful. This article stems from concern about the use of language that targets some refugees and people in detention, especially those people who were released in the wake of the recent decision of the High Court of Australia.

Read more