• An image from the graphic novel published by the government targeting asylum seekers. (Customs)
Refugees in Australia have reacted angrily to a new graphic novel campaign by the federal government aimed at deterring asylum seekers.
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13 Feb 2014 - 7:11 PM  UPDATED 13 Feb 2014 - 11:04 PM

<p>The 18-page graphic novel is being distritbuted abroad and appears to specifically target Afghan asylum seekers.<br />&nbsp;<br />It also appears to contain the first official concession that the Australian Navy has been ordered to turn back the boats.<br />&nbsp;<br />SBS showed the graphic novel to a group of Afghan Hazara refugees in Sydney.</p><p>"It doesn't show any security threat," Shukufa Tahiri said.<br />&nbsp;<br />"There's no element of force or desperation or force that leads someone think about fleeing the country."</p><p>[[{"fid":"157034","view_mode":"full","type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full"}}]]<br />Miss Tahiri says the comic badly misrepresents the situation in Afghanistan.<br />&nbsp;<br />The document is currently being distributed in several languages around transit countries such as Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Indonesia.<br />&nbsp;<br />It was first published on the Customs and Border Protection website in November.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">"For me and for the rest of the community, we think, it's just not going to work," Hazara Afghan Youth Worker Ibrar Hassani told SBS.</span><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">"The people who are coming here are not economic migrants, they're coming to have a safer, peaceful life here."</span></p><p>The comic is part of a broader campaign launched on the Department for Immigration and Border Protection website and on the Customs and Border Protection website.</p><p>A section of the Department of Immigration website says: "Don't waste your money - people smugglers are lying. The Australian government has instructed the Australian Defence Force to turn back boats where it is safe to do so."</p><p>The graphic novel also shows images of people suffering medical problems and depression in offshore detention centres.</p><p>[[{"fid":"157040","view_mode":"full","type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full"}}]]<br />Refugee lawyers say the campaign shows the federal government is advertising that asylum seekers are intentionally mistreated.<br />&nbsp;<br />"It is very clear that we are subjecting them to abuse of the worst kind and we're doing it deliberately and I want to say to the government you're not doing that in my name," Marion Le from the Council for Refugee Advocacy told SBS.</p><p>Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said the government would continue to send an anti-people smuggling message across different platforms. <br />&nbsp;<br />"People smugglers should know that our communication activities will be sustained and ongoing, using a range of channels and languages, including television, radio and press advertising, social media, other internet-based communication tools such as blogs, as well as direct engagement through community liaison officers," the Minister's office said in a statement. <br />&nbsp;<br />While the Coalition was in Opposition, Mr Morrison criticised the Labor government for running a multi-million dollar advertising campaign purportedly aimed at dissuading asylum seekers from arriving in Australia by boat.</p><p>

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