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Dear Mr Hartsuyker,

I heard on the news last week that a Tamil refugee is close to death after dousing himself in petrol and setting himself alight saying he would rather die in Australia than be killed in Sri Lanka. He was on a recently reintroduced cruel Temporary Protection Visa and was told he would be deported back to Sri Lanka.  
It is shocking to me that this level of desperation occurs in our country that prides it self on its high aspirations for human dignity and justice. It is our duty having signed the Refugee Convention, to grant protection to asylum seekers.
In 2013, 88% of asylum seekers were found to be genuine refugees, yet this Government has punitive policies in place to deter asylum seekers.
In 2013 there were 143  human rights violations relating to the illegal indefinite detention of 46  refugees for more than 4 years . The Government was given 180 days to act but still has not.
The Government has commenced the transfer of unaccompanied minors to Nauru, imagine your own children in a situation like that !
Children interviewed by the Human Rights Commission visiting Christmas Island said it is hell.  They are filled with anxiety and despair. There are 315 children, half of them under five. There are no play areas, no grass for little ones to crawl. Schooling is inadequate, about 2 hours per day. They are surrounded by anxious adults. What is the psychological impact on these already disturbed children ?
It is  a fact that there are many refugees in this world. Many much poorer countries accept much higher numbers of refugees than Australia. Our Government should not shun its responsibility for the safety of those coming to our shores.  Dumping refugees on other poor countries in our region has already led to the death of one asylum seeker on Manus Island and wounding of more than 60 others.
As my parliamentary representative I call on you to convey my deep distress about these policies to the government and demand  more humane policies. The huge amount of money spent on locking up people indefinitely  should instead go towards:
1. A short processing period for health checks in Australia
2. Allowing refugees to work and live in the community while their status is worked out. They are highly motivated people embracing the opportunity for a new life 
3. Resettle genuine refugees in Australia

Yours sincerely,

Annika  early april 2014

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