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Leaflet: Eight Long Years of Torment



July 19th 2021 will mark the shameful eighth anniversary of the Rudd 

government’s declaration that any asylum seekers arriving in 

Australia by boat after that date would be detained offshore  

indefinitely and  would never be permitted to settle in this country.


This, in spite of the fact that, under Article 14 of the Universal 

Declaration of Human Rights: “everyone has the right to seek and 

enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.” 

What is the current situation?

Some 870 refugees have been resettled in the US. Others, in 

desperation, have been persuaded to return to danger in their home 

countries. A small number have been privately sponsored to move to

 Canada, and a few are attempting to resettle on Nauru or in PNG. 

Others have been brought to Australia for medical treatment, with 

many of them held in detention centres or in hotels in Brisbane and 

Melbourne. They are not free, and they are expected by our 

government to return to Nauru or PNG once they have been treated 

for their medical conditions.


Many have not received any adequate treatment. Some 250 people 

remain in limbo on Nauru and in PNG, where they face constant 

danger and harassment. They suffer regular assaults at the hands 

of local people, particularly in Port Moresby, PNG. They have 

committed no crime, yet, unlike convicted criminals, there is no 

end in sight for them. Their punishment is indefinite, and their 

spirits are broken.


Eight years too long

These refugees have been subjected to almost eight years of

deliberate abuse in appalling conditions. Our government has

abrogated its responsibility to fulfil its obligations under the Refugee


Father Giorgio Licini, a Catholic priest and community leader in Port

Moresby, is very fearful about the fate of the refugees stuck in his 


He states: “They survive because they are provided food and shelter.

But should the government support be withdrawn, they would be


It is time to close this chapter. A developed country, a rich country

that can spend billions on border protection should not reduce people

to his level of misery, marginalisation and humiliation.”


The inescapable conclusion is that the refugees continue to be held in

such completely unacceptable conditions for purely political reasons.

What should the government do?

  • process all outstanding asylum claims without further delays
  • accept the offer of the NZ government to resettle 150 refugees 

  • evacuate all the remaining asylum seekers and refugees from Nauru 

and PNG to Australia, with a view to resettlement in the US, in NZ, in 

other safe third countries, or in Australia
  • release all medevac evacuees into the community, and ensure that 

they receive the medical and other support that they need.


What can you do?

Write to Federal MP:  or  
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke:  
and demand that they take action to bring this shameful chapter in
our history to an end.
Sign up to receive our fortnightly news bulletin.
Offer to join us in our campaigning activities to seek justice for 

Published by Bellingen and Nambucca District RAR.



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