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Letter to Prime Minister concerning treatment of Asylum Seekers at Offshore detention centres

Dear Prime Minister,
It was deeply depressing to listen to you on Radio National on 23rd September, telling the nation that "there will be no resettlement of the people on Manus and Nauru in Australia".
The government has gone to great lengths to maintain a veil of secrecy around the treatment of asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru, and it is clear that there is much to hide.  The available evidence from a number of reliable sources paints a picture of people living in fear and despair, in wretched conditions and with the ever-present threat of physical and sexual abuse. These people, who include some 90 children, have committed no crime and yet they find themselves locked away indefinitely, far from the public gaze and with little access to legal and other professional advice. We don't treat convicted criminals like this. These asylum seekers are our responsibility, and this is not the way that a wealthy, first-world nation should treat some of the world's most vulnerable people. What the government is doing in our name is neither humane, morally defensible nor compatible with our international obligations.  It is simply not acceptable for you to assert that "you could say it is a harsh policy, but it has worked". Locking up children indefinitely in such appalling conditions can never be justified. They cannot be used as the "price" to be paid for deterring asylum seekers from seeking safety on our shores.
I do hope that, in the weeks ahead, you will indeed pay "close attention" to the current policy and that your government will quickly bring to an end this shameful chapter in our nation's history. These offshore detention centres, which are costing Australian  taxpayers billions of dollars to maintain, should be closed as a matter of urgency and those detainees who are found to be entitled to protection under international law should be resettled in Australia.
                                                                                                            Yours sincerely,


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