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Letter to Minister Andrews: It's eight years today

Dear  Minister Andrews ,

It's eight years today since Kevin Rudd’s announcement  to send asylum seekers to offshore detention centres.  In this time, over 4000 asylum seekers have been detained  offshore.  At the moment roughly 240 refugees and people seeking asylum still remain on Manus Island or Nauru.                                                                  

Many of these asylum seekers are fleeing their countries as a result of wars – most often initiated by Western Nations  and many such wars have been supported  and promoted by Australia. We must therefore play our part in repairing  the damage and human upheaval wrought by such wars.

The human costs on the detainees are mounting by the day. Already 13 young men have died over these past six years and many more have attempted self-harm out of utter despair.

International agencies have been appalled by the conditions under which our offshore detainees  live and the effects on their health, spirits and self-respect.

The harsh treatment of asylum seekers  – most of whom have been proven genuine refugees casts  shame on this country  in the eyes of ourselves and of the rest of the world.

Apart from the human suffering,  indefinite detention contravenes several International Laws and Conventions. Every person has the right to seek asylum in another country to escape persecution or threat to life. Australia was one of the original 48 nations to vote for this when, alongside other nations, Australia signed “The Declaration of Human Rights’. Our present policy also breaches a number of articles stated in the “Convention on the Rights of The Child”.

It is time to find an alternate and conscionable solution. It is time to bring detainees  here or to other welcoming countries such as New Zealand or Canada.  We here in Australia must play our part. We must accept a fair number of refugees into our communities here in Australia. The number of asylum seekers arriving in Australia  over the past 5 years is a very small number of the world’s total. It has been estimated at less than 1%. Developed Countries like Australia must take their fair share of the numbers being displaced and likely to be displaced from war torn countries in coming years. Instead the burden at the moment is falling on poorer countries  such as Lebanon, Jordon and Pakistan that are taking more than a fair share of present refugee numbers.

There is a worker shortage in many areas of Australia at the moment due to a lack of overseas labour . Here is a possible solution. Find work for these asylum seekers instead of paying colossal sums for them to be detained. Many refugees were skilled people in their home countries and some were successful professionals. They have much to contribute to Australian communities.

We do not need offshore detention to ‘stop the boats’. The boats are now few in number and  our Australian Border Force has been in action for many years to deal with this problem.

Its time to re-think our policies on these issues so that they reflect our solidarity, decency and care . We must put an end to this shameful chapter and put an end to Offshore Detention. It has been going on for eight years too long.

From a political viewpoint the present government  need to understand that there are many of us that will never vote for a political party that continues to pursue offshore detention and uses refugees as a political ploy .

Yours Sincerely,

M....... G...... 

Valla Beach .

New South Wales.

Australia 2448 

  19. 7 2021      






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