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An Asylum Seeker

Last year I sent letters to 8 asylum seekers on Manus through Julian Burnside. 

Last week I received a reply from one Hussain (ID EMP 054). He is a Rohingya man from Burma who was forced to flee persecution and assault by Buddhists and ended up in Manus Detention centre via Malaysia.

He says the situation in Manus is “very bad”.

I will write to him again.

Also I sent a message of support to Commissioner Gillian Triggs and received a thank you reply.


Julian Burnside  - Sarah Hanson-Young has sent this link..sounds like the
sort of thing we were looking for.. Julian Burnside is co-ordianting a
letter writing program to asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru.

Letter writing campaign: asylum seekers held on Nauru or Manus Island

How to do it:
  1. Write a letter, but not directed to a specific person.  Say who you are, so the recipient will not wonder whether you are acting for the government. Tell them something about yourself.  Let them know that not all Australians are hostile to them.  Be sensitive to their circumstances.  Encourage them to write back to you.
  2. Write on light paper: the letter rate for international mail increases if letter is more than 50 grams. Avoid cards, attachments etc.
  3. Send the letter to me:
Julian Burnside
205 William St
Melbourne, 3000
  1. Enclose a self-addressed envelope.  Make sure and put AUSTRALIA as part of your address. Note that Nauru uses Australian stamps. If you want to correspond with someone on Nauru, you will need to put $1-85 in Australian stamps on the return envelope.  I am looking for ways to get PNG stamps.
  2. I will post your letter (with your self-addressed envelope) to a specific asylum seeker on Manus or Nauru.  I will explain the letter-writing programme and I will include some writing paper and your self-addressed envelope so they are able to reply.
  3. When you get a reply, just keep writing to that person.  If you want, you can ask them for the names of other people you can write to.

People of various countries are held in Nauru and Manus Island, including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Sri Lanka.  If you prefer to write to someone of a particular nationality, let me know.
If you have a preference for which detention centre your letter should go to, let me know.
It is simple.
A similar letter-writing campaign in the early 2000s was very valuable in helping keep up the spirits of asylum seekers.
If you decide to take part in the letter writing campaign, you might like to share the responses you get, and encourage your friends to write to asylum seekers.

examples of cards at Bellingen Community Markets on 17 May 2014