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Sorry, Asylum Seekers

Posted on: March 12, 2014

I recently came across this site in my web-travels, and I was greatly encourage to realise that so many Australians feel deeply ashamed of our government’s current (and actually, many previous) policies towards Asylum Seekers. Especially those who arrive by boat.

I don’t believe for one second that any of our so-called leaders would hesitate to use whatever means necessary to protect the lives of their families. Even if that meant hopping on an ‘illegal’ boat.

It is not illegal to seek asylum, and yet we are treating asylum seekers worse than we treat criminals. Locking someone up indefinitely, and not giving any information about the progress of their claim, is obviously going to cause that person significant distress. At least criminals, trialled and sentenced by a judge, know how long they will be locked up for. At least they know what waits for them afterwards.

Imagine being so desperate for a chance at a better life and risking everything to get there in an overcrowded, unseaworthy boat. Imagine surviving such a journey only to be locked up on the other side. Imagine spending months, even years, hoping that any day now you will be released and you will be able to start the process of bringing your family to safety. If they are still alive.

Imagine dreading, at the same time, that any day now, your claim will be rejected and you will be sent back to the exact situation you risked everything to escape.

We have been doing this to people for years, under both major parties. This is bad enough. This should have stopped already.

But it hasn’t stopped. And now the government thinks it doesn’t have to answer our questions about what exactly is happening, and why it hasn’t stopped. They don’t think we need to worry about breaking international laws, or violating basic human rights.

That is why these pictures make me so happy. Australians are trying to show Asylum Seekers that we do care. That they are welcome here. That we want this treatment to stop.

I hope Asylum Seekers somehow get the message, and that it brings them hope.

I hope the Australian Government gets the message, too.

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