Write for Rights at UCV - Dec 11, 2016

End the abuse of people seeking safety and freedom

“I feel they keep us as hostages,” Halimeh said. ‘They make us suffer as an example to others who might think of fleeing to Australia.”

Halimeh is one of the more than one thousand men, women and children who are forced to live in appalling conditions in an Immigration Processing Centre on the small island nation of Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Halimeh said she fled Iran in search of safety in Australia after several of her friends were executed. Now she and thousands of others who fled wars, who lost family members and friends, or who were tortured by repressive regimes, are stuck on small islands where they live in anguish and despair about their future.

Refugees seeking to enter Australia by boat are denied entry. They are forced to remain on the islands while their asylum applications are processed. Those recognized as refugees are denied the opportunity to settle in Australia.

People in Nauru remain in what has been described as an open-air prison. Amnesty International researchers say the conditions are among the worst they have investigated. Self-harm and suicide are common. Children as young as nine openly speak about ending their lives. Women report sexual harassment and assault. People with life-threatening health conditions are at times denied adequate medical treatment.

The Australian Government is deliberately driving adults and even children to the breaking point in order to deter other people from arriving by boat. These refugees have escaped nightmares in conflict-ridden countries only to meet with more suffering in the detention centres run by the government.

It is also troubling that doctors and humanitarian workers could face prison in Australia for speaking out about anything they witness while working. Facebook is banned, and journalists and human rights monitors are repeatedly denied access.

Refugees are simply searching for safety and a welcome place to rebuild their lives. Their suffering on Nauru and Manus Island must stop now.

Article 14, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

Please write to:

The Honourable Peter Dutton
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
PO Box 6022
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Start your letter with:
Dear Minister,

Please send a copy of your letter to:

His Excellency Tony Negus
High Commissioner for Australia
Suite 710 - 50 O’Connor Street
Ottawa ON K1P 6L2

Begin or end your letter with this request

Insist that the Australian Government end the abuse of people seeking safety and freedom. First, they must close the Regional Processing Centres on Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Then they must ensure that all those who are were granted refugee status on Nauru and Manus have the right to settle in Australia.

Write in your own words

Describe who you are and what concerns you about how the government is treating the refugees in Nauru and Manus.

Share a message of support

Share a message of support with people seeking asylum in Australia through Twitter, Instagram or Facebook via  https://storify.com/amnestyoz/  staysafestaystrong

Check out the blog Nauru: Australia’s shame and a warning for Europe
at  http://bit.ly/2dqvv5d 

Listen to an NPR Interview with refugees on Nauru: A Refugee’s Tale: He Escaped Iran, Now He’s Stuck On a Pacific Island at  http://n.pr/2dcX1l9 

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