We refugees, asylum seekers and ex-detainees at RISE highly condemn the Turnbull government’s plan to introduce legislation to ban asylum seekers who arrive by boat from ever being allowed into Australia.

People who have fled war, trauma and torture need long term security in order to restore their lives. The proposed legislation does more harm than good to refugees and asylum seekers. It adds major uncertainty to the lives of asylum seekers who have fled persecution and in turn exacerbates the trauma they have endured and continue to live through. This is an extreme form of xenophobia or racial discrimination. Seeking asylum is not a crime and it is a right that is upheld by the law as well as the UN Refugee Convention, of which Australia is a signatory.

Ex-detainee and founder of RISE, Ramesh Fernandez said “The politicians of the Australian government are being very cunning here. They are planning to introduce this hateful legislation because the government is at the losing end at the PNG courts. Turnbull is trying to save his leadership by flexing his muscles on those most vulnerable. Like always, the government has used asylum seekers and refugees as political currency”.

Barring refugees and asylum seekers who have arrived -and continue to arrive by boat- from settling in Australia is clearly discriminatory and goes against International law. Further, there is no evidence to suggest that this will save lives. In fact, this measure will adversely result in increased numbers of people fleeing from dangerous circumstances will either be sent back to the situations they have fled from, or that they will be settled in countries which do not offer protection to asylum seekers.

The rhetoric that Australian politicians espouse on asylum seeker issues is callous: hard-line solutions, temporary protection visas, Pacific and other offshore solutions, indefinite detention, forceful deportation, deaths at sea and now, a possible continuous banning refugees and asylum seeker entering to Australia.

Rather than using coercive power to silence detainee dissent, the Turnbull government should address the legitimate concerns raised by detainees, refugees and asylum seekers in Manus and Nauru.

We should not forget that Labor party has reintroduced offshore detention centres under ‘No Advantage Policy’, they should be as equally accountable as the Coalition party. The Australian government has shamefully taken cues from One nation party leader Pauline Hanson by introducing these policies and gained her approval

“If the majority of the Senate go ahead with the decision to support Prime Minister Turnbull proposal banning refugees and asylum seekers, it will be further evidence of Australia’s shocking discrimination against people fleeing from war, torture, rape and persecution” – Ramesh Fernandez, RISE CEO

Letter to the Australian Public by refugees, asylum seekers and ex-detainees at RISE – Re : Proposed legislation to ban refugees and asylum seekers who come on boats from entering Australia http://riserefugee.org/letter-to-the-australian-public-reproposed-legislation-to-ban-refugees-and-asylum-seekers-who-come-on-boats-from-entering-australia/

Media contact :
Abdul Baig (Onshore Ex-detainee, refugee and RISE member)
(03) 9639 8623 or admin@riserefugee.org


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