Media Release : Ex-Detainees declare 3rd of September as Ex-Detainees’ Day for Asylum seekers and Refugees
Ex-Detainees declare 3rd of September as Ex-Detainees’ Day for Asylum seekers and Refugees
“As ex-detainees in Australia, we acknowledge that the land we seek protection on is the land of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples”
We Ex-detainees from RISE in Australia, mark the 3rd of September as #ExDetaineesDay for all Asylum seekers and Refugees who have been forcefully detained whilst seeking protection. Ex-detainees’ day will be entirely managed and controlled by ex-detainees, who are asylum seekers and refugees, as an assertion of our self determination. This day will highlight and oppose the abusive culture of refugee and asylum seeker detention, rather than merely serving to transmit our voices through platforms controlled by non-ex-detainees.
Ex-detainees from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds at RISE, have been meeting for nearly two years to share their experiences of hardships faced during their time in detention centres to help one another cope with the resulting trauma. The initiative to mark this day as Ex-detainees’ day for refugees and asylum seekers is one of the outcomes of these gatherings.
Ex-detainees’ Day spokesperson Abdul Baig said – “After discussion and consultation with members of our group, we have outlined 10 demands. Our demands are universal and can be adopted by all those who do not want to be part of the asylum seeker and refugee detention, torture and abuse supply chain. We ex-detainees say NO to the detention of asylum seekers and refugees in Australia and the rest of the world, and YES to safety and protection”.
The cumulative trauma of leaving behind families and homelands, of being forcefully detained, of enduring punishment and torture in detention centres have resulted in feelings amongst Refugees and Asylum seekers of being subhuman. This is a violation of our human rights and our freedom. Asylum seekers and refugees will give effect to Ex-Detainees Day through the use of their voices to collectively speak out against harmful immigration detention centres, which continue to cruelly discriminate through the unnecessary imprisonment of refugees and asylum seekers who pursue protection.
As the world wakes up to the heinous crimes committed by the Australian government and their proxies against our community members exiled, detained and held hostage on the Pacific islands of Nauru and Manus, we ex-detainees in Australia are living testament of these abuses that have been committed by successive Australian governments, onshore and offshore, over 20 years.
Ex-detainees’ Day spokesperson Abdul Baig also said – “While we are starting this unique initiative in Australia, we have been in touch with other ex-detainee community members outside Australia too. As members of the ex-detainee community, we will continue to consult and work with each other to shape further objectives and actions to end asylum seeker and refugee detention, both locally and globally”.
Finally, we ex-detainees who have sought protection and freedom in Australia, acknowledge that we live on colonised land where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ sovereignty has never been ceded.
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Ex-detainees in Australia , RISE: Refugees Survivors and Ex-detainees