We ex-detainees from RISE: Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees urge international human rights groups and the UN to sanction Australia and exclude Australia from participation in all international humanitarian and human rights decision making processes until mandatory detention and refoulement of Asylum seekers and Refugees is abolished in Australia.
International human rights agencies focus on human rights violations in less affluent countries and paint them in a bad light. What about similar human rights violations committed by some of the most affluent countries in the world such as Australia? Where are the global initiatives to end violations by these countries who are quite often responsible for the forced displacement of the very people they seek to exclude from their borders? How many more from our community will be killed to serve Australian political interests? We don’t need any more inquiries or reports, we need action NOW.
As Australia aims for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, Australia has been committing crimes for over 26 years against refugees who are seeking protection by boats. Furthermore, former Australian Immigration minister Philip Ruddock, a master of deporting and detaining refugees under the Howard government, is now Australia’s Special Human Rights Envoy to the UN. The result of such complacency has been a recurring scenario of deaths and systematic torture in custody. How long do we have to continue to face such cruelty in front of your eyes? Where is the justice? Australia has been left off the hook and not held accountable for implementing human rights violating laws against our community. These laws have been passed through parliament with bipartisan support by Australian politicians who continue to be elected by the Australian people.
Australia’s current offshore and onshore detention and boat turn back policies is not an overnight strategy. These are discriminatory policies systematically designed to murder, torture and exclude refugees who come to seek asylum by boat to Australia. When is this going to end? We question how Australia can be part of UN human rights bodies or other global peace movements while continuing to commit crimes against humanity?
The recent death of Hamed in Australia’s Manus Island refugee detention camp and the most recent decision by the High court of Australia that offshore detention of Asylum seekers is legal is another added trauma for the detainee and ex-detainee refugee community in Australia. Not only do we have to deal with mental and physical cruelty inflicted on us directly by the government but also the trauma every single day of continuing to witness ongoing atrocities against others in detention. We believe that Australia’s anti-refugee policies are not going to end unless there are international sanctions against the Australian government. We therefore urge international human rights activists and the UN to actively sanction Australia for such cruel acts.
Urgent action has to be taken on this, as Australia has become the resource centre for other countries to shape anti-refugee policies. Even Donald Trump, the current US president who has been widely condemned by the International community for his draconian immigration policies, has said the Prime Minister of Australia is “worse than I am” with regard to such matters. Lack of transparency and accountability in Australian run detention centres is something that has been widely reported and acknowledged by International human rights groups including the UN. There have been many inquiries and many reports of deaths and sexual abuse within these camps yet nothing has changed because the Australian government is not being held accountable. Refugee cases have been mishandled, unfairly dismissed and processed without proper adherence to refugee rights protocol and this should stop immediately.
We should not wait until one more refugee is murdered, tortured or refouled by Australia.
We demand the permanent closure of all detention centres, the release of all refugee/asylum seeker detention survivors to the community for resettlement in Australia with proper support services and an end to refugee/asylum seeker refoulement.
To lobby for international action, click on the following links and raise your concern: Also contact any rights groups you know and raise your opinions:
UN New York http://www.un.org/en/contactus/
UNHCR Geneva http://www.unhcr.org/pages/4a324fcc6.html
Human Rights Watch https://www.hrw.org/contact-us email@example.com , http://www.hrw.org/contact/new-york , firstname.lastname@example.org
High Commissioner for Human Rights email@example.com, infoDesk@ohchr.org
Amnesty International https://www.amnesty.org/en/about-us/contact/
World Health Organization firstname.lastname@example.org