Policy Change for Asylum Seeker Rights and Living Conditions
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"People here don't have a real life. We are just survivors. We are dead souls in living bodies. We are just husks. We don't have any hope or motivation" (Amnesty International, 2016)
We urge you to support our petition to oppose and stand against the upcoming amendment of the 1958 Migration Act. The proposed amendment will deny over 1200 refugees and asylum seekers detained in offshore processing centres since mid-2013 access to any form of Australian visa that would allow them to enter Australia (Anderson, 2016). We are also proposing consideration of the abolition of offshore processing sites with alternate processing centres available in Australia for asylum seekers and refugees until a more humane and sustainable living option becomes available. Closing the door on resettling asylum seekers and refugees in Australia simply continues the ongoing uncertainty and unrest they experience about their future. Australia is knowingly putting asylum seekers at harm by subjecting them to the harsh living conditions at offshore processing centres which not only impact their mental health but also violate several human right articles which they are entitled to. Please refer below for a summary for the living conditions which asylum seekers are subjected to, its impacts on their health and well-being and the human right articles that have been violated.
LIVING CONDITIONS IN OFFSHORE DETENTION CENTRES
- Nauru island interior is uninhabitable, uncultivable due to decades of phosphate mining (Human Rights Watch, 2017)
- Living in cramped vinyl tents, prefabricated units or containers (Amnesty International, 2016)
- Temperatures are between 45 - 50 degrees inside living units (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2014)
- Centres are prison-like structure - no choice in what food they eat, how long they shower and no choice in what they get to do throughout their day (Campbell, 2015)
- Restricted movement outside of detention centres (Isaccs & Maycock, 2015)
This is violating the following human rights:
- Article 5 - No one should be subjected to inhumane or degrading treatment
- Article 13 - Right to freedom of movement
- Article 24 - Everyone has the right to rest and leisure
- Article 25 - Right to standard of living that is adequate to health and wellbeing.
(United Nations General Assembly, 1948)
THE RESULT OF DETENTION ON MENTAL HEALTH:
- Self-harm and suicide
- Violence and abuse
- Loss of dignity
Please support our petition for change. It is our duty to uphold human rights of all people. Be a voice for the voiceless. Be the act for change!
Anderson, S. (2016). How is the Government changing Australia’s immigration policy? Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-07/how-is-the-government-changing-australias-immigration-policy/7996964
Australian Human Rights Commission. 2014. The Forgotten Children: National Inquiry into Children Immigration Detention. Retrieved from https://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/forgotten-children-national-inquiry-children-immigration-detention-2014/12-children
Campbell, E.J. and Steel, E.J. (2015), Mental distress and human rights of asylum seekers. Journal of Public Mental Health, 14(2), 1-20
Isaccs, D., & Maycock, A. (2016). Degrading treatment of asylum system reflects poorly on Australia. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/comment/degrading-treatment-of-asylum-system-reflects-poorly-on-australia-20150204-136jpn.html
United Nations General Assembly. (1948). Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/
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