Australian government: Stop the indefinite offshore detention of asylum seekers now!

Australian government: Stop the indefinite offshore detention of asylum seekers now!

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We urge the Australian government to take immediate action to end its offshore processing regime, and to put a stop to the indefinite detention of migrants and refugees.

Too many men, women and children have suffered from the debilitating uncertainty, pervasive hopelessness, and endemic deterioration in mental and physical health that are the all-too-predictable consequences of imprisonment without charge or an end date.

We request that the Australian government passes legislation protecting refugees and migrants, and preventing them from being detained indefinitely in prison-like facilities.

Since 2012, over 4000 men, women and children have been sent by the Australian Government to immigration detention centres on Nauru or Papua New Guinea (PNG) for offshore processing. As of 26th March 2019, 359 women remained on Nauru and 547 men remained in PNG. A total of 838 people had been removed or returned to their country of origin. Refugee Council of Australia 

Despite many campaigns, protests, letters and petitions from respected organisations within Australia, New Zealand, and from around the world, the Australian government has stood by their policy regarding the indefinite detention of refugees. These refugees have fled their own countries, and have already suffered traumas unimaginable to most people, and have been held illegally in limbo on the islands of Manus and Nauru for up to six years. They are not allowed to earn money from employment, or to live their lives as most of us in liberal democracies take for granted.

Since the 2019 election in Australia, the refugees’ mental health has deteriorated rapidly, as they despair of ever being welcomed to a new home, and as a result, almost one hundred refugees have attempted to take their own lives or self-harmed. This is a humanitarian crisis that needs urgent resolution. The detained refugees do not have the option to ‘go home’ to their own countries because of threats of persecution, imprisonment and possible death. As fellow human beings in democratic countries around the world, we respectfully ask the Australian Government, a liberal democracy, to offer these people the choice of immediate sanctuary and protection.

Update: May 2020 – Behrouz Boochani remains in New Zealand despite his one-month visa having now expired. He is still stateless. He still doesn't know what the future holds.

Update: Nov 2019 – Behrouz Boochani is in New Zealand on a one-month visa so he can attend a literary festival in Christchurch at the end of November. See here for more details

Update: Oct 2019 – The asylum seekers who were previously held on Manus Island, have now been moved off the island, but only as far as Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, and not to Australia. They are still stateless, with their refugee claims still being ‘processed’, and without a safe place to call home. They do not know what their future holds. 

Six years after being forcibly transferred to Manus Island, award-winning writer, film-maker and journalist Behrouz Boochani remained stranded in Papua New Guinea –  see PEN International. Behrouz Boochani’s award-winning and international bestselling memoir, No Friend But The Mountains: the true story of an illegally imprisoned refugee, won the Victorian Prize for Literature and the Victorian Premier's Prize for Nonfiction in January 2019. The book was typed out on a secret mobile phone in a series of individual text messages, translated from Persian into English by Omid Tofighian, and is now published by Picador in the UK.

I am asking you, and anyone who cares about human freedom, the preservation of human rights and dignity, and the right to live without fear of persecution, to sign this petition and to send it on to friends, family, colleagues, and to all who believe that these refugees should be freed immediately and given a permanent home.

Thank you.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!