End the barbaric, discriminatory, systematic abuse of people seeking asylum in Australia.

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Mr Dutton,

You recently voiced your concern about the possibility of the South African government commencing redistribution of farmland in South Africa, and the persecution of white South African farmers which may result from this. You said “If people are being persecuted, regardless of whether it's because of religion or the colour of their skin or whatever, we need to provide assistance where we can.” You also said of these farmers, “They work hard, they integrate well into Australian society, they contribute to make us a better country and they're the sorts of migrants that we want to bring into our country.” [i]

I can’t help but compare this to the direct actions the government of Australia and the department over which you preside currently takes against people seeking asylum in our country.

Last week, a Tamil family who have been living and working peacefully in the Biloela community for four years, with their two Australian daughters, were given 10 minutes to pack their belongings, forcibly removed from their home, flown 1,500 km away, and threatened with deportation to Sri Lanka, from where they fled the legacy of a violent civil war which I don’t believe you and I can even begin to comprehend. [ii] [iii] [iv]

How is it possible to preside over actions such as this, then speak of your desire to assist the white farmers of South Africa?

There are men, women and children locked up in onshore and offshore detention centres as I write this, the majority of whom have been assessed as genuine refugees [v] yet are given the impossible choice of remaining incarcerated indefinitely or returning to the persecution and hardship they sought refuge from. [vi] Those lucky enough to be settled within the Australian community while they wait for their refugee status to be determined are prevented from working, therefore feeding the ignorant rhetoric that people seeking asylum are “sponging” off welfare. This diminishes opportunity for them to contribute meaningfully, learn English, or “assimilate” – the qualities Mr Dutton says we seek in those we deem worthy of migrating to our “civilised” nation.[vii]

What can you possibly mean by saying that white South African farmers deserve "special attention" from a "civilised country" like Australia??? [viii]

An aim to assist allegedly persecuted people in South Africa certainly seems admirable and defensible, but to do so while you preside over policy which essentially amounts to its own special brand of persecution and suffering is utterly reprehensible and hypocritical[ix], a policy which has cost the Australia taxpayers more than $5 billion since 2012. [x]

I’m sure you are well versed in the political situation in South Africa, but considering your political actions and recent statement, you must know very little about the political climates of the top five nations from which people seeking asylum in Australia originate[xi]. I have collated some handy articles for you to read to give you some insight into this, and the systematic violence and persecution these people are fleeing:

1.       Iraq http://www.unhcr.org/en-au/iraq-emergency.html

2.       Syria http://www.unhcr.org/en-au/syria-emergency.html

3.       Myanmar http://www.unhcr.org/en-au/rohingya-emergency

4.       Afghanistan https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/jan/25/violence-forces-refugees-to-flee-afghanistan-again

5.       Congo (DRC) http://www.unhcr.org/en-au/dr-congo-emergency.html?query=congo

Please Mr Dutton, as the man holding the greatest power of anyone in our land over some of the most vulnerable people in our society, I beg you to honour this tremendous responsibility bestowed upon you, and end the discriminatory, barbaric and hypocritical policy you preside over, by:

Bringing all people seeking asylum who are currently detained in offshore processing centres to Australia.

Expediting, and fairly considering, the claims of all people currently seeking asylum in Australia.

Permitting those whose claims are being processed to access work or education should they seek to do so.

[i] https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/peter-dutton-wants-a-refugee-intake-of-white-south-african-farmers-20180315-p4z4gr.html
[ii] http://theconversation.com/not-all-is-forgiven-for-asylum-seekers-returned-to-sri-lanka-73361
[iii] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/taylor-dibbert/new-report-details-abuses_b_10416920.html
[iv] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/mar/12/small-town-rallies-after-asylum-seeker-family-carried-off-in-dawn-raid
[v]  https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1415/AsylumFacts#_Toc413067445
[vi] http://junkee.com/manus-refugees-stories/133808
[vii] https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/asylum-seekers-and-refugees/publications/tell-me-about-bridging-visas-asylum-seekers
[viii] https://www.sbs.com.au/news/dutton-s-white-south-african-farmers-claim-breathtakingly-hypocritical-hrw
[ix] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/mar/02/scathing-un-migration-report-not-ideal-start-to-australias-human-rights-council-tenure
[x] http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/cost-for-australias-offshore-immigration-detention-near-5-billion-20170716-gxci97.html
[xi] https://www.ssi.org.au/faqs/refugee-faqs/140-where-do-australia-s-refugees-come-from

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