Last week I went on a 72-hour hunger strike to draw attention to the plight of refugees in Australia. You can read more about my reasons for taking part here.
But more importantly, we need urgent action. We need to flood our members with letters opposing this brutal treatment of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Here is an example of my a letter my boyfriend sent to Peter Dutton’s office. If you are moved to do the same in contacting your local members as well as Dutton, please let us know by posting your letters in the comments below.
Dear Minister Dutton,
I’m becoming increasingly uncomfortable with Australia’s polices towards refugees.
No policy objective can justify the terrible conditions in which we are detaining men, women and children. Every day I read another publication detailing instances of abuse and neglect in the detention centres we set up, we run and we have control over. These are no longer isolated cases, they are systematic to the whole way we handle refugees. I’ve seen and read first-hand accounts of how the contractors and staff that we pay for are the ones perpetuating this abuse. Our policies place people in detention for months and without recourse. The hopelessness this creates is the direct cause of the high rates of mental illness, self-harm, attempted-suicide and the ongoing hunger strikes I see reports on almost daily. You cannot convince me that a system that leads to such desperate behaviour could ever come close to meeting our human rights obligations. This is compounded by the large numbers of children also being stuck in the middle of all this. How can we justify treating vulnerable people in this way? Regardless your party’s policy how can you feel comfortable with this? There has to be another option.
I’m a 26 year old professional working in Sydney and I’m growing more and more disengaged with the type of nation we are becoming. We have placed vulnerable people in a hopeless and powerless position and our handling of their care is leading to abuse. I don’t want that done under my name. I don’t want my tax dollars paying for peoples’ abuse. This is as important as an issue can get.
Minister Dutton, I’m asking you to please take my concerns sincerely. I honestly feel this issue goes beyond your obligations to represent your party’s policies. As immigration minister you have a huge influence over the treatment of these vulnerable people. No policy of determent can justify how poorly we are treating people in our care. I ask for immediate efforts to be made to improve the conditions at detention centres, for more transparency and for an approach to refugee policy that honours our obligations to human rights and doesn’t leave these people in a hopeless limbo.