18 September 2021

Dear Ms Andrews,

I am a friend of the Centre for a Compassionate Society, which is based in the electorate of Melbourne. I live in the electorate of ***. We have committed to writing a letter to your government every week until all refugees and asylum-seekers who remain on Nauru and in PNG under Operation Sovereign Borders are appropriately re-settled. We also seek humane treatment for refugees and asylum seekers on-shore. We are copying this letter to the Prime Minister, the Minister for Immigration, the Shadow Minister for Home Affairs and Immigration, and to our local members of parliament.

As the world rightly laments what is evolving under the new Taliban regime in Afghanistan, it does not escape us that our own government continues to perpetrate horrors on people under its influence. The treatment of people detained on- and off-shore under Operation Sovereign Borders seems designed to demoralise them, and strikes us as arbitrarily cruel. We read of a stateless man in Villawood detained for 11 years with no hope of release, and now quarantined in a windowless cell because he is a close contact of a COVID positive guard. We hear from our friends in detention of the complete lack of explanation given to them about why they must wait so long, why they are suddenly moved, or released, or not released when others are. We hear that after paying millions of dollars to detain these people, when a few are finally sent to the USA our government does not even pay their airfare – and they will have to repay a loan given to them for this purpose by the IOM. We read of young people still detained who were minors when they arrived on our doorstep, and who have had their most formative years stolen from them.

Minister, can you imagine what it would be like to spend nine years of your life in immigration detention, unable to plant your feet in a country you can call ‘home’, unable to build a life of your own design? We beg you to recover the cherished Australian value of fairness, and urgently grant all these people their right to freedom. 

Yours sincerely,

*

Send your letter to Ms Karen Andrews: karen.andrews.mp@aph.gov.au (Minister for Home Affairs).
You could cc it to Ms Kristina Keneally: senator.keneally@aph.gov.au (Shadow minister for Immigration and Home affairs), and to your local Federal MP.

Send the text to the Prime Minister via their website HERE, and to the immigration minister, Alex Hawke, HERE.

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