25 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.

The following are the parting words of one refugee, Vali Heydari, who recently left Australia for the USA. We are of course happy that he has finally been granted freedom, but mourn with him his nine lost years in detention and the ongoing detention of his friends:

I came to Australia with energy, with hopes and dreams. For Australia to welcome me, hug me. Who said ‘welcome to Australia’? No-one. I don’t want any cents from the government to support me. The Australian government broke our hearts. When I came to Australia I haven’t used any medication. Now every night I get 8 tablets.  I spoke with ABF they said to me “control yourself, you are not normal”. 100% I am not normal. 9 years I gave the best years of my life. I’m not just talking about myself. I talk about my friend here. 3 times he’s been rejected, he’s asylum seeker. He even asked to go back to Nauru, ABF they refuse. He gonna be lonely now. Why they do this? Serco business, IHMS business, ABF business. Who can listen to our voice, who can help us? I got my refugee determination in 2015. Prove I can’t go back to Iran. I go back to Iran they gonna kill me. I was accepted by the USA in 2018. Why I wait so long? 

Minister, this suffering is so unnecessary. We recognise that boat turn backs are preventing further arrivals. The ongoing detention of Vali’s friends serves no purpose other than to further crush the spirits of people who are already thoroughly demoralised. 

Will you:
1. Release all asylum seekers and refugees currently detained under Operation Sovereign Borders into the community and commit to achieving permanent settlement options for them this year?
2. Set a limit of 6 months on the length of time that anyone can be kept in immigration detention?

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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