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.
We do not have a photograph of Mrs Hesari, mother of Iranian refugee Omid Masoumali who self-immolated on Nauru in 2016. But her words pierce their way to any parent’s heart, and we trust to yours:
We named our baby boy ‘Omid’, which means ‘hope’ in Farsi, because we had beautiful dreams for him. Now all we have is the cold stone of his grave, where he died, lonely and innocent, in a foreign country. Australia has taken our hope, our Omid.
We do, however, have a photograph of Omid. As he looks out at you from the photo, we invite you to meet his gaze with compassion.
Among Omid’s last words before he set himself alight were these:
You have made our lives miserable and hopeless. I am very tired and exhausted. You have peeled off our skin.
The Queensland coroner this week released his findings into Omid’s death, recommending that Australia “provide more certainty to refugees to ensure those who are successful in their asylum applications are resettled in third countries expeditiously, and that refugees are given some assurance that will be achieved.” The uncertainty around their indefinite detention is slowly killing the spirits of Omid’s fellow detainees. Will you go down in history as the minister who ended this torture?
Send your letter to Ms Karen Andrews: email@example.com (Minister for Home Affairs).
You could cc it to Ms Kristina Keneally: firstname.lastname@example.org (Shadow minister for Immigration and Home affairs), and to your local Federal MP.