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Refugee Convergence

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

By bus, car, plane and bicycle the people who will not be silent are converging on Canberra on Monday, 18 November. They are coming from all corners of Australia, the young the old of many political, religious and community groups to stand before the Parliament and demonstrate that they will not be silent on the cruel treatment of people who seek our protection from persecution.

Action at Parliament House begins at 11am Speakers will address the crowd at 1pm An earlier peaceful vigil outside ASIO begins at 9am with hand painted banners from the men in detention in Melbourne calling on ASIO and Immigration
to end this indefinite, arbitrary detention without reason.

“We have watched the steady deterioration of human rights over the past decade. We have heard politicians unjustly calling people illegal, criminal and dehumanising them in the eyes of the ignorant in order to quell any dissent as they are subjected to psychological persecution” says Pamela Curr of the ASRC.

As the people come off the boats on Christmas Island after harrowing , life threatening journeys they are lined up on the wharf and separated to increase their distress. Sons from mothers and sisters, uncles from nephews and neices are sent off to different detention centres with no chance of communication. Husbands and wives and children are being harrased and threatened with separation for more than three months if the mother is pregnant. Families are transferred to different detention in different states or off-shore. This is done purposely in order to put pressure on people to return. Immigration staff say openly to mothers-to be that if they want to stay with their husbands they must go back.

Children are denied access to schools against Australian law which states that all children must go to school / have access to education. People are detained in third world conditions in tents, dongas with not enough showers or toilets in harsh isolated detention centres with no independent human rights monitoring. Conditions vary widely across Australia and in the isolated locations The contractor can do what they want to the people in their care because no one is watching and the Government simply does not care. The government has bought silence from the employees through confidentiality agreements in million dollar contracts.

Many Australians have been desensitised to accept this brutal treatment to people seeking asylum by political leaders who have abandoned all commitment to universal human rights. Many are ignorant of Australia’s history of incarcerating those deemed to be “other”. During both world wars Australia rounded up thousands of people of German, Japanese, Italian descent, some were even born in Australia. They were taken to isolated detention centres some with families and some without. It was as random then as the current selection of people for offshore transportation to Nauru and PNG, is today. We have a history of cruel incarceration and it is time we stopped hurting people for reasons that do not stand the test of history.

The difference now is that there are many Australians who will not remain silent while fellow human beings are having their rights violated. “We are not waiting for the inevitable day when an Australian Prime Minister must apologise for the harm caused by this brutal detention policy. The time for action is now – representatives of those who believe in fairness and justice for all in Australia irrespective of colour, race, religion or mode of arrival, are converging on Canberra on Monday to call for fair and just treatment for refugees. WE WILL NOT BE SILENT.” says Curr

Action at Parliament House begins at 11am
Speakers will address the crowd at 1pm
An earlier peaceful vigil outside ASIO begins at 9am with hand painted banners from the men in detention in Melbourne
calling on ASIO and Immigration to end this indefinite, arbitrary detention without reason.

CONTACT Pamela Curr 0417517075

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