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Walk for Justice for Refugees

Justice for Refugees 1.jpg• We believe that everyone has the right to a life
that is free from persecution and life-threatening
situations. Seeking asylum is a human right.
• We believe that Australia can and should be more
generous and provide resettlement and permanent
protection to many more refugees.
• We believe in a society that is shaped by
compassion and justice for all people including
asylum seekers.
• We believe in the right of asylum seekers to live
with dignity and in safety while their claims for
protection are processed.

AUSTRALIA’S FAILED DETENTION SYSTEM MUST END
All claims for asylum must be processed in Australia.
Over 2000 people (including Syrians) have been held offshore on
Manus Island and Nauru for almost three years. This includes
almost 300 children on Nauru. Amnesty International described the
situation in offshore detention centres as ‘tantamount to torture’.
Detainees living in cramped conditions in unbearable heat are
denied sufficient water, medical help, and privacy.
Whilst some refugees have been released into offshore
communities they are not free or safe. On Nauru children are
abused in the schools, women are assaulted and raped and men
are bashed. No-one has been charged for any of these well
documented crimes. Refugees have no citizen rights, nor access
to adequate health services, education, or employment
opportunities. On Manus Island the few men released from
detention are impoverished and live in constant fear.
Proposals to resettle people in Papua New Guinea, Cambodia,
the Philippines and Kyrgyzstan have failed, and are nothing but a
shameful attempt by Australia to shift responsibility to poor
neighbouring countries.
Mandatory detention is imprisonment without charge. It is cruel,
unnecessary and violates the human right to freedom of people who
have done no wrong. Many asylum seekers are detained for years by
Australia. The vast majority of these people will be found to be
refugees when their claims are processed. Rather than free them, the
Turnbull government wants to silence their mistreatment. It is
committed to the Border Force Act (with opposition support) which
threatens health workers and others with up to 2 years jail if they
speak about what they witness in detention.

Temporary Protection Visas cause serious harm to refugees’
mental health. They mean years of uncertainty, with indefinite
separation from family. This is a cruel and unconscionable way to
treat people who have been recognised as refugees.
Fair and transparent processes are needed to ensure all claims
for refugee status are thoroughly assessed. The new ‘fast track’
assessment system is likely to result in many people being deported
back to torture or life threatening situations. Australia must not send
people back when their lives may be at risk.
Turning back boats puts lives at risk. Hundreds of Rohingya
asylum seekers died when their boats were pushed back to sea by
neighbouring countries. Australian turnbacks have also put lives at
risk, and are shrouded in secrecy. People turned back to Indonesia
are in stateless limbo and may be detained in terrible conditions.
People have a right to seek asylum.

Australia’s current policies are violating human rights and are in
breach of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention.

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