Support the campaign to end mandatory immigration detention in Australia
GetUp! is saying that the federal government has unexpectedly announced an inquiry into Australia's immigration detention regime, and is calling an people to support their online petition to end mandatory immigration detention.
This is something that so many have been waiting for: after the apology to the Stolen Generations, and the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, I began to wonder if the Rudd government would avoid moving on the remaining festering sore from the key triumvirate of the Howard government's sins.
So I am pleased to have just signed the petition calling for an end to mandatory immigration detention and for a humane immigration system. I have also added some comments in my online petition, which I trust will get sent to Kevin Rudd and Immigration Minister Chris Evans as part of the Get Up 'submission'.
I would urge you to do something similar, and also consider preparing and sending your own individual submission to the inquiry once all the inquiry's wheels are in motion.
Here are my additional comments I added to my support of the petition:
End Mandatory Immigration Detention!
It is important that a just and honourable immigration system recognise the principle that children should never be in detention.
Australia must develop a fair and humane approach to handling asylum seekers' applications for asylum, and in dealing with those in breech of immigration rules. This can and should involve a community-based system for caring for asylum seekers while processing refugee applications and immigration issues.
Australia must abolish temporary protection visas, and give full residential rights and status to those who have found to be refugees. This must include welfare, medical and other residential rights. If it is unsafe for someone to return to their home country, they should be allowed the decency of finding security and attachment here in Australia, and not the constant fear that their temporary visa will be revoked.
It is time that Australia corrects the great wrong in how we treat asylum seekers and close the immigration concentration camps!
Do no harm. The principles upon which Australia processes applications for asylum must be based on securing the safety of the asylum seeker, not on some misshapen foreign or domestic policy emphasis on quarantining Australia from the world or the movement of people fleeing violence, war, terror and harm.
It is time to raise our heads and take our rightful place in the world in looking after those fleeing persecution and harm.
You can find the GetUp Campaign petition here:
Other people working on this issue include the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, A Just Australia, and the Human Rights Law Resource Centre.
[Update: I have found an ABC news item from June this year where Immigration Minister Chris Evans announced that "Federal Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Migration has been asked to investigate the criteria for detention, length of time in detention, and accountability and transparency in immigration detention processes." I am wondering how and why things have been so quiet on this for so long. What did I miss? Unfortunately, the report suggests the ALP are going with a 'business as usual' approach to detention on Christmas Island, but this is no reason to give up on the campaign! Updated Monday 21 July, 4:23 pm]