By now you may or may not have heard about the tragic turn of events on Manus Island that left one person dead and 77 injured.
We don’t yet know if this new tragic low marks a turning point, if it’s part of Australia’s new status quo, or if it will finally be enough to make our Government rethink our cruel treatment of asylum seekers, the very people who need our help most. The truth is, we still don’t really know happened because our Government won’t tell us.
What we do know is that a young man lost his life in the most horrific way – while under our care, while detained in your name. His name was Reza Berati, a 23 year old from Iran.
It was in July last year that he made the perilous journey by boat to seek refuge in Australia and instead of finding safety, he endured a nightmare.
Reza is not the first to die because of this policy: there are many others who have already taken their own lives whilst locked in Australian detention centres. But rather than acknowledging our failure to protect them, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison sent an email lauding today as a “significant milestone” in the Government’s “strong resolve on our borders”.
The only “milestone” reached this week was a new low for human rights in Australia. We live in hope that this horrible tragedy will be enough to make Australia rethink our treatment of asylum seekers.
Below is a link to a site where you can register to hold a candlelight vigil – it can be just you taking a moment to reflect on the loss and how it should never have come to pass or a group of friends having dinner and lighting a candle each to mark the moment. Any loss of life is something to cause sorrow but a loss such as this is a mark of shame for all Australians who have let fear of the unknown and greed (not wanting to share what we have) allow our government to treat people as less than human.