It doesn’t feel like it’s enough anymore to simply sign a petition or wave a sign to protest this governments illegal detention and torture of asylum seekers. Nor is it appropriate to close our eyes to the reality of the situation simply because it frightens us.
Do you really think that you are only judged for what you do in this life, often it’s what you don’t do that counts against you most. [I should know] Just because you didn’t raise a hand to someone doesn’t absolve you of the responsibility to try to stop it once you know it’s occurring.
That time is passed and I don’t really care how upsetting you find the situation we’re in here in Australia we can no longer afford for the majority of us to simply sit back, hands in a flutter saying It’s so overwhelming.
People have died when there was no need, children are being abused along with reports of sexual and physical abuse to all detainees and our own government is fine with that. So enough with the smelling salts it’s time to find a spine and stand up Australia.
Our government is feeling just dandy about sending back 37 asylum seekers from Sri Lanka without hearing their claims. Those 37 have arrived back in Sri Lanka and as anyone could have predicted were immediately arrested by the government they were fleeing.
The UN, the Australia High Court, The Australian Human Rights Association and the Hague have all found that the indefinite detention of asylum seekers, the towing back of boats and the deals to send them to PNG and Naru are illegal not to mention immoral. They have determined that the Australian government is participating in the torture of individuals and it’s policies contravene the Human Rights Convention, the UN code and international law.
So how does our government respond to this? Well so far ignoring it seems to be the plan of action by politicians other than an outspoken few from the Greens and Labor. When actually put on the spot and questioned by the UN in regards to the violence against female detainees the Australian government issued a statement saying that the violence in the Nauru detention centres were not it’s problem. Further more it was not the business of government to deal with issues such as violence against women. This made Australia the first country in the UN in 25 years to claim that the torture of other people was not it’s responsibility or problem simply by exporting the asylum seekers elsewhere.
Our government is so out of step with the reality of the situation that our PM boasted of ‘stopping the boats’ in his speech at the recent G20 in front Italy’s leader whose government just rescued 1500 refugees from the Mediterranean. There were other countries present whose policies on asylum seekers leave Australians hanging their heads in shame and when China [not known for it warm and fuzzy people friendly attitude] condemns your policies then you know something is amiss.
Since few politicians have spoken up and it is obvious that our government is quite happy to ignore the situation for as long as possible groups of prominent Australians, actors, doctors, leaders and those who campaign for the rights of all people have put together a promotional program including a music clip starring a number of people you may be surprised to see.
It is designed to increase community awareness and chip away at the deliberately placed blinkers that many Australians have when it comes to this issue. Its title We’re Better Than This is a direct hit at the anti-humanitarian policies of this current government and the lassitude of the previous one.
One of the things I most enjoy about it is the lack of pretense and polish in the clip – it’s just people saying this is wrong, so very wrong and it needs to end.
There is also another group who is doing amazing work here in Australia, The Asylum Seekers Resource Centre [ASRC] who provide a range of services to those in detention and those seeking to settle in the community.
Visit their website where you can sign up to be a volunteer or if you don’t have the time you can find out how to donate to their organisation.
It’s important that we don’t bury our heads in the sand and our hearts in concrete because you know they’re right, We Are Better Than This Australia: