family separation

Reunite the families

Dear Prime Minister,

The news in today's Guardian about the impossible position of Arash, an Iranian refugee on Nauru, is yet another reminder that Australia's harsh policy has immediate and terrible consequences which will impact on people for the rest of their lives.

Which ABF officials wrote the "release of custody" form to get Arash to give up his daughter to go to the USA? How can such personal cruelty contribute any benefit to Australia's security? Arash and his wife Mariam were forced to go to Nauru by Australia. Mariam had to be sent to Australia to give birth to their child because the healthcare on Nauru is 'rudimentary'. Arash was forced to stay behind on Nauru. He has never held his daughter. He says:

I feel like I am being held hostage, and for no reason, this is all just a nonsense. I see my baby on my phone, and I miss her every day. I need to hold my baby, I need to hug her. They have kept us apart for no reason, only to be cruel.

If I ring Minister Dutton's office about this issue I will be told that it is a a breach of privacy to discuss an individual's situation. This is how Australia hides its cruelty. But the consequences of this policy are felt, bitterly and tragically, as deeply personal by Arash and every other detainee on Manus Island and Nauru. The ABF employees who write forms to enact torture, the bureaucrats who devise harsher and harsher conditions to force the refugees to choose refoulement rather than die in detention, and Mike Pezullo who builds his career on magnifying the suffering of vulnerable people are the only beneficiaries of maintaining this privacy. This toxic system must be ended now.

Bring all detainees on Manus Island and Nauru to safety and freedom.

Full responsibility

Dear Prime Minister,

What is your response to the statement made by United Nations high commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi, which is a direct and unequivocal criticism of Australia's refugee policies? Do not forward this letter to Minister Dutton or DIBP. Australia has been criticised at the highest level and we need your response.

There is a fundamental contradiction in saving people at sea, only to mistreat and neglect them on land. ... I urge Australia to bring an immediate end to the harmful practice of offshore processing, offer solutions to its victims, for whom it retains full responsibility, and work with us on future alternatives that save lives at sea and provide protection to people in need.
— Filippo Grandi, high commissioner UNHCR
Somali refugee Sabah holds up photos of her three children at a detention centre in Nauru, in 2014. Sabah, 28, had not seen her children since they became separated fleeing extremist violence in Somalia three years earlier.   © Panos/ Vlad Sokhin

Somali refugee Sabah holds up photos of her three children at a detention centre in Nauru, in 2014. Sabah, 28, had not seen her children since they became separated fleeing extremist violence in Somalia three years earlier.   © Panos/ Vlad Sokhin

End offshore detention immediately and bring all men, women and children on Manus Island and Nauru here now.