Archive for May 11, 2013

On 1 May 2013 a 35 yr old man arrived to Christmas Island with his 9yr old son. Hours later he complained of feeling unwell and died in the local hospital shortly later.

ChilOut fully expected the Dept of Immigration to act swiftly and bring this boy to the Australian mainland where family members await his arrival and are ready to care for him. Six days later and with no response to our request for information to the Minister’s office, we have gone public in the hope that bureacracy moves faster to support and help this little boy.

Following the 2010 Christmas Island boat tragedy, young Seena was orhpaned. A debacle played out around his treatment, re-detention, funeral attendance and more. We thought that lessons would have been learnt and procedures would be in place to act immediately in the best interests of children in such a tragic situation. Seemingly not. Click here for ChilOut press release

ChilOut is an Australian group that formed in 2001. Their position is that “all children regardless of race, religion, class or immigration status should be covered by child protection laws. There should never be a loophole for child abuse or neglect. ChilOut does not usually undertake individual advocacy but exceptional circumstances warrant it.”

Below is an extract of a recent opinion piece by Bruce Haigh, who has very kindly given the interpretOr the okay to cite and link to his pieces…

 …To my mind the issue which has defined federal governments over the past decade and a half is the manner in which both major parties have chosen to handle refugees. Fearful of polls and lacking the quality most needed in politicians, that of leadership, they have chosen to demonise and bully the weakest amongst us, the one group requiring our care and compassion – asylum seekers.

Howard, Rudd, Gillard and Abbott have all used bullying as an instrument of politics. Their policies toward asylum seekers were and are not designed to protect and embrace those most in need, but rather to deter asylum seekers coming to Australia by boat.

The rhetoric of the Gillard government has been to claim that they are trying to break the people smuggler business model, and to assist they appointed an ‘expert panel’ to come up with policies to back their exclusionist boat policy. The government and opposition claim they want to stop people taking dangerous sea voyages, yet they stubbornly refuse to consider the option of processing on Indonesia for fear of encouraging more arrivals.

Current policies harm people. The victims are victimised, some incarcerated without hope of release because of fear they may engage in acts of terrorism. Advice tended to ASIO by a discredited Sri Lankan government, who happened to be the winner of a cruel civil war. The deal being if we detain their nominees they will prevent asylum seekers coming to Australia by boat. How low can we go as a nation?

Deterrence amounts to an unconscionable and prolonged act of state bullying…

…This piece can be read in full at Bruce’ site – just click here to go on through…


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