In the upcoming election (which will be my focus for posting this week), remember:
Last time I talked about not being silent. Implicit in that call was a promise to do something, or some things, to help. Currently, I connect with refugees in my local community and support them through going to rallies, to luncheons and other fundraising/ activism community events.
I also follow a number of pages through social media, who suggest further things to do.
One is Sister Jane Seeks Asylum. Sister Jane is a nun who set up camp in from of Parliament House in Canberra last December (in Advent) to raise awareness about Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers. Right now, she’s running a “Make a Ripple” campaign – each week listing actions one can take to help – like sending phone credit to Manus, so the men there can keep in touch with their families. Check it out!
Here is a Pledge one can take, supporting the action we want to see. Somewhat symbolic, but sets out the objectives clearly, asking that the signer commits to working towards these goals:
- Immediate release and settlement for all those suffering at our hands;
- End mandatory detention;
- Raise the refugee intake substantially;
- Safe and just passage of asylum seekers to Australia, with no punishment based on means of arrival;
- Give permanent settlement visas, citizenship with full rights including work and family reunion.”
Here is Julian Burnside’s explanation of why we should care, as a reminder, with some potential humane solutions.
Also, if you’re so inclined, here is an open letter from CAPSA (Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum): http://jss.org.au/capsa-open-letter-june-2016/
They, too, have a list of points:
- Offshore, mandatory and indefinite detention are wrong.
- The principle of deterrence, by which people who have already tried to come to Australia to seek protection are treated harshly in order to stop others doing the same, cannot be justified morally.
- People seeking asylum in Australia should live in the Australian community. Those sent to Nauru and Manus Island should be returned to Australia
- Those living in the community should have the right to work, access to basic services, and to some financial support if they cannot find work.
- Children should not be held in detention anywhere, but be housed in the Australian community with the full range of services necessary for their welfare.
- In the Catholic tradition, if people are to live with dignity their family ties are essential. People should have the opportunity to be reunited with separated close family members promptly once they are found to be refugees
Finally, to end on a happy note – a post on Facebook I saw:
The kids are all right, I reckon.