Seeking asylum is a human right.

26 Jul

This is not a political blog.

I don’t generally have much to say on the business of politics, but this current sword fight between the two parties regarding the issue of boat people is so incredibly disturbing and saddening that I’m moved to say a word or two.

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Obviously, with a Federal Election only months away and both parties having egg on their faces for various reasons, they’re both trying to make a major point in order to garner the votes in their bid to run the country.
The rationale is that if they do this elaborate ‘Boat People’ dance that perhaps people will forget that Tony Abbott is one of the least liked Liberal candidates in history, and that the Labour party is a circus.

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It’s not the first time shock tactics and sensationalism have been used to sway opinion, and it sure as shit won’t be the last, but it’s been turned into an almost computer game of good versus evil.

My strongest point that I wish to make is asylum seekers are not criminals. They are not gunner runners, drug smugglers and sex traders.

These are frightened men, women and children who are not stowing away on cruise liners in order to come and smoke free cigarettes in holiday camps until they’re processed and then they come and take our jobs. These are people who are risking life and limb aboard largely unseaworthy vessels because facing unknown dangers at sea, with a possible better life free of persecution and terror seems a better option than living in their own war-torn countries.

We have no idea how lucky we are.

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We may see images of their life on the news. Schools bombed, civilians killed, genocide, human rights mercilessly stomped on year after year and we have the luxury of turning the channel over to The Biggest Loser and watching someone struggle to touch their toes and finally overcome their weight problems and we can cheer them on as if we helped and feel uplifted by their achievement.

That’s our reality.

We are desensitized to the atrocities committed daily, hourly, every damned second to our human brothers and sisters around the world.

Imagine if you had a violent intruder in your house and you ran to your neighbour and they turned you away, or told you to try across the road. That’s what we’re doing.

I don’t know what the solution is, but this new proposal of sending asylum seekers to Manus Island is fatally flawed. There is space for 300 people and in the first week there are 800 people forced to live in third word prison conditions, and history has shown us that they end up in this purgatory for years.

Entire childhoods spent behind bars for the crime of their parents dreaming of a better existence. A chance at a normal life.

Our government’s treatment and now, diversion of these refugees, directly contravenes the United Nations Geneva Convention which clearly states that we are obligated by law to provide asylum to genuine refugees. Our mandatory detention was not in keeping with this, and sending people to New Guinea most certainly isn’t either.

My voice alone probably can’t help, but if I add my voice to others, then perhaps we can create a chorus.

If you would like to speak out for asylum seekers to be treated fairly, take 30 seconds to add your name here,

What are your thoughts on asylum seekers?

Do you have any solutions?

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Hooking up with With Some Grace for FYBF….

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11 Responses to “Seeking asylum is a human right.”

  1. Trish MLDB July 26, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    There is so much room in our country , I cannot understand the govt. decisions – the atrocity of ignoring these desperate people.
    Farmers could billet families in return for work on the land maybe and help rural communities to thrive again, not as slave labour but in some way sponsored by the community/government.

  2. Cooker and a Looker July 26, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    Well said Mrs Holsby. I get shouty every time someone says ‘illegal asylum seekers’. I’ve signed. x

  3. Psych Babbler July 26, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. This whole fear-mongering about ‘boat people’ has been generated by the loud far-right voices in the media and unfortunately, a large number of Australians without an ounce of critical thinking buy into this fear hook, line and sinker. As you said, most people don’t realise that asylum seekers are actually risking their lives while trying to look for a better life. That itself should tell us how bad they’ve got it. If they had options to go to a consulate or an embassy and wait for years for a humanitarian visa while fearing for their lives every second, they probably would. Fact is, they don’t have that option. They only have the boats. We are a lucky country. We forget just how lucky.

  4. ksbeth July 26, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    i was there when they recently signed the agreement with new guinea, and i could not believe that this was legal. let alone humane in any way. babies and innocents are dying daily in this process. we were born where we were born by luck and fate, and need to understand those who are willing to risk it all just to have a chance to have a peaceful and fair life. i am very saddened by this.

  5. Leanne Winter July 26, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    Thank you, for a great post. This situation is a blight on our souls. The other commenters have said it all, really. I have added my name to the Amnesty International list and I urge others to do the same.

  6. Lisa@RandomActsOfZen July 26, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    Thanks for the link Mrs. H. There’s no justice in the whole asylum seeker situation, and using it as a political tool shows that our politicians are more interested in numbers than souls. Surely with all we have, it wouldn’t take much to reach out a welcoming hand rather than a frightening one.

  7. frazzledandfortyish July 29, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    My name is on the list – thank you …ironic considering White Australia was established via boat people only a couple of hundred years ago

  8. coloursofsunset September 6, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    I wish I had a solution. I wish there was a way to spend the money they spend to try and “stop the boats” on making the places they live better. I wish there was a way to make sure NO ONE felt that desperate that they had to travel in these conditions in the hopes of making it to Australia without dying first. As a parent, I think about how truly awful my situation would have to be before I was willing to risk my son’s life to escape. THAT is how bad it is! There is more than enough room in Australia for everyone. It seems the only options the 2-party system ever talks about are diverting the boats and STOPPING the boats, not once has anyone mentioned a way to actually HELP the people ON the boats! Very frustrating, and people are so uneducated about what actually happens to “boat people” it’s disgusting.

    • Keeping Up With The Holsbys September 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

      Isn’t it? I’m hoping to interview and share some stories of boat people. idea just forming now, but there’s so much BS about it and not enough empathy. I’m ashamed of our government.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Parenthood Project – ALDI, cut the crap!! | Keeping Up With The Holsbys - September 6, 2013

    […] blogged recently about ‘boat people’ and I’m often Facebooking human rights issues; Syria, Amnesty International Campaigns and the […]

  2. Why we are the lucky ones. | Keeping Up With The Holsbys - January 26, 2014

    […] know I feel passionately about asylum seekers, and I know it’s not a black and white issue, but I will remember today as I stick sausages […]

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