Submission to National Inquiry
into Children in Immigration Detention from
Many, many people
in Australia are absolutely appalled at the treatment of asylum seekers
incarcerated in Australia, under conditions that contravene international
human rights conventions.
My knowledge of the
conditions in Woomera is better than most Australians as both my sister
and a good friend were employed in Woomera Detention Centre last year.
They have both told me endless stories that bring tears to my eyes and
tear at my heart.
I am ashamed that
I live in a country where such cruelty is perpetrated out of sight and
constantly lied about or denied, even if by omission.
In April 2002, Amnesty
International Australia asked for people to consider donating $1.50 AUD
stamps. These stamps would be provided to detainees to attach to donated
postcards to send to their mothers and family overseas. I was almost physically
sick when I read this. Certainly I was distressed for quite some time.
I could not stop thinking of wretched, depressed, hopeless asylum seekers
writing to their mother's on the back of kangaroos, koalas and platypuses;
traumatised innocent children leaning on their beds writing on the backs
of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Adelaide Tram and some of our finest
beaches - all sights they will never get to see themselves.
I correspond with
detainees and send small gifts to lighten a small moment in their days
of inhumane existence.
I support anyway
I can those detainees I meet who have been released into our community
under the restrictive uncertainty of a Temporary Protection Visa.
Prime Minister John
Howard recently told the Southern Cross Network that the Government is
listening to what people have got to say. "I don't want this country
to lose its strong tradition of civil liberties and its tradition of being
a liberal democracy," Mr Howard said. "It's treasuring of the
principles that somebody is innocent until proven guilty - all of [these]
things are very important," he said.
This country has
already lost it and he isn't listening to everyone.
I expect you will
see past the illusion of care and concern as exhibited by ACM and DIMIA.
I hope you can make a difference.
Updated 9 January 2003.