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Morrison’s Return Rocks Refugee Activists

Media Release - 21.08.18

Morrison’s Return Rocks Refugee Activists

Activists have reacted strongly to the news that Dutton has been replaced as Minister by his predecessor Scott Morrison.

Grassroots refugee activists have commented on Morrison’s ascendance to Home Affairs today. Terrible events like the offshore deaths of Reza Berati and Hamid Khazaei occurred when Morrison was previously the Immigration Minister.

Now that Morrison is the new/old Minister for Immigration, grassroots refugee activists insist on an end to indefinite detention onshore & off.

The transferees on Manus and Nauru are not there to stop boats. The navy can procide safe escort for boats. UNHCR Processing in Malaysia and Indonesia is for that.

The transferees held offshore are men, women and children who arrived the “wrong” way. They have been punished for 5 years.

Some are stranded asylum seekers who are deemed by desultory, lazy researchers “double negative” in their immigration status.

Most are people who would be welcome anywhere.

These transferees are also people whose families should not be split and who cannot be deported to danger. They are people whose only crime is their mode of arrival. They are not less healthy or less safe or intrinsically less worthy than those arriving by plane.

Australian courts have found that a long parade of refugees have had their health harmed by offshore indefinite detention. Many of these are children. It is unconscionable that Australia continues with the previous Home Affairs Department pattern of only responding to urgent court findings rather than to medical need. Medical crises should be determined by experienced doctors rather than bureaucrats or lawyers.

We say #KidsOffNauru, apply an exit strategy. But also develop a more humane policy or reap the results.

Indefinite offshore detention is as cruel as it is illegal. It has also been administered corruptly. Vast sums of taxpayer money have been squandered randomly on maintaining this form of deterrence. Mr Morrison has not arrested this pattern as Treasurer. Home Affairs has become a law unto itself.

When Immigration Minister for Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison had a track record of removing mobile phones from people in Immigration detention. These phones are a legal as well as emotional lifeline.

The behaviours of criminals and of Australian asylum seekers are being deliberately blurred by Home Affairs. This must stop.

Activists also call on Minister Morrison to stop removing Tamils from Biloela in dawn raids and to release the Tamil family held in a Melbourne detention centre back into the Biloela community that values them. These children have been held in detention onshore so long that they are regressing.

© Scoop Media

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