The IEU Federal Executive stand in solidarity with state governments and church leaders for the 267 asylum seekers who are threatened with return to the detention camps of Manus Island and Nauru.
There are currently 267 asylum seekers in Australia who Prime Minister Turnbull may send back to offshore detention camps on Manus Island and Nauru. Among the 267 people are 37 babies born in Australia and children attending Australian local primary schools.
Offshore detention: Places of violence
The detention camps on Nauru and Manus Island are extremely dangerous and unsuitable environments.
In February 2015, The Human Rights Commission Report The Forgotten Children was released, detailing serious violations of the rights of children in Australian detention centres and the physical and psychological damage experienced as a result of this detention.
The report makes clear that long term detention of children causes mental illness, trauma and harm which will affect them for their entire lives.
The Federal Government’s response to this report has been appalling. Rather than address these critical issues and take steps to bring safety to these children, the Federal Government attacked the motives of the Human Rights Commission.
A further report, the independent Moss Report released in March 2015, revealed reports of rape within the Nauru centre, and numerous “reported and unreported allegations of sexual and other physical assault” of both children and adults.
Among the 267 asylum seekers are women who have been victims of sexual abuse on Nauru.
Former psychiatrists and social workers who worked on Nauru have since released an open letter stating that the Australian Government was aware of cases of sexual assault against women and children for 17 months but failed to act.
Complex legality, moral simplicity
While the recent High Court decision has ruled that the Federal Government has the constitutional right to build, fund, and run offshore detention camps in foreign countries, this does not over rule the moral argument for humane treatment of those who seek protection from persecution.
Across Australia, State Government premiers, church leaders, community and union leaders are joining together to support and protect asylum seekers.
Together, Christian and Islamic leaders are challenging the Federal Government laws by offering sanctuary to asylum seekers.