#Let them stay

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.

Federal Executive action

On 11 February 2016, the meeting of the IEU Federal Executive endorsed the following resolution.

That the meeting of the IEU Federal Executive;

condemns the Federal Government and opposition for their lack of compassionate action in the matter of the asylum seekers

calls upon the federal government to comply with the Convention of the Rights of the Child where children who are asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors are entitled to have their welfare and human rights protected and their right to an education upheld

calls upon the Federal Government not to return the 267 vulnerable men, women and children to the detention camps of Nauru and Manus Island

commends the various church and state government leaders who have shown leadership and compassion in offering sanctuary to those seeking protection, and

calls upon Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to show leadership and stand up for those who flee their country and seek protection from persecution.

Take action

IEU members are asked to contact the Prime Minister’s Office and their local MP, and request that the 267 asylum seekers not be returned to the off shore detention camps of Manus Island and Nauru.

IEU members can contact the Prime Minister’s Office at: https://www.pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm and locate their local MP at: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/find-your-local-mp.htm