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Concern for Wellbeing of Asylum Seekers - Letter to the Prime Minister
Australian Quakers write to the Prime Minister expressing concern for the wellbeing of asylum seekers - October 2020.
Following a public statement about the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers made in July, Australian Quakers have written to the Australian Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the Nationals and the leader of the Greens.
"We regret that government policy, regardless of which political party is in power, has become so harsh, and that asylum seekers are subject to arbitrary punishment that is contrary to international refugee standards to which Australia is obligated. We believe that most Australians would like to see a change in this situation.
Our attention has been drawn to a way of moving Australia’s policy in a more positive direction, following the disruption caused by the pandemic to the flow of people from overseas to Australia. The Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law (UNSW) has proposed a series of steps that we consider are both humane and effective changes to current policy. The specific moves recommended are that the government:
(a) Not cancel visas while people are in immigration clearance and seek to lodge a protection claim;
(b) Ensure that anyone in this situation is interviewed by a trained official from the humanitarian program of Home Affairs;
(c) Allow these people to proceed to a full asylum procedure, with access to legal advice and interpreters throughout;
(d) Detain people only as a last resort and for the shortest time possible, and not remove them from Australia until their claim has been determined."
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