The tiniest protestor

My mother and sister were both arrested today.

Last week a new Migration Bill was passed granting extraordinary powers (including a great deal of secrecy) to the Immigration Minister. The following day, the government used its new power to begin the procedure of deporting 25 asylum seeker babies that were born here in Australia. Eight of the babies are from the Rohingya people group, who are not recognised as citizens by their native Myanmar. They are persecuted on that basis, and women and children have been killed (both by institutions and by mobs) simply for being Rohingya.

Australia helped to write the Refugee Convention that made it illegal to send people back to a place where it was likely they’d be tortured or killed. This new Migration Bill overturned it, making Australia a willing and knowing accessory to crimes against humanity.

I want it to be illegal to send people back to a place where they’re likely to be harmed.

I want total transparency on all refugee cases taking place in Australia.

I want all asylum seekers processed in Australia (so they have basic human rights protection), by people who are politically neutral, with reasonable speed and a clear time-frame (as opposed to indefinite imprisonment without trial, as too many are now suffering).

I want all refugees deemed safe (by a neutral body) to be released into the community – there are dozens of individuals and organisations that have volunteered to take them, which would save Australia millions of dollars.

I want Temporary Protection Visas to be used only until cases are processed, and then converted into true security for the men, women, children and babies who need a home.

So basically, I’d like asylum seekers treated as humans in genuine need until proven otherwise.

That is why I attended the protest today at which my mother and sister were arrested (I was in the outside crowd, which was never at risk of arrest). And that is why TJ attended – representing the 25 Australian-born babies that our government is trying to get rid of.

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