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Extraordinary

To think we live in a free country in the 21st century – or do we?

Last week on a visit to Villawood Detention Centre we met several families who are ‘detained’ there. Not knowing too much about the people I was about to meet I had only my initial impressions of an hour conversation to go on to form opinions afterward. The overwhelming feeling of heavy sadness permeated the environment there. Knowing the theory of how slow and unfair it is in the extended holding of these people whose only crime is to want to live a life without fear of death is stirring enough, but spending time face-to-face with them is overwhelming.

In a way I don’t blame the average Aussie for not wanting anything to do with helping those seeking asylum, but then we completely dismiss their humanity. We need to meet people actually involved with this to get a true perspective, to put faces to the stories, to make it real and personal, not get suckered into the populist media driven rhetoric.

One of the mum’s we met was Ranjini, who quite justifiably could ask: ‘why?’ She came across as a lovely, articulate mum, just wanting the best for her family. She has no idea why it has been torn apart by the government bureaucracy, and despite numerous approaches to all levels of government has still not been told. It comes as no surprise that she obviously deeply depressed.

Ranjini

On researching her, it was to my surprise that she has had much written about her. Please take the time to read and listen to her story at http://lettersforranjini.com/ranjinis-story/

“Ranjini was found to be a genuine refugee before ASIO decided last week she is a security risk for Australia. But the government won’t tell her why, and now she’s facing a life in detention.” (May 22)

If she is a security risk, then tell her & the legal counsel why, so due process can be observed. That is a simple basic statement for someone who had already been granted permission to stay, with all the checks having been done.

I thought we lived in a first world country whose knockabout ethic extolled the principle of a ‘fair go’.

Obviously not.

And this is just one example of literally thousands in limbo – shame.

We, as a community to let the politicians know they have got it badly wrong. Allow a fair trial, remove the blockages which drag out the process into years, not the months it should take (and does in other countries)

My thanks to Jackie Benney in walking this trail with me, and the images and campaign led by Asylum Seekers Research Centre http://www.asrc.org.au/ and 1 Deadly Nation http://1deadlynation.wordpress.com/

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