Supporting GetUp!'s End Mandatory Detention campaign
Online campaign group GetUp! are partnering with a range of refugee advocacy organisations, including Project SafeCom, to send a petition to the federal Immigration Detention Inquiry being conducted by the Joint Standing Committee on Migration.
Chances like this don't come very often - to end a regrettable chapter of Australian history that caused unimaginable suffering to some of the world's most desperate and downtrodden.
The Government has launched an unexpected but long-awaited inquiry into immigration detention - the system that gave us children in detention, the 'Pacific Solution', sewn lips, the Cornelia Rau affair, razor wire and condemnation from the international community.
We believe this Inquiry signals that the Government genuinely wants to put an end to Australia's inhumane detention regime, and for the first time they are asking us for our views. If ever you have despaired at the treatment of asylum seekers, put your name to GetUp's petition submission and help end this ongoing national shame:
So many times the community has rallied against mandatory detention and finally we have been given the chance to consign it to the dustbin of history. Now we must demonstrate to the Government that we demand a humane system.
For over a decade, governments have been so concerned not to appear soft on asylum seekers that they have denied basic rights and dignity and opted for the cheap politics of fear. This is our chance to stand up and demonstrate that Australians demand decency.
Together we will show that harsh treatment of the vulnerable is unacceptable in our community. Click here to give a mandate for a future of decency and respect.
This Inquiry is a moment we've been waiting for to show that what was thought to be popular in the electorate - to be seen as harsh on asylum seekers - is something we profoundly reject. Contribute to our submission, and show the world that our better nature is stronger than our fear. Speak up today to right over a decade of wrongs.
GetUp believes, along with many other refugee advocacy organisations, that the immigration detention regime should meet the following principles:
Detention should not be mandatory. A mandatory detention regime is a breach of basic human rights principles.
Detention should never be indefinite. The Minister should not have the power to detain a person for life if they have committed no crime and pose no health or security risks. Strict time limits must be enacted.
Detention must be reviewable. The detention of any human being should be subject to the systems of legal review befitting a modern democracy.
Detention should be used as a matter of last resort. Detention should only be used where there is a proven security or compliance need.
Children should never be detained. Ever.
Detention centres should be humane. Detainees should be treated with dignity and respect. There must be genuine oversight by welfare and human rights bodies.
Detention centres should not be located in remote areas. Hiding asylum seekers away limits their access to legal, medical and social welfare services, and makes it difficult for family to visit.
Detention should never be used to punish those who seek asylum. Those who flee persecution have the right to ask for help.
Detention should be cost-efficient. Not only is the detention regime inhumane, it is more expensive than the community release options available.
Detention centres should have differing security levels appropriate for different types of detainee. The current one-stop-shop approach is inappropriate as it places vulnerable asylum seekers, visa over-stayers and sometimes dangerous or violent criminal deportees in the same centres.
GetUp has partnered with the following organisations in this campaign:
On July 22 2008, about 28 hours since the ten-point list as above was posted, GetUp adjusted and summarised their items to show the following four items instead:
Immigration detention should not be mandatory. It should be used as a measure of last resort for all people, not just children. It should be used only for legitimate necessary purposes: for health, character, identity and security checks, or where there is a proven ongoing security need.
Immigration detention should have clear time limits, with public and legal scrutiny and detained people must have the ability to challenge that detention.
Immigration detention should have all the ordinary standards expected by the rule of law, with a framework governed by legal rules, not by discretion.
Immigration detention should be conducted with every step taken to ensure that a person in detention can access all necessary legal and welfare services and to ensure that every detainee can properly realise their right to legal advice.
On July 23, 2008, at exactly 9:00pm WST, 20,000 people sent their endorsement to the petition. See the GetUp campaign page screenshot below!