Day 17 2 July 2013
Sitting on the steps last night 2 July 2013 I was joined by Cindy and her children with their homemade lanterns and some soup. Thank you. I was weary last night and it was overcast – I could not see the moon. But, as often happens, by the end of the vigil I felt much revived. I was thinking of the weariness of women trying to hold their families together, to care for their children in such horror-filled circumstances of deprivation and violence. And I sent out love, strength and tenderness to these women. When I packed up the vigil I remembered what Vassillio had said about the way he is filled with love in his act of giving flowers each day he walks the streets. I guess that is similar to how I felt as I packed up the vigil last night.
During the evening I was once again questioned about the “problem” of “economic migrants passing themselves off as refugees”. Ah … If you would like to think more about this – and I think it is important to educate ourselves after the shocking comments by Bob Carr recently – please read the following article.
I will also include an excerpt from this article that is important for people to get their hearts around as it seems there are a number of people who have swallowed the poison of main-stream media and think that there is no reason why Sri Lankan, Iranian and Afghani people (amongst others) need to seek refuge:
FactCheck: are asylum seekers really economic refugees?
An excerpt from the above article:
Regarding Sri Lanka, the Human Rights Council on March 21, 2013, adopted the resolution on Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka
The resolution expresses concern at:
…reports of continuing violations; concern at reports of enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings, torture, threats to the rule of law, religious discrimination and intimidation of civil society activists and journalists.
As for Iran, this year the Security Council – of which Australia is a member state – extended the enforcement of sanctions. The Human Rights Council on March 22, 2013, passed a resolution on the human rights situation in Iran after hearing a report by the UN Secretary General. It concluded that:
…the Secretary-General remains deeply troubled by reports of increasing numbers of executions, including of juvenile offenders and in public; continuing amputations and flogging; arbitrary arrest and detention; unfair trials; torture and ill-treatment; and severe restrictions targeting media professionals, human rights defenders, lawyers and opposition activists, as well as religious minorities.
As for Aghanistan, the Security Council regularly hears from the United Nations mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
In March 2013, it was reported to the council that there remains serious human rights violations and attacks on civilians by armed non-state actors. Regarding the likelihood of these asylum seeker claims meeting the UNHCR refugee definition – “the UNHCR has identified 859,305 refugees in need of resettlement, of whom 180,676 require resettlement in 2013”. Afghanistan remains the number one source country for successful refugee claims around the world.
In summary, these three major source countries for boat arrivals have been repeatedly found by the international community to be unable to protect persons that may fall under the refugee definition – someone with a well-founded fear of persecution on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinion.
I will be sitting on the steps this evening 3rd July and welcome you to celebrate my birthday, sitting with me quietly in solidarity with and memory of those sufferning – and sending them love and hope.
We have now 100 signatures on the petition!