Refugees need to looked af­ter

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Westernopinion -

I APPLAUD the ALP’S con­sid­er­a­tions to in­crease the refugee in­take to Aus­tralia.

I have worked with refugees for three-and-ahalf years and as such know their strug­gles to sur­vive, the tor­ture and trauma they have of­ten ex­pe­ri­enced and their in­cred­i­ble re­silience and grate­ful­ness to be safe in Aus­tralia.

My con­tact with refugees has taught me what in­cred­i­bly gra­cious, re­source­ful and hard-work­ing peo­ple they are in the main.

Let us not for­get that but for the grace of God – or luck – it could have been you or me flee­ing for our lives.

Many of us have no idea of their ex­pe­ri­ences.

The rea­son peo­ple from coun­tries like Sri Lanka, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran leave ev­ery­one they know and love and a cul­ture they also know, love and be­long in is to save their life.

Imag­ine this is you and as an asy­lum seeker you have seen all the mem­bers of your en­tire fam­ily bru­tally killed in front of you by an (gov­ern­ment) au­thor­ity; or you have been hung by the skin and mus­cle on your back from a huge hook in a jail for hours; or you have your head forcibly plunged into wa­ter so that you think you will die of drown­ing re­peat­edly; or you have been badly beaten... so you leave your coun­try, alone, and you sur­vive the very dan­ger­ous boat trip to Aus­tralia. Be­cause Aus­tralia is a sig­na­tory to the UN Con­ven­tion on Refugees, you think you will be safe there.

And then you are pun­ished for years on end by the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment for do­ing noth­ing but seek­ing safety.

The peo­ple we treat this way are hu­man, just like me and just like you.

His­tor­i­cally 90 per cent of those who come to Aus­tralia by boat (which is not il­le­gal) are found to be refugees re­quir­ing our pro­tec­tion.

We must stop play­ing po­lit­i­cal foot­ball with some of the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in the world. AN­DREA CALLAGHAN, Hil­ton

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