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They still see us as criminals. A single mum's journey for asylum.

Updated: Oct 10, 2020

I started my journey seeking safety in 2013, with my three little children, after my husband was executed for advocating for social equality for our people.

After that, the Iranian government did not leave us alone. As a mother, I was worried about losing my kids too. There were so many occasions where we were invoked by the Iranian authorities for interrogation. They would get in my kid's faces and say, "It's because of your dad that your dreams of an education and a job are gone. You can not dream. You will end up in jail or sleeping in the street."

As a mother, I did not want someone else to determine my children's fate. To cultivate in their minds that they were unwanted in society - a failure - who would likely end up in jail for circumstances outside of their control.

The daily pressures from the Iranian government, the humiliation and the fear of losing my kids pushed me to take them somewhere safe. To move to a place where they could live with dignity and look forward to a prosperous future. So, in 2013 I started a journey I never thought I would have to take, leaving behind my family and my community. By now, I was at the mercy of people smugglers and a piece of wood that would be the boat that was to carry us across the ocean.

Once we arrived in Australian waters, Border Force intercepted our boat, and we were taken to a detention centre. At this moment, my feeling was positive because my kids were safe now, and so was I. However, security in the centre told me so many times that I was illegal and that by law, this meant I was a criminal!

Just like the Iranian government, the Australian government saw us as criminals. I thought I was running away from this. I had put my life and the lives of my children in danger to come to somewhere where we could be helped. We spent two years in detention.

Now, eight years on, I am losing hope. I live in limbo, reapplying every three years for my family to stay here. We live with limited access to education, health and employment, while we are racially discriminated against regularly.

I am still waiting for the Australian government to stop seeing me as a threat, the same way the Iranian government saw me. I want Australia to give us a chance to be part of a community we can dream good dreams and watch them come true.

Written by 'Amy' (name has been changed for legal reason)

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