On Saturday 9th Janurary, hundreds of refugee supporters came to the streets to free the Medevac refugees in the Park Hotel. This showed that the support for refugees is stronger than ever and the message to the government was loud: end the indefinite detention and its inhumane policy.
It’s always heart-warming to see so many people attend a rally in support of the refugee community. We’d like to thank everyone who joined the 'Let them out, let them stay - Free the Medevac Refugees' rally, as we marched from the State Library up Swanston Street to the Park Hotel.
Our voices were loud and clear: the Australian community does not support the government’s indefinite imprisonment of refugees.
We are a community of compassion and we demand a fair and humane policy towards people seeking safety.
Most of us are boat people in Australia and we’ve all faced different circumstances upon arrival. But for our 60 brothers in the Park Hotel, in the city centre of Melbourne just a few hundred metres away from busy restaurants and cafes, their circumstances are inhumane and indefinite. Like our brothers, who are being detained illegally, many of us too sought asylum, fleeing persecution and death, and have lived stateless.
In seven years, so many of us have learnt the English language, made new friends, reunited with old friends, completed some sort of education or got married and had kids. What about you? What have you achieved in the past seven years?
The ability to live our lives the way we like is a basic human right, which we can enjoy every day. When these rights are provided to us, we can dream and make these dreams our reality.
But, for our brothers who are spending their time in these corrupt, and mostly illegal detention centres/prisons, dreams can only be written on paper and the only freedom there is, is to look out of a hotel window. Or, if you’re lucky, a few square metres of a balcony to stretch your legs and feel fresh air on your face.
We want to express a message clearly to those people who are busy with their lives and have other commitments and are not paying as much attention to what is happening to these human rights abuses in the heart of our cities across the nation.
We need your voice now more than ever. Many lives have been lost and destroyed under our watch and it is time for all of us to say enough is enough.
We want to see these innocent people free and safe among us!
Lastly, we ask our politicians to be more vocal about this at the state and federal level.
One or two voices won’t end this inhumane action.
We know the government outsources their friends to keep people locked up.
We know there is a lot of corruption happening.
We know these inhumane practises could be stopped today.
So, we ask all politicians to collectively represent the Australian values we all hold dear and to end this cruelty against people seeking asylum.
For the rest of us, we can visit the Park Hotel Prison to say hello and show support for our brothers, we can contact our local MPs, share information and keep up to date with the numerous events happening online and in-person via Stand Together for Justice and Refugee Action Collective, to name a few.