Members of the Bellingen and Nambucca Rural Australians for Refugees group joined more than 70 people, including many young families, for a rally in the centre of Coffs Harbour on Saturday (21st) to protest against the government’s cruel and inhumane asylum policy.
There were 12 empty chairs on which the photographs of 12 men who have died in tragic circumstances on the offshore islands of Nauru and Manus were placed.
Speakers talked passionately about the government’s utter lack of compassion for the welfare of the men women and children who have been languishing in detention for the past five years.
We agreed that this policy brings shame on all Australians. We can keep our borders secure without the need to punish families and children who have committed no crime. It is legal to seek asylum.
Asylum seekers are fleeing for their lives from war torn countries and all they are asking us for is safety from persecution.
Keeping the offshore detention centres open is not ‘stopping the boats’ or ‘preventing life lost at sea’ as we are often told.
The Australian navy is stopping the boats with its operations over past years to turn back the boats. The detention centres on Manus and Nauru could be closed immediately and it would have no effect on boats of migrants arriving in Australia.
Many gatherings like ours took place this week all around Australia .
So we are part of a growing movement saying to our elected members we will not support this unnecessary cruel and expensive policy. It makes us ashamed to be Australian.