Saturday, January 11, 2020
Imagine you live in a country with an oppressive government and even worse your enthnic group is being persecuted by that government, would you not want to leave even if it means selling all your possessions? This is a scenario faced by thousands of people every year who are classed as asylum seekers. Brindha, the 9 year old Tamil asylum seeker who on a crowded boat off the Indonesian coast, made a heartbreaking plea to Australian journalists to please save them, the prime minister delivered a cold reply: Ã¢â¬Å"I make absolutely no apology whatsoever for taking a hard line on illegal immigration to Australia. The 253 asylum seekers Ã¢â¬â not illegal immigrants Ã¢â¬â on that boat had sacrificed everything they had to make a desperate bid for safety from the systematic slaughter being wrought on them by the Sri Lankan government. They are fleeing a situation where the Sri Lankan government is killing 1400 a week of the 300,000 detained in concentration camps. This is a horror that drives people to flee with nothing other than the clothes on their back, is what politicians and media have taken to calling a Ã¢â¬Å"push factor. There is absolutely nothing illegal about seeking asylum, about arriving without authorisation or papers, or about coming by unregistered boats as long as there is a legitimate reason states the United Nations. However the Australian Government still labels them illegal immigrants and places them in Detention Centres which in most cases results in the emotional and psychological damage to a refugee. In 2002, the Medical Journal of Australia described the extreme psychological and emotional damage done to people detained in immigration detention in Australia. The pattern they describe includes Ã¢â¬Å"the development of a psychological state characterised by severe depression, despair, hopelessness, paranoia, chronic rage, persecutory delusions, sub-syndromal psychosis, characterological change and persistent self harming behaviourÃ¢â¬ . In their sample, Ã¢â¬Å"all but one of the detained asylum seekers displayed symptoms of psychological distress at some time during their period of detentionÃ¢â¬ . Eighty-five per cent had Ã¢â¬Å"chronic depressive symptomsÃ¢â¬ and sixty-five per cent had Ã¢â¬Å"pronounced ongoing suicidal ideationÃ¢â¬ . Refugees should not have to stay in conditions conducive to mental disorders and suicidal tendencies. If the Australian government wishes to fix the problem they should fix detention centres, make the facilities more humane and turn off the electric fence,( The electric fences around such centres are more harmful than that of Auschwitz concentration camp). The government should also provide faster processing of refugees so these people are not subjected to what is incarceration with committing a crime. In 2002 protesters tore down the fences of Woomera Detention Centre, assisting people inside to make a courageous and inspiring breakout. They would not hesitate to do it again. Asylum seeking is an issue that cuts right to the heart of everything thatÃ¢â¬â¢s rotten and inhumane about capitalism Ã¢â¬â its racism, its hypocrisy, its brutality and its utter contempt for humanity. We should all stand firmly for the rights of asylum seekers.