Protest Sunday July 13: Welcome the 153 asylum seekers – let them land, let them stay!

1pm Bourke St Mall, Sunday July 13
  • Don’t send asylum seekers back to danger in Sri Lanka
  • No to ‘enhanced screening’
  • Let Them Land, Let Them Stay!

The Refugee Action Collective will be holding a protest in the Bourke St Mall 1pm this Sunday July 13, to demand that the 153 Tamil asylum seekers not be handed over to the Rajapaksa regime in Sri Lanka. We will have a large wooden boat to symbolise the boat that Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has finally admitted is in government custody on the high seas.

It has taken action in the High Court to force Scott Morrison to admit the government has custody of the 153 asylum seekers. This makes a farce of Morrison’s refusal to acknowledge the asylum seekers existence. If Morrison had been confident that the government’s actions were both legal and justified, he would not have tried to hide them. Despite the court setback for Morrison and the temporary reprieve for the asylum seekers, we still have fears for the fate of three year old Febrina and the other 152 asylum seekers on the second boat. Morrison has not given an undertaking that these asylum seekers will not ultimately be returned to Sri Lanka, and we hold concern for their wellbeing on the high seas. These asylum seekers should now be brought to the Australian mainland, and have their asylum claims processed fairly. ‘Enhanced screening’ is not fair, it is a process designed to avoid Australia’s obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Despite the end of the civil war Sri Lanka is not a not a country at peace, Tamil areas remain under effective military occupation. In February this year Human Rights Watch claimed ‘that rape and sexual violence has been a key element of broader torture of suspected LTTE members and supporters even since the war’s end.’ A relative of people on the boat says that he knows that 11 of the asylum seekers onboard had previously been tortured. Our protest on Sunday will demand that they not be handed back to their torturers.

Contact Amanda 0423 013 245 or Lucy 0404 728 104 for more info

Refugee Action Collective