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Aussies plead with Rudd for compassion

October 29, 2009

Medical Association for Prevention of War –  MAPW urges humanitarian treatment of Sri Lankan Asylum Seekers

MAPW President Bill Williams has written a letter to Immigration Minister Chris Evans, urging that Australia’s response to Sri Lankan asylum seekers be humanitarian, and in accordance with international human rights law.
Dr Williams notes that the aslum seekers are fleeing a devastating war, with violence that most of us in Australia can barely imagine.  He notes the massive increase in global asylum seekers, and the minute proportion housed by Australia.



Unions NSW – The Humane Solution

The Australian Government must immediately find a humane solution for the 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers aboard the Oceanic Viking, according to Unions NSW.


As the asylum seekers spend their 11th day aboard the Oceanic Viking, Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon supported calls to process them on Australian soil, under Australian law.

“The Prime Minister has a fantastic opportunity to step up and show us the high road to a humane solution,” Unions NSW Secretary, Mark Lennon said.

“This debate is becoming disturbingly shrill. Australia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Refugees, Indonesia is not.

“These people are desperate. Allow them to be processed under our laws.”

Mr Lennon said the Rudd Government had done much to improve Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers, particularly its efforts too ensure children were no longer locked up.

But the trade union movement would not sit by and watch the public debate degenerate.

Mr Lennon said the strong position taken by the likes of AWU National Secretary, Paul Howes and former Unions NSW Secretary John Robertson was typical of the support asylum seekers could expect from organised labour.

“Unions NSW has a long history of advocating humane asylum seeker policies and we were pivotal in the establishment of Labor for Refugees,” Mr Lennon said.

“Unions believe in a tolerant, compassionate and multicultural nation and will publicly advocate humane policies and solutions,” Mr Lennon concluded.

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