Offering a Common Sense Option to Detention There is real concern that the federal government is planning to transfer detainees to Christmas Island, and possibly transfer people held in the Eastern states to Yongah Hill Detention centre. The @homesafelywithus initiative proposes placement in the community as an alternative, and we are keen to promote this widely in the community as a viable and reasonable possibility.
Recently, a joint media release between ARAN (Australian Refugee Action Network) and the Refugee Advocacy Network was issued - calling on the government to take the common sense option to release refugees and asylum seekers held in detention to the support of their families and friends in the community. The @homesafelywithus initiative is offered as a response to overcrowding and the risk of Covid-19 cluster outbreaks in immigration detention facilities and APODs.
Refugee Action Collective Qld Participation RAC Qld is a part of the @homesafelywithus coalition. We are asking if you would be willing to provide accommodation to a refugee if the government were to accept this sensible offer.
At this stage we are just asking for basic information which will be kept confidential within a small organising group at ARAN so that we can confirm to the government that our offer has real substance.
If our offers of accommodation are taken up then more detailed information will be required. Advice and support will be offered if the initiative succeeds in getting the release of detainees.
Can you provide accommodation? If you are able to provide accommodation for a currently detained refugee please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org providing the following information: Name: Phone: Number of rooms: Number of people you can accommodate: Type of accommodation (house, unit, room, etc): State: Postcode:
We recommend that you visit the ARAN @homesafelywithus webpage for helpful information.
Joint MEDIA RELEASE: Sunday 9 August 2020 Release refugees to stay @homesafelywithus A coalition of refugee support groups today offered to open their homes to asylum seekers and refugees currently held in Australia’s immigration detention centres. The @homesafelywithus initiative is being offered to the Commonwealth Government as a concerned community response to reduce overcrowding and the risk of Covid-19 cluster outbreaks in immigration detention facilities.
The move follows an Australian Border Force (ABF) announcement last week that it needs to relieve capacity pressure across the immigration detention network in Australia and will transfer people under a 501 classification to the reopened Christmas Island detention centre. “For months medical experts have warned there is a high risk of coronavirus cluster outbreaks in overcrowded immigration centres and the hotels being used as alternative places of detention,” said Pamela Curr, spokesperson for RAN (Refugee Advocacy Network) and the @homesafelywithus coalition of support groups.
“Releasing asylum seekers will reduce the public health risk which is paramount at the moment,” Ms Curr said. “It will also save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars being wasted on all this unnecessary security around administrative detention because Government refuses to give refugees and people seeking asylum the protection they deserve".
“This is all so costly and unnecessary - spending millions on keeping people who pose no risk in immigration detention,” said Ms Curr. “It is totally unnecessary to be moving people around like pawns on a chessboard during a pandemic when there are homes for them to go to. “The safe, sensible and cost-effective thing to do is to release people who came here seeking asylum into the safe keeping of their families, friends and supporters. There are more than enough family and friends ready to welcome refugees into their homes and communities.”
The medical evacuees are still being detained in suburban hotels in Melbourne and Brisbane. Many have still not received the medical treatment they need. “Our real fear is that the medical evacuees may be moved from the eastern states to the Yongah Hill detention centre 100 km outside Perth,” Ms Curr said. “Yongah Hill has limited access to medical treatment and would remove vulnerable people far from the support of their families and other supporters in the community,” she added.
Convenor of ARAN (Australian Refugee Action Network), Marie Hapke said over $7billion has been spent keeping refugees on Manus, in PNG and Nauru since 2013. “Now, yet another bucket of money is being spent on Christmas Island which has become a monument to the Government’s punishing treatment of people who need our protection,” Ms Hapke said.
She urged the Government to recognise the @homesafelywithus initiative as a common sense solution against the alternative of keeping people indefinitely detained at unnecessary risk of infection with Covid-19 and at massive cost for years to come. “There is no plan for these people. Australia should not be a country that deprives innocent people of their freedom, especially during a global pandemic”, Ms Hapke said.
The @homesafelywithus Coalition
As at 11 August 2020 the coalition includes the following groups:
Australian Refugee Action Network
Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project
Grandmothers for Refugees
Hunter Asylum Seeker Advocacy
Refugee Action Coalition Sydney
Refugee Advocacy Network
Rural Australians for Refugees
Stop The Shame
Tasmanian Asylum Seeker Support TASS
Tasmanian Refugee Rights Action Group