In the papers this week there’s a picture of a little boy – a boy who has just arrived in Australian waters, in a boat powered by hope for a better future.
He’s about ten years old. He looks worried and confused.
And he is right to be. Right now, our Government is weighing up whether to deport children like him to Malaysia, despite the ordeal he’s already endured on his precarious journey to Australia.
With reports that the execution of the Malaysia Deal could begin within the next 48 hrs we need to make sure that our Government knows that they do not have our support to treat vulnerable children in this way.
This week we will put full-page ads in newspapers across Australia, with the headline “Not In Our Name” – and the names of as many Australians as possible printed below. The more names we have to squeeze in — the more powerful our message.
Add your name now:
The iconic image in the papers of a little boy standing in front of a customs official reminds us that each and every human being arriving in Australia as an asylum seeker is full of hope and potential – two things that can be crushed by our immigration system. We may never know this little boy’s full story, but here are some things we do know: someone thought his prospects were bleak enough that risking a frightening journey and an uncertain future in a scary new country was better than his alternatives. That same person cared about him enough to spend a significant portion of their life savings trying to get him here. And after a long, arduous, dangerous journey, he made it here alive.
In a democracy, the government speaks for us, the people. But when those we elect act so far outside the bounds of moral decency as to even consider putting innocent children in harm’s way, we have a duty to speak up. As Australians, we must say: ‘If you do this, it is not in our name’.
The “Not In Our Name” ad campaign is different. Its power doesn’t come from wit or impressive design. Its power comes from our names. As the Immigration Minister finalises arrangements on Monday, let’s make sure he knows that tens of thousands of Australians demand respect for the rights of children.
Add your name now – and forward this email to all your friends and family so that they can take a stand too.
Many of us feel helpless as we watch the images of children arriving here. We know enough about what awaits many of them, and enough about what they have already survived, to wish we could do something, anything to help. Today we can all do something – by not being silent when we should speak.
With hope and conviction,
the GetUp team
P.S. While it’s understandable that the Minister can not offer a blanket exemption to any class of asylum seekers, for fear that people smugglers will exploit it to their advantage, the most vulnerable children and their families shouldn’t be used as pawns in a political debate. It’s time that humanity and reason overrule fear and xenophobia: http://www.getup.org.au/not-in-my-name