Why this campaign?
As a ceaseless women’s advocate and grant-maker focused on addressing the causes of gender based violence, the Victorian Women’s Trust can no longer remain silent about this abuse on our watch.
We are compelled to make safety a priority, joining with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project (BASP), and Refugee Advocacy Network as well as many organisations and concerned citizens supporting safe refuge for people seeking asylum.
Through the Our Voice Their Safety campaign, we are calling on you and your networks to join with us in raising our voices to improve the situation of women and children on Nauru, demanding our Government endorse an alternative, humane plan for all people seeking asylum in Australia.
With a Federal election upon us - now is the time to let people know how we feel about the treatment of women seeking asylum in our country.
While the national discussion on domestic violence issues has undergone a seismic shift over recent times, thanks largely to the tireless efforts of Rosie Batty - the violence against women in the Nauru immigration detention centre has escalated to appalling levels.
The Moss Review into the conditions on Nauru (commissioned by the Australian Government in 2014) reported on serious allegations of rape, sexual abuse and the indecent assault of women and children. Numerous reports have also been made on the severe, detrimental impact that long-term detention is having on the health of women, men and children who remain locked up in detention in Australia and offshore. This widespread mental and physical suffering cannot be allowed to continue.
Together, our voices can secure their safety.
How the Australian Government justifies their current policies:
You can’t come here
Our Government has the sovereign right to choose who comes here. People seeking asylum by boat are sent to Nauru and Manus Island for processing and resettlement.
No right to asylum
Our Government can refuse entry to people who arrive by boat even though it is legal for them to seek asylum. Boats are turned back to their port of origin without concern for the safety and welfare of those on board
No human rights
Women, men and children have no basic human rights and can be detained indefinitely; they are kept in prison-like buildings, isolated from the community and given no time limit for their release. Families are often split up.
Assault can happen
Sexual assault, trauma and the degrading treatment of women, men and children in detention is a necessary trade off to stop people coming by boat. Private companies and foreign governments are paid to run detention centres without independent oversight. Reports of serious abuse and distress are downplayed or ignored.
It’s a secret
Our Government can use secrecy provisions to limit information to the public. Staff, doctors and other specialists are threatened with jail if they provide information about the safety and wellbeing of people in their care. No information is provided to the public about the plight of people trying to reach Australia by boat.
Our interests only
Our Government can pursue short term national interests without regard to international obligations or the effect on relations with nearby countries. Developing countries with inadequate infrastructure are paid to resettle people seeking protection in Australia. The territorial waters of other countries are entered without permission to turn boats back. Regional agreements focus on detention and people smuggling at the expense of developing a more comprehensive solution.