The situation is desperate and urgently needs your help. By writing one letter, you can help build the pressure to include refugees and people seeking asylum in the Government’s COVID-19 response. Refugees and people seeking asylum are severely affected by this crisis, but so far have been excluded from all aspects of the Government strategy.
There are thousands of refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia who have no access to Medicare, no work and no social security. Many are turning to community service organisations, already stretched beyond capacity, for essentials such as food and shelter.
A breakout of COVID-19 in any of Australia’s detention facilities would have a devastating effect on people detained there. Most immigration detention facilities, including hotels that are being used to accommodate people who have been medically transferred from PNG and Nauru, are overcrowded. People in these facilities are not able to maintain the social distancing recommended by health authorities to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. As we know, many of them already have compromised health as a result of their long incarceration in unsafe, unhealthy living conditions. They are frightened and desperate.
Please write a letter calling on the Federal government to ensure that refugees and people seeking asylum are included in COVID-19 strategies.
The following are the priority actions identified by the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) to address the most pressing issues resulting from the COVID-19 crisis:
- Move people urgently out of crowded immigration detention facilities.
- Ensure a financial safety net and Medicare access for all in Australia, including people seeking asylum and refugees.
- Prevent people losing legal status and access to support.
- Move refugees and people seeking asylum from PNG and Nauru.
- Ensure that refugees on temporary SHEV visas are not penalised in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For a very informative, detailed explanation of each of these points, see the RCOA website here.
Please write a letter now. It can be as simple as copying the above five points or using our online template, but the more you personalise your letter, the more effective it will be. The RCOA page linked above provides excellent points for use in composing your letter.
Send your letter to:
- The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison https://www.pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm
- The Hon Josh Frydenberg, Treasurer Josh.Frydenberg.MP@aph.gov.au
- Senator, the Hon Anne Ruston,Minister for Families and Social Services Senator.Ruston@aph.gov.au
Use that content to submit a letter to the editor to the Canberra Times via the online form here.
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