Today the ACT Greens will lead a motion in the Legislative Assembly that calls on the Federal Government to immediately remove all refugees and asylum seekers from the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres—and resettle them in Refugee Welcome Zones, including the ACT.
Today’s motion notes that the ACT is “willing and ready” to settle refugees and asylum seekers from Manus Island and Nauru in Canberra as part of a national program of resettlement.
“The Greens believe that seeking asylum is a humanitarian issue that obliges us all to treat those seeking asylum with compassion and dignity,” Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury said.
“The Manus Island and Nauru offshore detention centres are unsafe and inappropriate places to house refugees, including children.
“We have heard troubling reports of a deteriorating situation both on Manus Island and Nauru. This includes the recent death of an Iranian refugee on Manus, and news that almost 50 refugees were prevented from receiving necessary health treatment on Nauru.
“This situation is cruel and unsustainable. It is well past time for the Federal Government’s damaging, cruel and inhumane policy to end,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“There must be, and is, a better way.”
The ACT is the only Australian state or territory to have declared itself a Refugee Welcome Zone. It is one of 148 Refugee Welcome Zones across Australia–including councils and shires from every state.
“Today we’re calling on the Federal Government to resettle refugees and asylum seekers in Australia’s 148 Refugee Welcome Zones, where they can build new lives among compassionate and caring communities that have committed to upholding their rights.”
Canberra is also among the country’s most progressive LGBTIQ jurisdictions.
The Federal Government has mandatorily detained gay asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru. Many are now told to consider their options and make a decision to return to their home countries, where they may face persecution and possible death as a result.
Earlier this year the ACT Greens called the Australian Government to bring LGBTIQ refugees to Canberra, where they will be welcomed by our Canberra community and their safety guaranteed.