Don’t Criminalize Reporting of Wrongdoing at Immigration Detention Centers

800px-Northern_Immigration_Detention_Facility_in_April_2010 kenhodge13

Target: Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia

Goal: Repeal law criminalizing the public reporting of wrongdoing at immigration detention centers.

Doctors, healthcare professionals, and teachers in Australia have been banned from speaking out about their work in offshore and onshore immigration detention centers. These centers house all those found living in the country without a valid visa, and have been the subject of several human rights controversies. The Border Force Act prevents any “entrusted person” from blowing the whistle on improper practices, neglectful treatment, or poor conditions in these facilities. Those found in breach of the law could face a jail sentence of up to two years.

The role of doctors and medical professionals is to ensure that patients are being treated with the respect, care, and consideration they deserve. By criminalizing whistleblowers, the government has created a dangerous environment where improper treatment and even blatant abuse can fly under the public radar. While internal reports of such behavior are accepted, the Border Force Act could allow corrupt officials to ignore abuse and face no public accountability.

While the Australian government claims that the measures were put in place for national security purposes, they could have a devastating effect on immigrants and detainees. Without the advocacy of the people that work with them the closest, some of society’s most vulnerable people could face ongoing abuse and mistreatment. Sign the petition below to demand that Australia decriminalize medical whistleblowing by repealing the Border Force Act.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister Tony Abbott,

A new law, called the Border Force Act, criminalizes the public reporting of wrongdoing at both offshore and onshore immigration detention centers. This means that health care professionals and teachers could face criminal charges and jail time should they blow the whistle on poor conditions, neglectful treatment, or abuse in Australian facilities. Under the law, those that disclose any wrongdoing to the media or the public could face a two year jail term.

Medical professionals have a duty to do everything they can to promote the health and safety of their patients. The Border Force Act creates unnecessary restrictions which could open the way to corruption and abuse flying under the public radar for extended periods of time. This law is an appalling attempt to silence whistleblowers who simply advocate for the fair and humane treatment of refugees and detainees. We, the undersigned, demand that the law is repealed.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: kenhodge13

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