Target: Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
Goal: Stop forcing asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat to resettle in Papua New Guinea
Australia has announced a new policy to halt the increasing number of unauthorized boat arrivals of asylum seekers. Refugees are now being sent to Papua New Guinea under the pretense of reducing loss of lives at sea and cracking down on illegal smugglers. Even if one is found to be a legitimate refugee, they will not be allowed to settle in Australia. Australia states that there is no cap for the amount of asylum seekers that will be processed and resettled in Papua New Guinea. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex asylum seekers are placed at risk in Papua New Guinea, a country that criminalizes homosexual acts.
The government of Papua New Guinea has refused to decriminalize homosexuality. LGBTI Papua New Guineans face social stigma and difficulty in obtaining and maintaining employment if they are ‘found out.’ The illegality of their sexuality forces them to live in secrecy, increasing the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections and diseases because people are fearful of reporting their sex lives. Processing asylum seekers requires them to plead their case as refugees, which endangers LGBTI people of imprisonment in a new country for the same reasons they were forced to flee from their home countries.
Australia’s decision to send people who are fleeing from persecution from countries such as Iran, which punishes homosexuality with the death penalty, to another hostile environment where they will endure similar oppression is a violation of the human rights of asylum seekers. The policy also fails to provide a real solution for smuggling concerns and will only push more asylum seekers and migrants to hiring criminal smugglers in attempt to gain entry into Australia. Please sign this petition to urge the Australian government to repeal this disturbing policy that threatens the rights of LGBTI asylum seekers.
Dear Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd,
It is unacceptable to send people escaping persecution in their home countries to another place where they will face intimidation and oppression. Placing asylum seekers in a state where they could face imprisonment for revealing that they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex is a violation of their human rights. Many of the asylum seekers arriving unauthorized by boat are unable to receive documentation from officials of the governments they are fleeing from, or are avoiding identification to protect themselves and their families. The well-founded fear of being persecuted in their sending countries is a tremendous push factor that is out of the asylum seeker’s control.
As a party to the Refugee Convention, Australia has agreed to protect the human rights of all asylum seekers regardless of how or where they arrive or their registration. I urge you to honor your international obligations under various treaties including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. By repealing your current policy to resettle undocumented asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea, you can ensure that these people will not be sent to a third country where their life or freedom is threatened.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: llauren via Flickr