Stop Violence Against Refugees and Offshore Detention

Last Saturday, at the annual festival of Dangerous ideas in the Sydney Opera House, Naomi Klein, a Canadian author and activist, opened her session on Capitalism and the Climate by calling for the recognition of the importance of Indigenous Peoples, especially in Australia and Canada. She denounced the inhuman treatment of refugees, especially in the Australian detention center built in the State of Nauru, a Pacific Island destroyed by phosphate mining, threatened by flood, whose economy is now based on this a model of "offshore detention centers" that Australia pretends to export to Europe.

Thousands of Australians have also recently protested against the inhumane treatment of refugees at detention centers, for whose only crime was to have run away from countries where their lives were threatened.

This morning, an Australian academic was called upon to sign a collective petition against the offshore detention centers. I would like to share this letter with all the readers that I invite to sign the petition that was written by Joseph Pugliese, a research director at the Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University, and his colleagues who have been working for 15 years on these issues:

A group of us, who have been researching in the field of refugee and asylum seeker studies for the last 15 years, have decided to construct our own website to circumvent the increasing governmental censorship around the violence, abuse and degrading conditions our refugees and asylum seekers are enduring in our Pacific offshore detention centers. The recent brutal rape of a young Iranian refugee, and the fact she was only airlifted out of Nauru three months after her rape, and only when she was on the verge of organ failure, provoked us to act. We have now unequivocally crossed a line where what is unfolding in these sites, we argue, is tantamount to torture in a culture of impunity.

We view the site as inscribed by the crossover between academic research and activism, and as a site through which we can offer refugees and asylum seekers a platform from which to publish their own testimonies and creative works and thus speak in their own words and on their own terms. We also view the site as a pedagogical and media resource.

We have secured the endorsement of Rosie Batty, Australian of the Year, for a letter calling for an end to the violence in these offshore sites and their closure. Can I please call on you to sign the letter and send it through your networks. It will be sent to the PM.

Our banner for the letter is: "Stand with Rosie Batty against violence in our Pacific Black sites: out of sight, NOT out of mind.'

The full letter is available here.

Thank you for your solidarity.