Open Letter to AUS Elected Officials

In response to the immigration attitudes/limits from AUS government the letter below was drafted by Matthew Phillips
Refugee Working Group Coordinator
Darfur Australia Network (IT's A Great Letter!).

An open letter to our elected officials
We wish to offer our support to members of the various African communities across Australia.

We believe that decisions regarding Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian Program should be determined on the basis of need for humanitarian assistance, rather than perceptions or assumptions about a group’s capacity to resettle or integrate.

We are concerned that the decision to halt consideration of further claims by African refugees for resettlement through the Humanitarian Program (for the current financial year) will threaten their chances for family reunion.

We urge all Australians, particularly our elected representatives, to stand up in support of African refugees who have resettled in Australia, to support their further resettlement and family reunification, and to strengthen services that make the transition to Australia easy.

We celebrate the positive contribution African refugees make to Australia – to our communities, our workplaces, our economy, our culture and our society.

We pay tribute to the many African Australians who contribute to the wider community voluntarily and professionally - as doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, carers, engineers, scientists, primary industry workers and in many other occupations.

We believe it is our responsibility to provide protection to refugees regardless of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, political opinion and despite limited previous access to education.
Since World War II, over 600,000 people from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa or the Americas have been granted refuge in Australia on the basis of humanitarian need. For over a decade, Australia has provided safe haven to thousands of refugees fleeing persecution and civil conflict in African countries such as Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many have survived torture and trauma, yet have embraced their new home despite the many challenges that face them on arrival, including separation from family
and loved ones overseas.

We strongly believe that multiculturalism is vital to the health and wellbeing of our communities.
We are proud that Australia has the capacity and will to provide protection and a new home to people fleeing persecution.