100 signatures reached
To: Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton
Don’t take away phones from people seeking asylum!
Dear Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton,
A mobile phone is a basic necessity in today's world. Depriving them with something as basic as a mobile phone is deprivation of freedom of expression. Mobile phones provide people seeking asylum and refugees with a lifeline to the outside world, to loved ones and to advocates – their mental health, the protection of their human rights, and their families depend on their phones. We request to not proceed with this.
Why is this important?
In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Peter Dutton is trying to sneak through legislation that would give Australian Border Force (ABF) officers the power to confiscate the phones of people seeking asylum and refugees being held in detention.
The National Justice Project stopped Dutton from doing this before. They took him to court for taking phones from people seeking asylum and refugees back in 2017 and we won. He tried to introduce this law back then to overcome our Court win and failed, so now, while we’re all distracted by COVID-19, he’s trying again.
Mobile phones provide people seeking asylum and refugees with a lifeline to the outside world, to loved ones and to advocates – their mental health, the protection of their human rights, and their families depend on their phones. The proposed legislation gives ABF the power to effectively SILENCE and PUNISH innocent men, women and children who have not been convicted of any wrongdoing by cutting off their ability to stay in touch with family, lawyers and advocates.
Mobile phones can also hold Dutton accountable – they can record instances of mistreatment and cruelty. On Manus Island, Behrouz Boochani wrote an entire book via WhatsApp, exposing the cruel reality of our offshore detention regime.
The family from Biloela, currently on Christmas Island, used their phone to raise the alarm when Peter Dutton forced them onto a plane. It was a mobile phone that captured the shocking footage of little Tharunicaa screaming as her mother was dragged onto the plane by ABF officers.
It’s no wonder that Peter Dutton wants to give his ABF officers the power to snatch the phones out of the hands of people seeking asylum and refugees. He will do anything to break the spirits of these people and deprive them of their voices.
We are up against a Government that will oppose human rights at every turn and prefer silencing their critics rather than taking responsibility for harm done to innocent people.
If this law is passed, it can be used to threaten, intimidate and harass people seeking asylum and refugees.
Please, sign and share this petition and help us keep asylum seekers and refugees connected to the outside world.
Please note this is a parallel petition. Originally started by National Justice Project on Change.org.