The following does not directly represent the views of any asylum seekers detained at Nauru. The following is the primary blogger, ‘Blogger 1’, responding to negative criticism received on the blog. For information about this wordpress blog, visit the ‘About’.
To he who calls himself ‘Patriot’ as his alias when commenting:
Firstly, when people say that asylum seekers in Australia are unlawfully detained it is because Australia is signatory to international laws and conventions stating that people have the right to seek asylum in Australia. Therefore by locking up refugees, the government has effectively criminalised them, though they have the right to arrive here – whether they arrive by boat or plane.
Secondly, asylum seekers in detention are, in many cases, detained indefinitely. This doesn’t mean that our government have told them they will be incarcerated forever or anything to that effect, but they are detained indefinitely because they are given no clue as to when their claims will be processed. This is part of the reason why detention centres in Australia have been described as “factories for producing mental illness” – because many of the refugees live day by day not knowing when they will be granted freedom. If refugees were informed of a set date for their claims to be processed, then it would be a different story. Consider the dictionary definition of ‘indefinite’ (from the New Oxford American Dictionary): “lasting for an unknown or unstated length of time”.
Thirdly, asylum seekers are not “free to return home at any time” – this is a very simplistic understanding of the situation faced by these people, who are possibly the most vulnerable people on the planet. Yes, the government gives detained refugees the opportunity to return home – though this is simply not an option for many, who may face such threats as persecution, torture and even death upon their return home. In the small amount of cases where asylum seekers have chosen to return home, it has often been because they believed that the point of their incarceration in Australia was to bring them to insanity. In many cases where asylum seekers have been forcibly deported, they have also faced the same threats. There are documented cases of death following deportation.
Lastly, there is nothing patriotic about wanting to keep the refugees out. Internationally, human rights abuses sanctioned by the Australian government are looked down upon in disgust. If you were truly patriotic, you would care about the international reputation of this country. The last inspection of the Nauru detention centre made by Amnesty International has reported the conditions at Nauru to be deplorable – this is nothing to be proud of, and supporting this great national shame does not make you a ‘patriot’ in any way.