We, Refugee eX-detainees in so-called Australia, mark the 13th of September 2023 as eX-detainees’ Day for the eighth year in a row. On eX-detainees’ Day, we commemorate the ongoing political struggle, pain, suffering, and resilience of refugees around the world, many of whom are detained while crossing borders to seek protection. On this day, we also focus on raising our collective voice to spread awareness, challenge this injustice, and continuously stand against border imperialism, which has cost millions of lives in and out of detention centres.
We also honour the detainees who have died in detention, or eX-detainees who have been deported to danger or detainees and eX-detainees who continue to experience debilitating trauma arising from indefinite, arbitrary detention and torture. Further, we also stand in solidarity with those families and loved ones who have been suffering from trauma, losing a family member in detention, or being tortured or abused in detention.
eX-detainees’ Day is to be distinguished from events like “Refugee Week” or “World Refugee Day”. These events are not controlled by the community they claim to represent, which in itself fails to address the racist oppression and structural violence that mark our lives. On the other hand, eX-detainees’ Day is initiated, controlled, and directed by eX-detainees.
On this day, we seek to determine our future by pushing for long-term changes for our community that are outlined in our 10 eX-detainee demands. We raise our voices to counter the narratives of a refugee sector dominated by the voices of non-detainees and non-eX-detainees.
While our quest for freedom and safety has been sabotaged and questioned, while our lives are crushed and disabled permanently in Australian-run detention centres, while we are systematically discriminated against outside detention centres as well, in so-called Australia, the settler colonial politicians excelling at lecturing other countries on “democracy” and “human-rights” is the joke of this century.
In Australia, the eX-detainee community is arguably ONE of the poorest, racially profiled, and systematically discriminated against community groups. Detainees and eX-detainees are disposable. Our community has been subjected to the misery of over 30 years of torture and abuse to serve the interests of politicians and profiteers in the refugee detention industry.
Meanwhile, the Australian government and governments across the world are spending millions of dollars acquiring weapons and building their military, while blocking those of us fleeing from the destruction caused by these policies from seeking protection and the opportunity to rebuild our lives so we can look forward to a future. What has the useless UN (“United Nations”) done so far to stop the military intervention of the “WEST” in people of colour countries, end the expanding military industrial complex, or hold the “WEST” accountable for committing crimes in and outside their own backyards?
We all know the useless UN is good at licking the boots of the “WEST” or any other countries that have wealth, money, or power. Their lack of action has caused over 103+ million people to be forcibly displaced, with over 32 million refugees among them. Over 1 million refugee children were born as refugees.
Back to the topic of Australia
Here are the THREE MAIN AUSTRALIAN POLITICAL PARTIES’ POSITIONS on mandatory detention policies against refugees seeking asylum by boat ;
The Australian Labor Party;
Invented the mandatory detention policy and continues its strong position on indefinite detention.
The Liberal–National Coalition
Strongly supports the mandatory and indefinite detention policy.
The Australian Greens
While calling themselves “progressive”, the Australian Greens proudly support a “7” days mandatory detention policy.
These political parties are headed mainly by white people. While politicians and their advisors unashamedly go to their homes after work, our communities are held hostage in Australian-run detention centres, where we are either tortured, abused, or forcibly deported to danger. We wonder, while they sleep soundly in their comfy beds, if they dream of how to sabotage the lives of the next POC (People of Colour) refugees arriving by boat.
We also highly condemn those who have voted for politicians of these parties or who have ongoing party memberships; this includes those POC who have been unashamedly and proudly supporting these parties. All of you have blood on your hands.
Even turtles can walk faster than the current Labor Party “processing” of 19000 eX-detainees who are “eligible” for permanent protection visas.
The slow grant of permanent protection while maintaining a “fast-track” refugee detention and deportation machine proves that the Labor Party’s unique white colonial tactics are working. On top of that, the recent announcement of a meagre increase in the “refugee quota” from “17000+ to 20000” and their announcement that our superfunds should be allowed to “invest” in defence make them experts in torture and murder. Thanks to vampiric outfits like the Australian Labor Party, there are 38 million refugees around the world and more to be created by the white supremacist defence and detention industry.
This cunning racist Labor Party is primed for their tactical games against refugees pointing fingers at other parties.
Australian journalists simply appear to rehash the Labor government’s PR/media brief and fail to question the Labor Party’s own culpability in Australia’s brutal refugee torture system and the bloodletting world-wide that creates refugees.
As we eX-detainees have been continuously saying, Australian anti-immigration policies are a resource library for the rest of the world. The model of detention policy is not far from the model of the United States’ use of Guantanamo Bay. Previously, it was reported that Denmark’s MP, Martin Henriksen of the Danish People’s Party, had described Australia’s offshore detention regime as “an interesting model” that could be replicated. Also, Austria’s foreign minister has suggested that the Australian model’s “principles can be applied in Europe.” Former US President Donald Trump has been widely criticised for his anti-refugee policies, yet even he said that Australia’s policies are worse than the USA’s. It is also not a coincidence that the current UK government has proposed the adoption of Australia’s neo-fascist, anti-refugee “stop the boats” blue-print
For this reason, we eX-detainees have been calling for international human rights sanctions against Australia since 2017 for human rights crimes against refugees coming by boat. Yet the UNHCR and the international community have said little and avoided acting decisively to protect 1000s of Refugees who have undergone detention torture and refoulement by the Australian government.
We eX-detainees, seek to determine our own future by pushing for long-term changes for our community. Here are ways to support eX-detainees’ self-determination and be involved in campaigns led by eX-detainees.
- Support self-determined projects governed and run by eX-detainees such as the establishment of a self-managed eX-detainee run farm https://www.givenow.com.au/ex-detaineesfarm
- Widely share eX-detainees’ ten demands which address urgent issues affecting asylum seekers and refugees seeking protection from persecution. The demands identify systemic changes that need to occur to dismantle unjust laws and institutions that engage in and promote abuse and criminalisation of our members: https://www.riserefugee.org/topic/ex-detainees-demands
- The Sanction Australia Campaign https://www.riserefugee.org/topic/sanction-australia
- Detention Divestment Campaign https://www.detentiondivestment.org/
- 10 things you can do if you are not an eX-detainee https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy8aPBocBnI
- We call on social services in Australia to provide top priority for eX-detainees to access welfare support, including health, housing, employment, education, and food security.
As eX-detainees in Australia, we acknowledge that the land we seek protection on is the land of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples whose sovereignty was never ceded. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.
Nothing About Us Without Us