urgent action for refugee family
Sat, 23 Feb 2002 11:57:05 +1100
Linda Jaivin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hello and please excuse the group email.
I'm writing in the hope that as many recipients of this letter as possible can write to Philip Ruddock within the next few days urging him to grant a protection visa tothe Al Abaddi family, who are currently in Villawood Detention Centre. Their case is before Ruddock now and he will be making a decision, we believe, within the week.
I've been visiting Villawood regularly for several months and have become very friendly with the Al Abaddis. They're from Iraq. The father's brother and his sons were executed by Saddam Hussein's forces as Shia Muslims suspected of belonging to the oppositionist Al Da'wa Party. The father, Jasim Al Abaddi, feared he would be next and fled with his family to Jordan. They weren't permitted to settle there, or in Syria, where they went after Jordan, and finally bought passage on a boat from Indonesia, arriving on Christmas Island in December 1999. They were detained first in Curtin, then Port Hedland, before being moved to Villawood in the
middle of last year. Their experiences in Curtin and Port Hedland were horrific, and the four children deeply traumatised by them. Both Nashwan, now 18, and Humam, 16, were abused, beaten and manacled by the guards, and Thurgam, 12 and Afnan, 6, are both suffering from nightmares and panic attacks after witnessing suicides, detainees slashing themselves with razors, hunger strikes and beatings, as well as from anxiety due to forced separations from their mother, Nahtha Mohamd Ali Al Raheem, and their father, who remains in Port Hedland.
Humam, the 16-year-old and Nashwan,
the 18-year-old, have both attempted suicide and carried out acts
of self-harm, including striking the razor wire and sewing their
lips together. Yet as Humam told a psychologist: 'I'm not crazy.
I just want my freedom.' They have been locked up for nearly 28
months of their young lives, denied a proper education (Humam
wants nothing more than to go to high school but there's no schooling
for over-12s) and treated like criminals since coming to this
country. Yet I can attest that they are lovely boys, intelligent,
funny and creative, and yet the spark in them goes out a little
more every day they're in there. It's
The Islamic community has pledged to look after their every need -- housing, food, etc -- until they can get on their feet. Their release will not cost the government anything.
HOW TO ACT
Could you please send a POLITE and NON-ABUSIVE letter or email immediately to Philip Ruddock, Immigration Minister, urging him to grant the four children
and their mother a protection visa. (The father's case is being dealt with separately.)
Please write it in your own words,
as this is more effective, but all you need to say is something
along the lines of 'I urge you to grant a protection visa to the
Abaddi family (Naththa Mohamd Ali Al Raheem, and Nashwan, Humam, Thurgam and Afnan) who are currently held in the Villawood Detention
Centre. I am deeply worried about the lasting harm to the children caused by their prolonged period in detention; they need to be released, with
their mother, into the community immediately.'
If you want to say more, even better.
If you need to ask me anything about the case, just email me back
and I'll tell you what I know. I have seen affidavits,
psychologists' reports on the children, and other documents, and am in frequent touch with Nashwan and Humam, whom I also try to see once a week.
If you want to be kept in the loop on this issue please let me know.
HOW TO CONTACT THE MINISTER
To email Ruddock, it seems you have to go to http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/general/contacts.htm
and enter your email in the form provided there. Do not address the letter to the Immigration Department (despite the website telling you to do this) because the case
is definitely in Ruddock's hands.
Alternatively, you can fax him at (02) 6273 4144
If you think it will get to him in
time, you can send mail to
Philip Ruddock MP
Suite MF 40
Canberra ACT 2600
Thank you and please pass this along
to all appropriate networks. It would be good to get a flood of
faxes/emails/letters in to Philip Ruddock's office on this
Monday and Tuesday.
All the best,
----- Original Message -----
From: "Julian Burnside" <email@example.com>
To: "Undisclosed recipients" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: 25 February 2002 9:28 AM
Subject: releasing the Al Abbadi family
> Dear SpareRoomers
> I recently sent you an email which set out the circumstances of the
AlAbbadi family, and asking everyone to write to teh minister. Linda
Jaivin, who originated the request, has now asked that we should NOT write.
The reason, it seems, is that she now believes that a public pressure
campaign might damage the AlAbbadis's case.
> So, if you were about to write, you need not do so.
> It is a sad thing that we have got to this position: public support for a
humanitarian cause might cause the government to act more harshly than it
> I know that Linda Jaivin is embarrassed at causing inconvenience by asking
for action then countermanding it: I just think it is sad that her
thoroughly generous instinct has to be tempered by the government's punitive
> Very best wishes
> Julian Burnside QC
> If you were arrested for kindness, would there be enough evidence to
convict you? - Unknown
The How Can We Say No Website
Dr Eva Sallis
Department of English
University of Adelaide SA 5005
Ph 08 8303 5130
Fax 08 8240 3686