I recently overheard a conversation about refugees in a bar between two men. One of the men had just been “released” from hotel quarantine having moved from Victoria to Queensland due to Covid-19. He was comparing his time to that of a refugee and asylum seeker who is being detained in Kangaroo Point Central Hotel. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. To compare a two week, hotel quarantine to years of incarceration against one’s will is sickening. I couldn’t bear to hear anymore, so regrettably, I left. I wish I had stayed and tried to educate these men, but knowing how drunk they were, it didn’t seem like the smartest thing to do.
This is why I am writing this blog. To share my knowledge and hopefully educate others on what is still happening in the world around us.
2020 has been a rough year for many; it has put a strain on peoples physical and mental health. People have lost their homes, their businesses, loved ones. Our hopes, dreams, education has been put on hold due to this terrible pandemic; however, all of this is nothing new to a refugee or asylum seeker. So to hear these men compare their 5-star hotel quarantine to the daily battles of a refugee broke my heart.
In my life, I have had the privilege to spend time with Syrian refugees; I stress the word privilege because they are some of the kindest, most appreciative and humble people I have ever met. I am eternally grateful for the stories they have shared with me and the education it has given me.
Although refugees are not currently on the front cover of every newspaper and headline at the moment, what is continuously happening is an absolute tragedy, and it is getting worse rather than better. This month in the UK MPs voted to remove child refugee protections from flagship immigration law. Whilst in America they have introduced a “Zero-Tolerance” policy, which orders the prosecution of 100% of all parents caught crossing the border with children.
No one in this world should have to risk their lives to reach a place of safety. This week alone at least three people have died trying to cross the English Channel, one of which was a 5-year-old child. These people are human beings, so let’s start treating them as such.
No one should be forced to live in refugee camps or detention centres. Refugees should be welcomed everywhere and treated like human beings. How on earth is it fair to deny people the prospect of a new and safer life? How is it appropriate to sit back and allow people to get into an inflatable boat and risk everything because the place they are coming from is so dangerous?
We must choose love. We must help these people in their absolute time of crisis.
Here are a few ways you can help: