The Australian government has just sanctioned child abuse. Workers in offshore detention centres could face criminal prosecution if they blow the whistle on human rights violations, rape, or even abuse of children.
Nurses or doctors who obey the new Border Force Protection Act will have to turn their backs on the mistreatment of vulnerable children held in private and public detention centres. The punishment for reporting is years of jail time.
The law sends a chilling message to be would-be refugees who risk their lives in search for a better future. It also means that some of the most vulnerable children in Australia now have no hope of rescue when an adult is hurting them. Many of these children already suffer from mental illness because of the effects of long-term detention. In practice, the law will allow for-profit corporations like Serco to carry on their brutal business without public scrutiny -- and it will fail to protect the thousands of asylum seekers in their many detention centers.
This act came into effect just last week so we need to act now, while the media and MPs are paying attention to this issue. Let's create a public outrage to get the act repealed to protect children, and adults, in Australian detention centres.
Here's an idea to the Australian Government: protect children and not profits -- repeal the Border Force Protection Act now!
With the passing of these laws, what's to hold mercenary companies like Serco and Transfield accountable? Since there will be no recourse for abuse that happens behind closed doors, what's to stop detention centers from understaffing their facilities and turning a blind eye to human rights violations -- all while raking in millions of dollars in public money?
Corporations have been pushing for laws like this that prioritise private profits over public good at every turn -- and together, SumOfUs members have been fighting to stop this trend. Over 50,000 Australians spoke out when Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce threatened to impose harsh penalties on people who film animal abuse on factory farms. In the wake of our petition, not a single bill passed. And when US telecoms companies charged exorbitant phone costs to prisoners to call their loved ones, we collected tens of thousands of comments and delivered them to the US Federal Communications Commission -- and we won.
Our voice makes a difference. Let's join the teachers, doctors, and aid workers that have already written to the government, vowing to defy the law and protect children, even if it means risking prosecution. Will you stand with them and call for an end to government-sanctioned child abuse in Australia?
Sign the petition: Stop the Border Force Protection Act from protecting child abusers and putting whistleblowers in prison!
Australian Government Contractors Will Now Go to Jail for Reporting Child Abuse in Detention Centers Vice 26 June 2015
Open letter on the Border Force Act: 'We challenge the department to prosecute' The Guardian, 30 June 2015
Border Force Act could see immigration detention centre workers jailed for whistleblowing ABC, 30 June 2015