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Centre for Human Rights Education

An open letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott from members of Australia’s academic community

By Gaylene Galardi 4 March 2014 Campaigns Comments Off on An open letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott from members of Australia’s academic community

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Over 500 academics from over 30 universities throughout Australia have signed a letter to the Prime Minister calling for the immediate closure of the detention centres on Manus Island and in Nauru, including staff from the Centre for Human Rights Education. The letter was instigated by Philomena Murray from the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

The letter with the list of signatories is found here and can be read below:

“Dear Prime Minister,

This letter reflects the concerns of Australian academics whose areas of expertise include refugee law; political science; international law; history; psychiatry; psychology; education; social work; criminology; economics; business studies; sociology; social policy; nursing; philosophy; literature; the humanities; medicine; legal studies; journalism studies; sociology; childhood studies; public health, science; community welfare; health care; architecture; music, environmental sciences and human rights.

We believe that the current approach to dealing with asylum seekers arriving by boat, especially off-shore detention and claims determination, is seriously flawed and unsustainable.

It breaches Australia’s international legal obligations, including its obligations as a party to the Refugee Convention. It demonstrably harms the physical and psychological health of detainees.

Furthermore, it seriously undermines the status and good name of Australia as an international citizen.

We call on the Australian government to close the detention centres on Manus Island and in Nauru immediately.

Yours sincerely,

Academics from Australian tertiary institutions.”

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