The statement below is issued on behalf of delegates at the 3rd Australian and New Zealand Refugee Trauma Recovery in Resettlement Conference, held in Adelaide on 9-11 October 2023:
We have heard from people with lived experience, mental health professionals, lawyers, researchers and others about the profound harms experienced by people seeking protection as a result of a number of Australian policies over many years. They include:
- indefinite immigration detention,
- temporary protection arrangements,
- denial of the right to work,
- denial of family reunion,
- unjust and prolonged processing of claims and
- the impact and harm experienced by people transferred to PNG and Nauru.
There are also many cases of litigation by people who were found to need our protection as refugees that have remained unresolved for many years further compounding the injustice and their psychological trauma.
We call on the Australian government to:
- recognise the harm that has been caused by those laws, policies and practices,
- as a matter of urgency, reform the laws policies and practices that have caused and are continuing to cause such harm,
- expediate and resolve all outstanding litigation as soon as possible and provide appropriate reparation to people that have been harmed as a consequence.
Conference Organiser on behalf of the Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT)