The Guardian September 5, 2001


Letter from asylum seekers

The following letter, from the Afghan asylum seekers imprisoned on the 
MV "Tampa," was given to the Norwegian Ambassador when he visited the ship. 
He conveyed it to the Australian Government. It was filed in the Federal 
Court on September 2 on the order of Justice North and made available to 
representatives of the media.

To the Australian Government, human rights organisations and Australian 
ladies and gentlemen.

We hope you accept regards and warm feelings of the miserable and oppressed 
Afghan refugees turning around Christmas island in the middle of sea, while 
having no shelter, cloths to change after ten days and even toilet and 
bathroom.

Respected Australian Government and gentlemen and ladies.

You know well about the long time war and its tragic human consequences and 
you know about the genocide and massacres going on in our country and 
thousands of innocent men, women and children were put in public 
grieveyards, and we hope you understand that keeping in view all 
aforementioned reasons we have no way but to run out of our dear homeland 
and to seek a peaceful asylum. 

And until now so many miserable refugees have been seeking asylum in so 
many countries. In this regards before this Australia has taken some real 
appreciable initiatives and has given asylum to a high number of refugees 
from our miserable people. That is why we are whole heartedly and sincerely 
thankful to you.

We hope you do not forget that we are also from the same miserable and 
oppressed refugees and now turning around Christmas island inside 
Australian boundaries waiting a permit to inter your country.

But your delay while we are in the worst condition has hurt our feelings. 
We do not know why we have not been regarded as refugee and deprived from 
rights of refugees according to international convention law (1951).

We request from Australian authorities and people, At first not to deprive 
us from the rights that all refugees enjoy in your country. And in the case 
of rejection due to not having anywhere to live on the earth and every 
moment death is threatening us. We request you to feel [...] for the life 
of (438) men, women and children.

Thank you

Yours Sincerely,
Afghan refugees
Now off the coast of Christmas Island 30/8/2001

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