Long time human rights advocate Julian Burnside has written an excellent article in the Guardian Australia asking the question “why can’t we know what is happening on Nauru and Manus Island?”.
This article really resonated with me because two of the refugees featured in my book More to the story came to Australia as refugees seeking asylum and were locked in detention centres. I hope when you read John and Farid’s stories you will understand their difficult choices and the enormous struggles and trauma they faced.
Meanwhile Burnside continues to campaign about the appalling situation in detention centres as this article shows. I wondered why.
Thirteen years ago at the Maribyrnong Detention Centre, an eleven-year-old girl hanged herself with her bedsheet. Her family found her and cut down her strangling body, and she was taken to Austin Hospital in Melbourne, where she remained as a psychiatric inpatient for twelve months. When she was well enough to be discharged, she was taken back into detention.
This is the incident that taught Julian Burnside that his country had “betrayed the principles it once stood for” and since that time Burnside has campaigned continually for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers inspiring other lawyers to work pro bono to help people who have committed no crime.
I am honoured that Julian Burnside has written the foreword to my new book More to the story – conversations with refugees that will be released in November.