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A Just and Humane Approach to Refugees: Academics for Refugees Policy Paper
Dear academic colleagues

You are invited to sign the Open Letter, below, to be sent to the Prime Minister and all members of parliament, from academics throughout Australia. It calls for A Fair and Humane Approach for Refugees, and makes a number of recommendations. These recommendations are supported by sound scholarly research and arise out of a Policy Paper that has been written by Australian academics.

The Policy Paper is available at https://academicsforrefugees.wordpress.com.

Kind regards

Members of the Academics for Refugees Steering Group:
Prof Linda Briskman, Swinburne University
Prof Stephen Castles, University of Sydney
Sara Dehm, University of Melbourne
Dr Lucy Fiske, University of Technology, Sydney
Dr Caroline Fleay, Curtin University
Prof Sandra Gifford, Swinburne University
Prof Sarah Joseph, Monash University
Dr Lisa Hartley, Curtin University
Prof Harry Minas, University of Melbourne
Dr Antje Missbach, Monash University
Prof Philomena Murray, University of Melbourne
Dr Amy Nethery, Deakin University
Prof Klaus Neumann, Swinburne University
Prof Louise Newman, University of Melbourne
Prof Sharon Pickering, Monash University
Dr Jordy Silverstein, University of Melbourne
Dr Anthea Vogl, University of Technology, Sydney

***

Open Letter to Prime Minister Turnbull and Members of Parliament

Dear Prime Minister Turnbull and Members of Parliament

We write to call for A Just and Humane Approach for Refugees. We support the Policy Paper that has been written by Australian academics, at https://academicsforrefugees.wordpress.com. This Policy Paper makes a number of recommendations that are based on sound evidence.

The Policy Paper recommends that Australia end its harmful policies of offshore processing, boat turnbacks and the mandatory detention of people seeking asylum. The Policy Paper sets out practical and sound measures to be considered by the Australian government in order to adopt a just and humane approach towards people seeking asylum in Australia. Such an approach recognises that it is lawful to seek asylum and that people should not be penalised for how they arrive in Australia. We recommend that the Australian government should adopt the following four measures:
• close immigration detention centres and end mandatory detention;
• initiate comprehensive law reform to ensure that Australia upholds its international obligations;
• promote a decent livelihood and thriving communities for people seeking asylum or people who have been granted Australia’s protection; and
• foster positive and empathetic narratives about people seeking asylum.

New regional and global approaches are required. The Policy Paper recommends that Australia should:
• work with states in the Asia Pacific region to create a regional framework based on equity, capacity and responsibility; and
• contribute towards making the international system more sustainable, equitable and humane.

Finally, the Policy Paper calls on the Australian government to convene a National Policy Summit in 2017. The Summit should bring together asylum seekers, refugees and former refugees; migrant and refugee advocates; policy experts; community representatives; and politicians from all parties. The Summit should result in constructive policy options and solutions for people seeking asylum that:
• recognise the need for people to seek a life of safety;
• recognise and facilitate the positive contributions of refugees to Australia’s communities;
• respect Australia’s international obligations;
• reflect a respectful relationship between Australia and its regional neighbours; and
• recognise Australia’s potential for leadership on this issue.

We urge you to give serious consideration to this Policy Paper and to bring about a just and humane approach for refugees.

Kind regards
Academics from universities throughout Australia

To sign the Open Letter, please enter your details in the following form.

We will be publicly releasing the Open Letter with a list of all signatories in mid-August 2017.

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