For more than 5 years, Australia has been holding people who sought asylum in Australia on the small pacific Islands of Manus Island, in Papua New Guinea and on Nauru as part of its “Offshore Processing” policy to deter other refugees from seeking safety in Australia.
Over 3000 people were sent to these to these tiny island detention centres and, 5 years later, more than 1200 men, women and children are still being detained by Australia.
A little over 400 people have been resettled in the USA under a people swap deal made by former President Obama and former Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull, but many of the people held in Manus and Nauru are not eligible for resettlement in the USA because such reasons as their country of birth, and the Australian government has no other viable options for resettlement for hundreds of the people it holds in Manus, PNG and in Nauru.
They are simply saying that people will have to stay there and continue to be in danger, unable to move on with their lives in a safe place.
For those who are LGBTQI people held indefinitely in PNG, the very country they are being held in outlaw’s homosexuality for men, and their identity often puts them in danger of further incarceration, discrimination and violence.
In Nauru, laws have only recently changed so that being an LGBTQI person is no longer illegal in Nauru, but discrimination, harassment and violence is still ongoing on a regular basis.
Mohsen and Sajad* (names changed) are two of the LGBTQI people currently being detained on Manus, where they live in constant fear.
They desperately need safety in a country where simply being who they are is not illegal, where they can be safe from the fear and ongoing trauma they currently live with daily, and where they can be supported to recover from the trauma they have experienced both in their home country and the trauma of the past 5 years of detention.
Canada has a private sponsorship program with a specialised stream of application for LGBTQI people in danger, the Rainbow Refugee program. LGBTQI people from Manus and Nauru are eligible to apply through this program.
Mohsen and Sajad* have superb supporters in Canada who are sponsoring their applications for refugee visas through the Rainbow Refugee program, and they both have the incredible support of a dedicated and experienced advocate in Canada who is overseeing their applications and their settlement process.
Part of the requirement of the application is that the living costs for the first 12 months in Canada have to be paid upfront before the visa application can be accepted.
The cost is CA $18,000 per visa. This translates to approx. AU $42,000 (for both visas, including currency conversion and payment fees).
Both Mohsen and Sajad* have all other parts of their applications completed and are just waiting on the funds so that their applications can be accepted by the Canadian government.
Here’s what we’re doing about it…
We are needing to raise the $42,000 as soon as possible so that Mohsen and Sajad’s* visa applications can move forward, and they can be granted safety.
We are hoping to raise the money and pay it as quickly as humanly possible so that their applications are not held up any longer and these men can start to see a future for themselves again.
Donations can also be made via Paypal or credit card on our Chuffed crowdfund campaign here.
If you would prefer to donate by bank deposit or cheque please contact us for details.
Please contribute what you can and share the campaign in your networks.
If you are an organisation or business and would like to get involved, please contact Holly Adams at Holly.firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on our Facebook page, Gifts for Manus And Nauru here.