Hundreds add their voice to an open letter calling for an end to mandatory detention

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) launched an appeal this week with a campaign inviting Australians to sign and share an open letter of hope to be delivered to people seeking asylum detained this Christmas.

The campaign calls for an end all indefinite mandatory detention of people seeking asylum and refugees while reminding them that the Australian public see them and hear their plea for help. The open letter has provided a tangible way Australians can stand in solidarity and send a message of hope for the  over 500 people who have already signed.

A plethora of Australian personalities including ASRC Ambassador and musician Missy Higgins, as well as Courtney Barnett, Mark Seymour, Christos Tsiolkas, Arnold Zable, Imogen Bailey, Eva Cox AO, Circus Oz, Jen Cloher, Tamie Fraser, Annie Stephens, John Butler, Danielle Caruana and the Cat Empire have already shown their support by signing the open letter.

As 2017 draws to a close, more than 2000 people seeking asylum in Australia will spend another holiday season incarcerated in prison camps offshore and in Australia. Men, women and families are separated from loved ones, enduring horrific living conditions and afforded no certainty for their future.

Today, 421 men on Manus Island would have spent three weeks without food, water, medicine and power after being abandoned by our government.

ASRC Ambassador Arnold Zable penned a heartbreaking message to those detained on Manus Island:

I stand with you, my brothers on Manus Island, in your brave stand for justice and safety. I salute your eloquence, courage, dignity and discipline. I feel for your pain and desperation and I am anxious for your well-being. Four-and-a-half of the prime years of your lives wasted. Four-and-a-half-years of false imprisonment and exile. And before that lives in war zones, persecution, and trauma. And now you are saying enough. We want to live in hope and safety. We want our freedom. I call on the Australian government to end this torture, and grant you, and your brothers and sisters on Nauru, safe passage to a third country where you can live in peace, security and freedom. It is your basic human right.

Kon Karapanagiotidis, Founder and CEO of the ASRC, urges people to support the Christmas campaign by signing the letter and making a financial contribution.

Together with our community of volunteers and supporters, we work tirelessly to support families and individuals every day, not just at Christmas, with humanity and compassion. For people seeking asylum, with little freedom and hope for the future, the sense of futility is stark. Recently we’ve watched as women and children flee unspeakable violence from places like Myanmar. We simply cannot continue to expose these people to further indignity in mandatory detention. They have suffered enough.

Funds raised by the ASRC are used to advocate for, support and empower over 4,600 people seeking asylum and refugees each year with the provision of detention advocacy support, food, housing, material aid, medical assistance, legal aid, counselling and employment services.

To add your voice to the open letter, please visit

You can also donate to the Appeal at

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