Perpetual Insecurity 4h - Starving them out


‘Starving them out’: destitution and self-deportation

Woman holds 'Let Them Stay' poster at protest.

[imagecaption] Perth Stands for Sanctuary #LetThemStay, Whadjuk Noongar Country, 2016. Photo: Marziya Mohammedali. In August 2017, a group of about 70 people living in community detention after having been transferred to Australia for medical treatment from Manus and Nauru were issued ‘final departure bridging visas‘ without any notice. They were told that their SRSS payments would cease immediately and that they had 2 weeks to find accommodation. In May 2018 another group were subject to a similar decision. [/imagecaption]

‘You know, it was expected in the war…But I did not expect my children would sit in the dark like this in Australia. I did not expect that the Australian government would withhold food from them and leave them to starve.’

Sadoullah Malakooti, Kurdish widower and father of three


‘I feel I am in prison and I don’t have any hope.’

Karima Al Mizidawi

Increasingly, people who are waiting for a decision on their protection visa application or who have received a negative decision on their visa application and exhausted appeal avenues are being ‘starved out’. Many of those who are on ‘negative pathways’ are denied the right to work and have been cut off from SRSS payments,  forcing them to rely on charity or face destitution. The most recent attack on bridging visa holders has been the decision to cut income support in the form of SRSS payments for those considered to be ‘job ready’. This  is likely to impact thousands of people across the country. International money transfers are also being tracked and those found to be sending money overseas to support their families are at risk of having their SRSS payments cut off. Decisions like these are calculated to diminish peoples’ ability to live in the community. The ultimate objective, again, is self-deportation.

Australia is not unique in using enforced poverty and destitution as a means to punish asylum seekers. In the UK people seeking asylum do not have work rights, but are provided with accommodation (by private contractors like Serco and G4S) and a small living allowance. After being granted leave to remain (refugee protection) this support is cut off after 28 days, resulting in increasing numbers being forced into destitution.



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