Aboriginal Passports issued to asylum seekers prevented from entering Australia

Since Australia's Commonwealth Government refuses to fulfil its international obligations, ministers in Australia's (Ab)Original government - with the endorsement of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy - have issued their own passports for a group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers who were refused entry into Australia

This story relates to the recent debacle surrounding the Sri Lankan, 'Merak refugees' who claimed asylum status in Australia (as is their right under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention to which Australia is signatory) but - due to the government's personal intervention - were detained at Merak, Indonesia, and never made it here.

On 1st May 2010, a special Original passport signing ceremony was held in Melbourne. These passports will be delivered to the Merak asylum-seekers in a few weeks. Original Passports are recognised in many countries around the world, they have been stamped in Europe, Asia and South America.

Obviously it's a symbolic gesture since Australia is one of the countries that does not recognise the government which issued these passports! The impact of this gesture, however, will increase with the number of people who learn about it.

The 2010 May Day rally organised by the Refugee Action Collective saw a passionate array of speakers condemn the inhumanity of Australia’s asylum seeker policies and recognised the common humanity of all people on the internationalist day to mark the workers struggle.

Robbie Thorpe of the Gunai/Kurnai representing the Aboriginal Tent Embassy spoke passionately about the hypocrisy of the Australian Government who has never legally taken sovereignty away from the Aboriginal people yet denies people who are fleeing war and genocide asylum.

He pointed out the conflicts asylum seekers are fleeing from the same racist and imperialist policies which disposessed Aboriginal people, turning them into refugees in their own land. Robbie welcomed the asylum seekers on behalf of Aboriginal people and went to sign many of the passports that will be given to asylum seekers.

MayDay 2010 - Aboriginal passports issued to asylum seekers in Melbourne
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