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- Improved heath and education services.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

GetUp calls for candlelight vigils on Sunday Feb 23 to light up the dark on asylum seekers.

Reza Berati, a 23 year old from Iran
By now you would have heard about the tragic turn of events on Manus Island that left one person dead and 77 injured.

We don't yet know if this new tragic low marks a turning point, if it's part of Australia's new status quo, or if it will finally be enough to make our Government rethink our cruel treatment of asylum seekers, the very people who need our help most. The truth is, we still don't really know happened because the Government won't tell us.

What we do know is that a young man lost his life in the most horrific way – while under our care, while detained in your name. His name was Reza Berati, a 23 year old from Iran. It was in July last year that he made the perilous journey by boat to seek refuge in Australia and instead of finding safety, he endured a nightmare.

Reza is not the first to die because of this policy: there are many others who have already taken their own lives whilst locked in Australian detention centres. But rather than acknowledging our failure to protect them, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison sent an email lauding today as a "significant milestone" in the Government's "strong resolve on our borders".

The only "milestone" reached this week was a new low for human rights in Australia. We live in hope that this horrible tragedy will be enough to make Australia rethink our treatment of asylum seekers. We're planning more action over the coming months – but for now, GetUp members, along with refugee advocacy groups around the country, will take a moment to remember Reza and the countless others who have died and suffered under our watch.

You can help send a powerful message of hope and compassion. Can you step up this Sunday and organise a snap action candlelit vigil with family and friends to light up the dark on asylum seekers?


On Sunday, GetUp members from across the country will be gathering in nearly every major city, and in homes, backyards, parks and churches, to pay our respects to those we've failed to protect. Through these large and small demonstrations of solidarity we will display the compassion that we know Australians are capable of. Together we will show that we care; that we will not allow our Government to abandon our duty of care to these fellow humans. We will gather to show hope and to give hope.

Will you join Australians around the country and host a candlelit display of compassion and hope in your community?


Don't forget, if you host your own vigil, take photos and send them to pics@getup.org.au as we'll be collecting photos from all the events and turn them into an online display of compassion for the whole of Australia to see.

Together we can light the dark,
the GetUp team

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