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Monday, 3 September, 2001, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
Boat people's plea to Australia
Afghan refugees being rescued
The refugees were rescued by a Norwegian cargo ship

Text of the Afghan boat people's letter to Australia, as published in the Sydney Morning Herald

To the Australian Government, Human Rights organisations and Australian ladies and gentlemen.

We hope you accept regards and warm feelings of the miserable and oppressed Afghan refugees turning around Christmas Island in the middle of sea, while having no shelter, clothes to change after 10 days and even toilets and bathroom.


We do not know why we have not been regarded as refugees and deprived from rights of refugees according to International Convention

Respective Australian Government and Gentlemen and Ladies.

You know well about the long time war and its tragic human consequences and you know about the genocide and massacres going on in our country and thousands of us innocent men, women and children were put in public graveyards, and we hope you understand that keeping view of above mentioned reasons we have no way but to run out of our dear homeland and to seek a peaceful asylum.

And until now so many miserable refugees have been seeking asylum in so many countries.

In this regard before, this Australia has taken some real appreciable initiatives and has given asylum to a high number of refugees from our miserable people.

This is why we are whole heartedly and sincerely thankful to you.

Miserable and oppressed

We hope you do not forget that we are also from the same miserable and oppressed refugees and now sailing around Christmas Island inside Australian boundaries waiting permit to enter your country.

But your delay while we are in the worse conditions has hurt our feelings.

We do not know why we have not been regarded as refugees and deprived from rights of refugees according to International Convention (1951).

We request from Australian authorities and people, at first not to deprive us from the rights that all refugees enjoy in your country.

In the case of rejection due to not having anywhere to live on the earth and every moment death is threatening us.

We request you to take mercy on the life of 438 men, women and children.

Thank you,
Yours sincerely,
Afghan refugees now off the coast of Christmas Island

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Michael Peschardt reports
"Both sides have agreed the people should be moved"
The BBC's Dominic Hughes
"It has provoked a heated debate in Australia"
John Riordan, Barrister representing the refugees
says the ruling will give the refugees better living conditions
See also:

03 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Court rules refugees can be moved
01 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Pacific states step into the breach
01 Sep 01 | South Asia
Pakistan halts deportations
31 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
Australia defiant in refugee standoff
30 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
Australia seeks help over boat people
13 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Australia condemns vigilantes
31 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
Australia's migrant policy under fire
12 Feb 01 | Asia-Pacific
Boost for anti-immigrant party
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