Asylum Seekers: Have a Little Compassion.

Late last month an inquiry was launched into the high rates of self-harm and suicide attempts at detention centres across Australia.

Add to this the rioting and hunger strikes at detention centres in Queensland and Darwin, amongst others, and it’s a sorry state of affairs for asylum seekers in Australia.

Those who see asylum seekers as “illegals” when, in actual fact, anyone has the legal right to flee to another country to seek asylum, are probably reasoning that they brought this on themselves, that they shouldn’t expect to come into our country and be given a free ride, exempt from the laws “legal” citizens abide by.

If anyone saw Go Back to Where You Came From, the softening of Cronulla lifeguard Adam Hartup was immediate after he visited men on their final appeal to gain asylum at Villawood detention centre. He relayed the story of one man who said if he wasn’t granted asylum he would have to kill himself because he couldn’t return to his home country, where he would be killed anyway. What other option do these people have?

When you’re caged like an animal (and I don’t even believe in caging animals. Wait, does the zoo count?) and treated like you’re guilty for exerting your legal right to flee a dangerous country, there’s probably not a light at the end of the tunnel in sight.

While I don’t agree with rioting, we can’t let a few “bad eggs”, so to speak, influence the way we view the majority of detainees in detention centres, who are waiting quietly to have their legal right to seek asylum recognised.

Related: My Response: Go Back to Where You Came From.

Elsewhere: [ABC Lateline] Detention Centre Self-Harming Prompts Inquiry.

[The Age] Police Use Tear Gas to Quell Riot on Christmas Island.