You can help refugees HERE AND NOW

As I Watch The Nightly News on TV and see reports of war and destruction in Iraq, my heart goes out to the people who have lost their homes and loved ones. Watching their plight from the safety of my suburban house, I can only imagine the utter desperation and fear that drive people to leave their homelands in search of a more peaceful life.

Yet I know that when there's conflict, maltreatment by a dictator, or ethnic or religious persecution, many people want to come here, to Australia. The country's stable democracy and multicultural lifestyle is understandably attractive to oppressed and war–wearied individuals. The issue of persecuted people finding a peaceful place to call home is not confined to Australia. According to the New York–based Human Rights Watch, in 2001 an estimated 14.9 million refugees crossed an international border to seek safety, and 22 million internally displaced persons were uprooted in their own countries (see These figures show there is still a need for solutions.

For most refugees, gaining entry to Australia through regular channels is often extremely difficult. That's why over the past few years, asylum seekers from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, as well as Palestine, Sri Lanka, and China, have paid "people–smugglers" to bring them directly here. Some haven't made it. They've been killed, or "dumped," by these human traffickers in countries where they now live in worse conditions than those they left behind.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

What do you call HOME?
June 28, 2004

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.