A refugee mother's thanks to Australian activists

Letting them stay

Two months ago, my family and I were in detention in Darwin, about to be deported to Nauru. Today, we're building a new home in Sydney. I want to say thank you. Now my son Samuel has a garden where he can play (video). In detention, everything was made of metal and wire. Children love colours, they want to touch things. Now we have grass in our backyard, and he's so happy. When my family first told our story, and Samuel's picture was on the front pages, (see below) we didn't know what would happen to us. We're refugees. Everything was uncertain. All I knew back then was that I would do anything to make my family safe.


But then you spoke up for us.


When the protests started, I watched the news constantly in the detention camp, tears running down my face. When you and hundreds of thousands of others asked the Australian government to #LetThemStay, you were talking about my family, and people like us.


I could never have imagined how many people wanted to help us and our friends – or how much power people in Australia would have when they spoke together.


In Iran, where we're from, those protests would have been ignored – or silenced. But in Australia, the government listened. Three weeks ago, we were released from detention into the community in Sydney.


I've kept all the newspapers and the pictures, so I can make a memory book for Samuel.   

When he's older, I want to show him how Australians like you fought for us. I want him to know how good this country can be; how lucky we are now to live in a democracy.


Our new situation isn't perfect, and I know the fight is far from over. We still can't work, study, or travel freely. The Australian government is still refusing to process our refugee claims. And I can't stop thinking and worrying about our friends who are still in detention.


It's Samuel's birthday in a month, and I want all our friends from detention to be able to come to the party. I want us all to be free together. I know you won't stop fighting for these people whose souls are being crushed by indefinite imprisonment.


But for my family, Australia feels like home now. When you stood up for us, you welcomed us. And now, our new community is welcoming us, too. I've been taking Samuel to a playgroup at our local library. At first he was scared – but every time we go, he gets calmer, and happier.


I know Samuel feels that it's different now. Before, when we were in detention, I cried a lot. Now, my husband and I smile all the time. Our baby understands that.


From my family to yours - thank you.



*Naomi is the name I prefer to be called. I cannot use my Persian name, for fear the Iranian authorities will identify me, and put my family back there in danger.


~~~~ A note from the GetUp team: ~~~~


Since #LetThemStay launched, 148 of the 267 people affected by the High Court decision have been moved from detention centres across Australia into the community. Together, this movement has managed to prevent all the planned deportations to Nauru.


This is working. But thousands still languish offshore, with many others in Australian detention centres. Click here to find out more about where the campaign is up to, and what's coming up next.


GetUp is an independent, not-for-profit community campaigning group. We use new technology to empower Australians to have their say on important national issues. We receive no political party or government funding, and every campaign we run is entirely supported by voluntary donations. If you'd like to contribute to help fund GetUp's work, please donate now!

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SamuelTiniest refugees relish freedom

This morning newspapers reported that the babies and children the Turnbull Government was threatening with deportation have been released from detention.

A huge victory for people power. Because of the tireless work of tens of thousands of people - doctors and nurses and community workers, dozens of organisations across the country, churches and religious leaders, these children now have their first taste of freedom.


The Prime Minister wanted to keep these beautiful kids, like Samuel and and Naomi, out of sight and out of mind so people would forget about them, locked up in cruel detention centres on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.


Tens of thousands of people who took to the streets, who refused to leave Lady Cilento Hospital in Brisbane and who offered up their homes made that impossible.


There are still 148 people in the community who are being threatened with deportation, and more than 1,500 vulnerable people trapped offshore on Manus Island and Nauru.


We will not stop until we shut down these cruel detention centres, and end this political race to the bottom.


It’s clear that the overwhelming majority of Australian people know that we are strong enough to welcome those who seek our help, and share with them the safety and opportunity that we have here in Australia.


Thank you for everything you do,


Today we should celebrate that 37 babies are experiencing their first moments of freedom, and that changing these bipartisan policies is really possible. Please share the good news, and remind the Prime Minister that we won’t stop until every child, man and woman is free from detention. 

Sarah Hanson-Young, the Australian Greens



In his article about the release of Samuel and many others from detention, Michael Gordon, political editor of The Age newspaper (Melbourne) stated, "This is a victory for people power, in the form of the Let Them Stay campaign waged by the advocacy organisation GetUp! and the Melbourne-based Human Rights Legal Centre."

I want you to know that your donation made this possible. Thank you.

Shen from the GetUp team