Who seeks Asylum?


I work at the Darebin Intercultural Centre in Preston where we have an Asylum Seeker Lounge which actually means I get to interact with actual Asylum Seekers.

Seeking international protection

The term asylum-seeker is often confused with the term refugee. An asylum-seeker is someone who says he or she is a refugee and seeks international protection from persecution or serious harm in their home country. Every refugee is initially an asylum-seeker, but not every asylum-seeker will ultimately be recognized as a refugee. While they are waiting for their claim to be accepted or rejected, they are called asylum-seekers. The term asylum-seeker contains no presumption either way – it simply describes the fact that someone has lodged the claim for asylum. National asylum systems are there to decide which asylum-seeker actually qualifies for international protection. Those judged through proper procedures not to be refugees, nor to be in need of any other form of international protection, can be sent back to their home countries.

I always ask people who agree with the policy that there are no such thing as asylum seekers who need to catch boats and not wait on the list that never decrease for organisations such as the UNCHR have they ever met an asylum seeker and listened to their stories. There is a great project in Melbourne Australia that tells these stories http://opencity.org.au/ – they cannot use there real names for fear of reprise to their families in their home countries and unfortunately in our country from over zealous government officials but I know several of the people in this projects and having read them it changed my ideas of what and why these people take the dramatic action of boarding a rickety boat that may end up at the bottom of an ocean.


Sara who I know has lost her family because of the repressive laws regarding women in her home country. Highly educated and a translator of books Sara decided to leave after the last books she translated was not allowed to be published because it broke Islamic Law. religion raising its head once again. Women do not have the right to seek leaving their country where Sara was from , so she flew out with the intention of not returning and seeking asylum in a country where women had rights and chose Australia. Sara spent 9 days on a boat after paying $5,000 to a boat smuggler and lost contact with the person who traveled with her from her home country. Because one has money does not mean you are an Asylum seeker, money is not the answer to living a meaningful life.

Mustafa was raped by the Taliban at the age of ten years old for a three month period and has been in Australia and on the same visa for the past five years. He has 8 dollars a fortnight  left over after paying his rent which he buys a packet of biscuits and a bottle of drink and recently had to leave his shared accommodation and has been going through the trauma of finding new accommodation on a severely low income.


I recently found a Pledge to Asylum Seekers written by L. Clancy and L. Mariah for Bendigo for Refugees, http://www.pledgetoasylumseekers.org/

Our Pledge to Asylum Seekers

YWC pledger_4 Welcome!

This site is for sharing the Pledge to Asylum Seekers, written by two Australian writers who wanted to create something that would generate empathy, humanity and hope.

We wrote the Pledge to bring some perspective to an issue that has become lost in politics. We hope that it will move people’s hearts, demonstrate the depth of compassion felt by both individuals and groups, and inspire further action.

The Pledge is as follows

To those who come from desperation and despair,

To those who have endured violence and unrest.

To those who have no place of safety,

Who come to our shores seeking sanctuary:

You are Welcome here.

We pledge to the mothers and to the fathers,

We pledge to the children and pregnant women,

We pledge to those tortured, broken and dispossessed,

We will acknowledge you with kindness and compassion:

You are Welcome here.

We pledge as part of the human family:

We pledge as members of a global community:

We pledge as people who have sought and found

A peace and safety such as you seek,

You are welcome here.

As the children and grandchildren of displaced persons,

We will not shirk our responsibilities.

We will Not stand by while your cjhildren are hidden offshore.

We will insist on change to the current system.

You are welcome here.

If you dream of your children living in safety,

Of sharing the hard works and the rewards:

If you long to contribute to a caring and just society

And subscribe to a ‘fair go for all’,

You are welcome here.

Bring respect fellowship and goodwill.

Bring your heart, your courage and your aspirations.

We are fair honest, open-minded and generous,

We greet you in friendship

And you are welcome here.

Signed ___________________

This is for the humans to sign, people who recognize that do not belong to teams, but one human race. Go to the webpage print a copy out sign it and get your organisations and friends and family to sign it and return the humanity to a situation that seems to have lost it at the moment.

Namaste until next time my friend



1 thought on “Who seeks Asylum?

  1. It is interesting to consider the difference between ‘asylum seeker’ and ‘refugee’, so thanks for explaining this distinction. I really appreciated reading about the people you have met and sharing their humanity with us. The pledge to asylum seekers is very touching.


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