Sallie Matta, Pam Purton and Amir Hossain Photo: Contributed
Sallie Matta, Pam Purton and Amir Hossain Photo: Contributed

CQ woman’s heart connects with asylum seeker’s story

JULIE Davies can't imagine what it would be like living in a country in conflict.

The Capricorn coast woman attended a meeting on Saturday for the newly re-formed Capricorn Amnesty International group, where she met a man named Amir Hossain.

Amir was a Rohingyan who was granted citizenship this year, after living in Australia for four years.

"When (Amir) joyously told his mother back in Myanmar, she didn't understand what citizenship was," Julie said.

"Imagine being born in Rockhampton and you are not permitted to move to Yeppoon or even visit a friend in Emu Park. You can't imagine it, can you? Neither can I.

"But that is the reality of life for 1.3 million people in Myanmar, which used to be called Burma, simply because they were born into the Rohingyan ethnic minority. They are non-persons in their own land, with no rights."

Julie said Amir came to Australia officially sanctioned and by plane, unlike those "desperate enough" to take to leaky boats.

She said his journey, and the journey of many like him, was what encouraged the CAI to regroup in an effort to address Australia's treatment of refugees.

"Many of those people don't just live without basic human rights, like the Rohingyans, but are in serious danger of not living at all because of some similarly arbitrary characteristic of birth or bombs falling right on their street," Julie said.

"Amir exposes the inaccuracy of the stereotyping about refugees we witness on a regular basis: he has worked almost the entire time he has been in Australia, doing hot physical work in a plant nursery, so he is no drain on the public purse nor has he taken a job most Australians are up for.

"He is just a young man who wants a chance to live in freedom, a freedom we all take for granted and to contribute to society."

Julie said she hoped the nation would continue to "share the luck" and allow refugees such as Amir a chance at a new life.

Do the numbers:

Displaced women, children and families will be prioritised from camps in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.

There will be a focus on persecuted minorities.



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