The Judge is wrong - Tell it to Malala, to Soraya, to the many dead and tortured

Judge Stephen Scott during sentencing of an Iranian-Australian (to 14 years) for his role in assisting Asylum Seekers to our shores (others mistakenly ill-define this as 'people-smuggling') said that there were greater risks for Asylum Seekers fleeing by boat than there are in if they remained in the country they were fleeing from.

The sentenced man was jailed for his part in several voyages in assisting people to Asylum, one which tragically ended in the 2010 Christmas Island disaster where thereabouts 50 people drowned.

Judge Scott referred to the fact that thereabouts 1,000 Asylum Seekers have drowned during the last decade in trying to reach safe haven on Australia's shores.

Judge Scott's remarks underlay the igorance and nescience, and some of the damning origin-of-thinking, which has skewed, bent and decimated the public discourse and debates on the rights of our Asylum Seekers.

Judge Scott needs to look Malala in the eyes and tell her it is safer in Pakistan and Afghanistan than on an unseaworthy boat. The 14 year old was shot in the head because she spoke up for the right of girls to an education. Judge Scott needs to look at the statistics of how many die in Afghanistan each day from the Taliban. Judge Scott needs to learn more about how many young girls are forced into marriages and he needs to learn of what happens to many of them when they resist. Judge Scott needs to find out how many young men and boys are taken from their families to become Taliban fighters. Judge Scott needs to be made aware of how dangerous Sri Lanka is for Tamils. Judge Scott needs to be told the story of Iran's Soraya, who was half buried alive and publicly stoned to death or maybe he should be sent a photo of it - it's on the public record.

Malala Yousafzai is a school student and education activist from the town of Mingora in the Swat District of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. She is known for her education and women's rights activism in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban has at times banned girls from attending school. 14 year old Malala was shot in the head and neck during an assassination attempt by Taliban - while returning home on the school bus.

There is only one risk associated with fleeing on an unseaworthy vessel - that is drowning at sea.

For those who remain in countries where there is persecution and repression and civil strife the risks are many - torture, incarceration, persecution of their extended family, loss of life, loss of dignity.

Gerry Georgatos
PhD Law researcher Australian Custodial Systems & Deaths in Custody
Masters Social Justice Advocacy & Masters Human Rights Education
Spokesperson, Human Rights Alliance -
0430 657 309

On 9 October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus.
The misappropriation of language and abuse of semantics in reference to ‘perceived people smugglers’ has to begin to change so we do not further erode compassion, and continue to skew the moral compass, bend and circumvent the rule of law- domestic and international.

People who are assisting people in their flight from persecution and in the right to asylum, in accordance to our laws, domestic and international, should be honoured as the heroes they are. The wait for this should not be a generation removed, as is generally the case in the unfolding of social justice and in the eliminating of racism and various abominable prejudices.

There is nothing more honourable than living the moral conviction of saving the lives of others. The 600 souls who have drowned since 2007 in their flight to our shores are the fault of the policies of the Australian government.



Gerry Georgatos has just made me better understand, I am for more refugees to Australia but he makes simple points here powerfully and cleanly and that we just can't sweep under the carpet. I better understand that people smugglers are in fact not people smugglers.

half buried alive and stoned to death and the little girl shot in the head and then we are told they are 'economic' migrants

may our government go straight to hell

"I don't need any awards or political bullshit. I need my daughter."

"I have seen doomsday and survived, you might say. Malala has been honoured by the nation, by the world, by people of all classes, of all creeds, of all colours. I am grateful for that. But I am a father. I respect all those feelings but the only priority now is the life of my daughter and her total rehabilitation."

Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital said the bullet which struck Malala Yousafzai just above her left eye had grazed the edge of her brain.

Speaking outside, Dr Rosser, the hospital's medical director, told reporters: "It's clear that Malala is not out of the woods yet.

"Having said that, she is doing very well. In fact she was standing with some help for the first time this morning when I went in to see her."

Dr Rosser added: "Malala is keen that I thank people for their support and their interest because she is obviously aware of the amount of interest and support this has generated around the world."