Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Embrace asylum seekers: SIEV X survivor's final wish

Mourners at a memorial service for SIEV-X survivor Amal Basry were asked last night to help enact her dream - to welcome people fleeing persecution.

The Iraq-born woman spent 30 hours in the sea clinging to the corpse of another woman after an Indonesian people-smuggling boat, overladen with asylum seekers, sank in 2001.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre's Kon Karapanagiotidis said: "Her dream was that other people would not suffer as she did."

Mrs Basry, 51, who died on Saturday, was on her way to join her husband in Australia when the boat sank. After her rescue, she was returned to Indonesia where she had to wait nearly a year to come to Australia, and spent three years on a temporary protection visa before being granted permanent protection last year.

True colours: the beaming smile of Isir Mohamud, 10, a Somali-Australian, is worth a thousand words as she plays her part in breaking down the barriers. To mark Harmony Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Racism yesterday, a group of young Muslim woman made hijabs out of Australian flags, which they wore during a lunch at the Northern Migrant Resource Centre?s Spectrum Employment Services in Prahran. Isir was one of the youngest girls to celebrate the day, held as a celebration of a diverse society.

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