Australian sports stars Craig Foster and Ian Chappell have joined forces to launch Game Over – a campaign to get all refugees and asylum seekers stranded on Nauru and Papua New Guinea to safety.
“With the recent repeal of the life-saving Medevac Bill, getting people to safety from the dire conditions they’re in on Nauru and in Papua New Guinea is more urgent than ever,” Foster said.
“People seeking Australia’s protection have traditionally found a warm welcome in their grassroots sporting communities where sport is the universal language. We know there are communities right around Australia who are willing and able to help us get people languishing offshore to safety in third countries.
“All people deserve safety and a bright future: Australians won’t stand by any longer while politicians turn a blind eye to the suffering of people warehoused offshore. It’s time to call ‘Game Over’ and get these people to safety so they can rebuild their lives.”
Cricket legend and refugee rights advocate Ian Chappell has joined the Game Over campaign to emphasise the urgency of getting people to safety.
“When Craig told me about Game Over, I was delighted to support this worthy humanitarian cause. These are innocent people who are in conditions that are worse than jail. They have also been in limbo for so long it has destroyed their health. They deserve a fair go – that should be an unarguable human right.”
Samad Adbul from Pakistan is one of the young people who have spent the best years of their life languishing in offshore detention. A keen cricketer, the sport has helped him maintain hope.
“I grew up watching Australian cricket – it was a strong side. Ricky Ponting was the captain, my favourite player was Adam Gilchrist, then there was Matthrew Hayden, Michael Clarke, Brett Lee, Shane Warne, Jason Gillespie. Oh my goodness, such a strong side,” Samad said.
“Right now I’m in Australian care for six, seven years. I really like the people of Australia, the people who have already supported me. It’s been seven years now and I’m still stuck. I’ve lost seven years which are the most important years of my life. I quit my studies… I quit everything.
“I’d love to go to New Zealand. If Peter Dutton doesn’t want me to go to Australia, I won’t go to Australia.
“The most important thing for me is my freedom. I’m young, I don’t want to lose my life here.”
Former Socceroo Captain Alex Tobin has also committed his support joining 28,135 Amnesty International supporters who have already thrown their weight behind the campaign calling Game Over and encouraging Australia to get all on Nauru and Papua New Guinea to safety.
For more information go to www.gameover.org.au