'With courage let us all combine' Refugee Week 19 - 25 June

Today, World Refugee Day, Federation joins so many others in our community to reflect on the approximately sixty million displaced people worldwide, less than one percent of whom ever have a hope of resettlement.

The average time that a refugee spends in a camp is now seventeen years, an entire childhood for those born into camps and a lifetime for so many adults.

Federation urges its members to join other teachers, unions, community groups and the general public, in taking action this weekend in the lead up to the Federal Election on July 2.

This Sunday, Refugee Week 2016 begins with the launch of Chalk your support which is a campaign aimed at mobilising the community to express their support for refugees and asylum seekers during refugee week. City of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore will officially launch Chalk your Support at a public event to be held at 12:00pm at the southern steps of Sydney’s Town Hall. This will take place in the vestibule of the Town Hall (at front) in the event of wet weather.

This launch will be followed by a Pre – Election Rally for Refugees at 1:00pm at Town Hall which will see thousands of people march along George Street as a show of public support for the closure of Manus Island and Nauru detention centres, and the safe resettlement of detained refugees in Australia.  

Information on rallies in other centres 
MELBOURNE - Saturday 18th June, The State Library, corner Latrobe and Swanston Street at 12:45pm
BRISBANE - Saturday 18th June, City Hall, King George Square at 10:45am
ADELAIDE - Saturday 25th June, Parliament House at 11:50am
PERTH - Saturday 25th June, Fremantle Pioneer Reserve, opposite station at 11:50am
WOLLONGONG - Sunday 26 June, SCARF Refugee Harmony Concert, Foragers Market, Bulli from 9am

The Refugee Council of Australia have provided the following analysis of the public positions on refugees issues of the three major parties in the lead up to the election.

For the full analysis click here 

Policy Coalition Labor Greens
End offshore processing and ‘turning back’ boats No No Yes
Increase the size of Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian Program 18,750 per year by 2018-191 27,000 per year by 2025 50,000 per year
Funding for regional refugee protection to UNHCR and other NGOs No $450 million over 3 years $500 million over 4 years
End detention for children and families No No Yes
Reform detention in Australia No Partial Yes
Abolish temporary protection visas No Yes Yes
End ‘fast track’ process for determining refugee claims No Yes Yes
Maintain the Australian Border Force Yes Yes No
Increase support for refugee settlement services in Australia Yes Yes Yes

Australian politicians and their rhetoric should be focusing not on the costs of refugees but on the cost of wasting so much potential.  As Maxeen Georges, a recently arrived refugee from Syria explains, ‘One day I had a job as a Chief Accountant, a home, friends, a wife and family and in one day, everything collapsed’.

Australia continues to be the only Refugee Convention signatory to have a policy of mandatory, indefinite detention for asylum seekers.

The Refugee Council’s Refugee Week resource kit, of which Federation is a proud sponsor, contains lesson plans, online games and other activities especially designed for students, statistics on refugees, myths and facts are also available at the address below for use in classrooms across the state. Links to further resources, including Federation's library, are also provided. The link to the resource kit is http://www.refugeeweek.org.au/refugee-week-resources/resource-kit/



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