Refugee Lives Matter - Canberra Palm Sunday Rally
20 March, 2016
UC Refugee Action Club
Please help promote the rally by inviting your Facebook friends and sharing the event on your wall.
The Palm Sunday rally for refugees is an important date in the campaign for refugee rights. Last year’s rally saw tens of thousands of people march around the country, with solidarity protests also occurring across the world. In 2016 we need to build on that momentum and ensure the major parties don’t go to the upcoming federal election promising the same cruel and inhumane policies.
Refugee lives matter, yet our government is destroying them. The refugee policies of both parties have caused immense suffering, and even death, to people it is meant to protect, by detaining them indefinitely in prison-like centres in Australia and offshore; by turning around boats at sea instead of rescuing them; by deporting back to harm people who deserve our protection; by destroying the hopes of refugees by issuing only temporary visas, denying them the right to family reunion and to work; and by the unconscionable, and well-documented, physical, mental and sexual abuse that is at the core of Australia’s immigration detention system.
Many thought a change in Prime Minster might see a change in policy, yet Malcolm Turnbull has continued the same cruelty against refugees that characterised his predecessor, most recently by announcing plans to deport 72 more children, including 33 babies born in Australia, and their families to Nauru.
Enough is enough. Manus Island and Nauru should be closed immediately and those left anguishing there should be brought to Australia. Please join us on Palm Sunday in calling for an end to cruelty, and demanding justice for refugees.
We’ll be building the rally throughout the Canberra region, in faith-based communities, unions, on campuses and in schools, at markets, on social media, and anywhere else we can think of. If you’re able to help distribute leaflets or would like to know more please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget to invite your friends!
Speakers at the rally include:
- David Manne, Executive Director of the Refugee Immigration and Legal Centre, a community legal centre specialising in all aspects of refugee and immigration law, policy and practice
- Hedayat Osyan an Hazara Refugee from Afghanistan
- Canon Roberta Hamilton, rector of the Anglican parish of South Tuggeranong
- Sophie Singh from the Canberra Refugee Action Committee.
Below is a brief description of the refugees used in the graphic.
- Fazel Chegini – died on Christmas Island in 2015. Fazel had been living in the Australian community but redetained by the minister on character grounds.
- Hamid Kehazaei – a 24 year-old Iranian refugee who died on Manus Island in 2014 from septicaemia, after being denied adequate medical care for a treatable skin infection.
- Ali Ahmad Jafari – a 26yo refugee who died in Villawood in 2013, after being retained by the department because of incorrect evidence.
- Abyan – a 23yo Somali refugee who became pregnant when raped on Nauru. Following public outcry, the Australian government finally brought her to Australia for a termination but quickly returned her back to Nauru to avoid a court injunction against her removal. Abyan has since been returned to Australia.
- Ranjini – a Tamil refugee indefinitely detained because of a negative ASIO security assessment. A mother of three, Ranjini was unable to view the alleged evidence used against her. After an independent review Ranjini was finally released in November 2015, after 3 years.
- Nazanin – a 23yo Iranian refugee who was raped on Nauru. The government waited three months before bringing her to Australia for medical treatment, and another five months before allowing her family to join her.
- Reza Barati – a 23 year-old Iranian refugee murdered in 2013 at the Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island, PNG after police and other locals pushed over the fence and stormed the centre.
- Reza Alizadeh – 26yo Iranian refugee on a bridging visa who committed suicide at Brisbane airport in 2015. Those on bridging visas have no right to work and have no right to family reunion.
- Mojgan Shamsalipoor – a 21yo Iranian refugee forcefully removed from her life, and her husband, in Brisbane and transferred to Darwin detention centre in 2015. Mojgan had only 3 months left of her year 12 studies.
- Mohammad Nasim Najafi – a refugee only in his mid-20s, Mohammad allegedly died of a suspected heart attack in 2015 at the Yongah Hill detention centre in Perth.
- Khodayar Amini – Hazara refugee who committed suicide in 2015, fearing immigration officers were about to return him to detention.
- Leo Seemanpillai – 29yo Tamil refugee who committed suicide in 2014. Leo was on a temporary protection visa and was fearful the Australian government would deport him back to Sri Lanka, as they had so many other Tamils.