Updated: Mar 28
Refugee Action Coalition
Thousands of people will rally this Sunday, 28 March, Palm Sunday to call for justice for refugees and asylum seekers. Rallies will be held in every capital city (details below), and at least 12 other regional cities and towns
The rallies will call for the release of the Medevac refugees and all those transferred from Manus and Nauru being held in hotel-prisons and detention s around Australia. Despite the recent releases, around one hundred are still being held with no idea when they will be released.
Just 240 remain in limbo in Nauru and in PNG, still held after almost eight years. Just 25 have been accepted for resettlement in the US, but 215 have no resettlement option.
“All the Medevac refugees should be immediately released,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “And all those being held offshore must be brought to Australia. The government has known for years that the US deal would not provide enough places to resettle everyone they condemned to PNG and Nauru. It’s time to end the farce.”
The protests will also highlight the government ‘s creation of a permanent underclass of vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees who are living in the community but are denied government support and security, while they live on bridging visas and temporary protection visas.
More than 1200 of those sent offshore in 2013 are effectively resettled and now living in the Australian community, yet have no security, no access to English classes, education, family reunion or Centrelink. They were denied JobSeeker and JobKeeper during the pandemic.
Sydney’s Palm Sunday rally starts, 2pm at Belmore Park; Speakers include: Mark Northam, NSW sec Independent Education Union, Tara Curlewis (Uniting Church, former Gen Secretary NCCA), Margot Person (WILPF), Thanuraj Selvarasa, recently released Medevac refugee, Sarah Dale (Centre Director and Principal Solicitor of the Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS), and Graham Thom, refugee coordinator Amnesty International.
Sarah Dale, Centre Director and Principal Solicitor of the Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS), said:
“There are tens of thousands of people in Australia who are ineligible for permanent protection in Australia because they were forced to seek asylum by boat. This cruel policy aims to punish refugees for their mode of arrival, resulting in thousands being left in limbo.
“These men, women and children never know if they are truly safe and many remain permanently separated from their loved ones – unable to sponsor them to join them in safety in Australia, but unable to go back to persecution in their home country.
“This policy has a devastating impact on the refugee community, many of whom have already experienced great trauma in their lives. They deserve the certainty of safety. They should be able to live in peace with their families.”
Graham Thom, Refugee Co-ordinator for Amnesty International, who is also a speaker at the Sydney rally said:
“This Government must realise that it has lost the Australian people on this issue? Eight years keeping refugees in limbo is beyond cruel, it is unforgivable. Thousands will be turning out this Sunday, people from all walks of life and different faiths, who will come out and say, 'enough is enough, this is not what we stand for'. It's time to end the terrible treatment of refugees in this country.”
Thanuraj Selvarasa (Medevac refugee) said, “We have lost nearly a decade to various types of detention. Now, we have a big challenge to recover a whole life in less than six months. We need permanent answers to all the stress.
“I give my voice to my friends still in detention because I know the agony of this. They should be released now. One Out, All Out!”
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713
Palm Sunday Rallies:
Canberra: 1pm, Garema Place.
Melbourne: 2pm, State Library, Swanston St
Brisbane: 12pm, Reddacliff Place, 266 George Street, Brisbane (opposite Treasury Casino and at the top of the Queens Street Mall).
Sydney: 2pm Belmore Park (near Central Station), march to Victoria Park
Darwin: 5pm, Mercure Hotel airport detention centre
Adelaide: 1.30pm, Victoria Square, Grote Street.
Perth: 1pm, live and online event
Rallies in other cities include:
Cairns, Toowoomba, Townsville, Ballarat, Bendigo, Bairnsdale, Armidale, Lawson, Ballina, Newcastle, Wollongong. Refugee supporters from Rural Australian for Refugees: Alexandra, Mansfield, Benalla, Wangaratta, Albury/Wodonga, Beechworth, Alpine and Strathbogie Ranges, plus Amnesty Yackandandah and Wangaratta Refugee Anglican Network, will be joining and marching in Melbourne’s Palm Sunday rally.
More information about Palm Sunday 2021