Sydney’s Welcome Refugees rally on Sunday 19 April was a good success, with around 3000 in attendance. Click here for more photos and video of the day.This is about the same size as last year’s Palm Sunday rally, which was our largest rally for some time, despite having to change the date this year and contend with trackwork.
Our speakers included Graeme McGregor, Refugee Campaign Coordinator, Amnesty International Australia; Ged Kearney, President ACTU; Dr Sue Wareham, Medical Association for the Prevention of War; Kyol Blakeney, President Sydney Uni SRC; Lydia Shelly, Islamophobia Register and Shokufa Tahiri, Hazara refugee.
Thanks to everyone who came and all endorsing organsations, who included:
Arab Council Australia; Asylum Seekers Centre; Australian Kurdish Association—Sydney; Australian Progressives; Australian Services Union – NSW & ACT; Australian Tamil Congress; Benedictine Abbey, Jamberoo; Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group; Bosco Social Justice Group Engadine; Cana Communities; Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes (NSW); Carmelite JPIC; Catholics in Coalition for Justice and Peace; ChilOut; Columban Mission Institute; CPA (M-L); Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education; Evatt foundation; GetUp; Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children; Hazara Youth Perspective Organisation; Independent Education Union; Josephite Justice office; Labor for Refugees (NSW); Marist Asylum-Seeker Refugee Service; Maritime Union of Australia; Mercy Sisters (Parramatta Province); Metropolitan Community Church; Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Justice and Peace Centre; Mums 4 Refugees; National Tertiary Education Union (NSW); National Union of Workers (General branch); NSW Ecumenical Council; NSW Ecumenical Council Council Peace and Justice Commission; NSW Greens; NSW Nurses and Midwives Association; NSW Teachers Federation; Pax Christi Australia (NSW); Presentation Sisters (Wagga); Refugee Action Coalition; Refugee Council of Australia; Search Foundation; Socialist Alliance; Solidarity; Sydney Peace & Justice Coalition; The Grail (NSW/ACT); Unions for Refugees; Unions NSW; Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; Women and the Australian churchChurch and the Refugee Action Coalition.
The last year has seen a seemingly endless succession of abuses against refugees. The recent Human Rights Commission report exposed again the damage being done to children in detention in particular. But the government has chosen to shoot the messenger with a concerted campaign against Commission President Gillian Triggs. Although it says it is getting children out of detention, there are 119 in detention and others in the community on Nauru that are going nowhere.
But it is not just children harmed by detention. A year ago on Manus Island, Reza Barati was killed and scores of others savagely beaten by detention centre guards and locals. Manus is still not safe. The fear of further attacks drove protests and a mass hunger strike by asylum seekers in January.
The momentum for change is growing. Last year’s Palm Sunday demonstrations were the largest for refugee rights since the Howard years. Over 200 groups signed a statement against children in detention following the Human Rights Commission report. Christian leaders have staged actions at MP’s offices around the country as part of the “Love makes a way” campaign. We hope that this rally in April can be a broad and powerful statement of opposition to government policies and of support for refugees.
Category: Past actions