Refugee rights campaign wins as children come off Nauru

| November 21, 2018 | Reply

Are the children coming off?

After over five years of campaigning, the refugee rights movement has had a major victory: the government has said all children will come off Nauru by the end of the year. This is on track to happen with the government already moving to bring children and their families off. The number of children has now dropped from 120 in August to only 17 children today.

Will they stay here?

Despite Scott Morrison’s bluster, the children and their families are likely to stay in Australia. There are already over 600 refugees from Manus and Nauru who have remained in Australia due to legal action and political pressure ever since 2016’s Let Them Stay campaign. Since then the government has not dared to send them back. However they remain in limbo without permanent visas, so that adults are unable to work or study.

What’s next for the campaign?

Bringing the children to Australia is a major turning point in our fight for refugee rights, but it’s nowhere near enough. With the ALP’s support, Peter Dutton has orchestrated a human-rights
catastrophe on Nauru that crushes everyone subjected to it, not just kids. The health crisis on Manus is no less acute, with a horrific spate of suicide attempts and self-harm in recent weeks. It’s essential that we maintain the pressure to close the camps and bring everyone here to live in the community.

With the support of their own and other unions, hundreds of teachers in Victoria and Queensland are walking off the job this afternoon to demand that all the offshore refugees be brought to Australia. This is exactly the kind of organized public campaigning we need to keep the government under pressure.

The ALP is likely to win the election next year, so its commitment to driving refugees to despair, self-harm and suicide must also be broken. Labor is refusing to support Andrew Wilkie’s bill that would make it a legal requirement, not just a political choice, to bring all children and their families off Nauru. It’s vital for people who care about refugees to keep the pressure up, whoever is in government. Join us at the refugee rights movement’s next major demonstration, the Palm Sunday rally for refugees on Sunday 14 April 2019, to call on politicians to bring all the refugees here and let them stay.

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