Restoring hope to refugees
and to Australians
Vinnies encourages its staff, members and volunteers to throw their support behind Refugee Week being celebrated from Sunday, 15 June until Saturday 21 June, which includes World Refugee Day on Thursday, June 20. We also issued a media release titled ‘Offshore detention and secrecy a continue source of shame’ on June 18, 2014.
Every year the Refugee Council of Australia coordinates events during Refugee Week to raise awareness about the issues affecting refugees and celebrate the positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society.
This year marks the final year of the “Restoring Hope” theme which reminds us that while a refugee’s journey begins with danger, it also begins with hope.
Since the last Refugee Week was held there have been many developments, both negative and positive, affecting minority groups in our community. Here is a brief overview:
Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention
In its recent submission to the national inquiry led by the Australian Human Rights Commission Inquiry, Vinnies called for the immediate release of children from immigration detention. What our experience has shown us, and is borne out by a weight of evidence, is that immigration detention is deeply harmful to asylum seekers, and particularly to children.
Refugee welcome zones
There are currently 92 Local Government Areas deemed to be Refugee Welcome Zones in Australia. The first zones were established in 2002 when 15 councils signed up to the initiative coordinated by the Refugee Council of Australia. By signing up to the initiative councils make “a commitment in Spirit to welcoming refugees into our community, upholding the human rights of refugees, demonstrating compassion for refugees and enhancing cultural and religious diversity in our community”.