Walk for Justice for Refugees

29570544_2043390515876322_5991355545362181198_nOn Palm Sunday I joined thousands of Australians in the annual Walk for Justice for Refugees in Melbourne. Across Australia, in all the major sixties and towns, people from faith groups, community groups and organisations and unions joined in the Palm Sunday actions for Refugees, bringing banners and messages of support to express their concern about the treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum.


The specific call this year was for the evacuation of Manus and Maura in PNG where asylum seekers and refugees to Australia are presently being held in deplorable conditions.


The Australian Government continues to punish people who sought protection in Australia:

• Thousands of people have been held on Nauru and Manus Island during the last four years, and the deliberate cruelty of the offshore detention regime has resulted in 9 deaths, with many people developing serious mental illness and untold misery and despair
• The men marooned on Manus are fearful for their safety as Australia abandons them in Papua New Guinea
• There are still 160 children held on Nauru, who with their families and other adults are being denied hope for the future
• 242 people have been offered protection by America – but around 1700 remain. No refugees from Iran, Somalia, or Sudan (countries covered by Trump’s travel ban) have been offered places to the US.
• The Australian Government has rejected the offer by New Zealand to provide protection for 150 people per year.
• There are concerns that many people will be pressured to return to unsafe places.
• Over 30,000 refugees are living on Bridging Visas in our community, with their futures in limbo. People are still held in detention here in Australia, many for long periods.
• Many families are separated by our harsh system, and most have no hope of ever being reunited with their loved ones.


They were  calling on Australia’s political leaders to abandon the current harsh and unjust policies, and to provide permanent protection for these vulnerable people.  They are also calling for truth and respect in the public discourse – Australians are shocked that some politicians show little regard for the truth while pursuing short term political advantage.



Speakers at the Walk in Melbourne included:

Abdul Aziz Adam live from Manus Island. Aziz is a refugee from Darfur in Sudan and has been imprisoned on Manus for over 4 years.

Tim Costello, Chief Advocate, World Vision Australia

Anwar Ibrahim, Rohingyan refugee

Lavanya Thavaraja,Tamil Refugee Council

Interfaith Panel:

Mr Mohamed Mohideen, President of Islamic Council of Victoria,

Rev Sharon Hollis, Moderator, Uniting Church of Australia, Victorian and Tasmanian Synod

Mr Bhakta Dasa, Vaisnava Hindu Minister of Religion, Interfaith Coordinator Communications Director for ISKCON Victoria

Endorsed by:

3CR Community radio
Academics for Refugees
Amnesty International Australia
Anakbayan Melbourne
Anglican Diocese of Melbourne
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
Australia Asia Worker Links
Australian Student Christian Movement
Australian Association of Social Workers
Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce
Australian Education Union Victorian Branch
Australian Greens Victoria
Australian Hazara Women’s Friendship Network Inc
Australian Jewish Democratic Society
Australian Nursing And Midwifery Federation (Vic Branch)
Australian Refugee Action Network
ASU Victorian Private Sector Branch
Australian Unions for Western Sahara
Ballarat Catholic Diocese Social Justice Commssion
Bayside Refugee Advocacy and Support Association
Befriend A Child In Detention
Bellarine for Refugees
Black Sash Australia
Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project
Campaign for International Cooperation and Disarmament (CICD)
Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA)
Central Victorian Refugee Support Network
CFMEU C&G Division Vic Branch
City of Yarra
Combined Refugee Action Group
Congregation of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan
Darebin City Council
Diaspora Action Australia
Doctors for Refugees
East Gippsland Asylum Seeker Support (EGASS)
Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria
Fair Go For Pensioners
Freedom Socialist Party
Gabriela Australia
Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children
GADRC – Ballarat
GADRC – Batman
GADRC – Bendigo
GADRC – Jaga Jaga
Hobsons Bay Refugee Network
House of Welcome
Humanist Society of Victoria Inc.
Independent Education Union Victoria Tasmania
Indigenous Social Justice Association Melbourne
Islamic Council of Victoria
Jesuit Social Services
Jewish Labour Bund
Jews For Refugees
Justice and Freedom for Ceylon Tamils Inc
Kindred Kindness
Kilbreda College (Mentone)
Labor for Refugees
Latrobe Valley Refuge Support Group
Librarians For Refugees
Love Makes A Way
Mater Christi College, Belgrave
McMillan for Refugees
Melbourne Catholic Migrant & Refugee Office
Melbourne City Churches In Action
Melbourne Unitarian Peace Memorial Church Inc.
Migrante Australia
Migrante Melbourne
Missionary Sisters of Service
Moreland City Council
Montmorency Asylum Seekers Support Group
Mornington Peninsula Human Rights Group
Mothers Offering Time Hope Refugee Support
National Tertiary Education Union
National Union of Workers
New International Book Shop
Pax Christi Victoria
People for Human Rights and Equality
Philippine Caucus for Peace
Philippines Australia Solidarity Association (PASA)
Presentation Sisters of Victoria
Radical Women
Refugee Action Collective (RAC)
Refugee Advocacy Network
Refugee Council of Australia
Refugee Legal
Rural Australians for Refugees – Aireys Inlet
Rural Australians for Refugees – Alpine
Rural Australians for Refugees – Apollo Bay
Rural Australians for Refugees – Ballarat
Rural Australians for Refugees – Beechworth
Rural Australians for Refugees – Benalla
Rural Australians for Refugees – Bendigo
Rural Australians for Refugees – Castlemaine
Rural Australians for Refugees – Daylesford & District
Rural Australians for Refugees – Echuca
Rural Australians for Refugees – Euroa
Rural Australians for Refugees – Grampians/Gariwerd
Rural Australians for Refugees – Hamilton and District
Rural Australians for Refugees – Healesville
Rural Australians for Refugees – Home among the Gum Trees
Rural Australians for Refugees – Latrobe Valley
Rural Australians for Refugees – Lorne
Rural Australians for Refugees – Macedon Ranges
Rural Australians for Refugees – Mansfield
Rural Australians for Refugees – Maryborough
Rural Australians for Refugees – National
Rural Australians for Refugees – Phillip Island
Rural Australians for Refugees – Queanbeyan
Rural Australians for Refugees – Queenscliff
Rural Australians for Refugees – South Gippsland
Rural Australians for Refugees – Southern Highlands
Rural Australians for Refugees – Surf Coast
Rural Australians for Refugees – Trentham
Rural Australians for Refugees – Warburton
Rural Australians for Refugees – Warrnambool
Santa Maria College, Northcote
Shamama Association of Australia
Socialist Alliance
Socialist Alternative
South West Love Makes a Way
Spring Creek Community House
St Mary’s Catholic Parish – Echuca
Swan Hill Community Issues Group
Tamil Refugee Council
Teachers for Refugees
Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia
The Salvation Army (Australian Southern Territory)
Union of Australian Women
Uniting Church in Australia Synod of Victoria and Tasmania
Vic Trades Hall Council
Victorian Council of Churches
Victorian Afghan Associations Network
Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association
Victorian Immigrant & Refugee Womens Coalition
Welcome To Australia
West Welcome Wagon
World Vision
Yarra City Council
Young Mercy Links
YPR – Young People for Refugees – Bendigo