2012 World Refugee Day Rally: 12 noon Sunday 17 June, starting State Parliament House 1

20 years too long! End Mandatory Detention
Sunday 17 June, 12 noon
Gather State Parliament House, Spring Street, Melbourne CBD
Speakers then march to join the EMERGE Festival in Fitzroy
Bring your banners, signs and messages

This year is the 20th anniversary of the introduction of mandatory detention for all asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat.

The Refugee Advocacy Network is calling on all groups and individuals who support refugee rights to come together and rally for World Refugee Day, and send a clear message to the government that it’s time to end mandatory detention.

The crisis in Australia’s detention system continues to escalate with 4783 asylum seekers locked in detention. Six asylum seekers died in detention in the 12 months from July 2010 to June 2011. More than 500 children are in detention, and 32% of asylum seekers have been in detention for more than 12 months.

Increasing numbers have been incarcerated for long periods of time – months and even years.

In Darwin, on average, five asylum seekers are being brought to the emergency department each day – a horrifying statistic.

Asylum seekers and refugees in the camps are becoming increasingly despairing and desperate. Something needs to change.

The core of the problem is mandatory detention – an inhumane policy that victimises people who have committed no crime, and simply want a better life for themselves and their families.

Recently, the immigration department has begun releasing around 500 asylum seekers each month on bridging visas. While this system isn’t perfect, it is welcome that some asylum seekers are being released from detention.

It proves that it is possible to do what the refugee movement has been campaigning for – to support asylum seekers in the community while their claims for refugee status are being assessed.

The Refugee Advocacy Network calls on the Australian Government to protect the rights of asylum seekers.

The last two years’ World Refugee Day Rallies in Melbourne have been supported by more than 50 groups each year. We hope to have even more groups represented this year.

Send your group’s endorsement of World Refugee Day 2012 in Melbourne to: refugeeadvocacynetwork (at) gmail (dot) com or ring Sue on 0413 377 978 or Liz W on 0405 736 265.
Plan for your group to be represented to ensure that this rally demonstrates the breath of community support for refugee rights.

Initial endorsements include: Act For Peace; African Think Tank; Asylum Seeker Resource Centre; Asylum Seeker Welcome Centre; Australia Asia Worker Links; Australian Jewish Democratic Society; Australian Refugee Association – Ballarat Circle of Friends 93; Australian Syrian Organisation; Australian Services Union – Private services branch; Australia Western Sahara Association; Australian Education Union; Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project; Catholic Office for Justice & Peace; CEPU Communications Division – Victorian Branch; CEPU – Postal & Telecommunications branch; Colleen Hartland Greens MLC; Community & Public Sector Union – Victorian government employees; Community Radio 3CR; Communist Party Australia; CMFEU- mining and energy division; CMFEU- construction devision; Edmund Rice Aslyum Seeker Project; Electrical Trades Union; Eritrean Australians for Peace & Justice; Eritrean Solidarity in Australia; Fitzroy Learning Network; Friends of the Earth; Federation of Australian Muslim Students & Youth (FAMSY); Freedom Socialist Party, Geelong Refugee Action and Information Network (GRAIN); Geelong Trades Hall; Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand; Green Left Weekly; Humanitarian Crisis Hub, Jews for Refugees; Jewish Labour Bund; Justice and International Mission Unit, Kurdish Association of Australia; Maritime Union of Australia; National Union Workers; Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Uniting Church in Australia; La Trobe University RAC; Labor 4 Refugees; Liberty Victoria; Melbourne Catholic Migrant & Refugee Office; Melbourne ethnic community radio 3ZZZ; Melbourne University RAC; Monash University RAC; Monash Environment and Social Justice Collective; Monash Student Association; Queenscliff Rural Australians for Refugees, Shamama Association; Socialist Alliance, Socialist Alternative, Solidarity, Radical Women, Refugee Action Collective; Refugee Advocacy Group (Geelong); Revolutionary Socialist Party; Rise for Refugees (Melbourne University); Thamila Coordinating Council – Australasia (TCC); Textile, Clothing & Footwear Union; The Greens, United Voice; Victorian Council of Churches; Victorian Trades Hall Council; Victorian West Papua Community