Refugee Action Collective (Vic)

Free the refugees! Let them land, let them stay!

Solidarity with the Brisbane/Meanjin protests

1 July 2020

The Refugee Action Collective (Vic) has been inspired by the resistance shown by the refugees held in the hotel at Kangaroo Point in Brisbane and the solidarity rallies by their supporters in the streets outside.

We join the Refugee Action Collective (Qld) and Refugee Solidarity Meanjin in calling for the men to be released into the community where they will be welcomed by so many people.

We are appalled by the mass arrests of refugee supporters who were doing no more than peacefully calling attention to this incarceration, this breach of human rights.

Here in Melbourne, we continue the same fight. There are some 65 refugees in the Mantra Bell City Hotel in Preston, like Kangaroo Point an “alternative place of detention”, and more in MITA, in Broadmeadows. They, too, have been protesting daily.

Those in the Mantra do not have access to fresh air and all of them are trapped in close proximity to Serco guards who could all too easily bring the COVID-19 virus in from outside, with cases spiking in the city’s north. Broadmeadows is one of many suburbs going into lockdown as a COVID-19 hotspot.

We, too, have faced police action for safely drawing attention to this situation, with one RAC member charged with incitement and 30 facing $1652 fines for taking part in a socially distanced convoy of solidarity.

So we send our solidarity to you all in Meanin/Brisbane from Naarm/Melbourne. And the best solidarity is for all of us to keep up the fight for freedom for refugees and asylum-seekers against this racist Morrison/Dutton government.

Teachers’ union calls for refugees to be in community care, charge and fines against convoy activists to be dropped

The Victorian State Council of the Australian Education Union has overwhelmingly endorsed the following motion:

The AEU condemns the Federal Government’s treatment of refugees who are currently held in lockdown at a Preston hotel.

The government has abrogated their responsibility for the rights and welfare of these refugees generally and specifically in the context of the response to COVID-19 by failing to provide sufficient:

• space to enable the required social distancing between refugees and between refugees and guards
• hygiene products such as soap
• personal protective equipment where necessary.

The increased risk to the refugees is significant given that they have come to Australia under the Medevac legislation and have considerable medical problems, which make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.

The AEU, consistent with existing policy, calls on the government to immediately allow refugees and asylum seekers to be released safely into suitable community care arrangements.

Further the AEU reinforces its support for the right of Victorians to engage in safe political protest free from the fear of arrest. Appropriate political protest is a fundamental civil right which should not be thwarted by charging or fining protesters.

The AEU calls for the charge of incitement to be dropped against Chris Breen, and for the fines against all 29 refugee rights supporters to be withdrawn.