Refugee Week is an annual activity to raise awareness about the issues affecting refugees. It provides an opportunity for us all to recognise and better understand the courage and contribution of refugees.
This year is the 20th anniversary of Refugee Week in Australia, which runs from Sunday 17 June to Saturday 23 June. Refugee Week coincides with World Refugee Day on 20 June.
There will be events and celebrations everywhere so I encourage you to think about joining in.
The Refugee Council of Australia has chosen #WithRefugees as the theme for Refugee Week 2018. In Australia, it is the responsibility of our Government, as well as each one of us, to ensure people forced to flee their homes from persecution can live with dignity and with hope. Two of the ways “people power” has made a difference this year:
- People have been lobbying their local councils to set up refugee welcome zones to begin to connect with everyone in the community through cultural and information events — there’s been great success in the areas of Margaret River, Lithgow, Scarborough, Joondalup and Gippsland. If your local council is yet to sign up as a refugee welcome zone, don’t give up.
- Thousands of people have helped amplify the voices of the people trapped in offshore detention — including Behrouz, Joinal, Aziz, and Imran— by sharing and liking their stories. Behrouz Boochani won the print/online and multimedia category in Amnesty’s media awards for his journalism from Manus. Please link up to their FB pages and follow what’s really happening in offshore detention facilities and settlement programs.
As the Refugee Council of Australia reminds us:
A ‘Refugee’ is a person; boy, girl, woman or man. Not a label, but a human being with a beating heart, just like you and me. And the refugee experience can be prolonged. Today there are more refugees than ever, and only by standing together #WithRefugees can we begin to change this.