Palm Sunday on 28 March 2021 is an important opportunity to raise awareness of the continuing injustice and cruelty experienced by refugees and people who are seeking asylum.
This year, organisers of the Palm Sunday events are aware of the need for COVID-safety. We recommend the wearing of masks and social distancing at all Palm Sunday actions and events.
There will be events and rallies in all states, and in many rural and regional areas on Sunday March 28th.
Why it is important to call for Justice and a Fair Go for Refugees ?
Palm Sunday is a time when communities gather to call for humane policies to replace the cruel and shameful policies of the Federal Government in its treatment of people seeking asylum and refugees.
Justice & A Fair Go For Refugees means:
• Permanent visas and family reunion for all refugees
• Fair and timely assessment of all claims for refugee status
• Safety net income for all those who are waiting for a permanent visa, if they cannot find enough work to support themselves
• Releasing all refugees from detention; see #TimeForAHome
• Bringing 260 people still held on Nauru and in PNG here, or allowing New Zealand to resettle them as the New Zealand Prime Minister has been offering to do for several years; see #GameOver.
Haven’t the refugees been released recently?
As a result of protest and legal action, some of the nearly 200 refugees who came to Australia under Medevac legislation have been freed after almost 8 years (over 6 years offshore and nearly 18 months in makeshift prison-hotels in Australia).
They came here for serious medical conditions which could not be treated adequately while they were imprisoned in Papua New Guinea or Nauru. Many have not yet received the treatment they need. Around 150 are still imprisoned in Australia, including 13 in the Park Hotel in Melbourne.
They have committed no crimes and should all be released.
Are those who were released allowed to stay in Australia?
All recently released refugees have been given six-month ‘final departure’ Bridging Visas. This is unfair, as the overwhelming majority are recognised as refugees and should be offered permanent protection here in Australia.
How do people survive on bridging visas for years?
Thousands of people who have sought asylum in Australia are living in the Australian community on Bridging Visas, including the refugees just released from detention in the prison-hotels. Many people have spent years in limbo waiting for their asylum claims to be assessed.
Life on a Bridging Visa
If you’re given bridging visa, you;
• do not receive Jobseeker
• are expected to work; while many can do this, some have health issues associated with long term detention which prevent them from working
• are not permitted to undertake courses of study or to receive training certificates
• cannot re-unite with your family.
Many have been living in desperate poverty for almost eight years,
relying on charity to survive.
What’s wrong with temporary visas?
Around 30,000 people who are recognised refugees have Temporary Protection Visas (three years) or SHEVs – Safe Haven Enterprise Visas (five years).
There is no certainty that these visas will be renewed, leaving refugees in permanent insecurity, with no rights to study and no rights for family reunion.
The lack of certainly makes it very difficult for people to rebuild their lives and get permanent work.
For more information on events and rallies, see here: