Sydney Uni Refugee Action Collective

2015 began with a renewed crisis for the Liberals’ brutal offshore processing regime, Operation Sovereign Borders. Over 700 asylum seekers went on hunger strike to protest their imprisonment on Manus Island. More than 40 people stitched their lips and there were extreme cases of self-harm and suicide attempts including people swallowing nail clippers, razor blades and washing powder. The government responded with a savage oppression. They denied refugees drinking water and later roused up and imprisoned protest organisers.

The Australian Government’s brutal detention regime continues to take its toll on asylum seekers. The reality of indefinite detention, unsanitary conditions, the threat of deportation and violent treatment has led to constant unrest inside the prison camps.

The Human Rights Commission report on children in detention is just the latest confirmation of the kind of horrors asylum seekers experience in detention, whether they are women, children or men. It’s an unjust system and it has to go.

The Sydney Uni Refugee Action Collective (formerly Anti-Racism Collective) is a collective for students committed to campaigning for the rights of refugees. We stand for a pro-refugee campus and fight to see refugees have their claims processed humanely in the community with guaranteed resettlement in Australia. A just refugee policy can only begin by welcoming the boats.

Refugee rights groups have been springing up across the country to answer this challenge. Students must join the doctors, Christian groups, unions and rural Australians mobilizing against the government’s cruelty. We need to make our campus a bastion of pro-refugee activism and energy that will inspire others to fight back. Together we can win! Under John Howard, it was grassroots activism that shifted public opinion, broke bipartisan support for offshore processing and pushed back the Pacific Solution. It is this sort of vibrant campaign we will need to stop Abbott

Nicole was a worker and eyewitness on Manus Island during the unrest that resulted in the brutal murder of Reza Barati. We’ll be hearing from her, discussing refugee policy in general and most importantly, what we can do as students.

We have a big year ahead of us. The Coalition government is determined to entrench some of the cruelest refugee policy seen in Australia’s history. But refugee supporters around the country are equally determined to fight for a humane refugee policy

The campus refugee rights club meets every Monday 11am on New Law Lawns. All welcome! If you’re keen to get involved, check out our fb page, ‘Sydney Uni Refugee Action Collective’ or contact Gabby on 0416 488 258. Stand up, fight back!

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