Refugee rights posts

Refugee Rights Officers’ Report: Week 12, Sem 1, 2017

Kelton Muir de Moore, Jess Whittall and Caitlin McMenamin

It’s been a successful semester for the Campus Refugee Action Collective as more Sydney Uni students than ever in recent history have become active in the refugee campaign, fighting to end the injustice of offshore detention of refugees on Manus Island and Nauru. There was a record contingent to the national Palm Sunday rally with over 80 students arriving an hour before the rally to assemble en masse and march together as a block and join the rally of thousands. Students energy at the rally led from the front with passionate chanting reflecting the politics of the day, decrying Trumps bombing of Syria and our governments continued involvement in the wars of the Middle East and consequential refugees. The collective has published another bulletin this semester updating on and analysing refugee politics over the past 6 months, smashing the narratives that both major parties push in an attempt to gain votes and racially scapegoat from their unpopular neoliberal policies. Over 60 students attended the first of 5 meetings this semester on an intro of how to be an activist, and dozens more have joined the collective since in activity protesting to #SaveSaeed blockading Villawood and the Immigration department and #SackDutton. We’re looking to have more students join us next semester and will be setting up regular meetings (every 2 weeks) and some social events to build an even more organised, educated and active collective. We organise to fight for refugee rights and against the racism that originates through our government and media’s scapegoating of refugees for the ills of Australian imperialism and neoliberalism.

Note: The Refugee Rights Officers were not due to submit a report this week but have done so as they missed submitting in past weeks.

Refugee Rights Officer’s Report – Week 4, Sem 1, 2016

The refugee campaign is growing. It’s getting hot. Everyone from students to doctors to teachers to Christians are taking action.

The letthemstay campaign is building up to a potential of a mass direct action campaign to block the refugees from getting deported. Already we have seen a sign of mass industrial action by the doctors and nurses at the Lady Cilentio hospital, to stop baby Asha from getting deported. The churches indicated they will be providing sanctuary to refugees and its congregation is taking physical NVDA (non violent direct action) training anticipating forced deportations. People in their masses are putting their bodies and their potential livelihood on the line, for the refugees. This is where the action is at. This is the movement to be involved in.

But first we have to remember that the #letthemstay movement did not arise out of thin air, but was built on the work of tireless refugee activists who continued to hold forums, stalls and rallies to try and reach out to people who care about refugees like you, and continued to intervene in organizations and its members to take a stand on refugees. And for the movement to go forward, to politicize people, to change public opinion and to force the hand of Turnbull or Shorten (or whoever it doesn’t matter): we need people who care about refugees like you, to join the rest of the members of the Campus Refugee Action Collective (CRAC), to help bring refugee activism to life on our campus.

During O Week we signed up 200 people to our collective and by speaking out about the horrors in Manus and Nauru in Med lecture theatres, facilitated the establishment of a sister USYD Medical Students for Refugees Collective. And together with the Campus Refugee Action Collective (CRAC), they have painted banners together, and marched side by side in the USYD student Palm Sunday rally march contingent that was fifty students big. We will come back onto campus, inspired by the diversity and passion of the masses, to build the refugee movement here at USYD and build our capacity to escalate the fight, for if the government starts deporting the refugees.

If you have been thinking about getting involved in refugee activism, please like the Campus Refugee Action Collective facebook page to stay in touch, and come to CRAC events to join us, because now is the time when you can make a significant difference! Alternatively message us on our facebook page, or contact Steven on 0416 406 900 to find out ways to get involved.