Chief Advocate of World Vision Australia, Rev Tim Costello, will call on the Australian government to evacuate those being held on Manus and Nauru to safety and freedom.
“The Australian government has a moral responsibility to bring those being detained on Manus and Nauru to Australia immediately. ”
Sudanese refugee Abdul Aziz Adam who has been held on Manus Island for 4 years will also address the Palm Sunday Walk by phone, giving a firsthand account of the current situation for the people being held in PNG. While some are being offered resettlement in the US, there is deep concern that many will be left abandoned without resettlement options.
“The Government’s offshore detention policy is inhumane, callous and deliberately cruel” said Rev Costello.
“Locking people up indefinitely in order to deter others is not something we should tolerate,” Rev Costello said. He also noted that most of the people held on Manus Island and Nauru (including over 100 children) are recognised as refugees and in need of protection.
“These people have been denied their freedom by my government, in my name and yours. We cannot close the door and turn our backs. “Everyone deserves to be safe and free,” he said. “With millions of people displaced worldwide, more than half of them children, displacement is the biggest humanitarian challenge of our times. While difficult, we must find ways to give dignity and freedom – not cruelty and despair.
Anwar Ibrahim, a young man from the Rohingyan community who arrived here as a 13 year old refugee will speak about why Australia needs to be more compassionate towards refugees.
Taqi Azra will also speak on behalf of the Hazara community, many of whom are separated from loved ones and denied permanent visas and family reunion.
Representatives from various faith communities will also speak out calling for justice and a more compassion approach.
Thousands of Victorians are expected to turn out in solidarity with refugees and people seeking asylum.
The Melbourne Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees at the State Library is expected to be the largest of many Palm Sunday actions across Australia. More than 130 community and religious organisations support the Walk for Justice for Refugees.
Find out more at: www.facebook.com/palmsundaywalk