CAPSA Newsletter January 2022
Dear CAPSA Community,
Wishing you all a Happy New Year!
We hope over the summer break you were able to rest and rejuvenate.
In this newsletter, we share key updates from the past month, a ‘save the date’ for the Palm Sunday Walk for Justice, actions you can take to support refugees and people seeking asylum, and, finally, some recommended reading, watching and listening.
As always, you can get in touch with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
In peace and solidarity,
The CAPSA team
The 15,000 announcement: more compassion is needed from the Australian Government
- The Australian Government recently announced that they would resettle 15,000 refugees from Afghanistan through existing humanitarian visa pathways over the next four years. In reality, this translates to no additional intake and limited support for people fleeing the Afghanistan crisis. Members of the diaspora and organisations across the refugee sector have called the announcement “insulting and disappointing”.
- In response, CAPSA has published a media release that urges the Federal Government to act immediately to provide safety for those fleeing this ongoing conflict.
- Prior to the announcement, the interim report from the Inquiry into Australia’s Engagement in Afghanistan was released, which condemned the Government’s handling of the evacuation and resettlement of Afghan nationals – particularly those who had previously worked for the Australian Government.
- Of note, the report recommended that the Government reconsider permanent protection pathways for refugees and people seeking asylum from Afghanistan currently in Australia, and prioritise family reunification.
Novak Djokovic visa drama brings Australia’s treatment of people seeking asylum and refugees to light
- The cancellation of tennis star Novak Djokovic’s visa, corresponding court cases and eventual deportation by the Australian Government, has shone a light internationally on the workings of Australia’s immigration system; and the ‘god-like’ powers that the Immigration Minister holds.
- Given that Djokovic was held in the Park Hotel, the world also witnessed Australia’s inhumane treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum – particularly of the men arbitrarily detained only a few floors up from Djovokic.
- In total, the tennis star was detained for five days. Many of the men imprisoned by the Australian Government have suffered in immigration detention for up to 11 years.
Other news and updates
- The Murugappan family (otherwise known as the Nadesalingam family) from Biloela last week won their case in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. The presiding judge ruled that the actions of the Immigration Minister in attempting to bar the family from applying for future bridging visas were, “procedurally unfair”.
- The Australian Government has announced a new Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Pilot Program (CRISP) and will partner with Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia in co-designing the program.
- Australia’s offshore processing in Nauru is set to cost the Australian taxpayer nearly $220 million over the next six months, as Brisbane-based firm Canstruct International has been awarded their eighth non-competitive contract extension by the Australian Government.
- An inquest has been launched into the death of Manus Island refugee, 27-year-old Faysal Ishak Ahmed, after he was transferred to a Brisbane hospital.
CAPSA Co-Conveners Jesuit Refugee Service Australia have released a new research report, titled: A Place to Call Home: A Report on the Experiences of Homelessness and Housing Exclusion among People Seeking Asylum in Greater Sydney. Through detailed interviews, this important research highlights the high levels of homelessness and severe housing insecurity faced by people seeking asylum. Although this report was specific to Greater Sydney, it can be assumed that this is an issue faced by many people seeking asylum and on temporary protection across Australia.
Upcoming event and actions you can take now
- Save the date! On Palm Sunday, 10th April 2022, people from cities and towns around Australia will be holding COVIDsafe rallies and vigils to call for Justice for Refugees. Please keep an eye out for further details of the events in our upcoming newsletters.
- #SetThemFree – A multi-faith campaign was launched on Friday 28th January at St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne, urging Australia’s political leaders to end the inhumane, indefinite detention of people seeking asylum in Australia. You can get involved and share the #SetThemFree short video by visiting the Set Them Free Facebook Page.
- Call Karen Andrews and help the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre get 1000 people to call her office, to demand that refugees and people seeking asylum are released from hotel detention in Australia immediately.
- With a Federal election announcement imminent, the Australian Refugee Advocacy Network (ARAN) has released their Federal Election Resource Kit. Head over to their website to download the kit and start brainstorming how you might advocate for change before the next election.
- Forced to Flee – The Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) has recently released a new campaign that captures the stories of refugees and people seeking asylum who have had to flee their homeland in a time of crisis and conflict. The stories of those with lived experience have been divided into four different parts:
- Limbo – This film follows the experience of a Syrian musician who is adapting to his new life as a refugee in a small Scottish town. The film is currently being shown at select cinemas around Australia (See options for Melbourne, Sydney and Perth).
- In My Country Podcast – Listen to season one of ‘In My Country’, an Australian podcast that interviews refugees and people seeking asylum, and more broadly explores the places we call home.