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REFUGEE COUNCIL BULLETIN - 16 February 2016

posted Mar 6, 2016, 8:22 PM by Peter Costello

REFUGEE COUNCIL BULLETIN                                              16 February 2016

For nearly two weeks now, the #LetThemStay campaign has shifted the focus of the refugee debate on to the detrimental impacts of Australia’s indefinite offshore detention policy. Churches, community groups, doctors, nurses, teachers, principals and many thousands of people across Australia have taken action, even taking to the streets, to demand a shift in Australia’s approach.

Thank you to all of you who have added your support. Over the next two weeks, the campaign is switching to the local electorate as politicians go home on a parliamentary break. There’s a lot happening, so please do get involved.

Academics and policy makers across Australia have been utilising our policy paper Australia’s Response to Regional Protection to frame the debate about Australia’s response to refugees in a way which respects basic rights. A common hope is that Australia can regain credibility in the international sphere by beginning to treat people seeking asylum with dignity and respect and work towards more sustainable answers for displaced people.

REFUGEE COUNCIL NEWS

 Leaked immigration proposal ‘self-defeating’ and risks fomenting exclusion

February 5, 2016: Paul Power, CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) notes that, while Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Australia Day praised our nation as the world’s most successful multicultural society, the tightening of access to citizenship for refugees and migrants, as proposed in a leaked Immigration Department submission to Federal Cabinet, would undermine Australia’s success as a multicultural nation.

 Moral question of offshore detention remains for Government

February 3, 2016: While the High Court found that Australia’s detention camp on Nauru was saved by last-minute retrospective legislation, the moral questions remain for the Government, RCOA says. “The High Court finding today does not compel the Government to send these innocent and vulnerable people, including 33 babies born here in this country, to this isolated detention camp in the middle of the Pacific,” CEO Paul Power said.

 Eleven Australians celebrated for their contribution to refugees and asylum seekers

26 January, 2016: Eleven Australians have been honoured for their service to refugees and asylum seekers in the 2016 Australia Day Honours List. RCOA CEO Paul Power said that those honoured were acknowledged for their support of newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers in detention and the community, through community work, youth programs, the arts, philanthropy, education and public advocacy.

 REPORTS AND SUBMISSIONS

 UNHCR hosts global dialogue on root causes of displacement

On 16-17 December, the retiring UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, hosted the last of his annual dialogues on protection challenges, focusing on the topic “Understanding and addressing root causes of displacement”. This was the first gathering of its kind to bring together states, UN bodies and civil society representatives to discuss the factors which cause displacement. Involving representatives of 86 states, 25 international bodies, 53 experts and 64 NGOs, the dialogue explored the root causes of displacement caused by conflict, persecution, urbanisation and environmental factors. It also examined the drivers of onward movement and responses to protracted displacement. RCOA CEO Paul Power, one of the NGO delegates invited to the global dialogue, has produced a summary of the dialogue discussions available here.

 RCOA raises concerns about family tax and social security changes

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