Tag Archives: rally for refugees

Refugee slams party ‘games’ at Vic rally

August 24, 2013 | AAP

A REFUGEE who spent years in detention has slammed big political parties at a Melbourne rally in support of asylum seekers.

Mohammad Ali Baqiri, 22, told a few hundred protesters gathered outside the State Library that both Labor and the coalition have forgotten how asylum seekers are fleeing for their lives – like he did as a child in 2001.

“My country, Afghanistan, has nothing. It has given my people nothing except for pain and suffering,” he told the crowd.

“And they don’t even realise it – they just like to play their own games on who can be elected.”

Mr Baqiri said his family used a people smuggler to send him by boat to Australia, but the vessel was intercepted and he was sent to Nauru for three years before he was finally granted asylum.

He is now studying business and law at Victoria University.

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He said Labor is simply dumping Australia’s refugee intake responsibilities on to smaller countries while the coalition’s boat buy-back plan is ridiculous.

“Good luck with that,” he quipped.

“They are playing with innocent peoples’ lives. They need to realise that.”

Similar rallies were also held in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Canberra on Saturday as part of a national day of action by refugee advocates.

Amanda Zivcic of the Refugee Action Collective said they wanted to counter-balance the fearmongering seen in the election debate.

“Whoever wins this coming election is going to be a loss to refugees,” she said.

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/refugee-slams-party-games-at-vic-rally/story-fn3dxiwe-1226703408886

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Filed under Asylum Policy, Human Rights and Refugee Activists, PNG/Pacific Solution

Asylum seekers ‘political pawns’: rally

August 24, 2013

AAP

Asylum seekers have been turned into “political pawns and political victims” by the big political parties in the lead up to September 7, a refugee supporters’ rally has been told.

Around 150 protesters on Saturday rallied outside Sydney’s Town Hall against both Labor and the coalition’s policies on asylum seekers.

Addressing the crowd, Refugee Action Coalition’s Amy Thomas slammed both parties on the issue.

Many of the crowd held placards reading “Kevin: a value free zone” and “free the refugees”.

Asylum seekers had become “political pawns and political victims” in the lead up to the election, Ms Thomas said.

She was especially critical of the coalition’s plan, revealed on Friday, to “buy back” asylum seeker boats from their Indonesian owners.

“It’s not about lives, it’s about destroying lives of asylum seekers,” Ms Thomas said.

Rallies are also being held in Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra on Saturday as part of a national day of action by refugee advocates.

Mark Goudkamp, a Refugee Action Coalition spokesman, said protesters were planning to march on Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s Sydney office on August 31.

There was “a lot of disquiet” in the ALP on the issue, Mr Goudkamp said.

The opposition on Friday revealed a “boat buyback” scheme would be part of a coalition government $420 million regional policy to cut off the people smuggling trade.

Labor wants PNG to settle all asylum seekers found to be refugees, after processing on Manus Island.

The crowd later swelled to about 250 for a very vocal march through the Sydney CBD, under police escort.

Source: http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/asylum-seekers-political-pawns-rally-20130824-2si5n.html

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Filed under Human Rights and Refugee Activists, PNG/Pacific Solution