We Refugees, Ex-detainees and Asylum seekers from RISE condemn any group or individual who claims to be pro-refugee but celebrates Invasion Day aka “Australia Day” on the 26th of January.
RISE represents over 30 refugee community groups in Australia and is the first (and one of the few) self-determined, registered, non-profit refugee organisations in Australia governed and managed by refugees, asylum seekers and ex-detainees. As Refugees seeking protection and freedom on this land we acknowledge that we live in occupied territories where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the traditional owners and where sovereignty has never been ceded. ‘Always was, always will be Aboriginal land’.
We believe the systemic abuse of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is a result of over 200 years of discrimination as part of the white colonial genocide strategy that continues to this day and this template is now being used against our own refugee communities. How can we dismantle the white Australian government’s refugee torture camps built within and outside its colonial borders without addressing the root cause of this criminal abuse?
Since RISE was established in 2009, we requested that Refugee organisations and “advocates” stop using the slogan “Australia was built by boat people” or the slogan “We are all Boat people” in pro-refugee campaign slogans erasing the existence of the Indigenous peoples of this land and conflating genocide and occupation with seeking refuge by boat. Unfortunately our requests were dismissed and in 2014 a mostly white run organisation called “I am a boat person” with a logo which resembles the first fleet of Ships that arrived from Britain, was established to advocate for refugees arriving by boat and they organised an event on “Australia Day” in front of Parliament House in Canberra using this slogan. Clearly our efforts were inadequate and that was the year when we first made a public declaration about our concerns that included a statement that we do not support the celebration of “Australia Day”.
To quote RISE founder and eX-detainee, Ramesh Fernandez “As survivors of occupation, rape, torture and oppression we should not undermine the struggle for survival that other oppressed community groups face. We should respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their sovereignty. It is not a day to poster yourself on a billboard, dance, sing or wrap a flag around yourself that represents occupation, colonisation and genocide of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia”.
RISE fully supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ sovereignty and self-determination and stands in solidarity with them everyday in our commitment to fighting for justice on this land on their terms.
Donate / Amplify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples-led movements and organisations
Grandmothers Against Removals
Curtain the podcast
Justice For Julieka Dhu
Hey Sis, we’ve got your back
SOS BLAK AUSTRALIA
Black Rainbow Living
Family Violence Prevention Legal Service
First Nations Telegraph
The above list was given to us by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members who support/work with RISE. If you would like to add any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples-led organisations to this list please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, we thank the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia who have been supporting refugee self-determination and standing in solidarity with our community groups every day.