Monthly Archives: June 2018

This is the fifth year that RISE: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-detainees, the first self-determined advocacy and welfare organisation in Australia run by Refugees for Refugees continues to call for a boycott of Refugee week.

This is the fifth year that RISE: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-detainees, the first self-determined advocacy and welfare organisation in Australia run by Refugees for Refugees continues to call for a boycott of Refugee week.  Meanwhile almost every agency across the world that states they “help” or advocate for Refugees calls us to “celebrate” Refugee week and World Refugee Day.

There are now over 65 million forcibly displaced people around the world, the highest number since World War II.  Furthermore between just 2016 and 2017, despite the global increase of refugees, the number of refugee resettlement places dropped by 54%. How many refugees are Indefinitely and forcibly detained in immigration detention centres, Blocked from seeking protection, Tortured abused and murdered, Deprived of water and food supplies, Living below the poverty line within refugee camps or Deported to danger?

How are you going to address this systemic oppression and calculated discrimination during Refugee week? Sitting in a dark corner or event hall listening to happy and sad refugee stories and running panel discussions will not address the root of refugee global displacement. It is a cheap, weak and self centred approach that has satisfied personal or organisational goals which has not helped to effectively mitigate the escalating crisis of hyper militarization and abuse our communities face across the globe.  To quote an eX-detainee RISE member, “Sharing refugee stories is a saviour complex strategy that bandages white structural discrimination against refugees in Australia. Discrimination, torture and abuse of refugees will not end by sharing happy and sad stories unless the system of abuse is dismantled.”

In RISE’s 2017 callout for a boycott of Refugee week, we mentioned the fact that the architects of one of the most brutal, xenophobic, white supremacist refugeepolicies in the world, Australia’s department of home affairs, are one of the participants in Refugee week “celebrations” and yes, they continue to do so in 2018 (, How could those partnering with the  Australian Department of Home affairs at Refugee week events during this week keep ignoring the fact that this department continues to implement the discriminatory and abusive “No Advantage” policy introduced by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2012 that included the reopening of refugee torture camps in Nauru and Manus camps where 12 refugee deaths have occurred so far? Not surprisingly, numerous NGOs that have supported and/or continue to support the Australian government to run detention centres and community detention are organising refugee week events-for example Salvation Army, Save the Children, Red Cross, AMES etc.

Most importantly we should not forget UNHCR, the peak international refugee body that purports to represent us Refugees, coercively collecting biometric data of the most vulnerable in interim countries for “security” measures, and facilitating “Voluntary” repatriation of Refugees to war torn countries such as Afghanistan.  For instance RISE is aware that UNHCR has opened up an office in Bogor in Indonesia and Afghan community members have been informed this office will only assist those “who want to go back to Afghanistan”.

This lack of accountability is not something we can take lightly. We should not be remembered once a year as passive entertainers to satisfy the public’s voyeuristic interest or to satisfy the diversity checklist while our community members are directly or indirectly endangered by these very same entities.

While there are global efforts by both governments and NGOs during “World Refugee Day” to make us sing, dance and perform for them as they momentarily “celebrate” our existence, thus far, we have not witnessed a global effort by these entities to stop displacing people, stop feeding the deadly “border security” and military industrial complex, and provide safe passage and sanctuary for Refugees crossing borders.

RISE Statement on the siege and massacre of Gazans.

The past two months have been horrific for the people under siege in Gaza. They have historically attempted for several weeks to protest at the border of Israel’s 12 year air, sea and land blockage and demand their right of return to 1948 areas now occupied by Israeli suburbs, under The Great Return March. In peacefully protesting, they have been massacred by Israeli sniper live bullets and other weapons which have killed more than 112 of whom 13 were children (under 18) and 13,190 injured.

The people of Gaza are insisting on breaking out of the siege and just day before yesterday, they sailed on a Freedom Flotilla ship with many of the injured to reach Cyprus and access medical care denied from entry into Gaza. Israel intercepted and seized this ship.

RISE stands unequivocally in support of the two million residents of Gaza in their demands for the siege to end immediately, who should not have to endure a brutal and dehumanising blockade which is the largest open air prison in the world.

We strongly believe that all refugees should be able to escape dangerous, unlivable conditions and seek asylum, yet the people in Gaza are forced to endure live ammunition and airstrikes for having the audacity to demand a life of safety and dignity.

We see Australia’s complicity in its belligerent UN vote against an investigation into Israel’s latest massacre as further reason to support the Sanction Australia campaign.

Our primary aim is to sanction Australia from participating in international refugee humanitarian decision making and human rights forums until The End of Mandatory Detention, The End of Refoulement and The End of Refugee Boat Turn back policies.

We do not see a difference between Australia’s white supremacist mandatory detention policy, and Israel’s zionist occupation, illegal settlements, blockade and seizing of Gazan ships. The parallels reveal clearly why Australia would use its power to protect its settler colonial ally – Israel.

We express our solidarity with Palestinians, who have endured 70 years as a nation in exile, unable to return to their occupied lands.

We invite them and all supporters of freedom to join us in our Sanction Australia campaign until Australia improves its human rights record both on refugee and Palestinian rights.