Monthly Archives: June 2019

BOYCOTT REFUGEE WEEK / REFUGEE DAY : 18/06/2019

This is the sixth year in a row that RISE: Refugees, Survivors and eX-detainees, the first eX-detainee-led, self-determined, advocacy and welfare organisation in Australia continues to call for a boycott of Refugee Week. Meanwhile, as the numbers of Refugees displaced globally continues to increase, almost every agency across the world states they “help” or advocate for Refugees and expends significant resources calling on us to “celebrate” Refugee week and World Refugee Day.

In the context of refugee week and refugee day in Australia, detainee and eX-detainee refugee voices must be centred, not the ones who have never been detained by this racist state. During this time, Refugees in this country are compelled and coerced into presenting to the public that we are “good”, “contributing” Australian citizens. We also need to address that some refugees personally choose to educate privileged and middle-class elite society speaking about their “experiences” while undermining the resistance against injustice, by detainees and eX-detainee refugees in Australia over the last 27 years. How many non-eX-detainee Refugees, let alone non-Refugees have supported eX-detainee Day on the 14th of September – a day that is not run by the UN, a privileged organisation headed mostly by non-Refugees.

So far, since the reopening of offshore detention camps on the Pacific islands of Manus and Nauru there have been 12 deaths. Meanwhile, the oppressors who established one of the most notorious immigration detention centres in the world are left out without any accountability. Hundreds of unaccountable incidents of sexual abuse and torture of Asylum seekers and Refugees under the Australian government’s watch, is not something unfamiliar. Is this how non-detainees are going to address systemic oppression and calculated discrimination during Refugee week against refugees who are coming to Australia by boat to seek protection?

Listening, reading and watching happy and sad refugee stories and running panel discussions will not address the root of refugee global displacement and persecution. There are over 60 million refugees who are displaced at the moment – how does running a panel discussion and sharing stories of trauma solve the current persecution faced by people from places like Sudan, Burma, Yemen, Syria etc? Do you still think listening to our stories is going to solve the ongoing discrimination against refugees?

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. However, these efforts have not even reduced forced displacement and the deadly expansion of the “border security” and military industrial complex. Where is the safe passage and sanctuary for Refugees crossing borders?

RISE eX-detainee Team

Open Letter from RISE: Refugees, Survivors and eX-detainees to Melbourne University eX-detainees urge Melbourne University to divest from Wilson Security – 14/06/2019

To whom may it concern,

RISE: Refugees, Survivors and eX-detainees is a not-for-profit association and the FIRST eX-detainee, Asylum seeker and Refugee governed welfare and advocacy organisation in Australia. RISE: Refugees, Survivors and eX-detainees is a unique organisation distinguished by its self-determination and community control.

On behalf of our members and governing staff from over 30 refugee and eX-detainee communities in Australia, eX-detainees from RISE, as a part of our divestment call (http://riserefugee.org/divestment-call/), urges Melbourne University to immediately divest from the detention industry and sever all financial ties with Wilson Security.

The purpose of this letter is to address the continued lack of accountability in Wilson Security’s role in the Australian government’s abusive, human rights violating asylum seeker trafficking and detention supply chain in Manus and Nauru as well as onshore detention centres.

RISE strongly disapproves of any refugee movement, organisation, policy or individual that creates and/or supports a refugee scheme to imprison refugees and asylum seekers in detention centres and violates our peoples’ civil rights. For that matter, we do not endorse any movement, organisation or individual that violates any group of people’s civil rights. Many of our members have first- hand experience of the harmful effects of the detention system. RISE has written and spoken out extensively about the consequences of Australia’s inhumane immigration detention policies.

There have been countless reports and inquiries regarding the deaths, torture and sexual abuse faced by refugees who have been incarcerated within Australia’s mandatory detention centres. Australia has been a world leader in refugee detention torture for almost 30 years and this has been made possible by companies such as Wilson being allowed to operate with impunity, bring in enormous profits and escape accountability.

Wilson Security have actively chosen to participate in and enforce our communities torture and abuse in detention and should be held accountable and not allowed to continue to profit by organisations like Melbourne University who have made commitments to anti-discrimination.

Several institutions – including the National Gallery of Victoria, the Sydney Biennale, HESTA and The University of Newcastle – have already divested from detention profiteers and human rights abusers and we ask you to join them in refusing to be complicit in ongoing racist abuse.

Our members have been, and continue to be outspoken for more than a decade at great personal cost, about the abusive nature of Australia’s mandatory detention system, hence we continue to regard with disbelief that people callously continue to apply for jobs in this abusive system. To witness this disregard and erasure of voices of refugee and asylum seeker detainees and eX-detainees in the struggle for justice and freedom is an ongoing trauma our community faces to this day. We urge the Melbourne University to divest from Wilson Security as soon as possible.

We would appreciate if you make your intentions on this matter clear by responding to admin@riserefugee.org or welcome to get in contact with any queries or questions you have about this divestment call.

Regards,
RISE eX-detainee Committee
Refugee Survivors and eX-detainees
level 1, Ross House 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Victoria 3000
T: (03) 9639 8623 F: (03) 9650 3689 Web: www.riserefugee.org/