Author Archives: riserefugee

eX-Detainees Day Statement, 3rd of September 2019

This is the fourth year (03/09/2019) in a row that Refugees, Survivors and eX-detainees (RISE) has commemorated eX-detainees Day.  RISE is an activist, advocacy and welfare organisation led by eX-detainees who seek to fight discrimination and violence perpetrated against asylum seekers around the world. We seek to determine our own futures.  On eX-detainees Day we commemorate the ongoing political struggle, pain, suffering and resilience of refugees and asylum seekers around the world, many of whom are detained whilst seeking protection. We raise our collective voice to spread awareness and to fight this injustice.

Many of us within the eX-detainee community experienced torture, violence, neglect, and sexual abuse whilst imprisoned in detention centres throughout Australia and in off-shore locations. To this day we carry those physical and psychological scars. Permanent psychological trauma manifests in our lives. For those of us who are still detained, the injury to our minds and bodies continues. We are also threatened with being deported to countries where we face persecution for the very issues we sought refuge from.

eX-detainees Day is to be distinguished from events like ‘Refugee Week” or “Refugee Day”. These events do not seek to address the racist, structural violence that marks our lives. In contrast eX-detainees Day is initiated, controlled and directed by eX-detainees from RISE. On this day we push for long-term changes. We also raise our voices to counter the narratives of a refugee sector dominated by the voices of non-refugees.

As we commemorate the 4th annual eX-Detainees Day, we eX-detainees have launched a number of important actions and campaigns this is including:

As we always say, we require support and protection not incarceration. States have the obligation to uphold our human rights, not exploit us for political gain. We denounce the torture, abuse and bloodshed occurring in immigration detention centres. We condemn governments, private companies and non-profit agencies that are part of the detention supply chain. Regardless of the reasons why people seek protection, asylum seekers should not be punished for asking to be safe and protected. We seek to fight the savage refugee policies inflicted on refugees around the world, such as indefinite detention, offshore processing and lengthy visa application processes.

We eX-detainees at RISE strongly disapprove of any refugee movement, organisation, policy or individual that creates and/or supports a refugee scheme which violates our peoples’ civil rights. The only alternative to detention is no detention. We demand freedom, justice and humanitarian safeguards for all refugees and asylum seekers regardless of their form of arrival.

In addition, we urge all refugee supporters to follow our guidelines and amplify our voices. We do not need saviours to speak on our behalf.

Please share widely our ten demands which address urgent issues affecting asylum seekers and refugees seeking protection from persecution. The demands identify systemic changes that need to occur in order to dismantle unjust laws and institutions that engage in and promote abuse and criminalisation of our members:

  1. An immediate end to immigration detention
  2. The immediate release of all detained refugees into the Australian community
  3. An end to forceful deportation
  4. The creation of safe passage policies for refugees throughout the world
  5. Freedom of movement and comprehensive, non- discriminatory settlement services
  6. Accountability and reparations from government and non-government organisations that have been part of the abuse supply chain.
  7. The right of refugee communities to be consulted in relation to the development of refugee policy
  8. The fair distribution in the global responsibility to protect and resettle refugees
  9. An end to non-refugees/asylum seekers and ex-detainees speaking on behalf of our community.
  10. Our voices and the campaigns and initiatives we create for ourselves are brought to the forefront; that non-detainees desist from managing us and speaking on our behalf when proposing alternative suggestions to detention centres

Please see our ten demands in further detail at: http://riserefugee.org/exdetaineesdemands/

Detainees and eX-detainees have endured many hardships. We crossed many borders and reached open seas. Instead of protection, we received punishment. Our lives were leveraged for a political purpose. We ran from persecution and found only persecution. On eX-detainees Day we demand our freedom.

RISE eX-detainee team

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/

eX-detainees’ Message to the Refugee Sector in Australia

If you are wondering what we should do after Scott Morrison’s Liberal government winning the federal election 2019; Here are a few eX-detainees’ recommendations at RISE for you to consider. Our eX-detainee members have been saying this for years but it has been brushed aside by the whole refugee sector. Enough is Enough, regardless whether it is the Labor government or Liberal government, you have to fight for the abolition of detention centres not “small wins”.

  • Demand all refugees to be released from detention centres (offshore and onshore) to the community immediately and provide them with adequate services
  • Adopt eX-detainees’ demands http://riserefugee.org/exdetaineesdemands/
  • Do not focus on small wins and target the abolition of all offshore and onshore detention centres
  • Hold accountable those NGOs and refugee “experts” who have supported the Australian government to reopen offshore torture camps and benefited from the no advantage policy implemented in 2012 eg: Salvation Army, Save the Children, Paris Aristotle and other NGOs and Corporations listed here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8oBCLooH-ZDeWVYY1doVWFDZFE/view
  • Encourage Hospitals and Universities to Divest from security companies such as Serco and Wilson Security http://riserefugee.org/divestment-call/
  • Take action to reverse all unjust refugee laws such as refoulement, mandatory detention, temporary protection visas, boat turn-back policies and etc

Remember, refugees and asylum seekers in both offshore and onshore camps are distraught and traumatised, even those who are in the community in Australia who arrived after the no advantage policy. If everyone fought for our and their freedom without only focusing on a select group of people such as kids or specific families, we would not have been in this mess RIGHT NOW.

IF FOR OVER THE LAST 27 YEARS YOUR HIT LIST INCLUDES SMALL WINS THAT ARE BAND-AIDS FOR WHITE SUPREMACIST ANTI-REFUGEE POLICIES, YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM.   

Nothing about Us Without Us
RISE eX-detainee Team

__________________________________________

Nothing About Us Without Us’ – While you are reading our advocacy materials, media statements and following our campaigns, please remember RISE is entirely governed by and for by eX-detainees, asylum seekers and refugees. Furthermore, all of RISE’s hard work is managed and developed by eX-detainees, asylum seekers and refugees. Support self-determination of RISE: Refugees, Survivors and eX-detainees, by making a tax deductible donation TODAY via https://www.givenow.com.au /riserefugee

Get involved

Sanction Australia http://riserefugee.org/sanctionaustralia/
Detention Divestment http://riserefugee.org/divestment-call/
Subscribe to newsletter https://mailchi.mp/8425ab0113b9/rise-newsletter
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YOU need to change, NOT US – Some points to take away from RISE eX-detainees’ campaign (Federal Election 2019)

Thanks to all volunteers and those who supported our Sanction Australia campaign during the Australian Federal Election 2019. Here are some points we have noticed during this period:

1. Stop Arguing with eX-detainees! Those folks who questioned us and left abusive comments, we ask you to go and talk to your xenophobic politicians and ask them to change. We only demanded our right to freedom, justice and protection. YOU need to change NOT us, or don’t label yourself as a refugee supporter, it is very cheap, insensitive, racist and xenophobic to undermine detention torture survivors and our self-determination.

2. Spending millions of dollars on billboard campaigns and hiring staff for election canvassing is not good for your health – give that money to the detainee and eX-detainee communities. While you are wasting money, our communities are suffering from poverty and torture.

3. Don’t be a secret Labor and Greens lover and pretend your “election scorecard” is neutral – that is, you tell people to vote for Labor and Greens. What is there to hide? Otherwise, this is cheating and misleading tactics. Whether people agree with us or not we were upfront about our opinions and supporting facts during the federal election 2019.  If we eX-detainees can, why can’t you?

Finally, we have to repeat this over and over: If you want to know what is our stance on issues affecting asylum seekers and refugees seeking protection from persecution, you will know this if you are LISTENING to us eX-detainees’ voices rather than listening to others who have never been forcibly locked up and tortured inside detention centres: We have been saying this for many years and here is the link to our demands http://riserefugee.org/exdetaineesdemands/

RISE Sanction Australia Campaign Coordinator

Overview of ALP’s Disastrous Record of Immigration Policies, Actions & Scandals While in Federal Government

RISE encourages the public to remind themselves that BOTH major parties have proven to be extremely willing to torture and punish refugees and asylum seekers for political gain while campaigning and while in federal government. This document contains a reminder of only SOME of the Australian Labor Party’s horrific record of refugee and immigration policies, actions and scandals during their last term in Federal government.

Excerpt from RISE eX-Detainees’ Federal Election Media Statement

“Institutional Rape, Torture, Xenophobia, Queer-phobia, Abuse and Refoulement MUST NOT be tolerated in any shape or form. It doesn’t matter if it is for one minute or one day or indefinitely. If you do so under the cloak of “border control” or “humane refugee policies” or “combating people smugglers” then you are an oppressor who is discriminating against one of the most persecuted people on the planet. This is what Australian politicians are advocating for during the 2019 federal election. eX-detainees in Australia, have the right to resist and request our supporters NOT to cast your votes those oppress our communities. We call for the abolition of detention centres and refugee boat push-backs during this Federal election.


RISE believes that this aggressive culture of xenophobia and fear of immigration prevails throughout Australia-perhaps attributable to Australia’s foundation of white colonisation including border control mechanisms of the ‘White Australia’ policy to police who comes into
this land, and the circumstances in which they come.  Due to Australia’s aggressive, racist mandatory detention policy, our eX-detainee members are permanently damaged, criminalised and made to feel unwanted. This has turned us into an underclass, where we are structurally disabled forever in Australia. Further, it is alarming that after the trauma of fleeing one’s homeland, the trauma of indefinite and prolonged administrative detention and the trauma of settling into an unfamiliar environment, people are expected to deal with such overt anti-refugee sentiments all over the country.”


Read the full version of RISE eX-detainees’ 2019 Federal Election Media Statement here.
Labor – A fair go for WHITE Australia

Below are SOME of the Australian Labor Party’s horrific record of refugee and immigration policies, actions and scandals during their last term in Federal Government:

Year 2010

Asylum Seekers Sew Lips Together in Protest of Detention on Christmas Island, 2010.

Rudd Ignores War Crimes to Boost Ties With Sri Lanka, 2010

Year 2011

Darwin Asylum Seekers Stage Rooftop Protest, 2011.

Malaysia Signs Refugee Deal with Australia, 2011.

Australian High Court Upholds Permanent Injunction Against Malaysia Refugee Deal, 2011.

Australian Human Rights Commission Media Release Expressing Major Concern Over Self Harm and Suicides in Immigration Detention, 2011.

Three Hurt in Scherger Detention Centre Riot, 2011.

Darwin Detention Centre Lease to Cost 74 Million, 2011.

RISE Submission to inquiry into Australia’s Immigration Detention Network, 2011.

Year 2012

RISE condolences for families of Christmas Island Tragedy, 2012.

The Charade of Australian – Sri Lankan Relations, 2012.

RISE Media Release on Deportation of Tamil Torture Survivor, 2012.

Update on Mr X Status in Detention, 2012.

Raid at Villawood Detention Centre, 2012.

Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers Puts Forward Government Desired Solutions, 2012.

RISE Statement in Solidarity with Hunger Strikers in Nauru, 2012.

RISE Letter to UN Human Rights Comissioner, 2012.

RISE Open Letter to Immigration Minister, 2012.

RISE Urgent Deportation Alert, 2012.

The Deteriorating Situation At Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA), 2012.

RISE – Our Views on Offshore Processing, 2012.

Protests are Democratic Actions, 2012.

Julia Gillard Defends Hardline Asylum Seeker Policy, 2015.

Year 2013

First Week of 2013, Asylum Seeker Commits Suicide. 2013.

Gillard Government No Advantage Policy, 2013.

Daily Humiliation for Women in Australian Immigration Detention Centres, 2013.

Australian Government Works with Pakistani Intelligence to Prevent Hazara People Fleeing to Safety, 2013.


eX-detainees do not support any form of detention, doesn’t matter 1 day or 30 days or 1 year. Say NO to abusive and institutionalised control of refugees during this federal election. Enough is Enough, RISE eX-detainees urge the Australia public NOT to vote for our oppressor or the parties supporting any refugee detention policies.


RISE eX-detainees’ 2019 Federal Election Media Statement : eX-detainees Urge The Australian Public NOT to Vote for Any Parties That Support Mandatory Detention Policies and Refugee Boat Push-backs During Federal Election 2019

RISE eX-detainee Team


Nothing About Us Without Us’ – While you are reading our advocacy materials, media statements and following our campaigns, please remember RISE is entirely governed by and for by eX-detainees, asylum seekers and refugees. Furthermore, all of RISE’s hard work is managed and developed by eX-detainees, asylum seekers and refugees. Support self-determination of RISE: Refugees, Survivors and eX-detainees, by making a tax deductible donation TODAY via https://www.givenow.com.au/riserefugee

Get involved

Sanction Australia http://riserefugee.org/sanctionaustralia/

Detention Divestment http://riserefugee.org/divestment-call/  

Donate to RISE projects  http://givenow.com.au/riserefugee

Subscribe to newsletter  https://mailchi.mp/8425ab0113b9/rise-newsletter

Follow Us:

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RISE eX-detainees’ 2019 Federal Election Media Statement : eX-detainees Urge The Australian Public NOT to Vote for Any Parties That Support Mandatory Detention Policies or Refugee Boat Push-backs During Federal Election 2019

TRANSLATIONS

On behalf of our members and governing staff from over 30 of the eX-detainee communities in Australia, RISE eX-detainee members urge the Australian public to say NO to utilising refugees and asylum seekers as political currency in the upcoming Federal election 2019.

We request the Australian public NOT to vote for any political parties that support mandatory detention centres; this includes the Australian Labor Party (who initiated the current system of mandatory detention and indefinite detention of refugees and asylum seekers under Prime Minister Paul Keating), Liberal National coalition (who opened offshore camps and support the Labor party’s mandatory and indefinite detention policy) and the Greens ( who support a 7 day mandatory detention policy). For decades, Australian politicians have been stoking racism by misleading the public for political gain. So far, the three major political parties in Australia: Labor, Coalition and the Greens support mandatory detention. We find this to be xenophobic and discriminatory to our freedom of movement; such types of abusive and institutionalised control of refugees should not be tolerated.  We also condemn the fact that in addition to mandatory and indefinite detention of refugees and asylum seekers, both the Labor and Liberal National coalition also support pushing back refugee boats into the sea.

Institutional Rape, Torture, Xenophobia, Queer-phobia, Abuse and Refoulement MUST NOT be tolerated in any shape or form. It doesn’t matter if it is for one minute or one day or indefinitely. If you do so under the cloak of “border control” or “humane refugee policies” or “combating people smugglers” then you are an oppressor who is discriminating against one of the most persecuted people on the planet. This is what Australian politicians are advocating for during the 2019 federal election.  eX-detainees in Australia, have the right to resist and request our supporters NOT to cast your votes those oppress our communities.  We call for the abolition of detention centres and refugee boat push-backs during this Federal election.

RISE believes that this aggressive culture of xenophobia and fear of immigration prevails throughout Australia-perhaps attributable to Australia’s foundation of white colonisation including border control mechanisms of the ‘White Australia’ policy to police who comes into this land, and the circumstances in which they come.  Due to Australia’s aggressive, racist mandatory detention policy, our eX-detainee members are permanently damaged, criminalised and made to feel unwanted. This has turned us into an underclass, where we are structurally disabled forever in Australia. Further, it is alarming that after the trauma of fleeing one’s homeland, the trauma of indefinite and prolonged administrative detention and the trauma of settling into an unfamiliar environment, people are expected to deal with such overt anti-refugee sentiments all over the country.

It is not up to us to promote or endorse any political candidates or political parties.  At the same time, we are not going to stay silent when political parties explicitly support mandatory detention policies or discriminate against our refugee community groups arriving by boats to seek protection in Australia.

eX-detainees do not support any form of detention, doesn’t matter 1 day or 30 days or 1 year.  Say NO to abusive and institutionalised control of refugees during this federal election. Enough is Enough, RISE eX-detainees urge the Australia public NOT to vote for our oppressor or the parties supporting any refugee detention policies.    

RISE eX-detainee Team

____________________________________


Nothing About Us Without Us’ – While you are reading our advocacy materials, media statements and following our campaigns, please remember RISE is entirely governed by and for by eX-detainees, asylum seekers and refugees. Furthermore, all of RISE’s hard work is managed and developed by eX-detainees, asylum seekers and refugees. Support self-determination of RISE: Refugees, Survivors and eX-detainees, by making a tax deductible donation TODAY via https://www.givenow.com.au /riserefugee

Get involved

Sanction Australia http://riserefugee.org/sanctionaustralia/

Detention Divestment http://riserefugee.org/divestment-call/  

Donate to RISE projects  http://givenow.com.au/riserefugee

Subscribe to newsletter  https://mailchi.mp/8425ab0113b9/rise-newsletter

Follow Us : Facebook : Twitter : Instagram 

Closely Follow Rejection of Chinese Christians’ Asylum Applications in Australia- Report is written by Chinese Asylum Seekers in Australia

Introduction

As is well known, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is an atheist revolutionary party that believes in atheism, materialism, and evolution. It has publicly declared that “there has never been any Savior.” Its ideological and theoretical basis is Marxism-Leninism, and its ruling program is “the Party leads all,” “the Party commands all,” and “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” Its slogan is to eliminate all capitalism, eliminate all religious beliefs, make communism a reality, and make China, even the world into a territory without God. Since coming to power, it resorts to unscrupulous means to attack, condemn, and even eradicate all parties, groups or individuals with different political views and perspectives. Since Jinping Xi took office, the CCP has escalated its suppression and persecution of religious beliefs, especially of Christianity. Many Christians were forced to flee their families and homeland to overseas countries. We are Christians from The Church of Almighty God (CAG), a Christian house church suffering the CCP’s most grievous persecution in China, so we fled to the democratic Australia to seek asylum. But we never imagined that some of our applications for asylum would be rejected, and we’re facing the danger of repatriation.So far in Australia, more than 30 Christians’ protection applications were rejected from our group but some countries have begun to understand and acknowledge the persecution of Chinese Christians who are similar like us and granted them asylum. In Canada and New Zealand, asylum approval rates for members from our group have reached 90% and 100% respectively.Our hope is that sympathetic groups and individuals in Australia as well as more international organizations, human rights agencies, and religious groups will take notice of and learn about the background and facts of the persecution we’ve suffered and the circumstances behind our applications for asylum. We’d like our voices to be heard.

Overview of the CCP’s Persecution of Main Religious Groups in Mainland China Since Its Taking Power in 1949

(I) Overview of the Persecution of Protestantism and Catholicism

Soon after taking power in 1949, the CCP began to manically suppress and crack down on a wide array of religions including Protestantism and Catholicism. The CCP’s documents on suppressing the religious beliefs condemned Protestantism and Catholicism as cults, confiscated and burned countless copies of the Bible after condemning it as a cult book, tipped countless Bibles shipped from overseas to China into the sea, expelled foreign missionaries, subjected Chinese preachers to imprisonment and reform, and arrested and brutalized countless Protestants and Catholics. In 1952, the CCP sentenced the well-known Christian leader Watchmen Nee (Ni Tuosheng) to 15 years in prison on the charge of a “counterrevolutionary.” He was kept locked up until he died. In 1954, Christian pastor Wang Mingdao was sentenced to life imprisonment on the same charge and he was released 22 years later. During the Cultural Revolution, all churches, including the Three-Self Church, were closed and either requisitioned or occupied by the state. All religious activities were prohibited. Christians were condemned as “monsters and demons” and “counterrevolutionaries,” subjected to struggle sessions, and arrested and imprisoned. It became almost impossible for them to gather together. The CCP has also outlawed the officially-recognized Three-Self Church, demolishing all Three-Self Church property and tearing down any crosses attached to buildings. According to VOA, during the Chinese government’s War on the Cross in recent years, more than two thousand crosses were forcibly demolished and over ten thousand churches have been banned.

On February 1, 2018, the CCP began to implement its new Regulations on Religious Affairs, thereby throwing a cloak of legitimacy over Xi Jinping’s “Sinicization” of religion policy and further exposing the evil purpose behind the CCP’s attempts to completely ban religious beliefs and eradicate all religions in China. After these regulations were implemented, the situation of religious belief in China has wholly deteriorated: When religious believers engage in religious activities, they are forced to sing the “Red Songs,” raise the national flag and study the so-called CCP policies; images of the Lord Jesus were forcibly torn off in religious venues and replaced with portraits of Chairman Mao and President Xi Jinping; all Bibles have been removed from online sale and the CCP reportedly proposed to launch a revised compilation of the Bible and tamper with the contents of the Bible; huge numbers of Christians from house churches have been arrested, then subjected to brutal torture and harsh sentences. Some have even been beaten to the point of disability or death. Regarding the current state of religion in China, the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) issued its 2018 Annual Report. CECC Co-Chairperson Chris Smith, a U.S. Congressman, pointed out that over the past year, the Chinese government has intensified its most severe crackdown on all religious faith since the Cultural Revolution.

(II) Overview of the Persecution of Tibetan Buddhism and Taoism

In the early days of its administration from 1949, the CCP wantonly destroyed temples, burned copies of Scripture, confiscated temple assets, and forced monks and nuns to return to secular life and marry. Following the establishment of Chinese Buddhist Association and Chinese Taoist Association, the CCP branded Buddhist monks and Taoist priests who refused to accept the associations’ oversight as “counterrevolutionaries.” These people were then imprisoned and subjected to forced labor; some were even executed. During the 6th Tibet Work Symposium in 2015, Xi Jinping announced that the doctrines and teachings of Tibetan Buddhism were to be altered to make them more amenable to “socialism with Chinese characteristics” and the leadership of the CCP. Tibetans who carry out peaceful protests are habitually charged with “threatening national security” and “destroying social stability.” They are then given long detention, torture and sentence. Over several decades of tyrannical rule in Tibet, over one million Tibetans have died of starvation, persecution, or from being shot.

(III) Overview of the Persecution of Islam

Since it came to power in 1949, the CCP has also aggressively suppressed and persecuted Islam. Many mosques have been destroyed. Since the mid-1990s, the CCP has strictly controlled all aspects of Islam and prohibited clerics and believers from engaging in any religious activities. The CCP also conducts annual campaigns to suppress Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, with thousands of Uyghurs arrested and detained each year for “illegal religious activities.” Xinjiang has the highest number of executions for “endangering national security” out of any province in China. From 1997 to 2001 alone, more than 200 people were sentenced to death. In recent years, in order to achieve the “sinicization” of religion, the CCP has launched devastating campaigns aimed at suppressing religion and cleansing Xinjiang of its native population. It has built a large number of “re-education concentration camps” for holding Uyghurs. According to the available information, as of 2018, at least one million Uyghur Muslims have been mistreated in the camps and countless Muslim families torn apart. (BBC U.N.: China secretly detained 1 Million Uyghurs to “indoctrinate” them with policy Link attached[1])

The Background and Cause of the Persecution of The Church of Almighty God

The Church of Almighty God (CAG) is a new Christian church in China and has about 4,000,000 Christians in Mainland China. Since its establishment in 1991, it has suffered frantic suppression and severe persecution at the hands of the CCP. In 1995, the CCP added The Church of Almighty God, The Shouters, The All Range Church and many other Christian house churches on its xiejiao list, and furthermore began to cruelly suppress and persecute them[2]. In the past 20 years, the oppression and persecution enacted by the CCP against the CAG continues to escalate and at least one tenth of CAG Christians have been subject to arrest and detention.

The reason why the CAG suffers such cruel persecution at the hands of the CCP is that, ever since Almighty God appeared to perform His work, He has expressed many millions of words to uncover all the mysteries held within the Bible and deliver all truths necessary for the purification and salvation of mankind, thus enabling people to have a true understanding of the work and disposition of God, to be cleansed of their corruption, and to attain His salvation. The number of people who have studied and accepted the work of Almighty God therefore continues to grow and the Church is rapidly developing, which has aroused the panic and hatred of the CCP.

The Church of Almighty God Suffers the Harshest Persecution Among All House Churches in 2018

In early 2018, the Chinese authorities launched various campaigns to crack down on the CAG throughout all provinces and cities in China. Thousands of arrest operations were launched throughout the course of the year, both large and small (descriptions of a portion of the operations are attached)[3][4][5].There was a huge spike in the numbers of Christians arrested in every region.

According to incomplete statistics, in 2018, at least 23,567 CAG Christians were directly persecuted by the authorities across the country simply because they believed in Almighty God, and because they engaged in such normal church activities as attending gatherings and preaching the gospel. At least 12,456 Church members have suffered harassment, including having their personal information collected, being forced to sign “statement of guarantee” which would mean renouncing their faith, being forced to be photographed, recorded on video and monitored, and having their fingerprints, blood samples and hair collected, etc.; at least 11,111 members have been arrested, and among them 6,757 members have been held in detention either for short or long periods, with 685 members suffering all manner of cruel tortures and forced indoctrination; 392 members have been sentenced, with half that number given severe sentences of 3 years or more and 8 members having been sentenced to more than 10 years, among whom, Bao Shuguang, a Christian from Shandong Province, was sentenced to 13 years in prison; at least 20 Christians have died as a result of persecution, among whom 7 have died at such extrajudicial interrogation units as “transformation through forced indoctrination centers”; at least 300 million RMB (about 62 million AUD) has been unlawfully seized (including both church money and personal assets). The above-mentioned statistics are just a small portion of the information concerning the CCP’s persecution of CAG Christians in 2018 alone. Because of the severity of this persecution, it is simply impossible to collate the vast majority of the information.

The CCP’s Sinister Hand Reaches CAG Christians Abroad

The CCP has not stopped at wantonly arresting and persecuting Christians within mainland China, but it has found some exiled CAG Christians’ family members who are still in China and coerced them to go to South Korea to create disturbances. But what the CCP hadn’t anticipated was that the confidential document regarding the implementation of that plan was exposed by Bitter Winter[6], a publication revealing and unveiling the situation of human rights in China to the West. From August 30 to September 4, 2018, the CCP secretly orchestrated false protests outside CAG in Onsu, South Korea and the Blue House (the executive office and official residence of the South Korean head of state, the President of the Republic of Korea) to falsely claim that CAG Christians are not real refugees. They fabricated fake news and rumors in an attempt to pressure the South Korean government to repatriate these Christians. This false demonstration put on by the CCP was fully documented by Peter Zoehrer, an Australian reporter and Secretary General of FOREF (the Forum for Religious Freedom Europe) and an exposé was published in Bitter Winter[7][8][9].

Denials of CAG Christians’ Asylum Applications in Australia

The CCP government has made every effort to get Christians who have fled to democratic countries extradited to China. It has been relentless in putting diplomatic and economic pressure on these democratic countries, and it has trained and planted large numbers of special operatives. It has also fabricated a great deal of fake news smearing and discrediting The Church of Almighty God, causing a number of these countries’ governments to refuse political asylum to CAG Christians due to CCP pressure or being influenced by the fake news created by the Party.

Countries throughout the world hold a variety of attitudes toward CAG Christians, but Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and some US jurisdictions have all recognized the reality of the CCP’s persecution of The Church of Almighty God and have granted asylum to its members. There have been similar rulings in Italy recently. The US Congress’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission has also acknowledged the persecution of the Church, and on January 28, 2019 listed its first case of a CAG prisoner of conscience, Mo Xiufeng (female, 31 years old, sentenced to nine years in prison in 2018). However, authorities in Australia have rejected Christians’ asylum requests with all sorts of reasons and excuses.

Several specific examples are provided below for further analysis.

(I) Australian Authorities Believe That CAG Christians Lack Adequate Understanding of Their Own Faith and Thus Claim That They Are Not Church Members

The UNHCR’s (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) 2004 Guidelines on International Protection states that “individuals may be persecuted on the basis of their religion even though they have little or no substantive knowledge of its tenets or practices” and that a deep knowledge of a religion’s theology is not necessary (UNHCR 2004, HCR/GIP/04/06, no. 30).

Professor Massimo lntrovigne, the managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) in Italy, also talked about the above-mentioned point in his new book Exploring The Church of Almighty God, “In some specific cases, in fact asylum seekers’ answers did not conform to the tenets of the religion as depicted in the ‘sources’ available to immigration authorities. The ‘sources’ mentioned, however, were not CAG’s normative sacred texts, nor were they part of the scholarly literature. The authorities sometimes relied on media articles, which simply translated or repeated Chinese governmental sources. For instance, when church members stated that the McDonald’s murder in 2014 was not committed by members of the CAG, they were accused of not knowing the CAG.”

“It is of course possible that somebody falsely claims to be a member of the CAG. As mentioned earlier, however, the CAG has developed an effective system for communicating with its underground communities and determining who was a bona fide member in China. In most diaspora countries, there are incorporated local bodies able to certify who is a member and who is not. When this certification exists, there should be no reason to reject asylum requests by CAG members. Their status as members of the CAG is enough to justify a ‘credible fear of persecution’ and, should they be compelled to return to China, they would be arrested and sentenced to long jail terms, or worse” (refer to Exploring The Church of Almighty God).

(II) Australian Authorities Believe That the CCP Only Targets CAG Leaders and Evangelizers, While Regular Christians Do Not Face the Danger of Arrest

In 1995, the CCP openly defined a number of Christian house churches including the Shouters and The Church of Almighty God as xiejiao, providing the CCP with adequate excuses to arrest and detain members of these “xiejiao” organizations. Incomplete figures show that from 2011 to now, the CCP authorities have arrested over 400,000 Christians of The Church of Almighty God. As of February 2019, 66,036 cases of arrested CAG Christians (with pseudonyms) had been publicized on CAG websites, and 1,663 cases of CAG Christians in custody have been entered into the Prisoners’ Database of the NGO Human Rights Without Frontiers[10]. We can see from these cases of arrest that the CAG Christians detained by the CCP are not limited to those holding positions within the Church, but in fact can be arrested and sentenced merely for possessing a CAG book or CAG materials.

Professor Massimo lntrovigne pointed it out that “Article 300 of the Chinese Criminal Code made ‘using a xiejiao’ a crime punishable with jail penalties from three to seven years ‘or more.’ It is important to determine what ‘using a xiejiao’ exactly means within the context of Article 300. Not all decisions of the Chinese courts are published online, but thousands of them are. There is a vast number of published decisions where members of xiejiao, particularly of the CAG (listed as a xiejiao since 1995), were sentenced to long jail penalties (often exceeding seven years) based on Article 300. It is clear from these decisions that ‘using a xiejiao’ is interpreted as ‘being active in a xiejiao’ in any capacity. Although leaders receive harsher punishments, it is by no means necessary to be a leader to be recognized as guilty of having ‘used a xiejiao’ under Article 300. In fact, having been found in possession of literature of the CAG, or having tried to convert others to the Almighty God faith, has been regarded as sufficient evidence of being guilty of the crime punished by Article 300 (see e.g. China Judgements Online 2014, 2017).

Article 300 of the Chinese Criminal Code does not distinguish between leaders and common members of groups banned as xiejiao and Chinese case law, as many examples published by Chinese governmental sources show, offers several examples of common CAG believers sentenced under Article 300 without having any position of leadership in the CAG (see e.g. China Judgements Online 2014, 2017)” (refer to Exploring The Church of Almighty God).

(III) Australian Authorities Determine That CAG Christians Are Not Persecuted by the CCP Because They Possess Passports and Are Able to Handle Exit Procedures

CAG Christians being able to hold passports and exit China does not indicate that they are not persecuted by the CCP. There are three primary circumstances in which they are able to flee.

The first is that the faith of some CAG Christians has not become widely known, so their personal information has not been entered into China’s public security system. Some Christians have been arrested, but began using a pseudonym after their arrest and never revealed their true identity. Some have been detained, kept in custody, or fined, but have not been listed as wanted, so information on their cases has not been entered into the public security database of individuals banned from leaving the country. Christians with the circumstances above are able to flee abroad after getting a passport. As it was mentioned by Professor Massimo lntrovigne that “Chinese authorities claim that the members of the CAG are four million (Ma 2014) and that they have identified and arrested only ‘several thousands’ of them. Even if we accept the figure of 300,000–400,000 arrested supplied by the CAG itself (The Church of Almighty God 2017d), this would mean that 90% of the members of the Church have not yet been identified by the authorities. Of course, they can be identified and arrested at any moment, or denounced by neighbors interested in obtaining the rewards promised to those who supply information leading to the arrest of a member of a xiejiao—accordingly, they live in a situation of fear of persecution. But, as long as they have not been identified, if they do not have a criminal record, they are able to obtain a passport and leave the country” (refer to Exploring The Church of Almighty God).

The second category is made up of Christians whose personal information has been put on a no-exit blacklist by the CCP, but are able to get their records expunged through bribery and personal connections. People within this group are also able to flee abroad. Corruption is rife among CCP officials; trading favors for money is very commonplace and bribery is an extremely serious issue. Professor Massimo lntrovigne also wrote “In 2013 only, Chinese authorities received the astonishing number of 1.95 million allegations of corruption (U.S. Department of State 2014). The authoritative Routledge Handbook of the Chinese Diaspora (Tan 2012) reports numerous instances where corruption manifested itself in the issuance of passports to persons theoretically not entitled to be issued one, including members of criminal organizations. Of course, if the officer issuing the passport is corrupted, problems of fingerprints and facial recognition may also be overcome” (refer to Exploring The Church of Almighty God).

The third group is made up of previously arrested Christians whose personal information is known to the Chinese police, who use other individuals’ personal information to get a new ID, take on a new name and address, and then flee China. For example, the Chinese dissident and human rights lawyer Gao Guangjun was put on the CCP’s nationwide most wanted list nine consecutive times, but ultimately was able to obtain a passport by getting new documents, and successfully fled to the United States.

CAG Christians Arrested After Being Extradited to China

Although a portion of CAG Christians have been able to obtain passports and flee to other countries, more and more have been completely unable to leave due to the CCP’s intensifying persecution of religious beliefs. And for a portion of those Christians who have risked life and limb to flee, the state of their applications for asylum do not inspire confidence. Some have even been forcefully extradited to China and have suffered arrest, sentencing, and imprisonment by the Chinese government; some even face the prospect of death. These kinds of tragedies have already occurred; below are two such cases.

Case 1[11]:

Ms. Wu Xin was born on April 5, 1956 in Linshu County, Linyi City.  She joined The Church of Almighty God in September 2004 and fled to Switzerland to escape the CCP’s capture on April 23, 2015. The Swiss government declined her asylum application and repatriated her to China on May 2, 2017.

On June 27, 2017, police officers with the Linshu County Public Security Bureau of Linyi City, Shandong Province broke into Wu Xin’s rented place and arrested her there.

On August 18, 2017, Wu Xin was sentenced to 3 years and 6 months in prison along with a fine of 30,000 RMB (about 6,263 AUD) on suspicion of using a xiejiao organization to undermine the enforcement of the law. As of now, she still remains in custody.

Case 2[12]:

Ms. Wang Aixian was born on September 5, 1968 in Zhaoxigou Village, Xiabu Town, Xiaoyi City, Shanxi Province. She joined The Church of Almighty God in February 1999 and fled to Switzerland to escape the Chinese government’s persecution of CAG Christians on April 22, 2015. The Swiss government denied the fact that the CCP persecutes religious beliefs and repatriated her to China in March, 2017.

On October 7, 2017, Wang Aixian was arrested at her home by more than 20 police officers with the National Security Brigade of the local Public Security Bureau.

In May 2018, Wang Aixian was sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment and taken to the Yuci City Women’s Prison to serve her term.

Conclusion

Freedom of belief is a universal value as well as one of the most basic of human rights. However, not only is freedom of religion not protected in China, but religious beliefs are brutally persecuted and the problem is becoming ever-more intense. This fact is plain for all to see. Our hope is that the governments of Australia and other democratic countries may seriously investigate the facts of the persecution suffered by Christians from The Church of Almighty God, and either grant us political asylum or, at the least, provide us with humanitarian assistance. We hope that we will not be extradited and will no longer face the danger of the CCP’s arrest and persecution, and even the danger of brutal torture to the point of disability or death. Our wish is to worship and praise God in a free, democratic country. We express our heartfelt thanks, and may God bless the countries and their people that grant asylum to Christians such as we!


[1]BBC U.N.: China secretly detained 1 Million Uyghurs to “indoctrinate” them with policy Link attached

[2]Notification on Situation and Working Opinion Regarding Public Security Proscription of Shouters and other Xie Jiao Organizations issued by Central Committee and State Council in November 1995 (“Consolidated List” Notifications: 1995-50)

[3]More Accounts on the Massive Arrests of Almighty God Believers in June

[4]The Church of Almighty God Hit Again in Jiangxi

[5]New Organized Operation Against Believers in Almighty God

[6]Chinese Campaign Against The Church of Almighty God Extends to South Korea

[7]False Demonstrations Against The Church of Almighty God Refugees Start in South Korea

[8]False Demonstrations Against Refugees Continue in Korea, Hackers Try to Stop Bitter Winter

[9]South Korean False Demonstrations Against The Church of Almighty God Refugees End in Disgrace

[10]HRWF The Church of Almighty God: Prisoners Database (1663 cases)

[11]Believer Sent to Prison After Returning to China

[12]Source: https://bit.ly/2K9vrHg

Message to Refugee supporters: Don’t be fooled by PM Scott Morrison and his party members – cover up of white supremacist refugee policy 19/03/2019

We eX-detainees, asylum seekers and refugees at RISE would like to alert the public that since the Christchurch incident in New Zealand, Australian PM Scott Morrison and his party members are covering themselves in sheep’s clothing for political advantage and exploiting the victims and survivors of the incident. There is a possibility that a cunning politician like Scott Morrison may call an election during this time to regain and advance his position.

At this time we should not forget that the Liberal-National coalition government blocks refugees of all genders and ages coming on boats and in Australia’s offshore torture camps from protection and resettlement in Australia. Who can ignore such white supremacist tactics affecting mostly Muslim refugees, such as as indefinite detention, refusal to let offshore refugees come to the mainland to access proper medical treatment, locking up pregnant refugees, queer refugees, elderly refugees etc and using the immigration department’s paramilitary group Australian Border Force, to fill floating orange capsules with our community members and push them back into the open sea.  A reminder to all, that the Australian Border Force is the brainchild of none other than Australia’s current Prime Minister-Scott Morrison.

Scott Morrison going around talking to Muslim community groups and people of colour communities does not absolve him from the fact that he and his Liberal and National party colleagues have the blood of our communities on their hands.  Please remember that the main reason Australian politicians get away with continuously torturing and vilifying our refugee community and making racist refugee policies is because we are one of the most disadvantaged communities. Therefore, our voices need to be heard.  We have suffered over 26 years because of Australian politicians using the torture of our community members as political currency. Since the last five to ten years refugees (particularly Afghan, stateless Rohingya and Kurdish Refugees) with permanent protection are waiting indefinitely for their citizenship; family reunions are blocked and refugees who came by boat are now being forced into regional areas as indentured labour with little hope for permanent protection. This is happening because of Scott Morrison’s party’s support for extreme cruelty against those of us asking for asylum and permanent protection – to “protect Australia’s borders”.

For decades, Australian politicians have been stoking racism by misleading the public for political gain. Asylum seekers arriving by boat have been painted as ‘queue jumpers’ and unscrupulous illegal entrants without morals. The targeting of refugee boats reached a new low with the ‘Children Overboard’ misinformation campaign during the time of ex-prime minister, John Howard (a mentor of Scott Morrison from the same Liberal party) successfully winning him the 2001 election. This exploitative use of refugee boats as a key wedge strategy to attract votes during the Howard era continues to this day. As we witness Scott Morrison and his crew frantically attempting to reengineer the Liberal party’s political strategy, claiming not to be racist and buying off our community leaders with promises of increased funding and picture opportunities, behind the scenes his party members are fiercely committed to keeping Australia as the last remaining outpost of the british colonial empire.

Furthermore, we cannot escape the fact that Australia has succeeded in enacting and providing the world with a blueprint for contemporary modes of border imperialism. Australia’s unrelenting devotion to its politics of deterrence, built on the foundations of the White Australia policy and the theft of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land and maritime resources, demonstrates to us that this country is one that not only allows refugees to be used for political leverage but also applauds its on-going mistreatment of asylum seekers and refugees.

Scott Morrison and his party MUST stop using us as political pawns and stop dumping Australia’s refugee responsibilities to less wealthy countries such as the pacific nations of PNG and Nauru. The recent announcement of the reopening of Christmas Island Detention Centre is evidence that Australia continues its oppressive detention system.

We would also like to make it clear that the Australian Labor Opposition Party, founder of Australia’s mandatory immigration detention regime, and the reopener of Australia’s Manus and Nauru refugee detention camps is no better.  We cannot avoid the fact that the Australian Labor Party hits the same anti-refugee beats as Scott Morrison’s Liberal-National Coalition.

Enough is enough, we don’t need more inquiries and reports, we want all detention centres to be shut down permanently and restore sanctuary and support to all detained refugees in the community. Your pressure on the Australian government and all Australian politicians to end Australia’s cruelty to Refugees is an act of solidarity and an act of justice.

Respect the intellectual property and hard work of Refugees in creating this document and do not plagiarise.

_____________________________

Nothing About Us Without Us’ – While you are reading our advocacy materials, media statements and following our campaigns, please remember RISE is entirely governed by and for by eX-detainees, asylum seekers and refugees. Furthermore, all of RISE’s hard work is managed and developed by eX-detainees, asylum seekers and refugees. Support self-determination of RISE: Refugees, Survivors and eX-detainees, by making a tax deductible donation TODAY via https://www.givenow.com.au/riserefugee

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STUDENT WALKOUT 6th March 2019 – 1pm State Library of Victoria – Melbourne


The Australian Government recently announced the reopening of Christmas Island Detention Centre, which proves their hostility and brutality against asylum seekers coming by boats, and is a continuation of using refugees and asylum seekers as political pawns for their personal gain. This has been happening for nearly 30 years. RISE eX-detainees call for a Students Walkout in solidarity with detainees in Australian-run detention centres both offshore and onshore, on the 6th March 2019.

RISE eX-detainees, calling for students across Australia to take actions against the Australian Government for its inhumane treatment of refugees in Australian-run detention centres both offshore and onshore. The main event is based in Melbourne CBD, 6th March 2019 at 1pm, State Library of Victoria. We eX-detainees request students to walk out of their classrooms and campuses at 1pm  (AEST) wherever you are, hold banners that read #EndDetention and pay 2 minutes silence for those who survived and those who have lost their lives in Australian-run detention centres. We ask teachers and associates to join this action to show your solidarity. To bring national and international wide attention, we request you to post your images on different social media channels.

Australia MUST stops using us as political pawns and stop dumping its refugee responsibilities to less wealthy countries such as PNG and Nauru. The recent announcement of reopening of Christmas Island Detention Centre is evidence that Australia continues its oppressive detention system. 

Further, it is evident to us that Australia has succeeded in enacting and providing the world with a blueprint for contemporary modes of border imperialism. Australia’s unrelenting devotion to its politics of deterrence, built on the foundations of White Australia policy and the theft of Aboriginal land, demonstrates to us that this country is one that not only allows refugees to be used for political leverage, but also applauds its own on-going mistreatment of asylum seekers and refugees.

There have been many inquiries and many reports of rape, sexual abuse and torture in Australia’s refugee detention camps since they were opened more than 2 decades, yet these abuses continue because not a single Immigration Minister or administrator in the Australian government has been held accountable. Depression, suicide, and other mental illnesses are pervasive within Australian detention centres, and are often a direct result of the experience of detention itself and we should not stay silent when it matters. 

Enough is enough, we don’t need more inquiries and reports, we want all detention centres to be shut down permanently and restore sanctuary to all detained refugees in the community. Your pressure to the Australian government is an act of solidarity and an act of justice.

Download Student Walkout poster here

While you take action in this matter, get involved in eX-detainees’ led campaigns

  1. #SanctionAustralia
  2. Calls On Universities And Health Services To Divest from The Detention Industry.

We should not wait until one more refugee is murdered, tortured or refouled by Australia.

*This event will take place on stolen Kulin Nations Land. As eX-detainees, in Australia, we acknowledge that the land we seek protection on is the land of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples whose sovereignty was never ceded. ‘Always was, always will be Aboriginal land’

RISE eX-detainee Members.

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