MEDIA RELEASE – Sovereignty + Sanctuary: A First Nations/ Refugee Solidarity Event -13/07/2016

First Nations Liberation (FLN), Refugees, Survivors and Ex-detainees (RISE) and Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) present Sovereignty + Sanctuary: A First Nations/ Refugee Solidarity Event.

In order to recognise the plight of refugee arrivals to Australia, as well as the ongoing struggle for Indigenous self-determination, First Nations Liberation, RISE and WAR will hold a solidarity event in Melbourne this Saturday 16th of July at 1pm, in front of Parliament House, Spring Street, Melbourne.

“As refugees, asylum seekers and ex-detainees in Australia, we acknowledge that the land we seek protection on is the land of Indigenous peoples,” said Ramesh Fernandez, CEO of RISE.

Meriki Onus from Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) said “Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance welcome this historical event with RISE and First Nations Liberation. RISE’s commitment to accepting Aboriginal passports, Aboriginal law and customary law is refreshing and paves the way for all newcomers to this country.”

“Australian colonial borders continue to oppress communities of colour and Black peoples living inside and outside these borders. WAR condemns the treatment of Aboriginal people, asylum seekers and refugees in detention centres and prisons in this country. It is an international crisis.”

Ex-detainee and founder of RISE, Ramesh Fernandez said, “This will be not only be an historical event, it will be a meaningful event. It will also send a strong message to the Australian government and the wider public that under Indigenous law we are welcome here.”

“On this day RISE, on behalf of the refugee community, will acknowledge Aboriginal Sovereignty over this nation and stand in solidarity with the dispossessed First Nations of this country. We commit to fighting for justice on the terms set by Aboriginal people and nothing else.”

Further he added, “On behalf of refugee community groups and current and ex-detainees, I would like to thank the First Nations people for their recognition and ongoing solidarity with us. It is Indigenous law that we recognise and the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples. This has been long overdue but I thank all those at RISE who have worked these past four years to get to this point.”

On behalf of Sovereign House, elder Robbie Thorpe will present passports to RISE members. Issuing Indigenous passports to refugees sends a strong message: Under Indigenous law, refugees are WELCOME to this land.

Further, ex-detainees from RISE will outline demands which consist of how Australia (government & non-profit sector) should treat refugees arriving to Australia on boats.

Media briefing will be held at 11.30am at RISE, level 1 – 247 Flinders Lane Melbourne by WAR, RISE and First Nations Liberation. Contact RISE Administration 03 9639 8623, email admin@riserefugee.org