Northam convergence for refugee rights

Refugee groups are also encouraged to send a placard for display at the convergence.

Refugee rights activists from around Australia will converge on the Yongah Hill detention centre near Northam on April 26-28. Yongah Hill is near Northam, about an hour and a half from Perth.

Protesters will be highlighting the fact that thousands of refugees locked in detention centres around Australia are being denied their basic human rights. The decisions to reopen detention centres at Nauru and Manus Island have made this situation worse.

Increasingly hard-line policies haven't “stopped the boats”. Neither have they neutralised the issue in national politics. The Liberals have just found new ways to further demonise refugees.

Refugee activists argue that there is only one way to resolve this issue which is to close the detention centres and welcome refugees to this country. Asylum applications can be processed while refugees are living in the community.

The convergence will begin on April 26 with buses leaving Perth in the morning followed by a protest at the gates on arrival and a candlelight vigil that evening.

A mass rally will be held at the detention centre at 1pm on April 27.

Activists also plan to set up a “pirate radio” to enable refugees inside the centre to hear from activists outside.

Protesting at detention centres has proven an effective way to raise the issue in broader public debate and also has an important positive effect on the refugees inside.

As an information booklet for convergence participants says: “Knowing that there are people on the outside who are opposed to the system really does help people [inside] survive.”

Convergence organising is being spearheaded by the Perth-based Refugee Rights Action Network in conjunction with refugee action groups around the country.

If you are unable to attend in person you can still show your support by sponsoring an activist. A Not in Our Name banner will be displayed at the convergence with names of people who support but could not attend. Refugee and human rights groups from around the country and the world are also encouraged to send a banner or placard for display at the convergence.

More information and registrations can be found on their website.