School students call for compassion, not detention

Issue 

About 100 people attended a vigil for refugees in Melbourne on November 15. The action was initiated by Secondary Students for Refugee Rights (SSFRR).

SSFRR formed during the federal election campaign in response to refugees being demonised by politicians.

The main purpose of the group is to raise awareness among young people about refugees.

Co-founder of SSFRR Caitlin Woodland said: "As the new government has come to power, the rights of refugees have been removed from the equation. [Immigration minister] Scott Morrison has called refugees illegal in an attempt to dehumanise them in the public eye. Every asylum seeker has a right to safety.”

Student and refugee from Iraq, Asil said: "People say we refugees come here to take others’ jobs or money. In my family, I'm the only one who works, my dad says we won’t take money from Centrelink. My sister wants to become a doctor. Many of my friends want to become doctors and lawyers.

“A lot of people died under [the Tony] Abbott government. If Tony doesn’t care about people dying at sea or locked up like animals; what makes Australian people think he will care about them?"