Amnesty International Western Sydney University students hosted a forum at the Parramatta campus on March 15. Speakers included James Arvanitakis, Debra Keenahan, Luce De Buitleir Andrews and Sev Ozdowski.
Keenahan spoke about how refugees had become “dehumanised” since former PM John Howard said: “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come”.
A young woman, who was born in Afghanistan and whose grandfather had been killed by the Taliban spoke movingly about her family's experiences of fleeing first to Iran, then Malaysia and finally paying for passage on a boat to Christmas Island. Her family was given asylum five months later.
Students are keen to get the university to take a practical stand to support refugees.