Support for refugees

Issue 

Support for refugees

By Lynda Hansen

BRISBANE — More than 150 people packed into St Andrew's Church on November 13 to support the Refugee Claimant Support Centre (RCSC). Guests at the centre's annual dinner feasted and were entertained by the RCSC choir and a Southern Cook Island cultural group.

Speakers included Paul Toon from the Brisbane East Timor Coalition, who spoke about the initiative of the coalition and the International Language School to teach East Timor's indigenous language, Tetum, to Timorese refugees in Brisbane. Toon hopes to tour support workers from East Timor to hold training workshops for activists here.

The RCSC, formerly the Asylum Seekers Centre, supports refugees who have applied for permanent residence visas.

Asylum seekers have little income security and often cannot get permission to work. They are denied access to most government social services, including employment assistance, English classes, health and education. They therefore rely on non-government organisations like the RCSC to provide food and accommodation.

The centre also provides emergency relief, such as medication and clothing. For more information, phone 3846 5322 on Mondays, Tuesdays or Thursdays, or drop into the centre at 69 Thomas Street, West End.