Refugee Action Coalition (NSW)

A rally for refugees proceeded safely, despite being denied authorisation by the NSW Supreme Court, reports Pip Hinman.

Activists unfurl banner off eastern freeway overpass in Melbourne
In May last year Nazanin, a 23-year-old Iranian asylum seeker, was raped on Nauru. It took three months and a medical emergency for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to send her to Australia for treatment. At the time, the department said Nazanin's mother and brother would also be brought to Australia to provide critical family support.
Around two thousand people rallied in Sydney on October 11 in support of refugees. The protest was called by the Refugee Action Coalition and came in the wake of claims of mistreatment and sexual abuse against refugee women on Nauru and Manus Island. The rally's demands included that the government bring the women to Australia for medical treatment and that all refugees be freed.
Asylum seekers from Iran whose claims for refugee status have been rejected are being intimidated into “voluntary” repatriation. The Australian government does not have an agreement with the Iranian government which will not accept the forced return of those who have fled the country.
On July 26 more than 150 activists from around the country met in Melbourne for the National Refugee Rights Conference, hosted by the Refugee Action Collective (Victoria). Many of the participants had attended the protest outside the ALP national conference the day before, and inevitably discussion revolved around the decision of the majority of delegates to reject an explicit ban on refugee boat "turn backs" which paves the way for Labor to once again follow Coalition policy.
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