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RAC Eurobodalla to join National Day of Action

RAC Eurobodalla to join National Day of Action marking the 5th Anniversary of the Resettlement Ban and Reopening of offshore detention centres


Spokesperson Bernie Richards has confirmed that the Refugee Action Collective (RAC) Eurobodalla will join other concerned citizens and groups from the Shoalhaven and Eurobodalla area in a national day of action, called by the Australian Refugee Action Network (ARAN), by holding a rally at the office of Ann Sudmalis, the Federal Member for Gilmore, at her Nowra electorate office.

This July 19th marks the fifth anniversary of the announcement by then PM Kevin Rudd that “As of today, asylum seekers who come here by boat without a visa will never be settled in Australia” and the recommencement of offshore detention. The action will call on all political parties to end the detention of men women and children in the offshore camps, and ensure their resettlement in places of safety.

Five years on 939 people, including 137 children are still detained on Nauru and 698 men remain in PNG. Some of these people, including 22 children are still living in the mouldy tents on Nauru. (Senate estimates 21 May 2018).

Twelve people have died as a result of medical neglect and desperation. Hundreds of others have been damaged mentally and physically by the deliberately cruel and demoralising conditions in indefinite detention.

There is no clear path to safe resettlement for these people, most of whom are have been recognised as bona fide refugees. As PM Turnbull admitted to President Trump, “the only reason we cannot let them into Australia is because of our commitment to not allow people who come by boat. Otherwise we would have let them in.”

In the nearly two years since the USA/Australia transfer deal was signed only 268 people have been resettled from Nauru and Manus to the United States. Neither PNG nor Nauru can offer viable resettlement options. Following a $55 million payment, 7 people went to Cambodia and only 3 remain there. This failed program will formally cease at the end of 2018. (AAP May31)

Under the original “Pacific Solution” between 2001 and 2008, 1153 refugees were resettled from Manus Island and Nauru. Of these, 35% went to New Zealand, 5% to other developed countries and 70% to Australia. “Where has our humanity gone?” asks Bernie Richards. “Our country was once respected for our fair treatment of refugees seeking safety”.

ARAN and RAC Eurobodalla call on all Australian political parties to urgently address this shameful Australian sponsored human rights catastrophe by bringing these people to Australia and ensuring that those who are not offered resettlement in the USA or New Zealand, are resettled here in Australia.

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