World Refugee Day 2020: Every Action Counts
Saturday, 20 June marks World Refugee Day 2020 with this year’s theme being “Every Action Counts”.
The challenges faced by people locally and abroad this year, including the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, political turmoil, police brutality and racial inequality emphasise the importance of Every Action Counts.
According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are currently more than 70.8 million people around the world who have been forced to flee their home, the majority of whom are children.
Recent global anti-racism rallies and protests demonstrate that now more than ever, society needs to celebrate diversity, fight for equality and take action to work towards a more inclusive world.
IEUA-QNT Growth Organiser Aaron Watson said our union is committed to enacting the theme of Every Action Counts and that we stand in solidarity with refugees, asylum seekers as well as stateless and internally displaced persons.
“World Refugee Day is an occasion to celebrate the strength and courage of those forced to flee their home countries to escape violence or persecution,” Aaron said.
“It’s an opportunity to reflect on how we can help improve the lives of refugees, especially those in our local communities.”
Teachers for Refugees and People Seeking Asylum
In response to calls from members to lead the voice of teachers, principals and education support workers on the issues affecting refugees, our union alongside the Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU) created Teachers for Refugees and People Seeking Asylum (TRAPSA).
TRAPSA is encouraging teachers and all education workers to get involved in the online activities being held for World Refugee Day 2020.
For more updates or to become involved in the TRAPSA group, please click here.
Refugees facing hardship in our backyard
Recent peaceful protests and demonstrations held in South Brisbane are an example of activists highlighting the plight faced by refugees and asylum seekers locally.
TRAPSA representative and IEUA-QNT Growth Organiser Cherie Wills said it was a stark reminder of the makeshift detention centre in our backyard and the harsh and unjust conditions a group of men detained there are subjected to.
“There are approximately 120 asylum seekers being detained in a Kangaroo Point hotel, after being transferred from offshore detention on Manus Island and Naura,” Cherie said.
“Two-thirds of detainees are confined to their rooms, which they share with several others.
“They aren’t even allowed to set foot outside to enjoy fresh air, despite the fact that some of these men have families, wives and children living freely in Brisbane who they cannot see,” she said.
Cherie says members of our union who are concerned about the government’s treatment of refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons should join TRAPSA.
“TRAPSA provides an avenue for members to get involved and take action to support these vulnerable members of our community.
“We expect to be able to hold meetings again next term so we will confirm the next meeting date for the TRAPSA group well in advance,” she said.
Get involved in WRD 2020
As part of the celebrations, Multicultural Australia in partnership with Brisbane City Council will be streaming a live concert through Facebook on the evening of WRD 2020 to celebrate the journeys, resilience and strength shown by refugees and asylum seekers and to highlight their contribution to Queensland.
The Our Story World Refugee Day concert will feature a culturally diverse lineup of spoken word artists, poets and storytellers as well as live music and dance for audiences to enjoy.
For more information on the Our Story online concert, see here.
Click here to register and attend more virtual World Refugee Day events.