No one left behind! Thousands to rally in Canberra for permanent visas

More than a thousand refugees and their supporters from around the country are expected to rally outside Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday 29 November, 11am, to demand permanent visas. 

Four buses are leaving Sydney for the rally on Tuesday morning and one bus from Melbourne is leaving at 9pm Monday night to arrive in Canberra for the rally on Tuesday.  Hundreds of other refugees are traveling by car to Canberra.

More than 31,000 refugees and people seeking asylum have been surviving for up to nine years and more, on temporary protection or bridging visas. Others are eking out an existence in the community on expired visas. 

Labor came to office promising to grant permanent visas to all refugees on temporary TPV or SHEVs and to scrap the fast track assessment system that has seen around 10,000 refugee applications rejected.

Labor is now allowing refugees on TPVs to travel, but that’s all.  

Saajeda, an Afghan refugee, co-chairing the rally, asked, “Why must we keep begging the Australian Government to give us safety and permanent protection? It is very clear that refugees from Afghanistan, and other places like Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Iran cannot return to live safely.”

Labor has also turned a deaf ear to refugees brought to Australia from Nauru and PNG, ignoring the torture inflicted on them offshore and the fact that many now have jobs and families in Australia. 

Zahra, one of the speakers at the rally said, “The refugees sent to Nauru and Manus have been punished for a decade for seeking Australia’s protection. Offshore refugees have been denied protection just because of the date we arrived. Some people who arrived after 19 July 2013 weren’t sent offshore and will soon get permanent visas. Labor’s policy towards us is like a cruel lottery.”

Priya Nadesalingam from the Home to Bilo campaign will also be speaking at the rally. Tamil asylum seekers, Priya, Nades and two daughters were denied protection visas under the fast track system, and were threatened with deportation by the Morrison Liberal government. Labor granted the family permanent visas just two months after Labor was elected.  Priya is lending her voice to stand with thousands of others in need of permanent protection.

“Nine years is enough torture and uncertainty,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “Cruel, heartless and hypocritical refugee policies have to end. Labor said no one would be left behind,  but six months after the election thousands of refugees and asylum seekers are still waiting.”

“No one left behind; Permanent Visas for All” Rally:

11am, 29 November, Parliament House Canberra

Speakers include:

MCs  – Hassan (Iranian, TPV), Saajeda Samaa (Afghan refugee)

Sajeda Bahadurmia and Asma Khan from the Rohingya community

Narges Kiani far – Iranian refugee from Nauru on bridging visa

Mohammad Hakim –  Hazara refugee

Zahra Hashemi – Iranian mother – family was held on Nauru

Hamid Elkaie– Iranian refugee on Nauru, separated from his family in Australia

Renuga  Inpakumar and 11 yo Tamil boy

Irfan Ali   – Qaim community advocate for fast track rejections

Priya  Nadesalingam, Home to Bilo campaign

Media contacts:

Hassan Jaber speaker/MC at the rally 0401 310 310

Saajeda Samaa speaker/MC at the rally 0455 660 302

Ian Rintoul Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney 0417 275 713

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