Despite the Sudanese crisis, Labor is leaving Sudanese refugees behind

The more than 500 Sudanese refugees in Indonesia are one of the groups that have been left behind by the Labor government’s budget failure to increase the humanitarian refugee intake or end the ban on accepting refugees from Indonesia.

Some of the Sudanese refugees have been in Indonesia since 2011, waiting for resettlement. Some have not even been interviewed by the UNHCR. None have been referred to Australia.

There are also Sudanese in PNG, in mainland detention and in the community in Australia who need permanent visas.

The generals’ war engulfing Sudan has seen around 800,000 people flee to neighbouring countries, mostly into Egypt, yet Labor is yet to provide immediate and comprehensive support for Sudanese refugees and their families that goes beyond extending temporary visas for those already in Australia.

Sudanese refugees in Indonesia have begun protests outside UNHCR offices in Indonesia. Last week, there were protests in Jakarta and Makassar. This week a protest was held in Pekanbaru. More protests are being planned.

“The situation in Indonesia is intolerable,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “The refugees are living in poverty. And there is every sign that Australia has been systematically discriminating against Sudanese refugees.

“The government must end the ban on UNHCR refugees coming from Indonesia and take immediate steps to bring Sudanese refugees to Australia.

“There are Sudanese refugees who are part of the 10,000 asylum seekers who have been rejected under fast track. Fast track was always flawed, and the conditions in Sudan have deteriorated significantly. They should all get permanent visas.”

“It is shocking that Labor is spending $420 million to maintain offshore detention on Nauru when that money could be used to expand the humanitarian intake and provide security for the Sudanese refugees stranded in Indonesia,” said Rintoul, “Labor is not just leaving refugees behind; their policies are also being left behind.”

For more information contact: Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713. (Contact for Sudanese representatives in Australia and Indonesia available on request.)

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