John Kenny spent much of his university break this year volunteering with JRS in Sydney. It was an educational and engaging experience, he writes.
After I arrived in Australia in 2014, I lodged my protection visa application and I have been granted a Bridging Visa without any problems. Still my case is in the preliminary stages, so I am waiting for the results. But I think I have been accepted by the community. I have to say that Australia has wonderful unity, multiculturalism, equality and, most important, the rules of human rights and humanitarian laws.
Arrupe Place was established early this year following a fundraising drive which was met with great enthusiasm by JRS’ supporters. Partnering with agencies such as RACS, the centre aims to fill the glaring need in a region that is home to NSW’s largest concentration of refugees and asylum seekers, yet which lacks a relevant suite of services for this group of people.
Richard joined JRS just as it was about to launch its new Parramatta hub, Arrupe Place. He was on call when it opened in early January, and spent his early days as a volunteer helping to get the centre ready for its first clients. Now he spends one day a week as an onsite volunteer serving as a point of contact for asylum seekers who either drop in or have appointments with JRS caseworkers.
The findings of the Commission’s experts were stark and unequivocal: prolonged and mandatory detention of asylum seeker children in the last ten years, under both Labor and Coalition governments, has resulted in “significant mental and physical illness, and developmental delays, in breach of Australia’s international obligations”.
As yet it is not clear how many other refugees would benefit from the decision but it will be closely studied in Canberra and by lawyers and refugees. It may be too early to hope that the Government will rethink the unwarranted harshness of the TPV and the harm it will cause for refugees, but this decision will not be the last challenge to the TPV – the cruel visa we cannot justify.
Community information session for Farsi speakers The changes to laws and how it will affect applying for asylum and processing applications You are invited to attend a community information session where a lawyer from the Refugee Advice and Casework Service…
“The report shows the effects of detention cause despair, anxiety and depression in children. And the effects last long after children are released into the community,”
“These findings are extremely disturbing and prove what human rights groups and mental health professionals have been telling the government for years: that detention is a dangerous place and is harmful to children.”