Refugee Week celebrates the great contribution that refugees make to enrich Australian society. On Friday 12 June 2015, STARTTS launched Refugee Week 2015 together with the Refugee Council of Australia, Settlement Services International and Illawarra Multicultural Services, with Janice Petersen from SBS as the MC. For the first time ever, the launch event was held in the Illawarra, a major population centre of NSW.
STARTTS fully supports the call by Paris Aristotle, CEO of The Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture , for a swift and humane settlement policy for asylum seekers transferred to Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
STARTTS stands with Mr Aristotle in his calls for the government to act to restore hope and to act in the best interest of those living with uncertainly and hopelessness.
“If the governments involved don’t take swift action to restore hope, we believe it is highly likely that many more men and women will express their despair by attempting to harm and kill themselves. We also hold grave concerns that children and young people in Nauru will respond in the same ways.”
STARTTS also stands with Mr Aristotle on the need for civilly and respectful discourse, and an end to the use of refugees as a “human shield against people smuggling”.
Mr Aristotle calls for the Nauru & PNG centres to be shut down, and for an effective and sustainable response that involves the option of resettlement in countries, including Australia.
As expressed succinctly by Mr Aristotle and Foundation House, “The immediate imperative is that Australia acts swiftly to change the present policy settings that are inflicting serious harm”.