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 statement of concern by The Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT), regarding the Australian Governments’ new imposed deadlines for Visa applications.
The Australian government has imposed a deadline of 1 October 2017 for people who arrived by boat without a valid visa during the past five years to submit their applications for protection. People who do not do so may not have valid claims to be recognised as refugees.
As with our sister FASSTT agencies STARTTS recognises that there are many reasons why people seeking asylum who arrived without valid visas may not have lodged their claims for protection, and that there should not be a presumption that the time taken to do so reflects on the validity of those claims.
We stand with FASSTT, in supporting ‘the orderly and fair processing of applications for protection’ and also in their request to the Australian government:
• To not impose the arbitrary deadline but have regard to the circumstances of all individuals and families;
• To fund the provision of qualified assistance so that people seeking asylum can complete their claims promptly and comprehensively.
You can read the full FASSTT statement here.