Rally for refugees

COMPASSION: "Make peace not war on refugees" sums up the message of the Palm Sunday Rally held by the Compassion and Justice for Refugees Group.
COMPASSION: "Make peace not war on refugees" sums up the message of the Palm Sunday Rally held by the Compassion and Justice for Refugees Group.

The Compassion and Justice for Refugees Whyalla Group hosted a Palm Sunday Rally on the weekend to spread their message of accepting and welcoming refugees.

Around 30 people attended the rally, just one of many held around the country by groups under the umbrella of the Rural Australians for Refugees Network.

The Whyalla Refugees group held up photos of the 12 refugees who have died in Australia's detention facilities in honour of their memory.

Publicity Officer Jenny Kondylas said Australia has a humanitarian obligation to those seeking asylum within the country and to treat them justly.

"Under Australian Law the government owes a duty of care to the people placed on Manus Island and Nauru...even with the re-opening of detention centres on Christmas Island there are grave fears the medical facilities are grossly inadequate," she said.

"There is real concern that further delays to receiving appropriate medical and psychological treatment will occur.

"Our group will continue to advocate for refugees and champion their interests until they receive their basic human rights."

The Compassion and Justice for Refugees Whyalla Group has written letters and spoken personally to a number of politician on behalf of the refugees on Manus and Nauru.

The Group supports the Asylum Centre's Resource Centre, which provides housing, food and medical supplies for around 13,000 people who have been evicted from their accommodation and have had their income support removed by the government.

"The Australian Courts and United Nations have already declared these people to be genuine refugees, but after several years they are still waiting for the issue of a Visa," Ms Kondylas said.

"We would like to get some refugees settled in rural areas but at the moment we are waiting for locals to get some form of employment first. Once they are settled we can push for some refugee settlement as well."

The Compassion and Justice for Refugees Whyalla Group meets five times a year and new members are welcome.

See the Community Diary section for the dates and details of their meetings.