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Latest News

Independent guardian needed to protect interests of child asylum seekers

RCOA has welcomed the release of a new report that recommends the replacement of the Immigration Minister as the guardian of unaccompanied asylum seeker children. Read more here.

Allowing Indian consular access to asylum seekers ignores protection claims

Australia's decision to grant Indian consular officials access to 157 asylum seekers without testing their claims for refugee protection creates a troubling precedent. Read more here.

Government removes Refugee Council's core funding

The Australian Government has completely cut core funding to RCOA despite allocating $140,000 just two weeks ago in its 2014-15 Budget. Read more here.

Child asylum seekers locked up at higher rate than adults

Child asylum seekers are more likely than their adult counterparts to be held in Australia in a locked detention facility than in community alternatives. Read more here.

Australia's answers on return of asylum seekers to Sri Lanka unsatisfactory

RCOA has demanded Australia explain what has happened to 41 asylum seekers returned to Sri Lanka and what guarantees were given about their safety. Read more here.

RCOA backs call for independent observer for screening process

RCOA has endorsed a call for an independent observer to be present during the interviews of asylum seekers under enhanced screening. Read more here.

Lives on the line under proposed changes to Migration Act

RCOA has expressed alarm at proposed changes to the Migration Act 1958 which will significantly increase the risk of people being returned to danger. Read our media release.

UN High Commissioner criticises Australia's 'strange' obsession with boats

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has described as "very strange" Australia's obsession with deterring asylum seekers who arrive by boat. Read more here.

Cambodian NGOs unite in opposition to Australia's refugee deal

RCOA has welcomed a joint statement issued by a coalition of 21 Cambodian NGOs who oppose the planned refugee resettlement deal between Cambodia and Australia. Read more here.

Running an asylum policy on cruelty leads to deadly consequences

RCOA President Phil Glendenning fears a repeat of the tragic self-immolation of a Tamil asylum seeker in Melbourne unless Australia abandoned its cruel and punitive policy approach. Read more here.

Refugee review changes a matter of life and death for asylum seekers

Proposed legislation aimed at fast-tracking refugee claims will take legal resources away from asylum seekers and hand them to the Australian Government, increasing the risk of vulnerable people being sent back to danger. Read more here.

Critical questions about Manus Island violence remain unanswered

The Australian Government's explanation for February's violence on Manus Island is inadequate and leaves critical questions unanswered. Read more here.

Federal Budget summary 2014-15

RCOA has released a summary of refugee-related spending in the 2014-15 Federal Budget. Read more here.

Detention centre closures must be accompanied by community alternatives

RCOA has welcomed plans to close six immigration detention centres but called for greater use of community arrangements for more than 3000 asylum seekers in detention. Read more here.

Former refugees fear racism, abuse if Racial Discrimination Act is weakened

Australians of refugee background have told RCOA of their fears of an increase in racism and abuse as a result of the political debate on plans to weaken provisions of the Racial Discrimination Act. Read more here.

Enough is Enough: It's time for a new approach

On the first anniversary of the report on the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, 64 Australian NGOs have called for a new approach to refugee and asylum policy that delivers protection to refugees. Read more here.

 

'I am grateful to Australia for having allowed me to do what I love.'

Actor Henri Szeps was born in a Swiss refugee camp after his parents fled Poland in the shadow of the looming German invasion.

Read more about: Henri's story

 

Refugee Week events calendar: South Australia

Migrant Resource Centre of SA Creche Open Day
Wednesday 4 June, Adelaide
Everyone is invited to visit and meet the MRC of SA creche volunteer team.
Details: Free; MRCSA basement, 59 King William Street, Adelaide; Contct Michelle Dieu on 08 8217 9502 and michelle@mrcsa.com.au.
Have your say in Local Government Elections
Wednesday 4 June, Adelaide
New communities' workshop on voters' rights and responsibilities. Organised by the Migrant Resource Centre of SA and the Australian Electoral Commission SA.
Details: Free; 3.00pm-5.00pm; MRCSA Hall, 59 King William Street, Adelaide; Invitation only. Contact Reagan Bledee on 08 8256 5700 and reagan@mrcsa.com.au.
Philippine Independence and Filipino Achievers Awards
Saturday 14 June, Dudley Park
Dinner, awards, performances and special guests. Dress code is formal and Filipiniana.
Details: $35; 7.00pm; 11 La Salle Street, Dudley Park; Contact Ben-Hur Winter on 0406 874 966 and .
Faces of Freedom
Sunday 15 June, Adelaide
Photography exhibition highlighting the lives of a few individual from around the world who have found refuge in South Australia.
Details: Free; 1.00pm-3.00pm; John Davis Music, Art and Miscellanea, 1/15 Vaughan Place, Adelaide; Contact Lindsay Jenkins on 0481 317 145 and adelaide@artisourartillery.com.
In Their Shoes
Sunday 15 June, Adelaide
An exhibition about Bhutanese refugees organised by Baptist Care, the Migration Museum and the Australian Refugee Association.
Details: Free; 2.00pm-4.00pm; Migration Museum, 82 Kintore Street, Adelaide; Contact Bryan Hughes on 0466 776 501 and bhughes@baptistcaresa.org.au.
Candlelight Service
Sunday 15 June, Brahma Lodge
The Burmese community remembers loved ones in refugee camps around the world and prays for peace and awareness in the global community.
Details: Free; 3.15pm-3.55pm; Salisbury Baptist Church, Main Hall, 195 Park Terrace, Brahma Lodge; Contact Pastor Cung Hnin on 0435 862 605 and cung4u@gmail.com.au.
Information Display for Refugee Week
Sunday 15 June to Saturday 21 June, Adelaide
Display and information about Refugee Week and the services supporting refugees in South Australia.
Details: Free; 10.00am-4.00pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; Ground Floor, 91-97 Grenfell Street, Adelaide; Contact Shannon Peake on 08 8303 0590 and info@wis.sa.gov.au.
Student Poster Retrospect
Sunday 15 June to Sunday 22 June, Adelaide
SA Refugee Week student posters from past years are being displayed at various Anglican parishes and schools across Adelaide.
Details: Free; Contact Cristina Descalzi on 0429 588 131 and cdescalzi@anglicaresa.com.au.
Road Safety Awareness
Monday 16 June, Pennington
Education for students from Pennington Primary School and participation in a poster design competition on the theme of road safety.
Details: Free; 9.00am; Pennington Primary School, 20 Butler Avenue, Pennington; Contact Constable Joanna Grintor on 08 8207 6325 and joanna.grinter@police.sa.gov.au.
Refugee Week Student Poster Exhibition
Monday 16 June to Friday 25 July, Adelaide
An exhibition of posters by young artists from SA schools and tertiary institutions.
Details: Free; 9.00am-5.00pm weekdays; Kerry Packer Civic Gallery, Hawke Building, Level 3, University of South Australia, 50-55 North Terrace, Adelaide; Contact Louise Carnell on 08 8302 0371 and louise.carnell@unisa.edu.au.
Sharing the Journey
Tuesday 17 June, Adelaide
Speakers will share their experiences with TAFE students.
Details: Free; 9.00am-1.00pm; Adelaide City TAFE SA Campus, 120 Currie Street, Adelaide; Contact Anna Barber on 08 8207 8259 and anna.barber@tafesa.edu.au.
Restoring Hope - A Journey from Then to Now
Tuesday 17 June, Adelaide
An engaging and interactive exploration of the history and story of those seeking a new life in Australia.
Details: Free; 10.00am-3.00pm; Napier Building, Napier G04, University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide; Contact Carly Squire on 08 8354 2953 or 08 8161 3312 and carly.squire@ausref.net.
A Well-Founded Fear? Australian Refugee Law Update
Wednesday 18 June, Adelaide
A Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of SA discussion panel seminar on refugee rights and changes to refugee laws chaired by Emily Rutherford from Legal Services Commission. Speakers include Libby Hogarth from Australian Migration Options, Rachel Gray from Howard Zelling Chambers and Claire O'Connor from Anthony Mason Chambers.
Details: Free; 5.30pm-7.00pm; Law Society of Australia, Professional Development Centre, Level 10, 178 North Terrace, Adelaide; To register, contact 08 8229 0200 or registratoins@lawsocietysa.asn.au.
Mary Meets Mohammad Movie Screening
Wednesday 18 June, Parafield Gardens
Tasmania's first asylum-seeker detention centre unexpectedly arrives in Mary's local community.
Details: Free; 10.30am; Morella Community Centre, 90 Kings Road, Parafield Gardens; Contact 08 8250 7785 and morellach@amnet.net.au.
Restoring Hope
Wednesday 18 June, Noarlunga Centre
An opportunity to hear stories from people of refugee backgrounds, followed by lunch.
Details: Free; 10.30am-12.00pm; Hopgood Theatre, Ramsay Place, Noarlunga Centre; Contact Briony Gorton on 08 8384 0697 and brigor@onkaparinga.sa.gov.au.
Special Introductory Tour of the City Library
Wednesday 18 June, Adelaide
Learn about the City Library and the range of services offered to refugees and new arrivals to Adelaide.
Details: Free; 10.30am; Francis Street (between Rundle Mall and Grenfell Street via Da Costa Arcade), Adelaide; Contact Amy Pokoney on 08 8203 7438 and a.pokoney@adelaidecitycouncil.com.
Friendship Cup
Wednesday 18 June, Athelstone
Enjoy a friendly soccer match between Adelaide Secondary School of English students and St Ignatius students
Details: Free; 12.30pm; Saint Ignatius College, 2 Manresa Court, Athelstone; Contact Kouv Chang on 0417 850 814 and kouv.chang@sa.gov.au.
Meaningful Movies
Wednesday 18 June, Bowden
A movie and discussion on multiculturalism and refugees in Australia.
Details: Free; 6.00pm; The Welcome Centre, 100 Drayton Street, Bowden; Contact Alicia Zahmel on 0422 134 476 and activism.intem.sa@amnesty.org.au.
The Historical Clipper Ship City of Adelaide
Thursday 19 June, Adelaide
A visit to the clipper ship, followed by a dolphin cruise (women only).
Details: 10.00am-2.00pm; Muslim Women's Association of SA, Level 4, 182 Victoria Square, Adelaide; Contact Shaista Kalaniya on 08 8212 0800 and admin@mwasa.org.au.
Community Dinner
Thursday 19 June, Bowden
Join new friends for dinner, laughs and friendship. Bring a plate of food to share and enjoy the eclectic mix of multicultural food, music and conversation.
Details: 7.00pm; The Welcome Centre, 100 Drayton Street, Bowden; Contact Kate Leaney on 0438 120 156 or adelaide@welcometoaustralia.org.au.
The Welcome
Friday 20 June, Sturt
Welcome refugees, new arrivals and migrants. Everyone is welcome to enjoy delicious food, meet people, celebrate our diversity and learn about the exciting programs we offer.
Details: 10.00am-1.00pm; Cooinda Neighbourhood Centre, 245 Sturt Road, Sturt; Contact Jill Davies on 08 8375 6703 and jill.davies@marion.sa.gov.au.
Festival of Languages
Friday 20 June, Torrensville
A celebration of 55 languages spoken by staff and students at Thebarton Senior College.
Details: 11.00am-1.30pm; Thebarton Senior College Gynmnasium, Ashley Street, Torrensville; Contact Eva Kannis-Tory on 08 8352 5811 and eva.kannis@tsc.sa.edu.au.
Refugee Week Luncheon
Friday 20 June, Renmark
Guests speakers who live in the Riverland will share their experiences as refugees, focusing on the theme of Restoring Hope.
Details: Free; 11.00am-2.00pm; Chaffey Community Centre, 86 Nineteenth Street, Renmark; RSVP for catering purposes by June 18 to 08 8586 5745.
Child Protection Awareness
Friday 20 June, Adelaide
Guest speakers from Families SA and participants from various African communities.
Details: 3.00pm-5.00pm; Migrant Resource Centre of SA Basement, 59 King William Street, Adelaide; Contact Valerie Gatabazi on 08 8217 9520 and valerie@accsa.com.au.
Quiz for a Cause
Friday 20 June, Hindmarsh
A night of questions, games and prizes. BYO drinks and nibbles.
Details: $10 per person for, tables of six; 5.30pm for 6.00pm start; RASA, 49 Orsmond Street, Hindmarsh; Contact Jas at jaspreet@wwc.org.au.
With Hope on our Tongues
Friday 20 June, Bowden
Poetry event featuring local poets installing hope through stories from refugees.
Details: 7.00pm; The Welcome Centre, 100 Drayton Street, Bowden; Contact Manual Younis on 0432 877 855 and manal.younis94@gmail.com.
ARA Oration 2014
Friday 20 June, Adelaide
An evening with prominent human rights lawyer and political activist George Newhouse.
Details: 7.00pm; Elder Hall, University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide; Contact Carly Squire on 08 8354 2951 and carly.squire@ausref.net.
Independence Day Celebration
Saturday, 21 June, Mt Gambier
An event organised by the Karen/Karenni Burmese Community and Limestone Coast Migrant Resource Centre.
Details: Mt Gambier North Primary School, Heath Street, Mt Gambier; Contact Fernanda Ikeda on 08 8726 4800 and fernanda@mrcsa.com.au.
Independence Day Celebration
Saturday 21 June, Mt Gambier
Event organised by the Congolese community and Limestone Coast Migrant Resource Centre.
Details: Mt Gambier City Corner, 10 Watson Terrace, Mt Gambier; Contact Fernanda Ikeda on 08 8726 4800 and fernanda@mrcsa.com.au.
Art Exhibition
Saturday 21 June, Underdale
Exhibition of 14 portraits and stories of people from refugee background.
Details: 10.00am-2.00pm; Australian Refugee Association, 304 Henley Beach Road, Underdale; Contact Carly Squire on 08 8354 2951 and carly.squire@ausref.net.
"Meet some asylum seekers and hear their stories"
Saturday 21 June, Kensington
Meet asylum seekers and hear their stories at this Mary MacKillop Centre event, facilitated by Sr Patricia Sealey.
Details: Donation appreciated; 1.30pm-4.00pm; Mary MacKillop Centre, Bethany Centre, 4 High Street, Kensington; Contact Rebecca on 08 8130 5900 and infosa@sosj.org.au.
Making the Link - Conference
Saturday 21 June, Torrensville
Bringing together mainstream services and South Australian communities from refugee and migrant backgrounds to learn and discuss mutual interests about childcare and supports for children from CALD backgrounds growing up in Australia.
Details: 10.00am-4.00pm; Thebarton Community Centre, 78 South Road, Torrensville; Contact Patricia on 08 8165 2900 and info@directions.org.au.
Celebrating Women and Community
Saturday 21 June, Adelaide
Women from the Iraqi community share their stories and a barbecue.
Details: 11.00am-4.00pm; Rymill Park, East Terrace, Adelaide (weather permitting); Contact Fatin on 0423 322 408.
Welcome Centre BBQ
Saturday 21 June, Bowden
Join us for a barbecue and great conversation with new friends.
Details: 1.00pm; The Welcome Centre, 100 Drayton Street, Bowden; Contact Kate on 0438 120 156 and kate@welcometoaustralia.org.au.
Murray Bridge Annual All-Cultural Festival
Saturday 21 June, Murray Bridge
A celebration of cultural performances in music and dance.
Details: 1.30pm-3.30pm; Murray Bridge Town Hall, Bridge Street, Murray Bridge; Contact Simone on 08 8539 1182, 0488 691 193 and s.zrna@murraybridge.sa.gov.au.
Raising Awareness
Saturday 21 to Sunday 22 June, Enfield
Information session for Liberian and South Sudan refugee groups.
Details: 4.30pm-5.30pm; Enfield Community Centre, 540 Regency Road, Enfield; Contact Miriam on 08 8168 8776 and miriam@seniors.asn.au.
Naracoorte Community Event
Sunday 22 June, Naracoorte
Fun, games, multicultural food and entertainment.
Details: Naracoorte Town Hall, 95 Smith Street, Naracoorte; Contact Julie on 0409 103 153 and naracoorte.mrcsa@gmail.com.
Tatiara Community Event
Sunday 22 June, Bordertown
Fun, games, multicultural food and entertainment.
Details: Tatiara MRC, 28 Woolshed Road, Bordertown; Contact Angela on 0458 688 005 and angela.mrcsa@gmail.com.
Afghan World Music
Sunday 22 June, Prospect
A blend of Afghan, Indian and world music celebrating the traditional sounds of Afghanistan.
Details: Free; 2.30pm-5.00pm; Prospect Town Hall (Guthries), 126 Prospect Road, Prospect; Contact Feroz on 0490 088 363.
Cultures of the World
Sunday 22 June, Findon
A performing arts extravaganza showcasing an array of cultures that explores diversity and traditions.
Details: Free; 3.00pm-6.00pm; Festival Function Centre, 292 Findon Road, Findon; Contact council@chalresturt.sa.gov.au.
Refugee Week Special Event - West Torrens
Tuesday 24 June, Cowandilla
Football United is hosting a mini World Cup special event to celebrate Refugee Week which includes a barbecue for participants and their families. Everyone is welcome to watch the tournament and enjoy the music provided by DJ Remmy.
Details: 3.30pm-5.30pm; Western Youth Centre, 79 Marion Road, Cowandilla; Contact Nicolas Koutlakis on 08 8302 1187 or nicolas.koutlakis@unisa.edu.au. Further details at http://unisa.edu.au/footballunited.
Sharing My Story with a Cuppa
Tuesday 24 June, Findon
Enjoy a tea party and share the positive stories and successful experiences of refugees, migrants, volunteers and staff.
Details: 10.00am-12.00pm; Overseas Chinese Association of SA, 110 Crittenden Road, Findon; Contact Fong Ung or Mr Tung Shen Chin on 08 8445 1677 or grsoca2008@yahoo.com.au.
Youth Intergenerational Forum
Friday 27 June, Adelaide
A forum to discuss young people driving community campaigns against gender violence.
Details: 10.00am-12.00pm; Migrant Resource Centre of SA, 59 King William Street, Adelaide; Contact Cynthia on 08 8217 9543 and cynthia@mrcsa.com.au.
Northern Area Community Expo
Friday 27 June, Salisbury
New and emerging communities learn about employment, health, legal education and settlement information.
Details: 10.30am-1.30pm; Salisbury Youth Enterprise Centre, 17 Wiltshire Street, Salisbury; Contact Reagan on 08 8256 5700 and reagan@mrcsa.com.au.
Volleyball Tournament
Friday 27 June, Kilburn
Volleyball tournament between Middle Eastern community members and broader clubs.
Details: 6.00pm; Kilburn Community Centre, 59 Gladstone Street, Kilburn; Contact Hussain on 08 8217 9523 and admin@meccsa.com.au.
Sharing Leadership and Building Community Capacity
Sunday 29 June, Enfield
A forum discussion by the Liberian Men of SA to develop community leaders.
Details: 6.00pm to late; Enfield Community Centre, 540 Enfield Road, Enfield; Contact George on 08 8217 9600 and gu.fomba@yahoo.com.