Justice for Refugees on Palm Sunday
On Palm Sunday, as Christians mark the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, people from all walks of life will call for justice and dignity for refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia.
Palm Sunday marches and rallies will take place in capital cities and regional towns as part of a long tradition begun by Christian Churches in the 1970s.
Uniting Church in Australia President Dr Deidre Palmer encouraged Uniting Church members to pray for refugees across the world on Palm Sunday and where possible to join in actions that called for a more just and compassionate approach to those seeking safety and a chance to live lives free from violence, oppression and fear.
Dr Palmer said she would join the ecumenical Palm Sunday Peace Walk organised by Churches Together South Australia in Adelaide.
“Palm Sunday is a day when Christians remember God’s vision of peace and justice, which Jesus embodied as he entered into Jerusalem," said Dr Palmer. "I look forward to expressing through this walk for peace, Christ’s hope and love for all people."
"I look forward to gathering with people who share the vision that we will be a more compassionate nation, where every person who seeks refuge is treated fairly and feels welcome and safe.”
Assembly Associate General Secretary and Chair of the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce (ACRT) Rob Floyd said in the past 12 months the impact of COVID-19 had been incredibly difficult for asylum seekers living in Australia with increased isolation, no financial safety net and the closure of borders slowing down the processing time for many still facing an uncertain future.
Mr Floyd said the recent release of a number of refugees from detention into the community was welcome news, but there was a lack of support to help those people find work, find a safe place to live and transition into the community after seven years of detention.
“More than 1000 women, men and children who were transferred to Australia for critical medical treatment now live in ‘transitory’ visa limbo, without any certainty about their future,” said Mr Floyd.
“Additionally, there are thousands of asylum seekers already living in Australia on temporary protection visas, without access to family reunion or the ability to study, and basic income support.”
“The loss of jobs and basic income support has left too many facing destitution and poverty.”
“As a nation, we can and need to do better.”
In particular, the Palm Sunday refugee events are calling for:
- Permanent visas and family reunion for all refugees.
- Fair and timely assessment of all claims for refugee status.
- Basic income support for people in the community while their refugee status is assessed, if they are unable to find work to support themselves
- Release of all refugees from detention as part of the #Timeforahome campaign
- End offshore processing of refugees by bringing them here or allowing New Zealand to resettle them under the #Gameover campaign
- Community participation in welcoming and supporting refugees, including a review of the Community Sponsorship Initiative
Read more about the Palm Sunday rallies and the key messaging from organisers in this ACRT document
See details below of major events: We would love to see photos from UCA people taking part in the marches. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday 28 March, 1:30pm
State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanson Street, Melbourne
Sunday 28th March, 2-4pm
Belmore Park (near Central Station)
Sunday 28 March, 3pm
Wheeler Place, Newcastle
Sunday 28 March, 1pm
Reddacliff Place, 266 George St, Brisbane
(opposite Treasury Casino and at the top of the Queens St Mall)
Sunday 28th March, 1pm
Adelaide Peace Walk
Sunday 28 March, 1pm
North West Triangle Victoria Square – Elder Park / Tarntanyangga
Sunday 28 March, 5pm
Join the daily vigil behind the Mercure, corner of Sir Norman Brearley Drive and Cecil Cook Avenue.