Cultural Connexions supports the work of the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group (BMRSG). The BMRSG provides practical support to refugees in detention at Villawood and refugees newly released into the community. For more information go to www.bmrsg.org.au.
Cultural Connexions also initiated the Conversations With A Refugee project in high schools in Western Sydney. Between 2012 and 2014 Cultural Connexions facilitated conversations between refugees from Afghanistan, Rwanda, Burma, Sudan and Vietnam, and over 2000 students across 11 schools in the Blue Mountains and Western Sydney areas. The aim was to raise awareness of the situation of refugees and the contributions they make to Australian society.
Cultural Connexions supports a more compassionate policy towards asylum seekers than the current off-shore detention system.
Such a policy would include:
- Bolstering of existing UNHCR processing centres in Indonesia and setting up of additional Australian processing centres there to facilitate 6 month processing of asylum seeker claims
- Monitoring of conditions in camps including open media access to ensure a humane camp environment
- Return of asylum seekers coming by boat to these Indonesian centres for processing, thus taking the heat out of the boat arrival issue in Australia
- An increase in Australian refugee intake from 14,500 to 20,000
- The abolition of Temporary Protection Visas for those who are granted refugee status in Australia
- Australia participating in broader discussions on peace keeping, foreign aid and trade initiatives which might alleviate some of the push factors that force people to flee their countries and seek asylum.
For more information go to the Refugee Council of Australia website at www.refugeecouncil.org.au.