Refugees and Asylum Seekers A refugee is someone who is… ‘outside their country of origin… is unable or unwilling to return… due to a well-founded fear of persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group’ This is a legal definition, defined as part of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
The Humanitarian Program Offshore component – found to be refugees outside Australia; then helped to settle here – Refugee program - UNHCR – Special humanitarian program – family Onshore component – apply for protection after arriving in Australia; must ‘prove’ they are refugees before here – i.e. Asylum Seekers – Irregular arrivals (detention) – Community-based asylum seekers
Asylum seekers – the facts It is legal to seek asylum in Australia, irrespective of mode of arrival Nearly all asylum seekers who arrive by boat are found to be genuine refugees. Asylum seekers make up less than 5% of Australia’s annual immigration. Those arriving by boat make up less than 2% of Australia’s annual immigration.
Real stories – Mau Christian minister in village in Burma Persecution based on religious practices Fled to Thailand / Bangkok Temporary visa – visit friend Applied for protection upon arrival
Real stories - Chaman Of Hazara ethnic minority, Afghanistan Taliban – recruiting, killing boys / young men Lost family members People smugglers to Indonesia, Australia – Nauru for three years Protection. Settled in Brisbane.
The Asylum Seeker Welcome Centre The Asylum Seeker Welcome Centre aims to create a safe and welcoming place for asylum seekers and provide a range of support services relevant to their needs. The Centre operates on a community development model, with a strong emphasis on social support and programs designed to foster community connection.
The ASWC’s clients Asylum seekers living on the community Former asylum seekers (continued support after permanent residency attained) Approx. 40 clients at any one time
The Refugee Status Determination Process Multi-stage process: complex, lengthy, unpredictable. Can be re-traumatising. Visas, entitlements and access to support services change at different stages New language, culture Asylum seekers are often separated from family Socially isolating
Client Support Computer and phone access Welcome, social support and community Variety of programs designed to foster community Support with housing, employment, education, emergency relief, etc.
Programs and Projects Dinner program Saturday Lunch English classes Computer classes Photography and Art programs Conversation sessions Social and recreational activities
Funding and Support Auspiced by Broadmeadows Uniting Care Support from Brunswick Uniting Church Good Shepherd and Mary McKillop sisters Moreland City Council Victorian Multicultural Commission Other funding sources – Grants – Fundraising – Private donations