RISE: Refugees, Survivors and eX-detainees, the first self-determined, Refugee-led, advocacy and welfare organisation in Australia calls for a boycott of Refugee Week, and “World Refugee Day” for the eighth year in a row. These events have been initiated by UNHCR (The United Nations High commission for Refugees) and it is cruel to participate in this “celebration” when the UN is doing little to stop the global escalation of forced displacement due to war and persecution and millions of our people are being killed, tortured, abused and stuck in interim camps with no end in sight.
The cruelty of this circus becomes even more clear when Australia”s Department of Immigration and home affairs has a website dedicated to “Refugee Week” with videos, pictures and stories of “Successful” Refugees while hundreds of our people have been tortured and many have lost their lives in the immigration department’s own refugee detention camps. Even Australia’s tourist industry profits from the Australian Immigration department”s Refugee torture with hotels such as the Mantra hotel and Kangaroo point Central hotel taking blood money to detain refugees.
Refugee week is also exploited as a PR platform by organisations like UNHCR and white celebrities like Cate Blanchett who appropriate our issues. Cate Blanchett, an Ambassador for UNHCR, has made money out of a drama series about Australia”s notorious Baxter detention camp, while having casual chats with former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the person who reopened Refugee detention camps in Manus and Nauru.
RISE also condemns refugee community members who have personally chosen to participate in this white supremacist propaganda, while promoting themselves or their organisations and undermining the resistance against injustice, by detainees and eX-detainee refugees in Australia over 30 years.
What can you do instead
- Defund and Divest from the refugee detention industry : http://riserefugee.org/topic/detention-divestment/
- Get involved; end the Australian Government”s white supremacist refugee policy for torturing and abusing refugees in detention centres, #SanctionAustralia Campaign http://riserefugee.org/topic/sanction-australia
- Share RISE eX-detainees” 10 demands http://riserefugee.org/topic/ex-detainees-demands/
- How many people have supported eX-detainees” Day on the 14th of September” ” a day that is not run by the UN or UNHCR, a privileged organisation headed mostly by non-Refugees http://riserefugee.org/topic/ex-detainees-day/
- Support self-determined organisations, run by and for Refugees like RISE who don”t take funding or selfies with government or UN officials: Account Name: RISE :BSB: 013128 : Account Number: 220584925
Finally, to quote a RISE eX-detainee member “It is evident to us that Australia has succeeded in enacting, or providing the world with a blueprint for contemporary modes of border imperialism.” Eating our “exotic” foods, Running refugee panel discussions, sharing sad and “successful” refugee stories during Refugee Week or every day is not going to end mandatory detention in Australia or end global displacement. If this ever happens – we would gladly shut down RISE.