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Newsletter for 23 May 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Roadside Demo - Thurs 1st June Coffs Base Hospital 2:30pm
Next Market Stall Valla Beach Sat June 3rd
Fundraiser for Refugee Week - Sunday 18th June
Manus Island news
Sunday Concert for South Sudan - Coffs 28th May

Roadside demonstration report

We had a successful demonstration in Nambucca Heads last Thursday, with lots of positive reaction from passing motorists. Our next demo will take place onThursday 1st June in Coffs Harbour, beside the Pacific Highway, opposite the Base hospital. It would be great to welcome new supporters to the demonstration.
Please note that, for the winter months, we will start and finish half an hour early, so the demo will be from 2.30 pm until 4.00 pm. Please come and join us if you can. We have lots of placards and banners to share.

Market report: A great result

Well, it rained  for much of the day on Friday and the forecast for Saturday was pretty dire, which meant that there were far fewer stalls and visitors that usual at the Bellingen market. But the sun shone, and we had a remarkably successful time, collecting a record number of signatures, giving out hundreds of our new leaflets, signing up fifteen new supporters, and selling lots of merchandise. We were delighted to welcome two new, young, supporters to help on the stall. As usual, people continually expressed dismay at the government’s cruel asylum policy and were very supportive of our work.
Our next market will be at Valla Beach on Saturday 3rd June, and as usual we are looking for helpers between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm.  If you are able to help out for an hour or two, then please let Mike know at:

Fundraiser for Refugee Week: Sunday 18th June, from 12.00 pm

We set out the details of the fundraiser in last week’s newsletter, so this is a reminder about this important upcoming event. We have had a number of positive responses so far, but we are a long way to go yet in attracting 30 attendees and in amassing auction items for sale. That said, we already have a very generous offer of a two-night stay in a beautiful B and B in Bellingen, valued at $356!
The lunch and auction will take place at 39, Rogers Drive, Valla Beach. Wine will be provided by our hosts, and you are asked to bring a plate to share – and of course your wallets!
Please have a look around for items to put under the hammer and let Mike know in advance so that he can organise the auction.
Please book your places for yourselves and your friends SOON, by emailing Mike at:  or by phone: 6569 5419.
All the proceeds from the lunch donations and the auction will go to supporting our RAR group and a national refugee support group on a 50:50 basis.

Manus Island detention centre: Things just get worse

Documents published during the past week reveal that the Australian government has been deliberately and systematically making conditions worse for asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island. The object of the exercise is to coerce detainees into returning to where they came from, resettling in Cambodia or being dispersed in PNG.  It is of course illegal to force refugees to return to the danger from which they have fled, yet a small number have been persuaded to do so because of the hopelessness  of their situation, and the government’s repeated  message that they will never be resettled in Australia. A report published in recent days by the United Nations’ special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants makes the point that the Australian government’s policies have increasingly eroded the human rights of migrants, in contravention of its international human rights and humanitarian obligations. The author of the report, Francois Crepeau, reminds us that the use of detention as a deterrent is unlawful. He states: “It is a fundamental principle of human rights law that one person cannot be punished only for the reason of deterring another.”
It is vitally important that we keep up the pressure on our parliamentary representatives.  Our petition, with at least 4000 signatures, which calls for the immediate closure of offshore detention centres, will be presented to parliament  in mid June.

Upcoming event: Coffs Harbour: Sunday 28th May

On Sunday 28th May, there will be a concert in St John’s Anglican Church , in McLean Street, Coffs Harbour, commencing at 2.00 pm. Headlined as the Salem Variety Concert, it will feature choirs, bands and other musicians to support the education of children in South Sudan. All proceeds will go to the South Sudan Children’s Education Fund.  Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for students and children. Further details can be found on our Facebook page, or you can phone Jan on 6653 2058 or Cass on 6652 9185.

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