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Newsletter for 15 May 2018 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next market stall - Bellingen Sat 19th May
Next Roadside Demo - Coffs Base Hospital, Thursday 17th May 2:30pm

Fundraiser Sunday 10th June 2pm

Trumps Muslim ban affects our refugees
Film: Border Politics

Our next Market: Bellingen, Saturday 19th May, 9.00 am to 1.30 pm

A reminder  that our next market stall will be at the Bellingen Community Markets this coming Saturday from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. We have a new open letter to the upcoming Labor Party conference for you to sign and as usual we will be handing out leaflets, talking to market-goers and selling our merchandise. All profits from our sales are donated to the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown, which does fantastic working supporting asylum seekers living in and around Sydney. They are more desperate for funds than ever at present, given the decision by the government to drastically curtail support for asylum seekers living in the community.
If you can help out on the stall for an hour or two, then please email Mike at:

Roadside demonstration:  Coffs Harbour, Thursday 17th May from 2.30 to 4.00 pm

Our next roadside demonstration is this Thursday 17th May. You will find us by the Pacific Highway, opposite the Base hospital , and it would be great if a few more people could join us, especially as a number of our regular supporters are on holiday at present. It’s a great way to remind members of the public about the cruelty of the government’s asylum policy. It’s also an opportunity to show our solidarity with asylum seekers who are enduring so much suffering as a result of their incarceration on remote islands for the past five years. Please join us if you can.

Reaching Out: Our fundraising concert: Sunday 10th June at 2.00 pm

A reminder that our plans are well under way for the fundraising concert on 10th June, starting at 2.00 pm in the main hall of the Nambucca Community and Arts Centre. Heather Rose has visited the venue and tells us that she is very excited about the prospect of performing for us. She will play a number of favourite classical pieces by Beethoven, Chopin,  Debussy and others, together with some jazz music. Please make a commitment to supporting the concert, so that we can make a substantial donation to the Asylum Seekers Centre. Tickets are on sale at Helloworld Travel  on Bowra Street, Nambucca Heads and at The Alternative Bookshop in Bellingen.  If it’s more convenient for you, you can reserve you tickets for pickup on the day by phoning Marlene on 6569 5419. Please purchase your tickets soon.
If you are able to help on the day, or if you can donate a raffle prize, then please email Marlene at:

Trump’s Muslim travel ban affects our refugees

Trump’s travel ban bars or limits entry to the US to citizens of five Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. This creates serious problems for the many refugees on Manus and Nauru who have fled these countries. Iranian refugees, for example, account for about a third of the refugees on Nauru, with many more languishing on Manus.  They cannot return to Iran, and our government has no plans for their future. Minister Dutton states: “In relation to the Iranians that are on Manus or Nauru, Tehran will not issue travel documents for those people unless they come back willingly.” But these people have fled Iran, they have been granted protection under the Refugee Convention, and they are our responsibility. We must continue the fight to get our government to take its responsibilities seriously and to bring all the refugees on Manus and Nauru to safety in Australia.

Border Politics: a new film to look out for

Last week saw the world premiere of Border Politics, a film in which the director, Judy Rymer, follows Julian Burnside QC, as he travels the globe, examining the harsh treatment of refugees at the hands of western democracies. In the film, both Julian Burnside and Gillian Triggs look at the treatment of refugees in Jordan, a country that has taken in millions of Palestinians following their expulsion from their lands in 1948 and again in 1967, and which more recently has taken care of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.  Burnside describes Jordan, a poor country, as a place that “puts us all to shame.” Gillian Triggs, whilst visiting Jordan, says she found that “the concern of the officials and politicians was all about how they were going to ensure clean water and education for the children. They certainly weren’t talking about how they could build walls or stop them coming. It was a completely different mindset. You just found yourself thinking: how could this be, when Australia is so far away and relatively rich? How could we turn our backs on this?”
But that is precisely what we, as a nation are doing. It is utterly shameful, and it needs to end.

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