BY CHARLOTTE GRIEVE
On Saturday 4 February hundreds gathered in Hyde Park in a march to “welcome refugees.” The snap protest was organised by the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) in reaction to President Trump’s controversial immigration ban.
The President’s executive order to enforce a travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries has triggered widespread protests around the world.
The orders also included a four-month freeze on refugees and an indefinite freeze on those from Syria, despite America’s ongoing military presence in the region.
“We need to oppose this same racism here in Australia,” read the call to action poster distributed by the RAC.
Speaking at the event was Dulce Munoz, a full time advocate with Mums For Refugees who immigrated to Australia from Mexico in 2008.
“I’m here standing next to you fighting for no more bans, no more detention centres, no more violence, no more walls,” she told the crowd.
Mums For Refugees is a grass roots network launched three years ago by a group of mothers who were sitting in a bar in Sydney’s inner west. It has since ballooned into a nation-wide movement with co-convenors in most Australian states and a membership of around 1,900 mothers.
“We are mothers, we are social changers,” Munoz told City Hub.
This weekend was the first time that Mums For Refugees had been asked to speak at a protest event. Munoz sees this period in time as a turning point for the refugee’s rights movement both in Australia and across the world.
“We’ve reached a point where we can say this is it, we can’t get lower than this,” she told City Hub.
Australia is the only country in the world to have detained children indefinitely. A report by the Australian Human Rights Commission has shown that up to 95 per cent of children who have lived on Nauru develop clinical post-traumatic stress disorder. The centres have been the target of international condemnation for the ongoing human rights abuses.
“We are turning people into bargaining chips. Australia has a commitment and a responsibility with the people who were sent to Manus and should abide international law.”
With many refugees spending more than three years of their lives in Australian refugee camps, the transfer deal forged with America is certain to see this illegal imprisonment continue.
“It is time to stand up for what is right, join us in this fight, write to your MP, be responsible for your democracy.”