Neil Para recently walked 1000 kilometres to ask the Prime Minister for fairness for refugees who’ve lived here in Australia for more than a decade.
“I’m a refugee who fled war and persecution in Sri Lanka, who has lived in Ballarat, Victoria since 2013,” he wrote on Change.org. “I arrived in Australia over a decade ago, when many asylum seekers like me from different parts of the world were seeking safety here.
“The government’s recent announcement has allowed 19,000 of us with temporary or Safe Haven visas to apply for a permanent visa – but what about the rest? I’m one of the 10,000 others, whose nightmare hasn’t ended. We are happy for our friends, but we are tired of living in limbo for more than a decade.”
Mr Para walked from Ballarat to the Prime Minister’s electoral office in Sydney to deliver a petition to Anthony Albanese signed by nearly 20,000 people.
More than 100 volunteers were part of the journey, driving his support vehicle and offering him a place to stay each night.
Along his journey, Mr Para met with ultra-marathon runner Pat Farmer who was running 14,400 kilometres around Australia to raise awareness for the Voice to Parliament.
In early September, as he neared the end of his 1,000-kilometre walk to raise awareness for thousands of families living in limbo as they seek permanent residency, asylum seeker Neil Para and his family have been granted theirs.
“My family feels humbled … We promise that we will contribute to Australia,” he said.
Mr Para continues to stand with other refugees and asylum seekers as part of the Union of Australian Refugees (UAR) and believes refugees have a lot to offer the country.
“One day I hope all will be free.”