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Palm Sunday – ‘justice and freedom for refugees’

The Australian Refugee Action Network (ARAN) took a leading role in the Palm Sunday rally at Belmore Park, Haymarket, on April 10. The theme this year was “justice and freedom for refugees”.

Community, church, political and union groups marched to Victoria Park, Camperdown, to express their strong opposition to the Australian government’s refugee policies.

Protesters called for the immediate release of all refugees and asylum seekers from immigration detention – their claims for asylum can be assessed while they live in the community; an end to mandatory and indefinite detention of refugees and asylum seekers; the right to work and access to Centrelink benefits for all refugees and asylum seekers; fair and timely assessment of all claims for refugee status; all refugees to be awarded permanent visas and family reunion rights; safe resettlement options either in New Zealand, the USA, Canada, or here in Australia for all people, many stranded on Nauru and in PNG, who have sought protection in Australia.

Benedictine Brother David Steindl-Rast writes: “Daily experience shows us how difficult it is to stand up for those spiritual values to which we feel committed when we are at our best. Whenever we have to swim against the current for the sake of our deepest convictions, we know why Jesus ‘suffered under Pontius Pilate’ …”

Palm Sunday rallies – held in cities throughout the world at the start of Holy Week – might be regarded faithful religious events – resistant to both trivialisation and commercialisation.

You can sign ARAN’s Palm Sunday petition here.

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