National Refugee Week 2009

Refugee Week 2009 will be held from Sunday 14 June to Saturday 20 June, with this year’s theme being “Freedom from Fear”.

Refugee Week has been celebrated in Australia since the 1980s. It provides a platform where positive images of refugees can be promoted in order to create a culture of welcome throughout the country. Our ultimate aim is to create better understanding between different communities and to encourage successful integration enabling refugees to live in safety and to continue making a valuable contribution to Australia.Refugee Week is a unique opportunity for us all to experience and celebrate the rich diversity of refugee communities through theatre, music, dance, film and other events which take place all over Australia and highlight the aims of the Week, as outlined above. Refugee Week is an umbrella participatory festival that allows a wide range of refugee community organisations, voluntary and statutory organisations, schools, student groups and faith based organisations to host events during the week.

The theme for Refugee Week 2009 in Australia is “Freedom from Fear”. The quest for freedom from fear is at the heart of a refugee’s flight from danger. The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (and its 1967 Protocol) defines a refugee as:

Any person who owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his/her nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country.

When refugees flee, they are forced to abandon everything they know and love. They are separated from family members, lose belongings, are left with little or no money. Some are traumatised by what they have experienced. Many spend years in camps, lost in no-man’s land whilst their fate is decided. Most have no idea what kind of future awaits them.

In seeking refuge in another country refugees are hoping to find freedom from that fear. They are looking for the opportunity to lead a normal life, as part of a community, where they can live in safety and security, find work and send their children to school.

In choosing our theme as “Freedom from Fear” we are hoping to draw attention not just to the fear that compels refugees to run, but the relief they feel when they are welcomed into another country and given the opportunity to rebuild their lives.

Events in WA

11-20 June

refugee-week-exhibitionThe Department for Communities Office for Youth celebrates Refugee Week 2009 with an inspiring art exhibition by young Western Australian refugees at Central Park, 152-158 St Georges Terrace, Perth, from 11 to 20 June.
Entitled Free from Fear, the theme of Refugee Week 2009, the exhibition features painting and photographic works by refugee students from Balga Senior High School Intensive English Centre, the Edmund Rice Centre and North Lake Senior Campus Intensive English Centre.
Free from Fear provides the opportunity for young refugees to use visual pieces to share their life experiences with the Western Australian Community.
The Project is part of the Office for Youth’s commitment to enhancing community perceptions and emotional well-being of young people.

Tuesday 16 June

Refugee Week 2009 “Freedom from Fear”
Hosted by the Refugee Review Tribunal
You are invited to attend an Open Afternoon at the Refugee Review Tribunal. This is an opportunity for visitors to gain an insight into the Tribunal’s operations. An introduction to the Tribunal will be given, and a Q & A Session. A Tribunal Member will be available to provide general information and answer questions about the Tribunal’s processes. Coffee and tea will be provided.
Venue: AAT Hearing Room 3, Level 4, 111 St Georges Tce, Perth
Time: 1.00pm
Bookings: By Tuesday 9 June 2009 to Antoinette Brydon or Genevieve Cantwell on (03 8600 5822) or Antoinette.Brydon@mrt-rrt.gov.au or genevieve.cantwell@mrt-rrt.gov.au.

Saturday 20 June

Freedom From Fear

Hosted by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship
There will be a variety of information stalls, performances and displays from different cultures and the opportunity to participate in a number of activities including an art workshop where people can explore what “Freedom from Fear” means to them. The highlight of the day will be “Stories from the Suitcase” written and produced by Yvette Wall from Frog Prince Productions. This short production reflects the experiences of people who, as refugees, have made Australia their home.
Venue: Fremantle Town Hall, Corner High, William and Adelaide Streets, Fremantle
Time: 10 am-5pm
Contact: Jaquelline Satie (08) 9415 9076 or Issihaka.toure@asetts.org.au
Download a Flyer for this event