While our Federal Government still takes a hard line approach to refugees and asylum seekers, many Australians want to do more to help those coming to Australia for safety. There are a number of practical ways members of the Australian community can help.
The Uniting Church WA has been a long-time supporter of the Coalition for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD), who provide support to refugees and asylum seekers in Perth. Recent cuts to the Status Resolution Support Service mean that up to 500 people in Perth may lose access to this program, leaving them without any form of income. Individuals and groups, such as Uniting Church WA congregations, can help by donating items to CARAD’s Food Bank or organising a fundraiser to donate cash.
This year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has estimated that close to 1.2 million refugees, from 63 countries globally, will need resettlement. Resettlement places are limited however; in 2016, only 125 800 global refugees – of a projected 1.19 million – were resettled in a third country. The Community Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (CRSI) is calling on the Federal Government to create a system that allows the generosity of ordinary Australians to flourish, welcoming refugees into our communities.
CRSI is a joint project of the Refugee Council of Australia, Amnesty International Australia, Save the Children Australia, Welcome to Australia, Rural Australians for Refugees and the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce. The Uniting Church in Australia is a member of the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce.
Through the Australian Government’s Community Support Program, individuals or organisations could sponsor a person or family to resettle in Australia in a range of ways. The Community Refugee Sponsorship Initiative supports this program, but believes Australians are ready and willing to be more involved.
Rev Steve Francis, Moderator of the Uniting Church WA, has called for the Australian Government not to remove support for people seeking asylum in our local community.
“What marks us as a society is how we combine our efforts to make sure that everyone, especially those doing it tough, are okay. We are a better community when no one is neglected, when we love our neighbour,” said Steve.
For practical ways to support CARAD in the work they do for refugees and asylum seekers in our community visit carad.org.au/donate.
To find out how you can help welcome refugees into your community visit ausrefugeesponsorship.com.au/howyou-can-help.