Can the community do more to help refugees resettle in Australia? ProBono Australia. 3 July 2019
The Community Refugee Sponsorship Initiative 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.
We support the Australian government’s efforts to engage the Australian community in helping refugees to resettle and integrate in Australia through its launch of the Community Support Program (CSP). However, the current program has a number of features which inhibit its potential to leverage the capacity and generosity of individuals and organisations in Australia to provide humanitarian protection to those fleeing persecution.
We know that Australians are willing and able to be more involved in supporting refugees into our communities, and believe the government should make changes to allow for this generosity to be utilised.
A successful and sustainable community sponsorship scheme should be based upon the following fundamental principles:
Call on the Australian Government to expand and improve community sponsorship for refugees so that more families can rebuild their lives in safety.
Amnesty International can provide you with:
• A campaigning for community sponsorship’ toolkit:
everything you need to influence your local government.
• Want to know more about community sponsorship? We’ll provide you
with a FAQ.
• Next steps for when your community is successful in gaining the support of your local government!
Update from Amnesty
We’re making progress! The ACT Government just passed a motion calling on the Federal Government to expand the refugee community sponsorship program.
Now we need other State Governments to add their support: please join more than 12,000 other petition signers and help us get to 15,000! March 26 2018.
• Sign the Petition
Add your name to the Amnesty petition. Here’s what it says:
To the Honourable Minister Dutton and Members of the
House of Representatives,
We recognise there are currently only a few pathways for refugees to find a safe home in Australia.
One of them is community-led resettlement through community sponsorship.
To fully harness community generosity that can help refugees, Australia’s sponsorship program needs to be designed in a way that encourages, not hinders, more people to take part, and that expands Australia’s current refugee intake.
It needs to be expanded.
It needs to be improved.
Right now, we have the opportunity to help celebrate the refugees in our communities and call for sponsorship of others who want to call our community home, when it is no longer safe for them to continue living in theirs.
These are people who are like us. Refugees are our neighbours. Refugees play in our teams. Refugees volunteer in our communities. These are people who have lost their homes, their loved ones and life as they knew it.
Our new neighbours are asking for our help. We are calling on you to build a more generous and more accessible Community Support Program. It must:
1. Not take places from others in need
2. Provide adequate support and services
3. Limit costs
4. Allow community, family and businesses to act as sponsors
5. Create more places for people in need of protection to settle in Australia
As a generous country we can and should do more.
Videos to share!
• This great video from the Western Bulldogs speaks to the importance of building partnerships to change community perception
• The video from The Tonightly show breaks down what the campaign is all about in a much funnier and succinct way.
• The Moving day video speaks to what it means to be a community and to live and breathe the spirit of welcome.
• This powerful this video of Amir.
Amir spent five years on Manus island until finally in 2017 he had his dream come true of freedom and a life in a place of safety. Amir was sponsored through Canada’s private refugee sponsorship scheme. This video sums it up, we can make a difference in people lives and there are good people out there willing to open up their homes and their communities to welcome people. Australians want to do this too and we are going to make it happen.
Posters and Signs (click on the image to download)
Find everything you need for the campaign on Amnesty’s
My New Neighbour Campaign webpage.