Saturday, July 20, 2013

Rally today: Restore the refugee convention - Say 'no' to Rudd's lurch to the right on refugees

[This media release was sent on Saturday 20 July.]

Socialist Alliance candidate for Fremantle Sam Wainwright will attend and speak at an emergency rally called for today in response to Kevin Rudd's announcement that refugees would no longer be able to be resettled in Australia.

The rally will be held in the Murray Street Mall near Forrest Place at 12 noon on Saturday 20 July.

"Rudd's announcement is in practice a further abandonment of the 1951 Refugee Convention and a betrayal of human rights in Australia," Wainwright said.

"This policy will not 'stop the boats' as the people coming to Australia are genuine refugees who have no other choices," said Wainwright.

"Recent comments by ALP leaders that people arriving by boat are 'economic migrants' are just cynical attempts to justify the inhumane policies that Labor is now advancing," said Wainwright.

"This policy will not save lives at sea because people still need to get on a boat to get whatever limited protections this policy affords," said Wainwright.

"A better approach - that would genuinely save lives - would be to fly refugees from Indonesia and Malaysia to Australia in large numbers with permanent protection visas and full citizenship rights."

"Australia should also stop supporting wars - like in Afghanistan - and repressive governments such as the violent Rajapaksa regime in Sri Lanka whose policies amount to genocide. These policies create more refugees in the world."

Wainwright who is also a founder of Action for Human Rights in Tamil Eelam & Sri Lanka said, "While Canada is not attending the upcoming meeting of CHOGM, Senator Bob Carr has dismissed the boycott and Australia is giving aid to the Sri Lankan Navy. If he wants to 'stop the boats' the best thing he and Kevin Rudd could do would be to stop supporting genocide."

"This would be in the interests of ordinary people in Australia who gain nothing from demonising refugees."

"The bipartisan attacks on refugees are a deliberate policy to distract people from the causes of the problems in their lives and the unprecedented greed of the mining companies and the super rich. Bashing refugees won't create jobs or improve social services."