The 2023 theme for Refugee Week is Finding Freedom, highlighting that everyone should be able to live without the fear of war or persecution, to have basic human rights upheld and to live in equality..
The Refugee Council of Australia celebrates and encourages conversation around this theme during Refugee Week (19-25 June) to raise awareness of the issues affecting refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. Amanda Kamara, Deputy CEO of the Refuge Council has a very clear message: “Refugee Week is a time for reflection and celebration, an opportunity for everyone to do something positive for refugees, people seeking asylum and displaced people. We all have a role in welcoming refugees to our communities and ensuring they are treated fairly and humanely.”
At JNC we understand that this year’s theme is important in promoting harmony and fairness. Regardless of our differences, we all share a right to have basic human rights. The messages in this year’s theme ‘Finding Freedom’ fit well with the JNC’s values and our work in creating connected local communities as places where refugees are welcomed and supported to access services.
When we learn about the experiences of others, we can begin to better empathise with their situation. Educating ourselves on the experiences of others in our community is one small way that we can all can contribute to Refugee Week this year. We also encourage you to keep an eye open for community events and other awareness raising initiatives during this time. Thousands of people within the Australian community are seeking asylum, and each experience can look extremely different depending on the circumstances.
The Refugee Council of Australia has put together a list of resources to encourage a better understanding of people seeking asylum. You can access films , books, and podcasts and webinars at the click of a button.
If you are looking for Films or TV shows that are available for free, try out some of these, available on SBS on Demand:
- The Other Side of Hope (2017): Bringing together two men from very different worlds – the displaced Khaled, a stowaway refugee from Syria and local middle-aged salesman Wikstrom, who’s bought a flailing seafood restaurant – the bittersweet comedy follows each as they seek a new place to call home. When Khaled is denied asylum, his path crosses fortuitously with Wikstrom’s.
- The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe (2016): A celebration of the remarkable spirits of four African women survivors of sexual abuse, and the triumph of their improbable theatre troupe. Four women fled from different parts of Africa to Australia in order to escape violence and abuse.
- Safe Harbour (2018): A group of friends head to Indonesia for a holiday on a yacht, when they come across a sinking fishing boat overloaded with asylum seekers. The decisions they make change their lives forever.
The Refugee Council of Australia recommends:
- The Merger (2018) film: A former professional football player returns to his country home town after his sporting career comes to an abrupt end, taking on the position of coach for the local footy team, the Roosters. Available on Amazon Prime.
- Unheard (2023) film: This investigative documentary series explores the alarming numbers behind broader issues and exposes the first-hand instances of racial injustice. Episode 5: Asylum seekers and refugees features the story of “Biloela family” and those people advocating for better treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum. Available on Amazon Prime
- Rosemary’s Way (2022): Rosemary Kariuki helps to transform the lives of vulnerable migrant women in suburban Sydney who come from cultures as diverse as Iraq, the Congo, and Peru. Available at www.rosemaryswaythefilm.org
- Stop The Boats (2018): Stop the Boats tells the story of how Australia used a three word slogan to demonise people seeking asylum, fleeing war and persecution; condemning them to indefinite offshore detention and torture in prison camps on Manus Island and Nauru. The story is told by people seeking asylum including children from within detention centres, secretly filmed in Nauru and Manus. Available on DocPlay.
To learn more about how you can make a difference as an individual, check out https://www.refugeeweek.org.au/individuals/ for a range of extra information and resources.