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Refugee Week is a key moment in the Year of Welcome, as the annual national celebration of refugee communities in Australia. Refugee Week incorporates World Refugee Day (June 20) each year, and it has been designed to raise awareness and establish dialogue in our communities about the refugee experience. In doing so, Refugee Week aims to facilitate better understanding between communities and encourage successful integration. Refugees are people who are forced to flee their country and cannot return unless the situation that forced them to leave improves. Some are forced to flee without any warning and many have experienced torture and trauma. The motivating factor for these people is safety and protection from persecution and human rights abuses, not economic advantage. A person seeking asylum is a person who is seeking protection as a refugee and is still waiting to have their claim assessed. Every person who has been recognised as a refugee, has at some point sought asylum. It is extremely important to understand that people who seek asylum are NOT illegal immigrants. Nor are they breaking any laws. Under Australian law, a person is entitled to apply for asylum in our country if they are escaping persecution. This right is protected by international law as set out by Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Refugee Convention says that people should not be penalised for entering a country without prior authorisation, if they are fleeing danger and present themselves to the authorities upon arrival. Australia’s punitive asylum policies are regularly in breach of the convention, to which we are a signatory. For more information please copy the following link. uploads/2020/06/RCOA-Resource-Kit-Refugee-Week-2020.pdf

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