“Over the last 70 years, Australia has offered protection to more than 700,000 refugees and every refugee has a story of hardship and courage to tell.
“Every refugee was once an asylum seeker looking to escape persecution, arbitrary arrest or torture. Every refugee found the courage to flee their home in search of safety. Every refugee has had to find the courage to build a new life in a strange place.
“We are encouraging people to take just five minutes of their time to think about refugees this week - to reflect on their courage and imagine what it might be like to be persecuted because of where you were born, your race, religion or political views, or because you belong to a particular social group,” said Rev. Prof. Dutney.
The theme for Refugee Week 2015 is ‘With courage let us all combine’ which is a line from the second verse of Australia’s national anthem.
“Australia is a better country because of the incredible contribution of refugees and their families,” said Rev. Prof. Dutney.
“As we celebrate these contributions, ‘with courage let us all combine’ to take a stand against violence and injustice wherever it occurs.
“This Refugee Week, let’s commit to making our country one that lives up to our national anthem as a nation with boundless plains to share.”
“UnitingJustice Australia has provided five scenarios to think about, so please take five minutes this week to open your hearts and minds to the reality of refugees in our world,” said Rev. Prof. Dutney.
FIVE THINGS TO THINK ABOUT FOR REFUGEE WEEK 2015
1. Imagine what it would be like to see members of your family taken away in the middle of the night and not know where they are or what is happening to them.
2. Reflect on the courage it takes to continue to stand for what you believe in, even in the face of possible torture or imprisonment.
3. Think about what it might be like for minority groups in countries where there are no checks on government and no independent legal system.
4. Imagine how you would recover from violent persecution and a dangerous journey, in a new country where you don't know anyone, you can’t speak the language, and you don't know how to do the simplest things like open a bank account or enrol your child in school.
5. Imagine the joy you might feel when you find a job, see your child happy at school and finally know that you are safe and making a positive contribution to your new country.