Around 500 people gathered at Sydney’s Town Hall yesterday to demand more protection of refugee rights and urge that Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs) and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas (SHEVs) be made permanent. It’s been 8 years since Temporary Protection Visas were introduced in Australia, leaving many refugees with a life in limbo, unsure of their future and without their families.
Since then, the Government has begun a controversial ‘fast tracking’ process of TPVs, which some claim lead to “a fundamentally unfair process that essentially removes [refugees] right to a fair hearing, and could well amount to a fast track to danger.”
Speakers spoke of the harsh living conditions these visas result in, leading to a second-class of residency, unable to access many critical services and without the ability to reunite with their families, all of which mean a life compounded by poverty, uncertainty, discrimination and mental, psychological and emotional stress. Their pain in the face of the intense politicisation of the issue was palpable in the personal stories recounted at yesterday’s rally.
The event was organised by Justice for Refugees with the support of Refugee Action Coalition.
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