Author: Philip Feinstein

Survey of visitors to detention centres

Many people visit Villawood and other detention centres throughout Australia to give stressed refugees some company, as well as news of the outside world.  Some of these visitors are ordinary people, while others are volunteers teaching art, music and other pleasantry and stress relieving activities The Refugee Council of Australia came to realise that things were not easy when it came to visiting centres and accordingly conducted a survey of challenges faced by people visiting immigration detention. The questions in the survey ranged from asking what barriers the visitors faced, what issues refugees in detention asked them, how effective...

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Learning about peace for Palestine and Israel

In January this year, a group of 22 Australian Jewish and Christian community leaders sat around a table with Dr Rami Hamdallah, the Palestinian Prime Minister, in Ramallah. Later that day they shared dinner with members of a group of Israeli and Palestinian ex-fighters, Combatants for Peace that works across borders for an end to the Occupation and to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.    So what brought the Australians to this part of the world and this kind of encounter? A few years ago tensions emerged between Uniting Church and Jewish organisations in Australia—specifically related to their positions on...

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Changing the conversation on refugees

The plight of refugees and asylum-seekers was the focus of a forum organised by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies. The event was attended by around 100 members of the Jewish community. It was highlighted with speeches by two former refugees, Dor from South Sudan and Najib from Afghanistan (surnames withheld).  Dor came to Australia in 2003 via Ethiopia after suffering persecution in his home country. While fleeing ongoing torment he even had to face wild animals and illness including malaria and other fevers. The last leg of his journey was by plane. “I am now safe and happy...

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Palm Sunday Rally turns a bit sour

 The 2017 Palm Sunday Rally on 9 April commenced at Hyde Park in Sydney with a mostly positive crowd of about 4,000 supporters of refugees incarcerated in Australian detention centres, and gained momentum with some fabulous speakers.  Xuyen Pho, Salvation Army National Secretary and a Vietnam refugee from the late 1970’s, reminisced from his time coming to Australia. “No one seeking asylum gets on a leaky boat without desperation  –  ask yourself what drives someone to travel to an unknown destination without a compass in an open sea and without reliable navigation?” he asked rhetorically. “Banning people seeking refuge and...

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Refugee Alternatives Conference at UNSW

The University of New South Wales hosted the inaugural Refugee Alternatives Conference on 22 – 23 February 2017. The Refugee Council of NSW presented this 2-day event that focussed on improving policy, practice and support for refugees and asylum seeker issues. Attended by over 800 people from all points of Australia, the event featured a variety of expert speakers covering topics such as advocacy, resilience, unity, protection, displacement and general wellbeing. Following the Welcome to Country and Opening Session, Paul Power, CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia, officially opened the proceedings. “Today is very special as we welcome...

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Other News

Winner of PMMA 2016

Winner PMMA

september, 2017

20sep10:30 am- 12:30 pmIMA's Women Only Morning Tea

22sep - 24sep 229:00 amsep 242017 Spiritual Immersive Retreat

23sep10:00 am- 4:00 pmHow To Pray Workshop

24sep9:00 am- 9:00 pmMy Life, Our Reality, The FutureTwins of Faith Sydney 2017

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