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A message from David Manne on World Refugee Day

Thursday, June 20 2024

Today, on World Refugee Day, we honour the remarkable strength, courage and resilience of the now unprecedented 130.8 million people who have been forced to flee persecution and violence.

On World Refugee Day we are reminded that these global challenges reverberate locally – with many crises and injustices facing those who’ve fled from their homelands and are seeking protection in Australia.

Right now, we’re helping many people in the Australian community who come to us for our legal help: seeking protection from persecution, safety from family violence,
freedom from detention and reuniting with family.

People like Ali*, a 45 year-old stateless Rohingya man, who had been living in Myanmar. Being stateless, he’d lived his entire life on the margins of society, without any recognition of nationality or basic rights.

Ali arrived by boat in Australia fleeing from constant discrimination, forced labour, imprisonment, beatings and extortion at the hands of the Myanmar military.

After living in the community, he was taken to remote indefinite detention, thousands of miles away from his family and friends in Melbourne. After a complex 4 year legal battle, through our legal work, Ali was finally released from detention having been granted a protection visa.

Ali was overwhelmed with relief that he could return to his community and start to rebuild his life in safety.

We know that legal assistance is vital – and so often the difference between securing safety and freedom, or being indefinitely detained or deported to danger.

So that’s what we’re doing today – as we do every day – using our knowledge and experience, together with over 600 volunteers and 25 major law firm partnerships, to help people build a safe future in Australia.

At the same time, we are advocating for change – change so desperately needed – to ensure people get a fair go before the law, a chance to rebuild their lives in safety with dignity, hope and a sense of belonging.

Today is an opportunity to reinforce our commitment to effectively respond to the scale and nature of the humanitarian crises in so many countries.

Once again, thank you to our pro bono law firm partners and to the many of you who have already donated to our End of Financial Year Appeal, helping us meet our pro bono law firm partners’ generous $75,000 match challenge.

So, if you haven’t already done so, please consider giving to our Appeal. Your donations will be matched by Peter McMullin AM and the Good Business Foundation up to $50,000 until 30 June – doubling the impact of your gift.

Together, on World Refugee Day, we can champion the rights of people seeking asylum to find safety, build support for their economic and social inclusion and advocate for solutions to their plight.

Sincerely and with thanks,

David Manne
Refugee Legal
CEO & Principal Solicitor

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