Thousands of Brisbane residents are coming together to protest Australia’s treatment of refugees.
The image of a Syrian child’s lifeless body washed up on the shores of a Turkish beach this week brought the world to its knees.
His name was Aylan Kurdi, and he was just three years old.
The sad reality is that Aylan was one among millions of desperate people forced to flee from war and persecution.
In response to this horrifying image, more than 6,200 Brisbane residents are planning to come together this week to protest Australia’s treatment of refugees.
“The world is facing a global refugee crisis on a scale we’ve not seen since WWII, but Australia – our lucky country of a fair go for all – is not doing enough,” say organisers of the Light the Dark rally. “We can do better to help these people. We need to do better.
“That’s why on Friday 11 September , we will light a candle to remember Aylan Kurdi. We will stand together in solidarity with people across the world who are forced to ask for protection from countries like ours. We’ll shine a light in the darkness, in protest of our country’s abandonment of the world’s most desperate people, who seek only safety and protection.
“We will send a message to the world that our government’s inaction does not represent us, and that Australia says welcome.”
Today, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that Australia will permanently resettle an additional 12,000 refugees from Syria and its neighbouring countries over the next three years. The government will also immediately provide an additional $44 million in financial aid to the UNHCR.
“These will be permanent resettlement places over and above Australia’s existing humanitarian program of 13,750 this year rising to 18,750 in three years time,” Abbott announced. “This is a very significant increase in Australia’s humanitarian intake and it’s a generous response to the current emergency.
“As I indicated yesterday, and confirmed today, our focus for these new 12,000 permanent resettlement places will be those people most in need of permanent protection – women, children and families from persecuted minorities who have sought temporary refuge in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. I do want to stress women, children and families, the most vulnerable of all.”
The Light the Dark event will be held at Emma Miller Place, Roma Street, on Friday 11 September at 6pm.
What do you think of Abbott’s announcement? Will you attend the Light the Dark event?