Refugee Week 2020 kicks off with examination of intersections of First Nations and refugee rights
As millions of people around the world speak out against the marginalisation of black and minority ethnic communities, Refugee Week launches last Sunday with an examination of the issue in relation to the refugee experience.
The official Refugee Week launch, which takes place Sunday, 14 June, featured two speakers from First Nations communities in conversation with two representatives of Australia’s refugee communities.
Together, they examined ideas of welcoming, community, diversity and tolerance – through Australia’s past and present.
Panel speaker Amiel Nuhaba said, “Millions of people are waking up to the ongoing marginalisation of people of colour, which persists even now in 2020. When we refer to black and brown communities in Australia, we are talking about First Nations people but also refugees, people seeking asylum and migrants. We hold an important conversation about the similarities in the experiences and treatment of these communities in Australia, as well as seeking out solutions.”
In addition to the launch event, 2020 is a year of firsts for Refugee Week, including a digital entertainment program, featuring panel sessions, a poetry night, storytelling, film screenings and more; tailored resource packs for schools and workplaces; a partnership with SBS Food Online to celebrate the enrichment of Australian . This will include a cookbook, recipe videos and a how-to guide for hosting a meal for friends and family to celebrate these cuisines.
The inclusion of refugee community members from around the world; both as ambassadors and event participants.
Refugee Week is organised by the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), Australia’s peak national body for refugees and people seeking asylum and the organisations that serve them. RCOA CEO Paul Power said this could be Australia’s best Refugee Week yet, despite the difficult circumstances.
“When lockdown restrictions came into place, we decided to organise a program of online entertainment and information, which people could access from their own homes. In doing so, we thought, why limit ourselves to Australia? Just as the refugee experience is truly global in nature, so too should be this celebration. As such, we’ve turned lemons into lemonade, taking Refugee Week to the international level and promoting the incredible work of refugee community members around the world.”