Refugee Week is an initiative of the Refugee Council of Australia, a national body representing the interests of refugees and asylum seekers who arrive on Australia's shores. From 20 to 26 June, various events will be held around Sydney to raise awareness of the plight of refugees. Although the subject matter is solemn, the week is primarily a celebration of the positive contribution that refugees make to Australian society.
The Refugee Council has celebrated Refugee Week for fifteen years. In 2010, the theme is "Freedom from Fear." The origins of this theme can be found in the governing document establishing the protection of refugees as the sign and symbol of the international community's responsibility to protect human rights. The source is the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, which marks "the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want" as "the highest aspiration of the common people."
The Crows Nest Centre is a non-profit based in the lower North Shore suburb of Crows Nest. The Centre provides services and amenities to the local community and is run by a group of dedicated volunteers. This year, on 15 June, the Crows Nest Centre will host a workshop aiming to raise awareness of refugee settlement.
The Immigrant and Refugee Women's Network will host a celebration in the Fairfield Community Hall. This event will include live performances and guest speakers, with the contact details of the organizer available on the Refugee Week website.
In Newtown, the Wrap with Love knitting group will be displaying a refugee awareness mural in the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre. The Balmain Library will also be hosting a Refugee Week Event allowing refugees to share their personal narratives.
Of particular interest to anyone with an interest in the process of refugee processing, the Refugee Review Tribunal will be hosting an open day. Visitors will be able to tour the Tribunal as well as hear presentations about its operations.