Palm Sunday Wrap Up 2021

People joined us in hubs, homes and in person in the city to call for Justice and a Fair Go for Refugees. You can watch the full event online HERE!

Justice for Refugees WA, a network of more the 40 community organisations, faith groups and human rights agencies, is calling on Australia’s political leaders to abandon the current harsh and unjust policies of detention, uncertainty and limbo, and to instead provide permanent protection for people seeking safety. Instead of prolonging the despair of people seeking asylum, the group calls for political leaders to provide protection, security and freedom, through a fair and just process.

Over several years the group has coordinated the Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees along with groups around the country. This year, as a precautionary approach in light of COVID-19, the group hosted a live webinar event at the Uniting Church in the City Hall, Perth, which was watched by small groups gathered in community centres and homes across the state.

Farhad Bandesh, a Kurdish asylum seeker who was recently released from a Melbourne immigration facility following eight years of detention, called into the Perth Palm Sunday event to share his experience. Mr Bandesh said, “I can’t describe how good it feels to be out of detention – freedom is beautiful. We just need everyone to be free.”

Joanna Josephs, General Manager of the Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD) was a guest speaker at the event. CARAD provides essential case management, emergency relief and volunteer support for people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds in Perth, and they are concerned at the increasing demands on their service.

Ms Josephs explained that it was a particularly challenging time at the moment, saying, “We have been experiencing a significant increase in need among our client community.

“There continues to be drastic cuts to the Department of Home Affairs’ (DHA) Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS) program. In WA, out of the thousands of people seeking asylum living in our community, only 78 people remain eligible to receive just $36 per day from Centrelink (through the SRSS program). All of the other people seeking asylum are completely ineligible for any form of Centrelink.

“The federal government must not continue to deliberately force people seeking asylum to live in the community with no financial support while they take years to process asylum claims.”

Associate Professor Caroline Fleay, Co-Director of the Centre for Human Rights Education at Curtin University added her voice to the call for a humane response to people seeking safety saying, “Let’s be guided by compassion in how we respond to others. Instead of limbo and uncertainty, we can offer freedom and a future where people seeking asylum and their families are safe.

“The cruelty of immigration detention, forcing people to live on temporary visas indefinitely, and refusing to reunite families, none of these are humane solutions for those who have turned to us for refuge.”

Susy Thomas, Moderator of the Uniting Church Western Australia said, “Australians have had enough of the cruel marginalisation of refugees. People want to see some real change in the way people seeking asylum are treated. Indefinite detention and temporary visas create terrible anguish that we cannot, with good conscience, continue to allow.”

Refugees and people seeking asylum currently languish in either the limbo of detention or the uncertainty of temporary protection visas. People in Papua New Guinea and Nauru are approaching their eighth year in limbo.

Approximately 30,000 refugees in Australia (the “legacy caseload”) await visa grants or live on temporary visas with their futures shrouded in uncertainty and limbo. Many families are separated with no hope for reunification due to the cruelty of current policy, and live in constant fear of deportation to danger.

To join the call for action contact the UCWA Social Justice team at

Palm Sunday Justice for Refugees – 28 March 2021

This year our Palm Sunday Justice for Refugees event on Sunday 28 March 2021 @ 1pm will be both live at the UCIC Hall in Perth and online.
A live event in the city will be small in numbers but big on heart, streamed and accessible to dedicated hub groups, gatherings and individuals.
We’re encouraging groups big and small to gather on the day and link in, to demonstrate a broad and united movement of people and organisations who call for justice and dignity for refugees and people seeking asylum.
Details of the events both in Perth and hub groups is now available – go to Register 2021 for information!

Advocacy and Campaigns

On Palm Sunday 28 March groups big and small will be gathering around the state to show their support and to demonstrate a broad and united movement of people and organisations who call for justice and dignity for refugees and people seeking asylum.
If you haven’t registered for the Zoom Webinar already, the link to do so is here –

Here are some actions and advocacy you can get involved in on the day:

Support CARAD (Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees) – Pantry Packs are a very practical way of helping CARAD support asylum seekers through their foodbank program. CARAD’s foodbank provides food relief for people seeking asylum in Perth. People seeking asylum aren’t eligible for government supports and COVID-19 financial relief. Your donation will help them provide essentials to those who need it most.

CARAD Financial Support is also a vital for their ongoing work. Please go to their website for details about pantry packs and financial support options –

#GameOver – It’s time to call #GameOver – take action to get all those trapped by Australia on Nauru and Papua New Guinea to safety. This campaign by Amnesty International encourages participants to sign the petition and continue to share information about the campaign –

Time for a Home – This is a national campaign demanding the release and resettlement of the remaining refugees and people seeking asylum in immigration detention in Australia. No matter where we come from or how we got here, everyone needs a safe place to call home. More information about the #Timeforahome campaign here –