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 –

Palm Sunday 2020: For a Just Future

Palm Sunday 2020 – resources for promotion!

Have you been thinking “I really want to promote Palm Sunday Justice for Refugees 2020 Perth: For a Just Future, but I just don’t know how”?

Fear not, we’ve prepared a promo pack just for you!

Feel free to download and share these images on your social media and invite all of your friends to join you!

#ForAJustFuture #JusticeForRefugees

Due to medical advice and general restrictions on large gatherings of people, this year’s event will be hosted online at 

Access the promotional resources here

Here’s an image you can download and print, then take photos of people in your community sharing why they’ll be part of Palm Sunday Justice for Refugees
– Post your photos and selfies here, or email them to

socials graphics (4)

Palm Sunday 2019

We stand for justice, freedom and safety for refugees and people seeking asylum. We will not rest until freedom comes.

Palm Sunday 2019 Poster with endorsing logos FINAL v2.0

On Sunday 14th April, Perth will gather to demonstrate a broad and united movement of people and organisations who call for justice and dignity for refugees and for people seeking asylum.

Click here for updates! 

Join us:
Sunday 14th April
St Georges Cathedral
38 St Georges Terrace Perth


Speakers include:

Welcome to Country – Mitchell Garlett
MC – Father Chris Bedding 
Salem, Hazara refugee from Afghanistan 
Arad Nik
Shamindan Kanapadhi statement from Manus Island
Anglican Archbishop of Perth, The Most Revd Kay Goldsworthy

Endorsed by:

Amnesty Australia
Anglican Social Responsibilities Commission
Anglicare WA
Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce
Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum
Catholic Archdiocese of Perth
Catholic Mission
Christian Life Community
City of Fremantle
Common Grace
Crossing Borders
Curtin Centre for Human Rights
Ethnic Communities Council of WA
Fremantle Refugee Rights Action Network
Hills Network For Refugees
Justice, Ecology and Development Office; Catholic Archdiocese of Perth
Love Makes A Way
Multicultural Services Centre WA
Mums For Refugees
Presentation Sisters
Quakers (Religious society of Friends in WA Regional Meeting)
Refugee Rights Action Network WA
Riverview Community Services
Socialist Alliance
Students For Refugees
Tear WA
The Greens WA
The Humanitarian Group
Unionists For Refugees
Unions WA
Uniting Church in Australia Synod of Western Australia
WA Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office
Welcoming Australia

Email to add your organisation to the list!



I am WYD036

I fled genocide in Burma

with my wife and children

We were separated in Indonesia

There wasn’t enough room in the van taking us to the boat heading for Australia

All the time I think about what happened

When I close my eyes

I can see that van leaving


A week after my family arrived in Australia

the Rudd government announced

the July 19 policy

This meant that people who arrived in Australia by boat

would be sent to Manus Island or Nauru

and never resettle in Australia.


When I arrived in Australia I was sent by force to Manus Island

My family are now living on bridging visas in Sydney

but I’ve been detained on Manus Island for almost 5 years


When I talk to my youngest son on skype

He asks me,

“When are you coming?”

“When are you coming?”

I can’t say anything in response

I do not know if or when we’ll be together again.

I am DHW342

I was born in East Africa

When I was five years old I held my mother’s hand

while we ran from bullets being shot in the civil war


I grew up in a refugee camp.

This is where I got married

and had two beautiful children


My children were only 1 and 3 years old

when I was forced to leave them in the refugee camp.

After I left my children I made my way to Indonesia.


It was there, before I got on the boat that I found out I was pregnant

I gave birth to my son while I was in detention.

The security guards were on watch in the hospital

as I welcomed my child into this world.


My son was five years old when we were granted protection

This visa protects us for the next five years.

I am grateful for this protection

but I long to be with my children


On this visa I am not allowed to apply

for my children to live in Australia


I’ve been told that maybe after ten years I can sponsor my family

I cannot be separated from my children for this long

I am thinking I have no choice

I am grateful to be safe

But I think I have to give up my visa for my children

I think I have to leave Australia

And not come back…..

2015 Walk for Justice for Refugees – photos

It was great to see so many people turn out to the Perth Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees 2015.

We thank the photographers for allowing us to share their photos here:,, Geoff Bice, Eira Clapton.

Sealin Garlett welcome to country

Noongar elder and UCA minister Rev Sealin Garlett gave the Welcome to Country.

Ashraf Mohammad

Afghan Hazara Ashraff Mohammad came to Australia by boat in 2011.

Ashraff now supports other asylum seekers and volunteers on the Welcome to Australia committee.

Michelle Bui

Michelle Bui from the Refugee Rights action network brought messages from those people who are detained on Manus and Nauru.

janet holmes a court

Prominent business person Janet Holmes a Court spoke about international obligations to protect refugees.

Fred Chaney

Former Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and Senior Australian of the Year Fred Chaney

Tim Winton

Multi-award winning author Tim Winton called Australia to turn back from harsh policies towards asylum seekers.

You can hear the entire Tim Winton speech here on the ABC’s Radio National website

The text of the speech is here on The Age website.

Steve Francis

Moderator of the Uniting Church in Australia Synod of Western Australia Rev Steve Francis spoke of asylum seekers living in the community.

Tom Wilmot

Bishop Tom Wilmot blessed the walkers before we set off.

Chris Bedding

A big thank you to Father Chris Bedding for being our MC on the day.