“Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution”
- Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
2022 Theme – Healing
Refugee Week is Australia’s peak annual activity to promote greater awareness of refugees, the issues they face and the contributions refugees are making to the Australian community. It provides an opportunity to celebrate the wonderful ways in which people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds enrich their new communities. Refugee Week is a chance for ordinary people to welcome, thank and celebrate their neighbours who have come seeking safety.
Refugee Week incorporates World Refugee Day (June 20) each year, which is designed to raise awareness and establish dialogue in our communities about the refugee experience. In doing so, Refugee Week aims to facilitate better understanding between communities and encourage successful integration.
The key aims of Refugee Week are:
- To celebrate the ways in which people from refugee backgrounds enrich our communities and culture
- To educate the public about who refugees are and why they have come to Australia, and to understand the many challenges they face in doing so.
- To foster empathy and understanding and in doing so, encourage a safe and welcoming environment for people seeking safety in Australia.
- To enable communities and individuals to take positive action, and stand in solidarity with people seeking asylum and displaced people in Australia and around the world.
ASRC Foodbank currently provides free groceries to around 1,000 people. Make a difference to people seeking asylum by providing one of the most basic human rights – food. Donate here.
Refugees in Australia
Australia has an extensive history of successfully resettling people as refugees and humanitarian entrants. Since federation, Australia has welcomed over 800 000 people in need of humanitarian protection and offered them a permanent home. Many people who came to Australia needing protection are now prominent in Australian business, government, education, arts, sport and community life. The countries that people seek safety from have changed throughout history and Australia has resettled people from all over the world.
What is the difference between a person seeking asylum, a refugee and a migrant?
The term ‘refugee’, ‘asylum seeker’ and ‘migrant’ are often used interchangeably particularly in the media. However, there are important distinctions between their definitions:
Refugees are people who are forced to flee their country and cannot return unless the situation that forced them to leave improves. Some are forced to flee without any warning and many have experienced torture and trauma. The motivating factor for these people is safety and protection from persecution and human rights abuses, not economic advantage.
A person seeking asylum is a person who is seeking protection as a refugee and is still waiting to have their claim assessed. Every person who has been recognised as a refugee, has at some point sought asylum.
A migrant is someone who chooses to leave their country to seek a better life. They choose where they migrate to and they are able to return whenever they like.
Although the differences between these terms are important, the distinction is not clear cut in every case – the extent to which a person has chosen to leave their home is not always black and white.
Refugee Week Resources
Refugee Council of Australia’s Refugee Myths & Facts sheet 2022
Read: curated range of excellent fiction and non-fiction books
Watch: films, documentaries and shows about refugees and people seeking asylum
Learn: 10 Eye-Opening Facts To Share On World Refugee Day