Refugee Week

Refugee week Logo

14-20 June


Refugee Week aims to help all Australians have a better understanding about who refugees are and why they have come to Australia. It also helps celebrate the contributions refugees make to our communities.

Did you know?

  • In legal terms a 'refugee' is a person who owing to a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is unable or unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of their own country
  • Children made up an astonishing 52% of the world's refugees in 2017
  • 75% of asylum seekers who have arrived in Australia by boat have been found to be refugees
  • Most people seeking asylum in Australia arrive by air and not by boat
  • 3.2% of total migrants who were settled in Australia 2015-16 were refugees
  • Developing regions host 85% of the world's refugees
  • In recent decades, the number of LGBTI refugees and asylum-seekers has risen

2020 Theme: Celebrating The Year of Welcome

The theme is drawn from the focus of this year's Sydney New Year's Eve celebration, with the City of Sydney announcing the Refugee Council of Australia as its official charity partner for the event. The theme represents the importance of compassion and unity.

People with direct experience as refugees are often not at the centre of discussions about refugee policy and representation. To hear the stories of refugees and to celebrate Refugee Week, please explore these resources:

  • YOU CAN’T ASK THAT asks refugees the awkward, inappropriate or uncomfortable questions you’ve always wanted to know the answer to, but never had the guts to ask. [ABC 2017 30mins) Available to students and staff through the SCU library https://scu.kanopy.com/video/refugees
  • FREEDOM STORIES is an exploration by filmmaker Steve Thomas of the achievements and struggles of former ‘boat people’. Now Australian citizens, they arrived seeking asylum from the Middle-East around 2001 – a watershed year in Australian politics sparked by the Tampa Affair and Prime Minister John Howard’s declaration:  “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come” …  It has taken astonishing resilience and over a decade for them to build secure lives and start contributing to their new country…[and]… it is time for their voices to be heard.  Recommended by the Refugee Council of Australia.  [Ronin Films 2015 201mins]  Available to students and staff through the SCU library https://scu.kanopy.com/video/freedom-stories
  •  I’M A LOCAL (video recording) fostering ‘belonging’ for former refugees in regional Australia through inclusive partnerships featuring Leticia Anderson, Rob Cumings, John Mapatano  11mins 2019.  The I’m a Local project was the winner of the University’s 2017 Excellence in Engagement Awards – Community Impact.  Available through https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdUVHK-ns60
  • “Refugees Now and Then: Has Australia lost its compassion?” 

Listen to the provocative Thursday Night Live! Panel discussion. Panel members include Nathan Willis (PhD student and Solicitor, Migration Consultant); Katka Adams (Visual artist and political refugee) and Angus McDonald (Visual artist and filmmaker advocating for more humanitarian approaches to managing the welfare of forcibly displaced people seeking asylum), with discussion facilitated by Dr Leticia Anderson of the School of Arts and Social Sciences. 

Podcast: soundcloud.com/thursdaynightlive/

Listen to a podcast with some friends and then have a follow up conversation about it using Skype, Zoom etc.

Make A Resolution:


Attend Online Events:


Visit These Websites:

UN Refugee Agency: Figures at a Glance


Refugee Council of Australia:


About Refugee Week:


World Refugee Day:



Read These Publications:

Write A Poem:

Entries are now open for the 2020 Ballina Region for Refugees Seeking Asylum Poetry Prize. This year’s theme is ‘Holding Patterns’. Don’t miss your chance to win one of three cash prizes worth a total of $500 and be published in @VerityLa. There is no cost to enter. 

Entries close 16 August, 2020. Details at https://br4r.org.au/poetry-comp/