Bringing refugee families together in the current political climate can be challenging, but the need for compassion and understanding of the needs of families and the support they can provide to one another is vital.
Highlighting the importance of family reunification, chief advocate for World Vision Australia, Tim Costello will be speaking at the Mullumbimby Ex-Services Club on Friday April 5 from 7.15pm.
Ross Munro from Mullumbimby’s Refugee Family Reunification Project (RFRP) says, ‘The government has imposed visa restrictions, increased costs and made punitive decisions, all of which have resulted in the separation of refugee families’.
‘These policies continue to have serious effects on the health and wellbeing of refugee families,’ he said.
The reunification project has highlighted a number of the ways that families have been separated in Australia.
One example is a young woman being separated from her husband owing to complications in her pregnancy which saw her brought to Australia while he remained on Nauru.
He is yet to meet his two year old son.
A region of support
‘This is a region where there is support for more generous and compassionate responses to refugees. The RFRP aims to work with a range of refugee support and advocacy groups, faith groups and social justice groups on the far North Coast of NSW to raise awareness and advocate for changes to the federal government’s refugee family reunion policies leading up to the federal elections in May,’ said Mr Munro.
The project is sponsored by the Ballina Region for Refugees, who are a group of pro-refugee community members and professionals who aim to support compassion and humanity towards refugees and seek to ensure Australia meets it international obligations.
For more information on the Ballina Region for Refugees visit br4r.org.au.