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Byron Shire
December 6, 2021

Remembering refugees and helping them resume a life

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Northern Rivers rental crisis worsens

Those advocating for people suffering from housing stress, homelessness, and poverty housing across the Northern Rivers region, say there is an urgent need for the federal government to invest in social housing.

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Manus Island refugees.

Highlighting those that have been forgotten by the Australian Government as they languish in Nauru and Papua New Guinea (PNG) Ballina Region for Refugees (BR4R) recently hosted an on-line forum presenting information about Operation#NotForgotten.

The forum featured guest speakers Glenn and Meryl Jackson from Canberra Refugee Support Group who presented information about Operation#NotForgotten – a project to resettle asylum seekers in Canada.

‘In the face of apparent total abandonment by the Australian Government, Operation#NotForgotten is a glimmer of hope for some of the 400 asylum seekers who are still detained on Nauru and in PNG. These men and women have been in limbo for seven years and most are suffering both mentally and physically,’ Linda Dillon, a committee member of BR4R, pointed out.

Operation#NotForgotten is a project by two Canadian non-profit organisations, Canada Caring Society and MOSAIC. The organisations plan to sponsor up to 200 refugees to resettle in Canada. These are refugees who are ineligible for the Australia–United States arrangement because the US does not accept people from certain countries.

Canadian volunteers are trained to provide the necessary support for the refugees when they arrive in Canada. The Australian community is the major contributor to funding Operation#NotForgotten.

BR4R last year contributed $2,000 to support fundraising for one refugee,’ said BR4R President, Ruth Henderson.

‘We would like to do more as the cost for each person to go to Canada is $18,000. This amount ensures their support when they get there.’

Operation#NotForgotten is endorsed by the Refugee Council of Australia and Amnesty International. Partners in Canada, Australia and around the world will be raising funds to cover the cost to settle in Canada. Donations have already started, with enough for about 50 people already raised. One man from Manus has settled in Vancouver and another will be travelling to Canada very soon.

Donations can be made to BR4R: www.BR4R.org.au.  You can specify that you wish the donation to go to Operation#NotForgotten.

Donations can also be made through the Refugee Council of Australia.


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