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Activist Resources: Game Over

For almost eight years, the Australian Government has designed and maintained a deliberate system of abuse for thousands of adults and children who have fled their homes in search of safety.

In early 2021, we have seen progress with the release of refugees who have been detained in alternative places of detention. However, over 1000 people remain in transitory limbo because of Australia’s detention regime. More than 150 Medevaced refugees remain detained around Australia, with approximately 260 still trapped in PNG and Nauru.

Let’s make 2021 the year this changes and we commit as a country to never return to this cruel system of indefinite detention.

These people – doctors, musicians, athletes, and social workers – have been left without hope for more than seven years and many suffer trauma and illness every day because of their experiences in detention.

All people deserve safety and hope for a better future. Australians have an opportunity to come together as one to call ‘Game Over’ and get people to safety so they can rebuild their lives. There are solutions.

For example – since 2013, the New Zealand Government has offered to resettle 150 refugees a year. If the Australian Government had accepted this offer, there would be no one left in detention.

Amnesty International has been working with media personality and former Socceroo Craig Foster along with Sonny Bill Williams to advocate safe, sustainable alternatives for people trapped in PNG, Nauru and in detention around Australia

How can we win this campaign?

Together – Amnesty Action Groups, networks, activists, refugees with lived experience, partners and staff will demand safe pathways for people still held indefinitely offshore or in limbo on the mainland. We have two aims:

  1. Release refugees from detention immediately – end detention both on and offshore
  2. Ensure safe and permanent resettlement for people seeking asylum – including safety net support in the community

Our medium-term aim is for the federal government to accept the NZ offer for resettlement. We have already harnessed the opportunity of Scott Morrison’s visit to NZ in May. And we made sure that Game Over was all over socials, media and on the ground in Queenstown. But we need to keep the pressure on the Australian Government to accept the NZ offer.

What can I do?

Who in your community could join our unlikely allies group?

Map your community to identify who you could ask to show support for this campaign. Check out our activist training guide on Partnerships and Community Mapping or use this Community Mapping Template to get started.

Check with your existing network / action group – Are there people who have links to religious communities, sportspeople and/or artist networks in your area? What about leaders and/or members of ethnic communities? Or health professionals or teachers?

Consider what could be upcoming activities in the next few months where you could reach out to these communities and ask them to support this campaign.

Check out our Game Over resources for the toolkit, template letters and extra resources to reach out to sporting communities.

Mobilising Religious communities to show support

There are key dates coming up where we could reach out and mobilise religious communities to show support. Use local opportunities to speak to these networks about what is happening with refugees in this country. Ask for their support – sign the petition, ask them to write to your local MP, or to attend an upcoming webinar to learn more about our campaign.

Key dates coming up:

  • 15 – 21 March – Harmony Week
  • 21 Mar International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • 28 Mar – Palm Sunday. Theme – Justice and a Fair Go for Refugees. Attend rallies or services in your community and ask people to take action . Find out more here
  • May- Leaders forum in NZ
  • 20-26 June – Refugee Week
  • 19 July – Eight Years Too Long
  • 28 July – 70 Year Anniversary of the Refugee Convention
  • Late August – 20 Year Anniversary of Tampa

Useful Resources and Contacts

For Palm Sunday Resources you will find everything you need on the Australian Refugee Action Network Website

Find all the resources you need to take action on the GameOver resources page including:

Join the National Refugee Network Facebook Group. The National Refugee Network meet on the third Thursday of the month.

Keen to Learn More?

If you’ve ever wondered how Australia became one of the most hostile places on Earth for refugees, explore Temporary, a new project from UNSW’s Kaldor Centre. Temporary tracks the hopes of people living in limbo within our communities – through stories, art, and an eight-episode narrative podcast. This series will help you understand how people survive in spite of a system designed to keep them out.

Useful upcoming training – see more on our Activism Planner

Contact for more information

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Amanda Atlee is the Organising Lead at Amnesty International Australia