Amnesty International and the Western Bulldogs join forces to be there for refugees

Amnesty International and the Western Bulldogs AFL team are today celebrating World Refugee Week by launching an ongoing partnership to stand up and be there for refugees in our communities.

Ahead of the team’s inaugural Harmony Game this Saturday evening, the Western Bulldogs have become the first major sporting team in Australia to join Amnesty International’s ‘My New Neighbour’ campaign, which calls to expand and improve the Australian Government’s current refugee community sponsorship program.

“Every day communities around Australia welcome new neighbours into their neighbourhoods. Sometimes those new neighbours are refugees and the role communities play in welcoming them so that they can rebuild their lives in safety is crucial,” said Shankar Kasynathan, Refugee Campaigner at Amnesty International Australia.

“The Western Bulldogs play such an important role in their own community in welcoming and providing support to refugees and Amnesty International is so grateful that they have joined with us to support ‘My New Neighbour’.”

Shankar Kasynathan, Refugee Campaigner at Amnesty International Australia.

“The Western Bulldogs play such an important role in their own community in welcoming and providing support to refugees and Amnesty International is so grateful that they have joined with us to support ‘My New Neighbour’.”

Ameet Bains, CEO at the Western Bulldogs said: “We are proud of the great work the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation does in settlement services through the western corridor of Melbourne and Victoria.”

“In particular, the Club’s social inclusion program Ready Settle Go and its sub programs have supported over 20,000 newly arrived migrants and refugees by introducing them to Australian culture and values and promoting wellbeing and social connectedness.”

“We are proud to be partnering with Amnesty International and excited about supporting its ‘My New Neighbour’ campaign, which aligns strongly with the aims of our social inclusion programs.”

Ameet Bains, CEO at the Western Bulldogs

“We are proud to be partnering with Amnesty International and excited about supporting its ‘My New Neighbour’ campaign, which aligns strongly with the aims of our social inclusion programs.”

The community sponsorship model has worked successfully Canada for almost 40 years in, welcoming over 280,000 refugees through the program, in addition to its humanitarian intake.

In contrast, in Australia, the community sponsorship program is capped at only 1,000 places this year and for every privately sponsored refugee, the government takes a space away from our annual humanitarian intake of 13,500.  

“We can see from Canada’s example that the kindness of neighbours can help people who have lost everything to start again. We hope ordinary people across Australia will see the success of this and say, ‘Let’s do our bit and help bring these vulnerable people to safety’,” said Shankar Kasynathan.  

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