Decision that will see asylum seekers sent back to Nauru sparks protest in Tuncurry

A HIGH Court decision that will see 267 asylum seekers returned to a Nauru detention centre was the catalyst for a protest by the Great Lakes Rural Australians for Refugees group on Monday morning.

About 20 members of the group gathered at Tuncurry’s Memorial Park’s Peace Pole with signs bearing slogans such as “No babies behind barbed wire” and “Don’t send them back – people are precious.”

Group co-ordinator Kath Smith said the protest was about “raising awareness.”

“We are not going to change the minds of politicians until we change the minds of the masses,” she said.

The highly visible protest was just one course of action the group had taken since the High Court threw out a challenge to the legality of the Federal Government’s Nauru immigration detention centre on Wednesday, February 3.

The group has also sent letters to the leaders of the opposition and government emphasising their “deep concerns” about the current immigration policies and their impact on asylum seekers. 

In addition to this, the group has circulated a petition calling on the government not to return the 267 refugees back to Nauru.

Immediate points of concern for members of the Great Lakes RAR included the 267 men, women and children being sent back to Nauru, 

Kath said the local event was part of a wave of protests across the country aimed at a “more compassionate” solution to the asylum seeker crisis.

“If people start objecting loudly and frequently, they notice,” Kath said of politicians.

“This is a moral issue and a human rights issue.” 

The group will now host a Forum of Concern regarding the treatment of asylum seekers on Saturday February 13 at the Catholic Parish Hall at 2pm.

Anyone looking for more information is encouraged to visit the Great Lakes RAR website at 

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