19 June 2020
Celebrating Refugee Week: 14-20 June
Refugee Week offers an important opportunity for us all to listen, learn, and gain a greater understanding of individual refugee experiences and the challenges refugee communities face on their journey to Australia and during settlement.
It is also a time for us to celebrate the contributions people from refugee backgrounds make to our local communities, and to CMY’s work. Our amazing regional team in Ballarat has been celebrating Refugee Week with a series of videos from some incredible young people involved in CMY’s work.
Visit the CMY Ballarat Facebook page at the link below to hear the stories of Luna, Thablay, Eddie, Harrison, Hsay, Nan Da San and Nyagak. Thank you to all of the young people who have opened up and shared their stories with us.
Watch the Refugee Week “This is my story…” videos here
In 2019, Victoria welcomed more than 1,110 young people (12-24 years) from refugee and humanitarian backgrounds. These young people came largely from Iraq, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria and Afghanistan. (Source)
As a result of COVID-19, the number of young refugees we welcome in 2020 is likely to be much smaller, with refugee resettlement effectively suspended for the time being. The UNHCR is unlikely to be able to reach its goal, outlined in the UNHCR three-year resettlement strategy, of resettling 70,000 refugees in 2020. (Source)
This means that more than 10 million refugee children and young people currently displaced around the world will be facing an even longer wait to find permanent resettlement options. At a time of heightened global health and security uncertainty this will be an increasingly anxious time where health and safety are going to be paramount and disruptions to daily life is likely to increase. (Source)
Thinking of the uncertainty young refugees around the world are facing, this Refugee Week, alongside welcoming and connecting with young people from refugee backgrounds here in Victoria, we also want to encourage everyone to connect with those around the world by extending the hand of welcome and supporting young refugees through their businesses, art, stories, activism and many other forms wherever they might be across the world.
World Refugee Day (20 June) marks the end of Refugee Week, and this year’s theme ‘Every Action Counts’ couldn’t be more relevant. With the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent global protests against racism, it is a timely reminder of the role that each and every one of us must play in fighting for a more inclusive, just and equal world, where no one is left behind.