OUR SAY: Humanising and celebrating the stories of refugees

EVERYONE deserves the opportunity to live in peace, without fear of persecution. 

And everyone deserves access to food, fresh water and shelter. 

But for thousands of people around the world, the human rights we take for granted are a luxury they go without.

Today marks the start of international Refugee Week, a week to raise awareness and promote understanding of why people flee their home country and seek refuge in other nations. 

These nations may be on the other side of a chaotic border crossing or at the end of journey fraught with risk on the other side of the world.

But Refugee Week is also about celebrating the contributions refugees make to their adopted community once they find a haven.

For this community it should be a time for recognition and a time to appreciate the people who were once refugees and who have now made Orange their home.

Residents who attended yesterday’s Winter Afternoon Bush Dance would have heard a very personal inspiring accounts of how some of our Sudanese residents became refugees and the long journey to safety here.

The sharing of these personal stories helps to demystify the refugees who have made new lives here and expose the ignorance and prejudice which surrounds their treatment at the hands of Australian governments in recent times. 

There should be more of these events, more opportunities for people from other nations to share their experiences with us and help humanise the story of the refugee.

They are stories all Australians should be familiar with, not least those among our country’s political leadership who seem ignorant of the personal stories behind the rhetoric of numbers and the sheer extent of the global problem of which our share is small.

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