With the ongoing devastation of the war in the Ukraine and the oppression of women in Afghanistan under the Taliban, it is certainly appropriate for all of us to take a good look at Refugee Week which is approaching conclusion, and see where we, as individuals and as a nation stand.
Amnesty International has described a Refugee as "a person who has fled their own country because they are at risk of serious human rights violations and persecutions there".
There are a hundred million displaced people around the world.
Sadly, Australia's intake is the lowest in 45 years. We still have people incarcerated on Manus and Nauru awaiting proper assessment of their applications for citizenship which would appear to have been lodged in the 'too hard basket'.
These people are described as Asylum Seekers - a slightly different classification describing needy people.
Our new Federal Government and Prime Minister are to be congratulated on their speedy and compassionate rescue of the Murruguppan family from ongoing distress and anxiety.
Hopefully, the process will reach finality before too long.
Last weekend here in Orange, and in Cowra, we were able to host a bus load of Ukrainian refugees who were taking the opportunity to see first hand our wonderful countryside, its possibilities and maybe probabilities for their future.
The gathering at the City Council Chambers was very well attended and lots of practical information was provided. Well done to all the organisers and supporters.
As I've been thinking about this topic, so wide and so deep, I am reminded of a wonderful little book I read some years ago entitled 'The People Smuggler', subtitled 'The True Story of Ali Al Jenabi, the Oscar Schindler of Asia', by Robin de Crespigny.
This book was first published in Australia in 2012 and still makes challenging and inspiring reading 20 years later.
Ali Al Jenahi fled his homeland in Iraq and experienced many trials and tribulations across the world, including attempts to find a new country by boat.
Thomas Kenneally described the book as "an engrossing account of a figure seen by some as saviour and others as criminal".
The Canberra Times wrote at the time of its publication - "Tight, powerful and extremely well written, a book which glories in the strength, courage and compassion of the human spirit".
These virtues are still essential among all those seeking refuge and safety, and especially those in leadership who are able to make and take decisions affecting the lives and futures of so many troubled people.
It would appear that our Immigration Department needs to seek clearer and more humane ways of processing applications to ensure that justice happens sooner rather than later, and people are not compelled to a "no man's land" for years without any resolution in sight.
Historically, our Australian population comes from a wonderfully broad and mixed background with origins right across the world.
Let us continue to welcome newcomers, especially refugees and asylum seekers.
Refugee Week has been described as a time to Educate, Communicate, Celebrate and Reflect.
As the week comes to a close, maybe we can keep these ideas in focus and ensure that our country does its best to welcome and resettle displaced people from around the world.
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