On the 14th of July, the QUT Guild issued an official statement regarding the 120 refugees being held indefinitely at the Kangaroo Point Central Hotel. The refugees being held in the makeshift Kangaroo Point detention facility are in mandatory refugee detention, some for over seven years. Many have been brought to mainland Australia after a medical evacuation for treatment after being held on Nauru.
The statement from the Guild said that, “seeking asylum is not and should not be a crime. Those fleeing persecution and genocide should not be locked up; they should be warmly welcomed into the community.”
At the height of the coronavirus lockdown, community members began rallying to bring attention to the refugees in the Kangaroo Point Central Hotel. This began with exercising around the hotel and scaling up to a full-time blockade with regular mass-demonstrations with Brisbane community members. The aim of this protest is to have the refugees be released into the community after their seven-year ordeal.
The QUT Guild has endorsed the work of Refugee Solidarity Meanjin, standing watch 24/7. The people at the blockade watch for transfer vans and block their path to ensure that refugees are not transferred back to Nauru or BITA, a high-security detention centre.
As well as standing in solidarity with the protestors, the Guild has also called for members of the QUT academic, staff and student community to attend Sunday’s Mass Community Rally. The event, on Sunday the 19th of July from 12:00pm-3:00pm, will aim to protest the indefinite imprisonment of the KP120. The event currently has 2.2k people going or interested on Facebook, and will be attended by a number of QUT Guild Executives.
Liam Blair, Guild Treasurer, has been in attendance at multiple Kangaroo Point community action events. “I’ve been to the blockade maybe 8 times now, and seeing the men lined up along those railings has hit me in a way that other issues haven’t.” He encourages the QUT community to attend this Sunday if they are able to.
QUT Guild Environment Officer, Hannah Smith, supports the people in detention and is calling for them to be released into the community. “Plain and simply, these refugees are people just like us, who want a better life just like us. They have hopes and aspirations and no one deserves to be imprisoned for wanting a better life,” she says. Seren Wyatt, also of the Environment Portfolio, says, “The lottery of your birth should not determine your value, your worth or your future.”
Glass Note: If you do attend the protests, please make sure you are aware of the COVID-19 risk and act accordingly. Bring a mask and where possible, social distance.
Glass media wholeheartedly supports the cause of Refugee Solidarity Meanjin, and join the QUT Guild in calling for the release of the KP120.
Photographs by Hine Tapairu Kahukura (IG: @hine.tap)