Australians show support for refugees with touching chalk messages

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Source: Mashable

Pouring rain may have kept the chalk from the sidewalk, by Sydneysiders found other ways to share their support for refugees Sunday.

June 19 to 25 is Australia’s Refugee Week, and the festivities kicked off with a “Chalk Your Support” event at Sydney Town Hall, where attendees were encouraged to share messages of hope and welcome to those seeking a new life in the country.

   

Australia’s policy of placing asylum seekers who have tried to reach the country by boat, among others, in offshore processing centres on Manus Island and Nauru came under particular criticism. Amnesty International has called the policy illegal.

“Mandatory offshore detention is not only illegal but harmful to the health and well-being of the hundreds of people stuck in centres like Manus and Nauru,” Amnesty International refugee coordinator Graham Thom said in April. The government has argued a hardline approach is necessary to stop the people-smuggling trade.

Refugee advocates call for those housed offshore to be brought to mainland Australia while their asylum applications are processed and the camps closed.

A number of messages Sunday referenced a particularly pertinent line from Australia’s national anthem: “For those who’ve come across the seas; We’ve boundless plains to share.” For many, that’s an Australian value worth remembering more often.