Refugee Week recognises the contributions refugees make to Australian communities. The following article appeared in The Examiner, clarifying the differences between asylum seeker, refugee and migrant.
18 June 2017, Refugee, asylum seeker – getting the terms right
By Piia Wirsu, The Examiner
Refugee week, launching on Sunday, will put the issues and contributions of refugees into the spotlight.
Despite refugees and migration regularly hitting the headlines, Migrant Resource Centre north chief executive Ella Dixon believes many people confuse the differences between terms like asylum seeker and refugees.
“There’s three categories that people get confused; asylum seeker, refugee and a migrant,” she said.
“An asylum seeker is generally someone who is seeking protection because they have some kind of real founded fear of being persecuted for reasons like race, religion, political opinion or membership of a particular group.
“A refugee on the other hand is a person who has fled persecution, and has sought protection and has been granted refugee status, and that status is provided by the UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees].
“A refugee can be residing in a refugee camp for years and also have the opportunity to return to their home country or wait for resettlement in another country.” Not every asylum seeker will be granted refuge and become a refugee, but every refugee is initially an asylum seeker.
“Just like we do in the disability space, we never say things like ‘disabled person’ anymore, we say ‘people with a disability’, so you describe their situation after you talk about the person,” Ms Dixon said. “[Similarly] ‘a person seeking asylum’ rather than ‘asylum seeker’, even just by the virtue of changing the words around you show different meanings and connotations.
“It’s important that the language we use actually is reflective of what’s going on and not to confuse them because that’s when you start to getting people being labelled, and in a world where all types of migrants at the moment are viewed unfortunately with a level of suspicion it’s really quite important to get the terminology and the language right.”
For more information on Refugee Week visit: www.refugeeweek.org.au
To see the original article by Piia Wirsu published in The Examiner visit: www.Examiner.com.au
At the 2017 Australia Day Ceremony, City of Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten and Deputy Mayor Rob Soward presented the Community Event of the Year Award jointly to the Migrant Resource Centre North and Inveresk Tavern for the ‘Community Kitchen’ in recognition of its outstanding service and contribution to the Launceston community.
Receiving the award were Inveresk Tavern chef Troy Clark, MRCN Chair Jane Douglas and CEO Ella Dixon, and Inveresk Tavern owner Charlie Rayner, with Mayor Albert van Zetten (centre).
Join us at our Last Community Kitchen for 2016, featuring the Sudanese Community:
When: Sunday 18 December 2016, 1-3pm
Where: Inveresk Tavern, 13 Dry St Invermay
A partnership with the Inveresk Tavern, the Community Kitchen project provided six MRC North community groups the opportunity to take turns cooking traditional foods each Sunday, as the local pub turned itself into a local public kitchen.
The vision of the Community Kitchen was to create opportunities for our new migrants to broaden their social and support networks and share their stories through food; raise cross-cultural awareness in the community; and provide an opportunity for the groups to raise funds for their community’s activities.
The six community groups involved are:
- Korean Internation Student Society
- Sudanese Community of Launceston
- Filipino Women and Children’s Group
- Bhutanese Kirat/Buddhist Association of Tasmania
- Bhutanese Community of Tasmania North Inc, and
- (Afghan) Women’s Friendship Group.
The first kitchen opened 3 July 2016, and the original 12-week project was so successful it has been extended to 18 December 2016, with discussions underway to see the project reignited in 2017.
For more information visit the Inveresk Tavern’s Facebook page: @theinveresk
Image credit: The Bhutanese Kirat/Buddhist Association of Tasmania at a Community Kitchen earlier this season. Photo: MRC North.
At the 2016 Launceston Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards, hosted on 22 October 2016, Ella Dixon, CEO of MRC North was presented with the Building Communities Award.
The Award celebrates and recognises the work of business and organisations for their contribution to the broader community, recognising the significant role that MRC North has played in building and expanding Launceston and Northern Tasmania.
In her acceptance speech, Ella recognised the importance and success of long-term settlement as a ‘two-way street’, whereby both those who are arriving as humanitarian entrants alongside the local host community must both embrace and open their hearts and minds to each other. Ella also acknowledged the history of service MRC North has contributed to Launceston and Northern Tasmania over the past 30 years, alongside recognising Launceston for its openness as one of the first Australian council’s to embrace and participate in the Refugee Welcome Zones.
MRC North is thrilled to announce that Grace Williams won a Fellowship to attend the prestigious 6 Degrees Citizen Space Conference in Toronto Canada, hosted by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.
Born in Ghana in West Africa, Grace and her family emigrated to Launceston in 2005 with the support of MRC North through our Settlement Services Program. A current student of Law, Economics and Philosophy at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Grace was an active youth member of the Youth Advisory Group at MRC North, and remains dedicated to encouraging diversity and inclusion.
In addition to the fellowship, Grace also received a $2,000 grant to develop a training program for professionals in the mental health and disability sector to use assistance dogs for therapeutic purposes within Tasmanian communities.
The first course will be held in January 2017. For more information, visit Lead the Way at: www.ltw.com.au.
19 April 2016, video courtesy Southern Cross News Tasmania
The vision of the Heritage Forest Community Garden was to create opportunities for migrants and local Tasmanians to grow and have access to fresh produce, share important life skills, and benefit from onsite training and social enterprise opportunities.
For more information about the Heritage Forest Community Garden, visit Our Projects page.
Bhutanese Celebration of Settlement in Tasmania
Refugee Week is Australia’s peak annual activity to inform the public about refugees and celebrate positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society.
Proudly supported by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, MRC hosted the event Bhutanese Celebration of Settlement in Tasmania to recognise Launceston as the first region in Australia to welcome people from Bhutan under the Humanitarian Settlement Program.
The celebration was hosted in partnership with the Welcome Dinner Project. The Project facilitates interaction and friendships between the newly arrived people and the broader community, using food as the universal language. An offering of one’s self, one’s culture and one’s experiences of life with another can be facilitated through food sharing.
Harmony Day celebrates Australia’s cultural diversity, inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.
MRC North joined a stakeholder group, led by the University of Tasmania and the Tasmanian University Union, to celebrate Harmony Day.
On 20 March 2015, the University campus in Newnham came alive with the sights and sounds of over 20 culturally and linguistically diverse communities. The highlights included an evening of food and cultural performances, and a two-day soccer tournament.
Food, dress, entertainment and learning activities facilitated interaction between community members. The event was an opportunity for existing, new and emerging communities to showcase their culture, build friendships, and establish networks in a festive environment.