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World Refugee Day 2004: Australia

World Refugee Day 2004: Australia

20 June 2004


A group of volunteers in Brisbane coordinated a website of World Refugee Day events taking place around Australia, including information on UNHCR.

World Refugee Day materials were sent to over 400 organisations including schools, community organisations, NGOs, migrant resources centres, government offices and various advocacy groups.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra dedicated its performance at the Sydney Opera House on 20 June to "the resilience and courage of refugees around the world" by reading out a short statement.

UNHCR held a World Refugee Day event at Parliament House in Canberra and launched a high school writing competition on "Refugees: Telling their Stories". The Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs spoke on the theme, "A Place to Call Home". About 80 representatives from the government, NGOs and high schools attended.

Sydney Girls High School organised "Live like a Refugee for a Day", designed to help students learn about the hardships endured by refugees, which raised money for Australia for UNHCR's Afghan shelter programme.

Australia for UNHCR hosted a breakfast in Sydney for more than 300 guests. Special guests included the New South Wales Governor.

Community events around the country included:

Schools staged various events on refugee issues, displayed posters, held discussion groups and special assemblies, invited speakers, read stories and wrote articles for newsletters. Some schools also held fundraising events.

A number of local government areas declared themselves "A Refugee Welcome Zone". The Field of Hearts installation was held at over 20 locations across Australia.

Rallies, art shows, film screenings, candlelight vigils, concerts and other events took place. Various church groups hosted Masses across the country.

The "Flotilla of Hope", a group of boats, set sail for Nauru from Sydney.

Rural Australians for Refugees held tree planting days, symbolically providing safe havens for refugees to put down roots.

Amnesty International's "Daybreak in detention" protested in 50 locations around Australia against the government's mandatory detention policy.