On Thursday October 8 ANU students once again rallied in Union Court demanding that offshore refugee detention centres Nauru and Manus Island be closed and for an end to Australia’s boat turn back policy.
The group of around 20 students met in union chanting for Mr Turnbull to ‘stop the rapes, close Nauru’ before marching through the streets of the city and to The Department of Immigration and Border Protection in Braddon.
Students entered the building in protest before they were driven out by a large number of police who turned up at the scene in two large police vans shortly after the students arrived.
The rally comes after the story has come to light of a 23 year old woman being held on Nauru is begging Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to let her come to Australia for an abortion after falling pregnant as a result of being raped in the detention centre.
Geraldine Fela, activist with the ANU Refugee Action Committee, the group organising the rally said that they are hoping ‘to put pressure on the department and the government, let them know that many students think the current policy must end’.
‘Manus and Nauru must be closed and refugees welcomed to Australia’ she stated.
On Wednesday 11, university students were arrested in Sydney after staging a sit-in at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in protest of the ongoing rapes and assaults against refugees being held on Nauru.
According to Transfield Services there have been 33 formal allegations of rape or sexual assault inside the detention centre on Nauru between September 2012 and April 2015.
Erima Dall from the Campus Refugee Action Collective, Sydney University said ‘Malcolm Turnbull has made addressing domestic violence a feature of his government, but if he is concerned about violence inflicted against women then he must end the violence against refugees in the government’s care. He must close Nauru and bring refugees into the Australian community. Anything less is sheer hypocrisy.’
Fela said that the arrests of the students in Sydney, while being wrong, showed that ‘students can respond quickly and passionately to situations as they develop. In this case, the immigration department’s refusal to grant a victim of rape and abortion’.
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