Refugee Welcome Zone
On 17 June 2014, Hobsons Bay City Council signed the Refugee Welcome Zone Declaration, an initiative of the Refugee Council of Australia. The council has a strong history of welcoming refugees into its community and signing the declaration further highlights our continued commitment to welcoming and supporting refugees, upholding human rights and demonstrating compassion for refugees. Council is also committed to raising awareness about the issues affecting refugees and asylum seekers and fostering the culture of mutual respect and appreciation of cultural diversity.
The signing ceremony was held at the Laverton Community Hub and also featured a talent show celebrating the artistic talents of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants living in Hobsons Bay.
Who are refugees?
“Any person who owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his/her nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country” (The Refugee Convention 1967).
What is the difference between refugee, asylum seeker and migrants?
The terms ‘refugee’, ‘asylum seeker’ and ‘migrant’ are often used interchangeably. However, there are important distinctions in their definitions.
A migrant is someone who chooses to leave their country to seek a better life. They choose where they migrate to and they are able to return whenever they like.
Refugees are forced to flee from their country and cannot return unless the situation that forced them to leave improves. Some are forced to flee without any warning; many have experienced torture and trauma. The motivating factor for refugees is safety and protection from persecution and human rights abuse, not economic advantage.
An asylum seeker is a person who is seeking protection as a refugee and is still waiting to have his/her claim assessed. Every refugee has at some point been an asylum seeker.
Myths about refugees and asylum seekers
The circulation of myths and misinformation is one of the biggest barriers to understanding the issues affecting refugees and asylum seekers. Visit Refugee Council of Australia website to read about the myths http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/fact-sheets/myths-about-refugees/quick-mythbuster/