The BallinaByron Declaration
Ballina Region for Refugees (BR4R) has been supporting refugees and asylum seekers since 2016, through friendship, financial assistance, advocacy and awareness raising.
Our supporters come from across the Ballina and Byron Shires, and we have links with similar groups throughout the Northern Rivers. We also have close working relationships with many groups across Australia including the Asylum Seekers Resources Centre (ASRC), Manus Lives Matter, Dawn Barrington (WA based advocate), Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR) and Brisbane Onshore Arrivals Group.
The tragic events associated with the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan have led us to sponsor two Afghan families to obtain Australian visas. One family, still in Afghanistan, is in grave danger from the Taliban. We are also supporting locally based film Director, Benjamin Gilmour, who is seeking assistance to complete visa applications for a further 50 musicians, actors and film crew still in Afghanistan.
As members of the Ballina Byron communities (Refugee Welcome Zones) and the Northern Rivers Region, we call for Australia to show compassion and generosity towards our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan. Right now, many Afghan people are living in fear of torture and death.
This humanitarian disaster is affecting many people, especially ethnic or religious minorities, those who are advocates for women’s rights, those who assisted the Australian intervention in Afghanistan and those involved in the arts and journalism. We know that people are being threatened, intimidated and assaulted. We dread the impending likelihood of systematic torture and murder.
We consider that Australia has a moral obligation to assist. Australians fought and died in Afghanistan for twenty years and we must honour this sacrifice by offering assistance to people who are now at great risk.
We have a proud history of helping in times of crisis. Australia accepted 70,000 Vietnamese refugees when that war ended, 42,000 Chinese refugees after the Tiananmen Square massacre, and 12,000 Syrian refugees during their civil war.
In August, Australia evacuated about 4,000 Afghan people who had links to Australia. However, more, much more, needs to be done.
We call on the Australian Government to provide a minimum of 20,000 humanitarian visas to Afghans as a matter of urgency.
The time to act is now. We must not turn our backs on Afghanistan.
Please fill in the support form below
When we have 1,000 names we will forward this declaration
and these names to the Australian government.
I support the BallinaByron Declaration
Thank you for your support
Many BR4R members and supporters, including the Alstonville Social Justice Group, entered in the national Kilometres of Compassion event.
Most were involved with a 5km walk and some doing a Ride4Refugees of over 25km
This was a fundraiser for Asylum Seekers Resource Centre (ASRC).
The ASRC, based in Footscray, provides aid, justice and empowerment programs to over 1000 asylum seekers living in the community seeking refugee protection
Nationally, ASRC has raised over $ 173,000
Our Ballina group raised over $ 8,000 … well done all those involved.
Below are some photos from the day. The weather wasn’t always perfect.
Response to Afghanistan Crisis
(Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia)
CRSA has written to federal and state governments asking them to fast track the launch of a community sponsorship program that to support a new special intake of Afghan refugees, and we are busy spreading the word through traditional and social media.
BR4R is supporting this initiative and would like your help. You can help in 2 ways …
- by donating funds to finance the travel costs and resettlement of these refugees. You can do that via our Donation page.
- by writing to your local federal MP letting them know that you support calls for a special intake of Afghan refugees above our current humanitarian quota, and that ordinary Australians are ready, willing and able to help if a new sponsorship program is put in place. If you belong to one of our mentor groups, you can share your insights from that experience.
If you’re interested in being involved in a future sponsorship program with BR4R let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep Up To Date
why is BR4R necessary?
Unfortunately, for many years, the Australian government of the day, whether Liberal or Labor, has decided to harshly treat people seeking asylum and use them for political advantage.
This has been perpetrated under the guise of protecting our borders and preventing deaths at sea.
It has resulted in the persecution and incarceration of desperate men, women & children and a concerted effort to demonise these people to garner as many votes as possible.
This treatment is inhumane and a violation of International agreements of which Australia is a signatory.
Organisations such as BR4R campaign to change this attitude and support refugees and those seeking asylum whether they are onshore or offshore.
what does br4r do?
BR4R works on many fronts.
We advocate for refugees and people seeking asylum
We support them financially and with essential items
We communicate with them
We raise funds to enable this to happen
How does BR4R advocate?
We raise awareness via
organising and attending rallies and other public events
letter writing to politicians and the newspapers
talks at schools and other groups
information stalls at markets
film information nights
How does BR4R support refugees?
BR4R supports refugees and people seeking asylum mainly through our Homestay Project and Nauru Friendship Group.
The Homestay Project provides respite for refugees in the community by providing stays with hosts in the Ballina Region. Many refugees are located in city areas and a short break in a regional area such as Ballina is a psychological boost for them as well as demonstrating that there are many Australians who care about their wellbeing and value their contribution to the community.
The Nauru Friendship Group communicates with those held on Nauru, forming friendships and links to assist in their ability to cope. The group also sends essential items such as clothing, personal care items and food.
Funds are also sent via various people and agencies to both Manus Island and Nauru for such things as medical needs, food, clothing, phone credit, legal aid etc.
BR4R’s goal is to promote the acceptance and integration of refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia, by thinking globally and acting locally.
We do this via four main strategies:
- Direct Support
- Awareness Raising
- Community Engagement
- Fundraising & Administration.
You can help
(click on the event for more information)