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January 17, 2011


by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

A large group of asylum seekers from various nationalities detained at Sydney’s Villawood Immigration Detention Centre have expressed their deep concern for the victims of the Queensland floods.

They have painted a large banner which states: “Dear Queenslanders: we asylum seekers are with you in this difficult times with flooding”. They have draped their (280x160cm) banner outside one of the compounds, where it will remain indefinitely.

Iranian detainee and artist Majid Rabet stated: “We really want to contribute to the flood relief effort in any way we can. Many of us come from countries that regularly experience terrible natural disasters and, from the bottom of our hearts, we would like the Australian public to know that we are genuinely willing to participate in the clean-up and re-building”.

Omid Tofighian, an Iranian-Australian who is in regular contact with the asylum seekers, said: “This action is not motivated by a desire to change the outcome of their asylum claims. It is a sincere act of empathy from people who are very familiar with hardship and suffering. The Australian government should put their political attachment to mandatory detention aside and accept their heartfelt offer. At the very least, this would help speed up the recovery operation.”

Photographs or video footage of the banner can be taken from near the intersection of Gurney Rd and Brown St, Chester Hill.

For further information, or interviews please contact Omid Tofighian on 0406 152 024, or Mark Goudkamp on 0422 078 376. Omid is also able to conduct a translated interview with the Iranian and Afghan detainees taking part in this show of solidarity.

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