Links to Organisations We Work With
Bathurst Regional Council
Our group continues to liaise with Council whenever an opportunity presents itself. In May 2015 Council included an event organised by BRSG – performances by visiting by Kachin and Karen communities of Sydney – in the Bicentennial Celebrations. It has supported BRSG in honouring some of our guest speakers with a mayoral reception. And most years it makes a donation under Section 356.
Charles Sturt University
For several years CSU has generously supported BRSG in providing a venue and publicity for guest speaking events on refugee issues.
RAFAS (Rural Australians for Asylum Seekers, Bathurst)
RAFAS hosts respite weekends in Bathurst for families who are seeking asylum, in conjunction with Sydney’s House of Welcome. These weekends are intended to give a warm welcome to the families, allow them to engage with the community, and to get a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
RAFAS also runs events to raise awareness about refugee issues and raises funds for the House of Welcome in Sydney, such as the Welcome Project music festival which has run the past two years in Bathurst.
RAFAS also engages politically to advocate for a humane asylum policy which upholds Australia’s obligations under the Refugee Convention and respects human rights, including an end to mandatory and indefinite detention.
RAFAS works closely with the Bathurst Refugee Support Group to promote our mutual goals.
BINC (The Neighbourhood Centre), Bathurst
The Neighbourhood Centre is a not-for-profit, incorporated community organisation originally formed in 1976 to provide a variety of community welfare services to people in the Bathurst Regional Council area, and one of them is its Migrant Support Service. The Bathurst Refugee Support Group is regularly in touch with BINC’s manager and also its migrant support worker about refugee issues.
STARTTS (NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors)
STARTTS is a specialist, non-profit organisation that for the past 25 years has provided culturally appropriate and cutting edge psychological treatment and support to help people heal the scars of torture and refugee trauma and rebuild their lives in Australia.
The Bathurst Refugee Support Group has had an ongoing partnership with STARTTS for several years. During that time, group members have enjoyed several training sessions provided by STARTTS. The Bathurst Refugee Support Group also regularly hosts groups of former refugees living in Sydney referred by STARTTS for respite at the Kath Knowles House of Welcome.
House of Welcome, Sydney
The House of Welcome’s vision is for a society in which there is full recognition of the dignity, equality, human rights and humanity of all people living in the community no matter their age, gender, sexuality, nationality or religious affiliation, and no matter how they came to be in Australia.
The House of Welcome seeks to welcome, shelter, and empower asylum seekers and refugees and aspires to provide client-centred holistic supports that nurture hope, advocate for justice and promote self-reliance, while acknowledging the dignity and championing rights of each individual.
The House of Welcome provides transitional housing, financial and emergency assistance, no-interest loans, advocacy and casework support, community activities, material aid and skills development courses to community-based asylum seekers at risk of homelessness and destitution.
The House of Welcome campaigns with other asylum seeker organisations across Australia for the right to work for all asylum seekers, for an end to mandatory detention and for a nation of welcome and justice for all.
The Bathurst Refugee Support Group provides short-term respite accommodation for small groups of asylum seekers living in Sydney referred by the Welcome House in Sydney and looked after by members of RAFAS while in Bathurst.
Asylum Seekers Centre
The Asylum Seekers Centre in Sydney is a place of hospitality and welcome. It is an oasis for many people, a safe place for those who have fled situations of great danger.
- Accommodation, Legal, Financial Support
- Employment Assistance Service
- Health Service
- Education, Social and Material Support Service
Over the years the Asylum Seekers Centre has referred individual asylum seekers to the Bathurst Refugee Support Group for short- or long-term support in spending a limited time or settling in Bathurst for good.
Mercy Works Inc.
Mercy Works partners with communities to promote justice, self-reliance and to support displaced people.
Mercy Works works with communities who are denied access to basic human needs such as education, health care and social welfare.
Mercy Works also provides Refugee Support through their Mercy Connect volunteer program launched in 2008 which recruits, trains and supports volunteers to assist school students and their families settling in Australia. After training, the volunteers offer guidance to students as they settle into the Australian school system. They provide support that nurtures well-being and self esteem.
The Bathurst Refugee Support Group has been supporting Mercy Works Inc. through occasional donations for their work with refugees in Australia.
Edmund Rice Centre
The Edmund Rice Centre is involved in a range of projects and activities across the four areas of its operation in research, community education, advocacy and networking. The Centre’s projects and activities in relation to refugees include:
- Providing help and support for Asylum Seekers and Refugees.
- Fostering and advancing the cause of asylum seekers and refugees.
- Promoting and furthering the Congregation in its works on behalf of the needy and the disadvantaged.
- Assisting persons who are experiencing financial disadvantage by reason of their circumstances.
The Centre’s director, Phil Glendenning, has visited Bathurst several times over the past years to speak at community awareness raising events initiated or organised by the Bathurst Refugee Support Group.
Refugee Council of Australia
The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) is the national umbrella body for refugees and the organisations and individuals who support them. It has more than 200 organisational and over 900 individual members.
Formed in November 1981, RCOA is a non-profit, non-government organisation registered as an incorporated association in the Australian Capital Territory. It is funded through contributions from its members and by project grants from philanthropic bodies and government agencies. The priority activities for RCOA are set by its members, as represented by an elected Board.
The Bathurst Refugee Support Group has supported RCOA’s work through occasional donations.
It has also successfully invited the CEO of the Refugee Council as well as its director as guest speakers at awareness raising events in Bathurst.
RAR (Rural Australians for Refugees)
RAR is an informal national network of regional groups supporting and advocating for asylum seekers and refugees.
The Bathurst Refugee Support Group is part of this network and has a page on the recently established RAR website.
Julian Burnside AO QC is an Australian barrister who practises principally in commercial litigation, trade practices and administrative law. He is also a human rights and refugee advocate, and author.
Australian Human Rights Commission
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations on 10 December 1948, sets out the basic rights and freedoms that apply to all people. Drafted in the aftermath of World War Two, it has become a foundation document that has inspired many legally-binding international human rights laws.
The Australian Government has agreed to uphold and respect many of these human rights treaties, and the Australian Human Rights Commission has a responsibility to monitor Australia’s performance in meeting its international human rights commitments.
The Commission also has an important role to play at the UN. Amongst many other things, it regularly provides independent reports that track how Australia is doing in meeting its human rights obligations and what improvements could be made.
The Bathurst Refugee Support Group supports the work done by the Australian Human Rights Commission. It recently had the privilege of having its president, Prof. Gillian Triggs, visit Bathurst for a public lecture initiated by BRSG on Australia’s key human rights obligations in relation to asylum seekers and refugees, where she discussed the impacts of closed immigration detention and provided an update on the Commission’s National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention.
Amnesty International is a global movement of over 7 million people committed to defending those who are denied justice or freedom. It’s funding comes from its members. It is independent of any political ideology, economic interest or religion.
Amnesty’s work also includes upholding the rights of people seeking asylum across the world as millions of people around the world have no choice but to flee their homeland to escape war, genocide, torture and persecution.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people.
Australia for UNHCR