Palm Sunday 2024

The IEU is proud to attend the Palm Sunday Rally and March for Peace every year. This year’s rally called for peace not war; and permanent visas for all refugees.

Addressing the crowd, young refugee Ada read a passionate personal message to federal governments past and present. Ada was just six years old when her family embarked on a dangerous boat trip, miraculously surviving. Ada and her family reached Christmas Island and were taken to a detention centre. When she was 12, Ada was medevacked to Sydney’s Westmead Hospital.

From age 14, Ada was supported by the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group throughout high school. She has recently finished her HSC but the pathway to university or TAFE is blocked by the prohibitive cost – refugees are counted as international students, who pay high fees.

Human rights advocate and former Socceroo Craig Foster

Human rights advocate and former Socceroo Craig Foster addressed the crowd, reiterating that there are still 10,000 refugees who need permanent visas and who remain captive within our society. “The door between incarceration, imprisonment, indefinite detention and freedom is illusory,” Foster said. “It is just a piece of paper. It is a stroke of a pen.”

Foster also reminded us that “we are a beautiful, multicultural nation and we should be the model for the world as to upholding basic human rights, humanitarian law, and international law”.

“Seeking asylum is a human right,” Foster said. “Let’s go forwards and make sure we give human rights to all refugees.”

The General Secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association, Shaye Candish, was the final speaker, leaving us with a powerful message to reflect upon: “We need to wrap our support around them [refugees] as they navigate a new life in Australia and begin a long journey to healing. The power of kindness can never be underestimated, especially for those who experienced so much pain.”

Palestinian activist, leadership coach and author Reem Burrows

Other speakers included Aunty Rhonda Dixon-Grosvenor who gave a beautiful Welcome to County, Sister of St Joseph Susan Connelly, Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seeker Thamilselvan Selvakumar and Palestinian activist, leadership coach and author Reem Burrows.

IEU members and friends

Katie Camarena