Rally to end refugee detention hits city

·2-min read

Hundreds of human rights protesters have gathered, championing calls to end offshore detention.

Estimates put the crowd at up to 1500 in central Sydney for Sunday's Justice for Refugees rally.

They held signs calling for better treatment of refugees in Australia and abroad, condemning the previous federal government's "cruel" policies.

"We're here today because we need fundamental change," protest organiser and Refugee Action Coalition coordinator Ian Rintoul said.

"Our first demand is for permanent visas for all to end offshore detention. We also need an immediate increase to the Afghan intake and for the Albanese government to rectify the Morrison government's ban on resettlement of refugees from Indonesia."

Mr Rintoul also called for an end to mandatory detention and the closure of all detention centres and for the government to cease boat turnbacks.

The Albanese Labor government intends to continue turning back asylum seekers attempting to reach Australia by boat.

People arriving by boat would still be processed in the same way under a Labor government, Treasurer Jim Chalmers confirmed recently.

"Australians know, and the people smugglers know, that we remain committed to Operation Sovereign Borders," he said.

Kurdish refugee Mostafa "Moz" Azimitabar recently took the federal government to court over claims it acted unlawfully by detaining him inside two Melbourne hotels for 15 months.

Azimitabar was detained on Christmas Island after trying to arrive in Australia by boat in 2013.

He was brought to Australia in November 2019 to receive medical attention under the now-repealed Medevac policy, but instead of being transferred for treatment he was detained at the Mantra Hotel for more than a year, followed by the Park Hotel. He was released on a bridging visa in January 2021.

At least 31 refugees have been released from Australian detention centres in 2022.

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