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Regional Queensland racism alert

A Toowoomba Diocesan official has spoken of an African refugee family's life of fear amidst "consistent attacks from local residents".

Social Justice Commission executive officer Mark Copland said one of the organisers of a Harmony Day exhibition of African dancing at a local high school told him he "could not sleep last night due to consistent attacks from local residents".

"Last week I visited Mr Joe Macha's house and witnessed the fear that causes young people to go to bed with homework undone and no evening meal," he said. "Both parents work evenings and fear every night for their children's safety whilst at work."

Mr Copland said the family feels the local police have been slow to act. He said that while the initial response of liaison officers was good, the follow up communication has been "quite poor".

Meanwhile Brisbane's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission is preparing to establish a network to write support letters for refugees whose temporary protection visas (TPVs) have expired in the last few months.

The Commission sent a supporting letter to the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) for an Afghani woman, Zahra Alawi, and her family, who were the centre of an Advent refugee campaign the Commission organised in 2002.

The Commission's Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that many refugees will need support from Catholics when their TPVs expire

"These people face the prospect of being rejected for further protection from Australia and being forced to go home to places like Afghanistan," he said.

Harmony Day Celebrations Must Not Gloss Over the Reality of Racism (Social Justice Commission, Diocese of Toowoomba 22/3/04)
Commission Prepares to Support Refugee Appeals (Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Archdiocese of Brisbane 19/3/04)

Diocese of Toowoomba | Social Justice Commission
Catholic Justice and Peace Commission

23 Mar 2004