Student activists at the University of Melbourne will stage a rooftop protest on Tuesday September 13 to voice their opposition to offshore processing and mandatory detention. The protest, organised by the Melbourne University Refugee Action Collective (MURAC), comes as bipartisan support for offshore processing faces a crisis of legitimacy following the High Court ruling against the Malaysia Solution. The activists are hoping to build on the momentum of the high court victory and the ensuing divisions in the Labor Government to mount a campaign against the policy of offshore processing in its entirety.
According to MURAC spokesperson Louise O'Shea, "The defeat of the Malaysia Solution represents an enormous step forward for the refugee movement, a victory that has put supporters of refugee rights on the front foot against the Gillard Government's continuation of offshore processing."
"The ruling has removed any claim that the deportation of human beings to offshore detention can be humane. Australia must now meet its humanitarian obligations by welcoming refugees onshore.
"The Melbourne University Refugee Action Collective calls for an end to mandatory detention, to the policy of detaining vulnerable people in facilities likened by Professor Patrick McGorry to 'factories for mental illness'", said O'Shea. "That Gillard and Bowen have shamelessly disregarded both the High Court decision and the overwhelming public opposition to the Malaysia deal by seeking to rewrite the Migration Act demonstrates that the real fight against mandatory detention has only just begun.
"We will show our solidarity with the refugees who have so courageously disrupted the smooth operation of the mandatory detention system through their rooftop protests by holding our own protest atop a university building this Tuesday.
"We will continue to mobilise against the Labor Government until every refugee is released from detention.", O'Shea said. Refugee activists will hold an additional protest outside the offices of Serco, the private company operating Australia's Immigration Detention Centers, on Friday 16 September at 12:30pm.
The Melbourne University Refugee Action Collective is a campus-based refugee activist group. It describes itself as "a diverse coalition of students united in opposition to the inhumane treatment asylum seekers receive at the hands of the Australian government".
The details of the campus roof-top protest are:
Time/date: 12pm, Tuesday 13 September
Place: Grassy area outside Alice Hoy Building near the Eastern Resource Center, University of Melbourne Parkville campus.