Days of significance in August
During August three important events acknowledge the often tragic experiences of people on the move either by force or by choice – the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition (August 23), the rescue of 433 asylum seekers in 2001 by the MV Tampa (August 26), and Refugee and Migrant Sunday (August 31).
August 23 is the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. While the means through which modern and traditional forms of slavery have operated differ greatly, the violation of human rights and human dignity are central issues in both practices, such as proclaimed in the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today, millions of people, primarily women and children, are subjected to this tragic fate, thus underscoring the imperative of all countries to address and prevent the trafficking of persons.
On August 26, 2001 the MV Tampa rescued 433 asylum seekers from a sinking vessel. The Australian government refused entry to its shores and sent troops to prevent disembarkation. The crisis proved to be the catalyst for the so-called ‘border protection’ regime in Australia.
Refugee and Migrant Sunday is celebrated on August 31, 2008 in recognition of the contribution refugees have made to Australia and is held every year in thousands of churches around Australia.
Contact: Carmel Heagerty RSM, Institute Justice Co-ordinator