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Thousands of voices call for justice: reflections and activities

Michele Frankeni  |  06 June 2018

On Palm Sunday, thousands of people marched in Australian streets calling for justice for refugees. Read the article Thousands of voices call for justice in the 2018 Winter edition of Australian Catholics and take part in the various activities and reflections.

Share your answers in pairs, groups or with the class.


  1. As at 31 May 2016, 1570 people were held in closed immigration detention facilities in Australia. How many asylum seekers were detained in Australian-funded Offshore Processing Centres in Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea (including how many children)?
  2. The number of boat movements across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen from 2009 to 2013 totalled 406,511. Over the same period, boat movements across the Mediterranean Sea to Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain totalled 189,432. How many boat arrivals has Australia (excluding crew) received since January 2009?
  3. The top five countries for refugees under UNHCR’s mandate as at December 2015 were Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. Which five countries host the largest number of refugees? Hint: Australia is 46th in the list.
  4. Name the five types of forcibly displaced persons.


Early this year Pope Francis spoke on the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees affirming that the shared response to refugees ‘may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate’.

Discuss in class what you think those four verbs mean when it comes to refugees, and how individuals and groups such as your class can welcome, protect, promote and integrate.

How do you welcome new people into your class? Do you appoint someone to befriend them and help them get to know the place?

Think about programs you can develop to welcome strangers in your midst. These can be for newcomers to your class or school, or programs to support refugees and asylum seekers.

What would you miss the most if you had to live in another country? Is it a food, a sport or activity, family gatherings or a place? Why did you choose that particular thing?

For younger students

Did you know Jesus was a refugee? When he was only a few days old, Joseph, Mary and Jesus had to flee to Egypt to escape King Herod. He knew what it was like to grow up in a strange country where they spoke different languages and had different customs.

If there are those in your class who speak different languages ask them to teach you a simple sentence. If you visit another country, knowing how to say please and thank you in the language of that country is just good manners. 

References for questions:

UN World Refugee Day:

Refugee Council of Australia:

Message from Pope Francis:



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