The Refugee Advice and Casework Service, a community legal centre with expertise in refugee law, would like to publicly acknowledge the incredible support that Canterbury Girls High School has given us and the people we help.

In March 2014, funding for legal support was removed for most people seeking protection, so RACS decided to set up a free service which aims to provide as many people as possible with legal advice and guidance through the onerous Fast Track Process.

The project is currently supporting 1500 people’s legal needs. Every Monday and Wednesday night, volunteer lawyers, volunteer interpreters and volunteer legal students assist people with 3 hours of legal advice. The community support is mind boggling.

Despite this ongoing work, we have a massive waiting list of people who are desperate for some kind of legal assistance. Without expert advice and support they stand little chance of successfully navigating the Fast Track Protection visa process.

In an effort to reduce the size of the waiting list, and with Department of Immigration deadlines looming, this Saturday, we have, once again, called on our dedicated team of volunteer lawyers, interpreters and legal students.

From 8 o’clock this Saturday at Canterbury Girls High School, we will start our Statement Taking Blitz with the help of 90 volunteers.

Canterbury Girls is a leader in supporting social justice in the community. The Principal, Sue Holden, did not hesitate to offer us enough rooms for 60 people to discuss their claims for protection.

This day would not be possible without the incredible support we receive from volunteers:

• 10 girls from Canterbury Girls High School will be making sure no one gets lost

• 40 volunteer interpreters from the Tamil community and other communities members have gone above and beyond by offering to spend hours on a Saturday volunteering to interpret.

• 40 volunteer lawyers, who believe in the importance of human rights for all , will be drafting statements outlining why people fled their home countries and why they fear returning.

We are also incredibly grateful to the amazing staff of RACS, who are giving up their precious weekend to get as many people as possible access to vital legal help.

This truly is an amazing example of community in action. I feel honoured to be part of this incredible undertaking and grateful to our wonderful supporters for their time, energy and passion for human rights.

TJV

 

 

 

Tanya Jackson-Vaughan
Executive Director