Remembering Australia’s Next National Shame: The Death of Reza Barati

This Friday at Kidogo Art Institute, Refugee Rights Action Network and The Greens WA will host a memorial. It is a memorial for Reza Barati, the young Kurdish asylum seeker murdered in Manus Island’s detention centre three years ago. But it is also a memorial for those suffering and perishing from the very same immigration policy today, and those who will be in years to come.

The evening will be spent considering harrowingly poetic articles of ‘love, loss and survival’ dedicated from living refugees in detention to their maligned friends and fellow prisoners. It will be spent commiserating all those who have died ‘behind and beyond the fences’, and those still waiting behind them. Many of these commemorations will be read and delivered by members of the Hazara, Iranian, Tamil and other affected communities, and by writers of ‘Hidden Voices From Australia’s Human Dumping Grounds.’

The hosts official objective for the commemoration is to call for:

  • those who have been forcibly exiled to Manus and Nauru to be brought back to Australia 

  • an end to mandatory detention

  • an end to TPVs and reinstatement of permanent protection visa

  • an end to turning people back at the border

  • an increase in humanitarian intake, including resettlement of people in limbo in Indonesia

The evening will be hosted by The Greens WA in partnership with the Refugee Rights Action Network, and supported by First Home Project and Art of Humanity. The hosts would also like to acknowledge the event will be held on Whajuk Nyoongar land- especially pertinent given the vast accounts of Aboriginal deaths in custody. These, too, will be remembered.

Since their inception, Refugee Rights Network have dedicated themselves to protesting mandatory detention. They have encouraged Western Australian’s to welcome asylum seekers into the community, and have criticized the Australian Government for its inhumane rejection of this perspective. RRAN offer bus trips to detention centres, fundraise to send dictionaries to asylum seekers in detention, and have in the past attempted to expose the conditions that people in detention live under to local media outlets.

The Greens WA are noted for their A Better Way 2017 campaign for asylum seekers, in which they envision all children and their families removed from detention centres both at home and offshore immediately. They aim to save $2.9 billion in closing down Manus Island and Nauru, and abolishing the practice of offshore detention. They aim to give $500 million to assessment and support organisations in order to speed up the process of settlement.

The Refugee Rights Action Network writes:

Reza was not the first nor last person to die in the custody of the Immigration Department; his death was only made visible due to the courage of his friends who spoke out about the violence that they witnessed and experienced.”

On Friday, we emulate this courage.

You can access the Facebook event for Reza Barati’s memorial here:

Words From And Words For: Poetry Night

And the various pages for affiliated organisations here:


Hidden Voices from Australia’s Human Dumping Grounds:

The Greens: Refugee policy

His Name was Reza Barati: