August 2011 saw the High Court reject – for now at least – Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s bid to divert asylum seekers to Malaysia.
The month also marked the tenth anniversary of the Tampa affair.
A string of rallies across Australia voiced concerns about detention of refugees, the length of processing periods and the standard of treatment in immigration centres.
I took the accompanying photographs at a rally on August 27.
The rally marked 10 years since former Prime Minister John Howard refused to let the Tampa – a Norwegian freighter carrying refugees whose boat had broken down in international waters – dock on Christmas Island.
The protest was arranged by the Refugee Rights Action Network at the Perth Immigration Detention Centre, a compound on the grounds of Perth’s domestic airport.
I attended as a photojournalist and as a rally participant in support of human rights.
Outside the centre, women, men and children rallied for the rights of refugees.
Inside, refugees stood at the mesh-covered windows holding up photos of the families from whom some had been separated for more than 15 months.
Over the courtyard’s high brick walls other protestors chanted “azadi”, which translates to “freedom” in several languages.