The Griffith branch of the Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR) led a passionate demonstration on Banna Ave Thursday, calling for change to Australia's inhumane policy on asylum seekers and refugees.
"People who came here to seek asylum are treated as 'illegals' and put into detention for extended periods of time and not given the compassion or respect that we would expect here," Phil Clarke of the Griffith RAR said.
"I understand the politics but the Australian government has it wrong. We need to say these people are human beings and they have rights."
LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Simple act by government can help mental health of residents
December 10 marks United Nations Humans Rights Day and despite the current federal government's 'disappointing' policy, Australia was instrumental in shaping one of the most important documents of the 21st Century.
"Today is the 72nd anniversary of the United Nations declaring the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," Mr Clarke said.
"It was guided through the United Nations by Australia's own Herbert Vere Evert who was the secretary general of the United Nations at the time.
"So we have got to be proud that an Australian was so instrumental then but perhaps we shouldn't be quite so proud these days."
Griffith teacher Anthony Catanzariti showed his support Thursday hoping to see more compassion and humanity toward people that he says 'have done nothing wrong'.
"These people are looking to us and our way of life thinking that we might be able to offer them a home and it's disappointing that our government seems to dragging the chain on an important cause."
"I'd like to see our local council to advocate more strongly for people that are looking for a home especially because we have so much employment here in Griffith."
The Griffith Salvation Army works closely with refugees in the Griffith community and Major Lyne Cathcart says that the attitude the government is 'totally wrong' and needs to change.
"The people I am working with now are those who arrived by boat," Major Cathcart said.
"Just because these people were desperate enough to do anything to get out of the situation they were in, they are treated like criminals. And it is just wrong, totally wrong.
"The true story is that these are young men who in desperation for their life, have made a very dangerous trip on a boat trying to get a new life for themselves and their family."