Australian teachers are taking part in two days of activities to support the rights of refugees in the country. The Australian government has a policy of deporting refugees to camps on off shore islands Nauru, Manus and Christmas Island, where the conditions are often inhuman. People live in tents under blistering heat and there are few basic services. Pediatricians say that children as young as seven have attempted suicide. One father described his toddler playing with cockroaches because there were 'no other toys.'

To make matters worse, the government takes refugee children who are being educated in Australia, or have recently been born there and deports them with their families.

Teachers are holding school-based activities on February 10 and 11, including displaying banners saying 'Let Them Stay', 'Close the Camps' and 'Education not Detention' and taking part in demontrations. Tens of thousands of people took part in protests all over Australia yesterday. As one teacher in Melbourne put it:

Just as no one should be sent offshore, those still stuck on Nauru and Manus should be brought to Australia. The politicians fail badly at maths when the billions of dollars spent isolating and abusing refugees on Manus and Nauru isn’t spent on our schools and resettling refugees in the community.

Teachers say that there are many children in school in Australia who are terrified of being sent to the islands. Just as some churches offer sanctuary to refugees, the teachers say that schools should be places of sanctuary too.