BENDIGO refugee activists are coming together on Sunday to call for a more just approach to those seeking asylum in Australia.
Rural Australians for Refugees Bendigo will join central Victorian churches for a candlelight vigil at the St Andrew's Uniting Church forecourt.
RAR Bendigo's vice-chairperson Ken Rookes said the vigil would start at 7pm but would be a rolling event to ensure there weren't too many people gathered at the same time.
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"Palm Sunday has probably been for at least three or four decades a time where people take social justice action," Mr Rookes said.
"There have been different issues but the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers has been front and centre for a number of years.
"Most of us consider what's happening to be unconscionable."
Mr Rookes said the national day of action was calling for permanent visas for all refugees and basic income support for people in the community while their refugee status was assessed.
"Many refugees currently living in Australia are living in a state of limbo," he said. "They don't know whether they will be able to stay permanently.
"That provides a lot of anxiety and uncertainty, especially around employment and education.
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"The permanent recognition of refugee status is important and there's no reason why it shouldn't be given."
Mr Rookes said RAR Bendigo and other groups were also calling for the release of all refugees from detention and an end to offshore processing.
"The way they are being treated is appalling," he said.
"Offshore processing has a huge impact on the mental health of refugees, with being locked up for up to eight years without any knowledge of when you'll be free.
"We do not treat our criminals as badly as we treat asylum seekers.
"They are innocent people who have been persecuted in their homelands and are forced to flee and ask for protection."
Mr Rookes encouraged people to bring a candle and come along to Sunday's vigil.
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