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African Community Members Are Afraid to Go Out in Melbourne for Fear of Being Abused

Australia

African Community Members Are Afraid to Go Out in Melbourne for Fear of Being Abused

Growing numbers of Melbourne’s South Sudanese community are choosing to stay home and not go out in fear of ongoing racial abuse and vilification regarding African gang violence.

Federal Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton sparked outage in January when he said Victorians were too afraid to go out because of African crime gangs.

‘People don’t see this in NSW, in Queensland, but the reality is people are scared to go out at restaurants of a night time because they’re followed home by these gangs, home invasions, and cars are stolen,’ Mr Dutton told Sydney radio station 2GB.

Sudanese refugees are now too afraid to eat out or go out in Melbourne because of recent comments by Federal Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton
Melbourne's South Sudanese community are in fear of ongoing racial abuse and vilification regarding African gang violence, according to community leaders

At the time, Victoria’s Chief Commissioner of Police Graham Ashton described reports Victoria was not a safe place to live as ‘complete and utter garbage.’

Hundreds of Victorians also hit back at Mr Dutton by posting images of themselves dining out on Twitter, using the hashtag #Melbournebitesback.

Now, it’s the Sudanese who are too scared to go out, according to Darwin based lawyer and former South Sudanese refugee Maker Mayek.

‘We’ve seen people in Western Australia, in Perth, reporting that they’re being targeted at supermarkets, being called names. People being called the N-word, go back to where you came from,’ he told ABC Radio.

‘If the minister wants someone who is afraid to go out, it is the members of the South Sudanese community now.’

Sudanese refugees are now more wary about where they go to and the time of day, according to Mr Mayek.

He believes it will continue to be a hot topic in lead up to the Victorian state election.

Lawyer and former South Sudanese refugee Maker Mayek acknowledged issues with a small number of African youths behind recent crime incidents in Victoria

‘We’ll be asking the politicians to really consider whether this is something that they should be keep talking about,’ he said.

‘Clearly, it puts a community in harm’s way.’

Mr Mayek acknowledged issues with a small number of youths behind recent incidents in Victoria.

 As a community we do acknowledge there have been issues to do with transition right from the get go, right from the time we arrived in this country,” he told the Brisbane Times on Saturday.

Mr Mayek is the man behind the #africangangs campaign to counter “appalling” media coverage and political comments about the South Sudanese community.

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