Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been condemned for his comments about South Sudanese Australians and crime in a new video distributed by Melbourne’s Anglican church.
The Please Stop, three minute video released on Friday features eight members of Victoria’s South Sudanese community and details the impacts – including suicides and discrimination – of recent political commentary about African gangs.
“Now when I’m walking with my friends people think I am in a gang,” a teen girl says.
“We are not criminals.”
One woman says several young girls have killed themselves over the commentary, which flared in January and has been an ongoing hot-button issue.
Another woman says she has been insulted on the street and called names.
“We are frightened to go out because our Prime Minister has condemned us,” a man says.
“We came from a country where our leaders traded in fear, we did not expect that here.”
The video ends with the participants pleading “Malcolm Turnbull, please take your words back”.
Anglican Bishop Philip Huggins has loudly condemned the political debate over crime in Victoria and last month said he was aware of four recent attacks on South Sudanese young people by “non-Africans” that have resulted in a death, a suicide and life-threatening injuries.
Mr Turnbull in July added to the fiery debate, saying “you have to be honest, there are Sudanese gangs in Melbourne”.
“The fact is there is a gang issue here and you are not going to make it go away by pretending it doesn’t exist,” he said.
Mr Turnbull’s office has been contacted for comment.
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