Say no to increasing force against detainees

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One of the most disturbing aspects of Border Force’s takeover of detention camps has been the militarisation and increased use of force against people seeking asylum. Women have been especially targeted by SERCO and Border Force. Eureka Street – Pamela Curr * Next week in the Senate, the Government is seeking even more powers to use against women, children and men in detention. Detention Examples of existing measures include the use of electronic scanners plus physical pat-downs on women before ... Read More »

Fifth refugee secretly moved from Nauru to Cambodia under $55m deal

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The ethnic Rohingya man from Myanmar arrived in Phnom Penh last week under the resettlement arrangements, as Cambodian political divisions deepen The Guardian – Lauren Crothers in Phnom Penh and Ben Doherty A fifth refugee from Nauru has been secretly moved to Cambodia, arriving last week under Australia’s controversial $55m deal with the south-east Asian nation. The man, understood to be an ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar, arrived in Phnom Penh as always-fractious political tensions inside Cambodia escalated further, and the ... Read More »

A refugee, like me: why the Golden Rule matters in an era of mass migration

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As the refugee crisis worsens, various “destination” countries, including Australia, are engaging in internal debates around multiculturalism, integration and tolerance. People are worried about cultural cohesion, racial divides and religious differences. The Conversation Author: Rivka T. Witenberg, Honarary Research Fellow in Psychology , Australian Catholic University Disclosure statement: Rivka T. Witenberg receives funding from Large ARC SPIRT Grant; Department of Psychology Research Support Scheme, University of Melbourne and Australian Catholic University; Centre for Education for Human Values and Tolerance, Bar ... Read More »

These Syrian refugees became SES volunteers within a month of arriving in Australia

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Less than a year after arriving in Australia, with their bullet-riddled Aleppo home a fading memory, Johnny and Carol Bilouna pulled on matching orange jumpsuits and prepared to help patch a stranger’s roof somewhere in the peaceful, if storm-damaged, Illawarra. Daily Life – Angela Thompson Life in Syria’s largest city had been good. The couple had lots of friends and family living nearby, two prosperous businesses to run, two young children and their own apartment. When the war came near to their doorstep in July, 2012, they ... Read More »

Sweden slams shut its open-door policy towards refugees

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‘We simply can’t do any more,’ prime minister says in announcing Sweden’s asylum regime will revert to EU minimum The Guardian – David Crouch in Gothenburg Video – Sweden’s deputy prime minister cries while announcing refugee U-turn Sweden needs “respite” from the tens of thousands of refugees knocking at its door, the government has said, announcing tough measures to deter asylum seekers in a sharp reversal of its open-door policy towards people fleeing war and persecution. The country’s generous asylum ... Read More »

Is a life sentence justified for assisted dying?

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In 1997, Kevin Andrews succeeded in pushing a private member’s bill through Federal Parliament. It overturned the first legislation permitting assisted suicide in Australia, enacted in the Northern Territory. OnLineOpinion – By David Leyonhjelm Since then, not only does assisting someone to commit suicide remain a serious crime in all States, it is also a crime in the Territories. Three states have life imprisonment as the maximum penalty, while in others the maximum penalty varies from 5 to 25 years. ... Read More »

Migrant crisis: Syrian migrants braving Central American smuggling routes

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Two families, including four children, who turned themselves over to immigration authorities in a Texas border town on Tuesday. Sarah Kaplan Five men with fake Greek passports, stopped at a Honduras airport because of a missing vaccination certificate. A third family who showed up in Texas on Friday seeking asylum. A woman on a bus from Nicaragua, detained at the Honduras border Saturday. Since the start of Syria’s bloody civil war four years ago, a flood of refugees have fled the ... Read More »

Climate change will trigger the world’s greatest refugee crisis

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Millions of people will be driven from their homes by climate change over the next few decades. How can we help? The Age – Lisa Singh * Comment: Vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency under scrutiny We’ve recently been witnessing the worst refugee crisis since World War II, with several million Syrians having fled their country. It has rightly gripped Australians’ attention and moved us deeply. But it coincides with a more obscure event that’s potentially just as ominous. In New Zealand, a man named Ioane Teitiota​ recently applied, and failed, to be accepted as the world’s first climate-change refugee. ... Read More »

Manus Island hunger striker ‘close to death’: Julian Burnside

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Video – ‘If you think we are human…please help us’ Iranian man Loghaman Sawari has been in transit on Manus Island for over two years. The Sydney Morning Herald – Nicole Hasham, Environment and immigration correspondent UN rebuke over Australia’s refugee policy The Pulse live from Parliament An asylum seeker who once reportedly cut open his stomach during a hunger strike to prove it was empty is at risk of death and must be brought to Australia for treatment, prominent human ... Read More »

Bangladesh executes two opposition leaders for 1971 war crimes

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Bangladesh executed two opposition leaders on Nov. 22 for war crimes committed during the 1971 war to break away from Pakistan, a senior police official said, in a move likely to draw an angry reaction from supporters. Hurriyet DHAKA  – ReutersIslamist opposition leader Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, a former legislator from former premier Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), were hanged shortly after President Abdul Hamid rejected their appeals late on Nov. 21 for clemency. “Both ... Read More »

Indonesia denies offering Australia an island to house refugees

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One of Indonesia’s most senior cabinet ministers has denied offering Australia an island to temporarily house refugees and asylum seekers. Brisbane Times – Jewel Topsfield and Nicole Hasham The Jakarta Post on Friday reported on its front page that Coordinating Minister for political, legal and security affairs, Luhut Panjaitan, had suggested offering an island as a temporary refugee camp. The newspaper reported Mr Panjaitan had said Indonesia’s “kind offer” would come with strict requirements, ranging from requiring Australia to entirely ... Read More »

House passes bill adding barriers for Syrian and Iraqi refugees entering US

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House of Representatives approves legislation making entry even more difficult for refugees, but Obama has said he will veto and Senate is unlikely to vote on it The Guardian – Ben Jacobs in Washington The House of Representatives has approved legislation that would make it even more difficult for refugees from Syria and Iraq to enter the United States, in a major rebuke to the Obama administration’s refugee policy. With almost unanimous support from Republicans and 47 Democrats voting in ... Read More »

Seven minutes of meditation can reduce racial prejudice, study finds

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A popular meditation technique that’s intended to create feelings of kindness can also reduce prejudice, according to new University of Sussex research. EurekAlert! AAAS – University of Sussex The study, published online in the journal Motivation and Emotion, found that just seven minutes of Loving-kindness meditation (LKM), a Buddhist practise that promotes unconditional kindness towards oneself and others, is effective at reducing racial bias. Lead researcher Alexander Stell, a Doctoral student in Psychology, said: “This indicates that some meditation techniques ... Read More »

The science behind why people fear refugees

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Fear in the wake of a terrorist attack is normal. It’s natural and human. But it can also be counterproductive — and even cruel. Vox – by Brian Resnick @B_resnick After the attacks in Paris last week, the gut reaction of many politicians around the world was to shut the door to Syrian refugees for fear that terrorists may be lurking among them. For those like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie or House Speaker Paul Ryan, the “better safe than ... Read More »

Brisbane asylum seeker accepts Year 12 certificate behind detention bars

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An Iranian girl seeking asylum in Brisbane will on Wednesday “accept” her Year 12 certificate from behind the bars of Darwin’s Wickham Point immigration detention centre. Brisbane Times – Tony Moore * Mojgan Shamsalipoor, now 21, will also receive a Rotary Award for her perseverance as a Yeronga State High School student – effectively while studying under armed guard – and where English is not the student’s first language. Ms Shamsalipoor hopes to become a midwife and tonight her Brisbane-based husband, Milad ... Read More »

Turkish fans boo moment of silence for victims of Paris attacks

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Turkish supporters attending an international football friendly against Greece on Nov. 17 refused to participate in a minute of silence following the recent jihadist attacks on France, choosing instead to boo the commemoration. Hurriyet – Istanbul A section of the crowd at Fatih Terim Stadium in Istanbul’s Başakşehir district had first whistled during the playing of the Greek national anthem, prompting Turkish star Arda Turan to remonstrate with the crowd. Arda’s intervention, however, failed to stop the booing. During the ... Read More »