Asylum Seekers

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 »

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 »

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 »

Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian refugee

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The destruction of Syria due to a civil war conflict and the rise of ISIS has led to an impassioned debate as to whether the United States should act as a world leader by allowing Syrian refugees to immigrate into the country. Daily News Bin – By Bill Palmer All the usual arguments are being made by political conservatives against such a move: What if they’re untrustable? What if they’re incompatible with our way of life? What if they take ... Read More »

Children on Nauru break rules to launch Facebook page: ‘We want everyone to hear our voices’

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Refugee and asylum seeker children on Nauru have started a campaign to get off the island, launching a Facebook page they hope will connect them with everyday Australians and give them a face. ABC – By Jessica Longbottom The page, Free the Children NAURU, is curated by a group of children living both in the community and in the detention centre. The administrators of the group want to remain anonymous for fear the page might be shut down, as children ... Read More »

Free at last, Ranjini is deemed not a security threat after all

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‘This is unacceptable’, advocate tells PM Kiwis could boycott Australia over detention: MP Ranjini, the Sri Lankan mother of three who has spent more than three years in detention after being deemed a national security threat by ASIO, has been freed. The Age – Michael Gordon, Political editor, The Age The Tamil refugee was given no reason why she was considered a security risk when when she was whisked into detention in May 2012  – and was similarly given no explanation ... Read More »

Australia’s awful failings on human rights

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Editorial Tony Abbott in March railed at criticism of Australia’s human rights record, saying this nation was “sick of being lectured by the United Nations”. The then prime minister may well have been sick of it, but he certainly did not speak for the people of this nation. Human rights, and a nation’s adherence to them, are not fashionable items to be adopted when it suits a government and discarded when they don’t fit the domestic agenda. Such rights are for ... Read More »

Nauru detainee: I just wanted the freedom to enjoy being a mother

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anonymous As the mother of a baby born in detention, this asylum seeker feels guilt for bringing a new life into an uncertain world of incarceration. The Sydney Morning Herald I dreamed of feeling like a normal mother. After being in a relationship with the amazing man that I have loved for 13 years, I wanted to have his child. Eight years after the bitter experience of losing my first child, I wanted  to be able to taste the sweetness of ... Read More »

More Christmas Island secrecy from Coalition

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Editorial Aside from its legal and moral ambiguities, Australia’s policy of detaining asylum-seekers in offshore facilities has been extravagantly priced, with billions of dollars spent on building and administering camps on Christmas Island, Manus and Nauru. And another $10 million was added to the bill this week when detainees at Christmas Island rioted after an Iranian Kurd asylum seeker escaped and later died. Fires were lit, equipment destroyed, and common areas trashed. Only after extra security was brought in from the ... Read More »

If You Read Just One Open Letter Opposing Labor’s Cruelty To Asylum Seekers, Make Sure It’s This One

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In an open letter to the Labor Party caucus, Liam McLoughlin lays bare the lies, cynicism and political cowardice that underpins the party’s position on asylum seekers. New Matilda – By Liam McLoughlin   Dear members of the Australian Labor Party Caucus, I imagine you are decent, thoughtful and compassionate people in your private lives. I imagine you joined the Labor Party because you believe in its progressive values, like ‘fairness’ and ‘being a good global citizen’. I imagine you are committed to making ... Read More »

We must uncover what led to the death of Fazel Chegeni

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Opinion Have Australia’s immigration policies contributed to the death of a refugee in our care? It’s essential that we get answers and act on any findings, writes Harry Minas. ABC – By Harry Minas Fazel Chegeni was found dead at Christmas Island on Sunday, apparently after escaping from the Immigration Detention facility. An immigration spokesman reportedly said: On Saturday (November 7) the department was advised of the escape of an illegal maritime arrival from Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre by ... Read More »

The Flood of Refugees into Europe: “The New Slave Trade”

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The flood of refugees entering Europe is endless. Nobody knows exactly how many there are and where they go and went. This year, 2015, up to November, estimates vary from the low of 750,000 to a high of 2 million. Most of them went to Germany, or want to go to Germany. Up to a million, perhaps more may end up in Germany by the end of this year. For 2016 predictions are for up to 2 million. They are ... Read More »