Asylum Seekers

Pacific Solution has become a mess for Coalition and a point of division for Labor

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It’s more than passingly ironic that the newly elected Member for Batman, Ged Kearney, espouses the principle of solidarity in her maiden speech to parliament. Roman Quaedvlieg Brisbane Times It’s no surprise that the accomplished former trade unionist would echo the rallying call of the Labor movement in her first formal utterances in the house, however she would do well to heed her own call in Labor’s approach to the vexed issue of border protection. Her speech, following the familiar ... Read More »

Victorian Labor urged to back calls for an end to offshore processing, bring Manus and Nauru detainees to Australia

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Victorian Labor delegates will be urged to end offshore processing and bring refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru to Australia. Lucy Barbour ABC The “urgency motion” to be debated at a state ALP conference this weekend, obtained by the ABC, calls for Labor to “close the offshore detention centres, transit centres and other camps on Manus and Nauru within the first 90 days” of a Shorten government. It goes on to propose that Labor should “bring all ... Read More »

Asylum seekers ‘face destitution’ as income support and housing cut off

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Refugee advocates describe cuts, which will affect up to 100 people, as ‘calculated cruelty to vulnerable people’ Helen Davidson The Guardian The federal government is taking away income support and housing from up to 100 refugees and asylum seekers from Manus Island and Nauru who are currently in Australia for medical treatment. The group, which includes families, elderly people and pregnant women, are among the more than 400 known as the “Let Them Stay” group, and the more than 260 that were party ... Read More »

The Long Haul Ahead for Myanmar’s Rohingya Refugee Crisis

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More than 700,000 Rohingya refugees from brutal military operations in Myanmar are stuck in Bangladesh, with returns to Myanmar unlikely soon and Bangladeshi goodwill being tested. ICG In Myanmar, international partners must be allowed access to northern Rakhine State. In Bangladesh, donors must help both refugees and their local hosts. What’s new? Since August 2017, nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar’s brutal military operations in Rakhine State to Bangladesh, joining tens of thousands who left earlier in 2017. The two ... Read More »

Manus Island detention horrors hidden to ‘numb public into submission’: lawyer

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Award-winning Australian human rights lawyer Daniel Webb says there has been a “deliberate” ploy on both sides of politics to “numb the public into submission” and hide the horrors of offshore detention from their view. inkl The Australian-funded detention centres in Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, and Nauru have made multiple headlines over the past fortnight as conditions worsen. Hollywood star Russell Crowe called Manus “a nation’s shame” and said the cruelty it inflicted on its inhabitants was “f***ing disgraceful”. ... Read More »

‘More than 19’ Cameroon athletes seeking refuge after going missing at Commonwealth Games

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More than 19 Commonwealth Games athletes and team staff who went missing during the Gold Coast event are now seeking asylum in Australia, refugee advocates have said. 9news Sydney’s Refugee Advice and Casework Service principal solicitor Sarah Dale said the organisation had helped a number of people lodge applications for protection, before their federally approved games visas expired on Tuesday night. Initially, it was believed 11 participants had not returned home, including five boxers and three wrestlers from Cameroon, two ... Read More »

Dispersing refugees around a country puts them at an immediate disadvantage – why this matters for integration

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The estimated number of people worldwide displaced by conflict and violence reached an unprecedented 68.9m at the end of 2017. Francesco Fasani The Conversation A relatively minor fraction of these people have reached the European Union. Between 2014 and 2016, the 15 Western European members of the EU – known as the EU15 – received 2.6m asylum applications. Over the same three years, the resident population with recognised refugee status increased from one million to 1.8m. With refugee integration a ... Read More »

Need an urgent medical transfer from Nauru? Forget it.

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The former Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF), Roman Quaedvlieg, made a remarkable admission last week. It occurred in an exchange on Twitter with a former senior medical officer who had worked with refugees on Nauru. In a tweet, Quaedvlieg admitted that during his tenure the ABF had deliberately obstructed and thwarted the… Spencer Zifcak John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations “It’s true to say that the threshold for medical repatriation to Australia is high. It’s an issue which ... Read More »

‘A race to the bottom’: how Australia imported its asylum seeker policies from the US

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At the height of the Tampa crisis, Australia turned to a US bureaucrat and asked for advice Ben Doherty The Guardian In August 2001, at the height of the Tampa crisis – 433 rescued asylum seekers on board a freight ship seeking landfall in Australia – the Australian government made a call to an American bureaucrat, then in Geneva, and asked him to the embassy. Years earlier, the bureaucrat had been a key architect of America’s policies towards boat-borne asylum ... Read More »

There’s No Escape From Australia’s Refugee Gulag

An image released November 13, 2017, shows detainees staging a protest inside the compound at the Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea. Refugee Action Coalition

One branch of Canberra’s notorious offshore detention system has closed. But the men who were imprisoned there are now stranded on a remote Pacific island that doesn’t want them. Mark Isaacs FP ΜANUS ISLAND, Papua New Guinea — When I first entered the Manus Island detention center in early November 2017, I was confronted with an apocalyptic scene. Toilets overflowed with urine and feces; campfires burned in litter-filled corridors; blood-red graffiti riddled the walls; and zombielike figures lay slumped at ... Read More »

Home Office deportation targets show how Britain’s immigration system is harmful by design

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April has been a month of turbulence for the Home Office. The aftermath of the Windrush exposé has shaken British politics to its core. Authors: The Conversation And now Amber Rudd has resigned as home secretary, days after admitting that her department had internal regional targets to remove illegalised people from the country – some from the Windrush generation who were already British subjects. By setting targets, the intricacies of people’s histories are erased, and humans are reduced to statistics. ... Read More »

‘I feel helpless’: this is the face of child detention on Nauru – video

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Ali is a 12-year-old Iranian asylum seeker detained on Nauru. His mother has been repeatedly recommended for urgent medical transfer to Australia but, 14 months on, there is no immediate plan to move her. The Guardian Read More »

Think we’re tough on refugees? That’s fake news

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Fake news is the new black. Drop the phrase in a casual conversation and some people will be silly enough to assume you are an astute observer of the political scene. Amanda Vanstone The Age Fake news is information known at the time to be incorrect which is deliberately fed out into the media stream. Since when has that been a new idea? The problem of incorrect information washing through the media system is not new. Some of it is ... Read More »

Manus Island: lives on hold – photo essay

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Australia’s offshore detention centre has been razed to the ground but for the 600 refugees who remain on the island, little has changed. Amid the torment of isolation from family and friends, depression and the trauma of their past, the men try to get on with their lives by Per Liljas and photography by Jonas Gratzer The Guardian Old times change for new on Manus Island. The centre in which Australia detained hundreds of refugees between 2001 and 2017 has ... Read More »

We cannot rely morally on ‘deterrence’ to justify our harsh refugee policies

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When debate about refugees ascends from slogan swapping (“stop the boats”, “bring them here”) to specific reasoning, there seems only one argument worth considering for the ignominious detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru and the refusal to ever settle any in… Tony Coady The Conversation That argument, advanced by both the government and the opposition (occasionally in a less strident form), stems from deterrence. It’s worth considering the argument even as a handful of these detainees are ... Read More »

Canberra public servant’s sacking over asylum seeker policy tweets found to be ‘unlawful’

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A Canberra public servant sacked for expressing her views on asylum seeker policy, has won her case for compensation after the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia found she was unlawfully dismissed. Elise Pianegonda ABC In September 2013, Michaela Banerji was fired from the Federal Department of Immigration after it was revealed she had been using the anonymous Twitter name @LaLegale to criticise the then-government, the minister and department policies — particularly over the handling of refugees. In one tweet Ms ... Read More »