Asylum Seekers

Nauru blocking refugee evacuations a problem of Australia’s creation – judge

Commonwealth ‘created this situation’ by setting up regional processing deal with another sovereign state, Justice Debra Mortimer says Helen Davidson The Guardian Nauru’s attempts to block court-ordered medical evacuations of refugees is a problem of the Australian government’s creation, a federal court judge has said in a damning ruling. Justice Debra Mortimer made the comments early last week while ordering the urgent transfer of a young woman who was ill after trying to take her own life, after she was ... Read More »

This pains me, but it’s time to compromise on Australia’s cruel asylum seeker policy

Vacating the moral high ground is part of ending the most terrible act perpetrated by the Australian state during my lifetime Robert Manne The Guardian In the past 30 years Australia has crafted an almost uniquely cruel asylum seeker policy. Our only competitor is the proudly illiberal Hungary. When Malcolm Turnbull outlined our current policy to Donald Trump in their notorious telephone conversation, the US president was mightily impressed. “You are worse than I am.” No more evidence about the ... Read More »

Scott Morrison rejects AMA plea to bring children from Nauru to Australia

Prime minister rebuffs letter as no confidence motion against Peter Dutton fails by one vote Scott Morrison has rebuffed a plea from the Australian Medical Association to change policy on Nauru, and bring families and children to Australia, saying he will not “put at risk any element of… Katharine Murphy The Guardian The prime minister told reporters on Thursday the government was already in the process of “getting families off Nauru” and had pursued a refugee resettlement deal with the… ... Read More »

‘Kill me, I can’t cope’: Refugee women on Nauru robbed of their dignity speak out

Women who have escaped oppression in Iran face similar intimidation in Australia, often by advocates claiming to help them. Saba Vasefi The Guardian Fascists kill. But for those damaged survivors who flee persecution, and face a new authoritarianism, sustaining themselves can be a monumental personal undertaking. Before I discuss four stages of redistributive justice, I’ll record examples of threat and intimidation which make the struggle for justice so necessary. “Kill me, I can’t cope anymore. Only death can rescue me” ... Read More »

Germany’s heated asylum debate has dark parallels to events 30 years ago

It was a moment that has defined Angel Merkel’s chancellorship of Germany ever since. In early September 2015, she allowed thousands of refugees fleeing violence in Syria and Iraq to enter… Constantin Eckner The Conversation Merkel promised her people that Germany would be able to handle the growing influx of asylum seekers, but her decision provoked a… Since then, German politics has been largely dominated by that one controversial matter – asylum policy. In early September 2018, xenophobic riots rocked ... Read More »

Julian Burnside Oration: Fear is the great threat to multiculturalism in Australia

Last night, the human rights lawyer Julian Burnside QC gave the annual Walter Lipmann Oration at the Melbourne Town Hall presented by the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria. Julian Burnside Daily Review His speech is reproduced in its entirety below. In it, Burnside charts Australia’s inconsistent, if not volatile, approach to multiculturalism and how the John Howard Tampa affair has shaped the last 17 sorry years of our treatment of refugees. He argues that the Tampa episode, coupled with the terror attack of ... Read More »

‘Boat person’ Frank Lowy calls for more migrants

Billionaire Sir Frank Lowy has warned Australia would be “moving in the wrong direction” if calls for a lower migrant intake are heeded. Richard Wood 9news The Central European-born businessman last night gave the 15th annual address of the think tank he founded, the Lowy Institute. Mr Lowy, 87, told a gathering of business and political figures he backed a “big Australia”, but noted his views on expanding the country puts him at odds with many. The Wesfield co-founder was ... Read More »

Australia is reported to UN human rights council over illegal detention of asylum seekers

Government condemned for arbitrary detention of three asylum seekers, including a stateless man held for nearly nine years… Ben Doherty The Guardian United Nations body has condemned Australia’s arbitrary detention of three asylum seekers, one of whom has been held without charge or trial for nearly nine years. The UN working group on arbitrary detention – which reports to the human rights council, on which Australia sits – said in its annual report it was concerned by “the rising prevalence ... Read More »

Australia deports Iraqi asylum seeker whose appeal was due next week

Lawyers scrambled to get a legal injunction preventing the deportation but were kept from contacting the man in time. Helen Davidson The Guardian Australian immigration authorities have deported an Iraqi asylum seeker against his will and despite there being a pending court case scheduled to sit next week. Advocates and lawyers scrambled on Wednesday night to get a legal injunction but were prevented from contacting the man on the phone, and by the time a barrister was found to lodge ... Read More »

In Australia, One Man Can Decide a Migrant’s Fate. Did He Abuse That Power?

SYDNEY, Australia — When a suicidal 10-year-old boy in an offshore detention camp asked to come to Australia for psychiatric care, Peter Dutton’s answer was no. By Damien Cave and Isabella Kwai The New York Times When an Australian combat veteran requested a refugee visa for his Afghan interpreter, Mr. Dutton — Australia’s top immigration official — also refused. But when an Italian au pair, who worked for a former colleague, needed a reprieve from deportation, Mr. Dutton obliged. It was at least the second ... Read More »

Nauru blocks transfer of mentally ill refugee to Australia despite Federal Court order

The Government of Nauru has blocked the medical evacuation of a refugee needing urgent treatment for depression and trauma-related conditions, despite court orders stipulating she must be brought to… Exclusive by Emma Younger and Sarah Farnsworth ABC An urgent Federal Court hearing this evening was told the failure to transfer the woman to Australia left Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and the Commonwealth in breach of court orders made on… The court heard Nauru’s secretary for Multicultural Affairs refused to ... Read More »

Refugees in Indonesia don’t want to get on boats. They want basic rights

If they get access to a fair resettlement process, refugees won’t be interested in anything people smugglers are trying to sell Asher Hirsch The Guardian This week, home affairs minister Peter Dutton again reiterated the false claim that “there are 14,000 people in Indonesia waiting to get on to boats now”. I’ve just returned from a research trip in Indonesia, where I spoke to many refugees. Such a claim is not only disingenuous, it also highlights the double standards of ... Read More »

Explainer: why the UN has found Myanmar’s military committed genocide against the Rohingya

The UN Human Rights Council released a new report last Monday, which calls last year’s violence against the Rohingya “genocide”. Anthony Ware The Conversation Released almost exactly a year after the start of devastating violence that drove 671,500 Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh within a matter of months, the report found conclusive evidence that Myanmar’s armed… Using the strongest language to date, the report calls for the Myanmar commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing, and five generals to be prosecuted. What was the ... Read More »

Cate Blanchett urges UN to act on Rohingya Muslim refugees

Oscar-winning actor Cate Blanchett has told the UN Security Council that nothing prepared her for “the extent and depth of suffering” she saw when she visited camps in Bangladesh for Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled a… The Australian AP In her very different role as a goodwill ambassador for the UN refugee agency, Blanchett said she heard “gut-wrenching accounts” of torture, rape, people seeing loved ones killed before their eyes, and… “I am a mother, and I saw my children ... Read More »

Nauru’s asylum seeker tents demolished ahead of Pacific Islands Forum

Sources say move intended to spare visiting leaders the sight of people living in notorious camp Helen Davidson, Saba Vasefi and Ben Doherty The Guardian Nauru’s government has moved asylum seekers out of the detention centre and demolished the tents ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum next week. The tents at regional processing centre 3 (RPC-3) were erected five years ago, and at least 100 people have continued to live in them since the facility was deemed “open” in 2015. ... Read More »

Book Review: Behrouz Boochani’s unsparing look at the brutality of Manus Island

It is a matter of wonder that Behrouz Boochani was able to write No Friend but the Mountains at all. Alex Reilly The Conversation He did so while in Manus prison, using text messages in Farsi on smuggled mobile phones. Egyptian and Australian academic Omid Tofighian worked closely with Boochani to translate the text into English. In a detailed introduction to the book, Tofighian explains that Boochani’s writing contributes to a Kurdish literary tradition. He describes his style as “horror ... Read More »