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 »

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 »

‘End this shame’: Clive Palmer to establish fighting fund for refugees suffering ‘torture’

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Refugee to get abortion following rape claim Security guard fired following Fairfax investigation Federal MP and mining magnate Clive Palmer has pledged to establish a fighting fund to help asylum seekers and refugees take legal action against the Turnbull government, saying Australia should “end this shame”. The Sydney Morning Herald – Nicole Hasham, Environment and immigration correspondent This is a chance to show some humanity and government ministers who are doing the wrong thing need to be exposed The member for Fairfax and ... Read More »

How you can offer a home to a refugee

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Refugees welcome in the bush Video Could in the extra intake of refugees from Syria be a boon for regional areas? Nationals MP Andrew Broad gives his view. The Age – Michael Short, Journalist As millions of refugees are displaced across the world, many Australians have been left asking what they can do to help. As pictures of a small boy dead on a beach left us heartbroken and governments struggled with a political solution to an overwhelmingly problem, some ... Read More »

Julian Burnside: What sort of country are we?

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This piece is based on the 2015 Hamer Oration, delivered by Julian Burnside on September 28, 2015. The Conversation – Julian Burnside, Adjunct Professor, Australian Catholic University  Disclosure statement: Julian Burnside is a patron of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. He does not accept any fees when acting for asylum seekers, and any offers of payment for other services in this area are politely declined. It was with some surprise that I found myself engaged in such a hotly political ... Read More »

Like the Syrians, I fled my country. Here’s what you don’t understand about refugees.

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Abandoning your home during wartime is not a choice or a political opportunity. It’s a survival instinct. The Washington Post – By Mikra Krasniqi. Mikra Krasniqi is a writer who lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. Video In much of America, Syrian refugees are seen as threats, not victims. In February, the House Homeland Security Committee chairman, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), said that accepting Syrians would create a “federally funded jihadi pipeline” to the United States. In June, Rep. Peter King ... Read More »

Ulster to take 2,000 Syrian refugees

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Northern Ireland’s political leaders will accommodate up to 2,000 Syrian refugees in the region not because they are required to, but because they want to, Martin McGuinness has said. Belfast Telegraph – The Deputy First Minister said the five main parties in the Assembly were of the same mind about the need to do everything they could to welcome those fleeing the war-torn country. Mr McGuinness said the quota of refugees allocated to the region from the 20,000 set to ... Read More »

Christian refugees are fine, Muslims aren’t. In a post-racist world, of course that’s not racist

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Of course Australia is a compassionate country, and that entitles us to a return on our generosity: the right to decide who is suitable to receive our compassion The Guardian – Yassir Morsi Is not our current debate about the extent of our “compassion” towards refugees precisely what we ought to expect from a “post-racial” Australia? We’re essentially arguing over how Australia should deal with refugees as an unwanted surplus, without sounding racist. The rhetoric of the debate is driven ... Read More »

Guiding principles on how to treat refugees

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Our response to the mass exodus of asylum seekers from the Middle East needs to be rational not emotional. The Age – Simon Longstaff * It may seem harsh to question the heartfelt public response to the image of Aylan Kurdi lying dead on a Turkish beach. However, the motivating force of compassion can easily be reduced to futile gestures unless spliced onto a set of actionable principles that can withstand rational scrutiny and the test of time, long after ... Read More »

Welcome more Syrian refugees of all faiths

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With reassurances as to community safety, Australians should understand that all refugees will repay our generosity many times over. EDITORIAL The Sydney Morning Herald – Surely no one can argue against the basic proposition that we should welcome far more Syrian refugees to our fortunate nation. Australia has a moral and humanitarian obligation to do so, particularly given our role in the Iraq wars. Our general response to the Syrian crisis should be to increase permanently our overall humanitarian immigration intake. ... Read More »

The Refugee Crisis: Short and Long Term Solutions

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Today there are 60 million refugees and internally displaced peoples in search of safety, shelter, a home and a future across the globe. The Huffington Post – José Ramos-Horta, Former President, East Timor, 1996 Nobel Peace Prize laureate We all know that the root causes of this crisis are extreme poverty and fratricidal, sectarian and religious wars. It is easy to say that we must address the root causes of this 21st Century catastrophe. No one disagrees with this grand ... Read More »

Alan Kurdi: Why one picture cut through

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Nilufer Demir, a Turkish press photographer, was snapping a group of Pakistani migrants by the coast when she noticed the lifeless body of Alan Kurdi at the water’s edge. By Joel Gunter BBC News Ms Demir reacted as any photographer would – she clicked her shutter. The starkest image she took – which the BBC has not published – showed the three-year-old Syrian boy lying dead and alone, face down in the sand, his small palms open and upturned. “I ... Read More »

Refugee crisis: Millions of people fleeing war and poverty

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How many more lives must be lost before nations everywhere, including Australia, recognise their universal duty to assist in what has become the greatest crisis of refugees and mass migration since World War II? The Age – Editorial Many hundreds of thousands of people have crossed into Europe this year, most carrying nothing more than their children. This huge wave of migration is being powered by criminal gangs in some regions and by sheer desperation in others. Persecution and poverty, ... Read More »

Some German universities will educate refugees for free

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Migrant crisis: full coverage From Syria to Turkey: a migrant’s story While affordable tuition for undocumented immigrants is a remote prospect in some parts of the world, about 60 German universities are employing a radical strategy. The Sydney Morning Herald – Rick Noack They are offering refugees the chance to attend courses as guest students, without charging tuition fees. In fact, they even pay for transport and offer scholarships to pay for books, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported. Germany’s higher education system ... Read More »

Doctors debate ethics of detention centre boycott

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Responsibility for the health care of asylum seekers in detention should be stripped from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to steer off the prospect of a doctor boycott, according to a former chief psychiatrist of detention centres. The Sydney Morning Herald – Harriet Alexander Doctors are actively discussing a boycott of immigration detention centres, and the ethics of taking that position. Photo: Fairfax Peter Young, who oversaw the mental health services in immigration detention, has called for more ... Read More »

Zen and the Art of Dying Well

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Fixes *– What is the “right” way to die? We’re experiencing a zeitgeist moment about that. “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End,” by Atul Gawande, is a best-selling book. The New York Times – By Courtney E. Martin Videos by Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old who wanted to die in a way of her own choosing, went viral last year. And in more than 20 countries, thousands of people have dined and discussed dying through a project called ... Read More »