Humanity

In the pages of Kon’s notebooks, there are stories for all Australians

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In the pages of Kon’s notebooks, there are stories for all AustraliansThere are two notebooks. The covers are blue, and worn at the edges. One book is falling apart, the spine held together by tape. Both are 168 pages long, and each contains lists of names, one to a line, numbered and dated. Arnold Zable The Age The first entry, back in 2001, records the name of the first person who sought help from the newly-founded Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. ... Read More »

World leaders have failed refugees. Can ordinary citizens teach them a lesson?

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Two years ago an image of a little boy in a red T-shirt, face down on a Mediterranean beach, brought home the full horror of the humanitarian crisis unfolding on Europe’s shores. Charmain Mohamed World Economic Forum Alan Kurdi, from the Syrian town of Kobani, was just three years old when he, together with his mother and his older brother, drowned on the dangerous crossing from Turkey to Greece. While the crisis was not news, it briefly seemed that the ... Read More »

Tougher German Rules Leave Refugee Families in the Lurch

Portrait of Tabarak Karakouz, a 21 years old Syrian refugee, inside her home outskirts Tripoli.  Lebanon. She got married 3 years ago. Her husband is in Germany. Her daughter died. She spends all the day watching old pictures and dreaming with a better life with her husband in Europe. July 2017.  Diego Ibarra Sánchez / MeMo for DER SPIEGEL

Left Behind When German Chancellor Angela Merkel allowed hundreds of thousands of men into the country, many of the refugees believed they would be able to bring their families later. Now the rules have changed, and countless women and children are trapped in perilous situations. Katrin Elger and Asia Haidar Spiegel She stands at the window in a floor-length dress, with a blue headscarf, and looks out at the Mediterranean. A fan hums in the next room. Children play soccer ... Read More »

Strangers R Us: Why Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Is Bitter, Stupid And Counter-Productive

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If you think our society is ‘too soft’ on the vulnerable, you probably need to find another society, writes Sue Stevenson. New Matilda It’s apparently easy to persuade lots of people to be cool with their government treating others like criminals. All you need to do is wedge yourself in underneath the bitterness of their life, and then use it as a lever to fling them really hard into the idea that other people are getting an easy ride. That’s ... Read More »

Violent evictions of refugees in Rome reveal inhumanity of modern democracy

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“If they throw something, break their arm,” a police officer was overhead on video saying to anti-riot police on August 24 who were running after refugees and migrants near Rome’s central train station. Mariangela Palladino The Conversation The migrants were gathering there after police violently removed a group who had been occupying the city’s Piazza Indipendenza. Five days earlier, when around 800 Eritrean and Ethiopian migrants and refugees were forcibly evicted from a nearby squat on via Curtatone, some emptied ... Read More »

Turkish Airlines pilot refuses to fly failed Kent asylum seeker

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A failed asylum seeker remains in the UK after the pilot of a plane on which he was to be deported to Afghanistan via Istanbul refused to fly him. ABC Samim Bigzad, 22, had been living in Ramsgate, Kent, after entering the UK illegally two years ago in order to join his father who was granted asylum. The Turkish Airlines pilot refused to fly Mr Bigzad when he became hysterical as he was put on the plane at Heathrow. He ... Read More »

Dutton should learn to live with lawyers helping in matters of life and death

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Mandatory detention and boat turn-backs have been proposed – and rejected – in the past. How have we moved from a humanitarian approach to this cruelty? Claire Higgins The Guardian <linkrel=”stylesheet”type=”text/css”href=”https://assets.guim.co.uk/stylesheets/4c4e9fc6f6275cf538d9f9f274cb7afd/content.css”/> Lawyers who defend asylum seekers, the immigration minister believes, are ”un-Australian”. Peter Dutton is not the first minister to level criticism at asylum seeker advocates. But history shows that things could – and should – have turned out very differently. Speaking in the wake of news that the Turnbull ... Read More »

Thousands more Rohingya flee to border as Myanmar violence flares

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More than 18,000 Rohingya Muslims, many sick and some with bullet wounds, have fled the worst violence to grip northwest Myanmar in at least five years, while thousands more are stuck at the Bangladesh border or scrambling to reach it. COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh – Reuters Hurriyet Aug. 25’s series of coordinated attacks by Rohingya insurgents on security forces in the north of Myanmar’s Rakhine state and ensuing clashes triggered the Rohingya exodus, while the government evacuated thousands of Rakhine Buddhists. ... Read More »

Artificial intelligence researchers must learn ethics

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Scientists who build artificial intelligence and autonomous systems need a strong ethical understanding of the impact their work could have. James Harland Conversation More than 100 technology pioneers recently published an open letter to the United Nations on the topic of lethal autonomous weapons, or “killer robots”. These people, including the entrepreneur Elon Musk and the founders of several robotics companies, are part of an effort that began in 2015. The original letter called for an end to an arms ... Read More »

Churches offer sanctuary to asylum seekers affected by welfare crackdown

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Australia’s Christian churches are offering sanctuary to 100 asylum seekers caught up in a Government welfare crackdown affecting those who were originally transported to Australia for medical treatment. Lexy Hamilton-Smith ABC Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has said those whose treatment had been finalised would no longer receive financial assistance from the Government. The asylum seekers have been meeting with Immigration officials over the last two days to discuss cuts to their assistance. However, if they can find a way to ... Read More »

‘Extraordinary attack’: Lawyers angry at Peter Dutton’s ‘Un-Australian’ remark

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The Law Council of Australia has labelled as “truly extraordinary” the Immigration Minister’s remarks about lawyers representing asylum seekers. Rashida Yosufzai SBS  The nation’s peak legal body has hit out at Immigration Minister Peter Dutton for claiming lawyers who represent certain asylum seekers are un-Australian. Mr Dutton’s comments around the issue came while discussing the federal government’s plans to kick off dozens of asylum seekers brought to Australia for medical treatment off welfare and social housing. In an intervew with ... Read More »

Rohingya refugees ‘forcibly returned’ to Myanmar

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Rights group asks Bangladesh not to turn away refugees, and slams Aung San Suu Kyi’s ‘unacceptable response’ to crisis. Al Jazeera Bangladesh has detained and forcibly returned at least 90 Muslim Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar, as thousands of civilians from the ethnic minority area, on the other side of the border, attempt to escape from continuing violence that has killed scores of people. At least 20 Rohingya were caught on Sunday and sent back after crossing the Naf river, ... Read More »

Democrats exploit GOP ethics woes in battle for the House

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Some longtime Republicans are dogged by ethical questions, and Democrats believe their seats are now within reach. ELENA SCHNEIDER and AUSTIN WRIGHT Politico Duncan Hunter’s Southern California district isn’t normally a serious target for Democrats. But a criminal investigation into allegations of campaign funds for personal use — including flying his pet rabbit across the country — isn’t exactly normal either. Hunter is one of a handful of House Republicans in ethical hot water that could put their typically safe seats at ... Read More »

Myanmar Tips into New Crisis after Rakhine State Attacks

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The Rohingya insurgent attacks that killed twelve Myanmar soldiers and officials and perhaps 77 of their own number is a serious escalation of a ten-month-old crisis. ICG They make implementation of this week’s recommendations to address Rohingya grievances from Kofi Annan’s Advisory Commission both harder and more urgent. In the early hours of 25 August, militants from Harakah al-Yaqin– a Rohingya insurgent group that now refers to itself in English as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) – mounted coordinated attacks ... Read More »

Ben Quilty: it’s time to acknowledge our colonial terrorism

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For the past few days I have listened to people I admire and people I don’t, talk about the challenge of facing up to our colonial past. Ben Quilty The Age One comment that struck me the hardest on radio was that “none of Australia’s first Europeans were as bad as their Confederate counterparts in the United States”. John Batman is widely known as the founder of Melbourne. He makes the American Confederates look friendly. As a bounty hunter in ... Read More »

Tamie Fraser to continue legacy of late husband and former Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser

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The ASRC is thrilled to announce that Tamie Fraser, widow of former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, stands beside us as a Patron. Mr Fraser, who served as the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia between 1975 and 1983, was himself an active ASRC patron until his death in March 2015 (and he is still honoured as a Patron now). Mrs Fraser has long been an advocate for the rights of people seeking asylum, and a critic of offshore detention and other ... Read More »