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 »

Sweden slams shut its open-door policy towards refugees

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‘We simply can’t do any more,’ prime minister says in announcing Sweden’s asylum regime will revert to EU minimum The Guardian – David Crouch in Gothenburg Video – Sweden’s deputy prime minister cries while announcing refugee U-turn Sweden needs “respite” from the tens of thousands of refugees knocking at its door, the government has said, announcing tough measures to deter asylum seekers in a sharp reversal of its open-door policy towards people fleeing war and persecution. The country’s generous asylum ... Read More »

Migrant crisis: Syrian migrants braving Central American smuggling routes

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Two families, including four children, who turned themselves over to immigration authorities in a Texas border town on Tuesday. Sarah Kaplan Five men with fake Greek passports, stopped at a Honduras airport because of a missing vaccination certificate. A third family who showed up in Texas on Friday seeking asylum. A woman on a bus from Nicaragua, detained at the Honduras border Saturday. Since the start of Syria’s bloody civil war four years ago, a flood of refugees have fled the ... Read More »

Climate change will trigger the world’s greatest refugee crisis

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Millions of people will be driven from their homes by climate change over the next few decades. How can we help? The Age – Lisa Singh * Comment: Vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency under scrutiny We’ve recently been witnessing the worst refugee crisis since World War II, with several million Syrians having fled their country. It has rightly gripped Australians’ attention and moved us deeply. But it coincides with a more obscure event that’s potentially just as ominous. In New Zealand, a man named Ioane Teitiota​ recently applied, and failed, to be accepted as the world’s first climate-change refugee. ... 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 »

The science behind why people fear refugees

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Fear in the wake of a terrorist attack is normal. It’s natural and human. But it can also be counterproductive — and even cruel. Vox – by Brian Resnick @B_resnick After the attacks in Paris last week, the gut reaction of many politicians around the world was to shut the door to Syrian refugees for fear that terrorists may be lurking among them. For those like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie or House Speaker Paul Ryan, the “better safe than ... Read More »

Is the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection guilty of contempt of court by purposely refusing to extend the bridging visa of a person the Minister knows is facing criminal charges?

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The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Peter Dutton on a number of occasions, has refused to extend the bridging visa of a lawful non-citizen long enough for the visa-holder to defend himself on criminal charges. These charges are due to be heard in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 13 April 2016. Media Breif Esser Legal, Barrister and Solicitor The Minister’s refusal is made with knowledge that the visa-holder is pleading not guilty to all charges. The person ... 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 »