Refugees

Refugees’ lives have become weapons in a rugged political contest

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For the past five years, Australia has used the lives of 2,000 innocent refugees as a political game Behrouz Boochani The Guardian On 19 July 2013, Kevin Rudd, the then prime minister of the Labor government, announced the resumption of offshore processing. According to the policy, whoever came to Australia by boat would be exiled to Manus Island and Nauru. Together with 60 other people travelling on a leaky boat headed for Australia, I was lost on the ocean when the ... Read More »

Record 68.5 million people displaced worldwide: UN

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A record 68.5 million people have been forced flee their homes due to war, violence and persecution, notably in places like Myanmar and Syria, the UN said on June 19. GENEVA – Agence France Presse Hurriyet By the end of 2017, the number was nearly three million higher than the previous year and showed a 50-percent increase from the 42.7 million uprooted from their homes a decade ago, according to a report by the UN refugee agency. The current figure ... Read More »

#AllWomenCount: art and culture at the forefront of World Refugee Day

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The number of forced migrants is now at an all-time global high – and a majority of these are women and children. Images of refugee women are a familiar sight in press coverage of the variously defined “refugee” or “migrant crisis”. Anna Ball The Conversation These are portrayals of victims – their eyes downcast, arms clutching a young child in tearful desperation as they teeter aboard an inflatable craft. Yet these images do not represent the richly complex identities of ... Read More »

Community Sector Protests Cuts to Asylum Seeker Support Payments

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Community sector leaders have gathered in Canberra to protest cuts to asylum seeker support payments, as a new report reveals that government policy is driving people seeking asylum into destitution. Luke Michael ProBono Leaders from 10 national NGOs, along with a delegation of asylum seekers and community members, gathered at Parliament House on Monday to urge the federal government to stop cuts to the Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS). This service provides asylum seekers with a basic safety net of ... Read More »

How Italy plans to blow up Brussels

epa06779959 Italian Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini attends the Republic Day celebrations (Festa della Repubblica) in Rome, Italy, 02 June 2018. The anniversary marks the founding of the Italian Republic in 1946.  EPA-EFE/GIUSEPPE LAMI

The Italian government wants changes on migration — but its new allies favor very different approaches. Jacopo Barigazzi Politico An Italian butterfly is about to cause a hurricane in Brussels. When EU leaders gather in the European capital later this month, the reality of the right-wing populist government’s stance on key issues such as migration and the eurozone will finally hit… The major European powers have become used to containment maneuvers for the EU’s awkward squad on its periphery — such ... Read More »

Playing this board game will challenge your ideas about refugees

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When immigrants come to Canada, they have to quickly adapt and they have much to learn. Many of them need to learn a new language and a new culture. Michelle Lam The Conversation The Canadian government defines integration as a two-way street. Newcomers strengthen the Canadian economy by bringing diverse perspectives which can lead to better workplace outcomes, innovation and strong community connections. As an educator working with newcomers for the past decade, I have seen a need not just ... Read More »

Italy, France call for refugee processing centres in Africa

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Giuseppe Conte hosted by Emmanuel Macron amid bid to bury hatchet following diplomatic row over rejected refugee ship. Al-Jazeera The leaders of Italy and France have urged the European Union to set up asylum processing centres in Africa to prevent refugees and migrants from undertaking the journey across the Mediterranean. French President Emmanuel Macron and Italy’s new populist Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte met in Paris on Friday in a bid to bury the hatchet after a bitter diplomatic squabble erupted this week over Rome’s ... Read More »

Bavaria’s man in Berlin pushes Merkel to brink

BERLIN, GERMANY - JUNE 14: German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and leader of the Bavarian Christian Democrats (CSU) prepares to take an elevator during a day of wrangling at the Bundestag between the CSU and the German Christian Democrats (CDU) of Chancellor Angela Merkel on June 14, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. Merkel is at odds with Seehofer over migration policy. While Merkel wants a European-wide approach to migration, Seehofer is insisting that Germany be able to unilaterally turn away asylum seekers when they first reach the German border should they not meet asylum criteria.  (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Horst Seehofer puts home state election first in clash with chancellor. Janosch Delcker Politico BERLIN — Horst Seehofer may be Germany’s interior minister but he’s doing Bavaria’s bidding. The 68-year-old’s career looked to be on the slide when he was ousted as premier of the southern state at the end of last year. Yet he is center stage once again after pushing Angela Merkel’s government into crisis with his plan to toughen Germany’s asylum policies. By threatening to implement his plan even without Merkel’s ... Read More »

From the St Louis to the Aquarius: the history of refugee boats as archipelagos of misery

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The Aquarius, a rescue ship in the Mediterranean carrying 629 people, is now on its way to Spain, after being refused docking in Italy and Malta. Simone Gigliotti The Conversation The crisis has caused a diplomatic row between France and Italy and highlighted the stalemate within the EU on asylum policy. Sadly, there have been many historical examples of boats laden with refugees, that were refused docking. In the aftermath of World War II, the historian Eugene Kulischer wrote: “The ... Read More »

Young refugees share what it’s like trying to finish school, find work and get married

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In 2012, at 10 years of age, Daahir sat in his school classroom in Mogadishu, Somalia. The sounds of gun shots piercing the air interrupted the lesson. Laura Prazeres The Conversation As Daahir ran back home, he overheard that fighting had erupted between government forces and the militant group Al-Shabab. Daahir arrived home to find his father dead from gunshot wounds. Faced with further threats and imminent violence, Daahir and his family, along with many others, fled their… According to ... Read More »

Asylum seekers are now political pawns in a disharmonious EU

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The fate of the Aquarius, a Doctors without Borders rescue ship left stranded for hours in the Mediterranean carrying 629 African migrants, is a stark reminder of the EU’s ongoing stalemate on asylum policy. Ruvi Ziegler The Conversation The new Italian interior minister, Matteo Salvini, ordered ports to refuse docking to the ship, prompting a rhetorical revolt by several Italian mayors. Malta also refused docking, claiming that the rescue occurred in the Italian search and rescue zone. As the ship’s ... Read More »

The legality of off-shore detention

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In 2002 Australia, along with more than 80 other nations, acceded to the Rome statute by which the International Criminal Court was created.  The court is the first permanent court ever established with jurisdiction to try war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide regardless of the nationality of the perpetrators and regardless of the place where the offences occurred. Julian Burnside John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations As part of the process of implementing the International Criminal Court ... Read More »

I visited the Rohingya camps in Myanmar and here is what I saw

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Myanmar recently claimed to have repatriated its first Rohingya refugee family. Cresa Pugh The Conversation But, as an official from the United Nations noted, the country is still not safe for the return of its estimated 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees, who fled to Bangladesh in 2017 to escape an ongoing state-sponsored military campaign and… Indeed, in recent times, the Myanmar military has been building a fence along the 170-mile border and fortifying it with landmines, to prevent the Rohingya from ... Read More »

Italy’s Matteo Salvini shuts ports to migrant rescue ship

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A rescue ship carrying 629 migrants is stranded in the Mediterranean after Italy’s new interior minister refused permission for it to dock. BBC Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing League party, promised during Italy’s recent general election to take a tough stance against migration. He says Malta should accept the Aquarius, but it refused, arguing that it falls under Italy’s jurisdiction. Italy is the main entry for migrants crossing from North Africa to Europe. German charity SOS Méditerranée says the ... Read More »

Dying refugee on Nauru barred from coming to Australia for palliative care

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Border force tells 63-year-old with advanced lung cancer he can go to Taiwan or return to Afghanistan Ben Doherty The Guardian A dying Afghan refugee held on Nauru will not be allowed to come to Australia for palliative care. The Australian Border Force has told 63-year-old Ali*, who is suffering advanced lung cancer, he is deemed to have “refused treatment” because he declined to be moved to Taiwan to die. He told the ABF he did not want to go to Taiwan because he ... Read More »

Bavaria plans tougher approach to asylum-seekers in Germany

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Bavarian State Premier Markus Söder has unveiled new measures to speed up the asylum process and deport rejected applicants. Christoph Hasselbach DW He believes the rest of Germany should follow his lead. With Bavaria’s elections only a few months away, State Premier Markus Söder of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) is advocating a tougher stance on asylum-seekers. The CSU, which has traditionally dominated Bavarian politics, fears large numbers of voters could turn their backs on the party and support the far-right ... Read More »