Asylum Seekers

In Manus, theatre delivers home truths that can’t be dodged

How to review a play whose relationship with matters of fact is so serious and politically culpable it overwhelms the critical distinctions that might normally be used to judge it? Julian Meyrick The Conversation Where is Stanislavski’s “magic if” (if I were a refugee locked up for six years by the Australian government …)? What are the “given circumstances” (near-drowning at sea, a sun-beaten island at the end of the earth)? Or the “inciting incident” (political oppression, military destruction, despair ... Read More »

‘Give them a chance’: employing refugees not as complicated as many think

New guide outlines the benefits of hiring a refugee, including documented high loyalty and lower turnover rates Helen Davidson The Guardian Armed with two masters degrees and substantial work experience, Sarah* didn’t expect it would be so difficult to find work in Australia. Forced to abandon a PhD when she fled her home country, Sarah arrived in Australia hoping to find similar work to the senior project officer role she’d left. But she got few interviews, apart from an experience ... Read More »

Greens propose private sponsorship program for new refugees

Private citizens could sponsor up to 10,000 new refugees each year, under a Greens plan. The Greens have proposed establishing a program where Australians can sponsor individual refugees, taking in an additional 10,000 people per year who have been displaced around the world. Nick Baker SBS Based on a Canadian model, the program would allow private citizens to provide financial support and settlement assistance for one year after arrival, or until the refugee becomes self-sufficient. The initiative was one of ... Read More »

As EU stresses the migration ‘crisis’ is over, Italy makes hundreds of migrants homeless

Refuting what he called populist “misinformation”, the first vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, has stressed that: “Europe is no longer experiencing the migration crisis we lived in 2015, but structural problems remain.” Vicki Squire The Conversation The commission emphasises that the current level of arrivals is just 10% of what it was at its “peak” in 2015. But these comments overlook the fact that the so-called “crisis” of 2015 was defined as one on the basis of a series of myths ... Read More »

Michelle Bachelet has urged Australia to adopt “more humane policies” towards refugees.

The United Nations’ leading voice on human rights has criticised Australia’s refugee policies, specifically condemning plans to reopen Christmas Island detention centre. SBS UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet used an address on Wednesday to highlight rights abuses around the world, with Australia making the list. “The office has raised concern with Australia about the imminent transfer of migrants on Manus Island and Nauru to new detention centres,” the… “These people have been suffering for more than… Michelle ... Read More »

Iranian who was arrested for Hijab protest absconds country, seeks asylum

The actions earned Jangravi a three-year prison sentence. One year ago, Azam Jangravi took off her hijab and waved it above her head while standing atop an electrical transformer in a busy Tehran square. By ZACHARY KEYSER JPost Reuters contributed to this report. It was an act of protest to denounce Iran’s strict Islamic laws that restrict women and general life in Iran, and limited her ability to live freely within her own country. The actions earned Jangravi a three-year prison ... Read More »

The sounds of Speechless, where words are superfluous

Speechless is the new opera by award-winning composer Cat Hope, co-commissioned by the Perth Festival and Tura New Music. Stephen Chinna The Conversation This is Hope’s powerful response to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2014 report into children in immigration detention. Hope created what she describes as a “graphic score” derived from drawings and graphics extracted from the Report. This system of “animated graphic notation” is explained by Tura as “the representation of music through the use of visual symbols ... Read More »

How the next Australian government can balance security and compassion for asylum seekers

This is part of a major series called Advancing Australia, in which leading academics examine the key issues facing Australia in the lead-up to the 2019 federal election and beyond. Read the other pieces in the series here. Alex Reilly The Conversation With a rapidly changing climate and increased instability in the world order, patterns of people movement are likely to change dramatically in the future. It is not a tenable response to isolate Australia from the… Sadly, the politicisation ... Read More »

The sharks are circling ahead of the election — and it’s asylum seeker policy in the ‘chum bucket’

In full parliamentary flight this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison raged at Labor that it had “gone to the bottom of the chum bucket” when it started its probing of… Laura Tingle ABC Chum buckets, for anyone not familiar with the term, are buckets full of fish guts and heads and other smelly stuff that is thrown into the water by fishermen to attract a feeding frenzy of fish, particularly… And there was some truth to what the Prime Minister ... Read More »

Work ban forces asylum seekers into destitution – but we now have a chance to change this policy

One of the ugly realities of the British asylum system lies in the work ban placed on people awaiting a decision on their asylum claim. Alex Powell The Conversation The ban on working often forces people to rely on friends and family, or, worse, into destitution. This restriction is often justified by the mistaken notion that it will limit the number of people claiming asylum in the UK. Following a sustained campaign, and two private members bills spearheaded by Labour ... Read More »

New Zealand says refugee deal still on table as PM Morrison arrives for visit

New Zealand says an offer to resettle refugees from Nauru or Manus Island is still on the table, dismissing a report it won’t accept single male asylum seekers. AAP – SBS New Zealand has dismissed reports it refused to resettle single male asylum seekers in Australian offshore processing. Since 2013, New Zealand’s government has publicly offered to settle at least 150 refugees being held on Nauru or Manus Island, but has been rebuffed by successive Australian prime ministers, despite a ... Read More »

Dear Scott and Bill, we’ve strayed from our values: a Socceroo’s plea

Football commentator Craig Foster, who helped save refugee Hakeem al-Araibi, has written a challenge to PM Scott Morrison and Labor leader Bill Shorten: now save Australia’s humanity. Craig Foster The Sydney Morning Herald Dear Scott and Bill, Thank you for your support for Hakeem al-Araibi during his recent struggle for justice and for the welcome provided to him last week at Parliament House. It was a powerful moment to see a young refugee celebrated in the centre of our democracy, ... Read More »

Rohingya: killings should remind all nations of their responsibility to protect victims of mass atrocity crimes

Do states have a moral duty to protect foreigners from mass atrocity crimes? Maria Jellinek The Conversation At the turn of the millennium – and with the 2005 global political agreement to the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) – the positive answer to this question seemed obvious. Yet, almost 15 years after that commitment, the world’s vow to protect civilians from tyranny is faltering. A painful indicator of this trend has been the failure of the international community to effectively protect ... Read More »

Julian Assange gets a new Australian passport

Fugitive Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been issued with a new Australian passport after lengthy negotiations over whether he was subject to an arrest warrant for a “serious foreign offence”. Richard Baker The Sydney Morning Herald A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade official confirmed in a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday that Mr Assange’s 2018 application for a new passport had been accepted. Consular and Crisis Management Division first assistant secretary Andrew Todd said, “Mr Assange does have an ... Read More »

Victories for human rights highlight Australia’s tarnished reputation

On February 13, 26-year-old Sudanese refugee, Aziz Muhamat, won a prestigious international human rights prize, the Martin Ennals Award, in Geneva, Switzerland. Elaine Pearson Brisbane Times Winners are selected because of their deep commitment to human rights, often working under threat of detention, torture, or worse. Last month, a Kurdish refugee from Iran, Behrouz Boochani, won Australia’s richest literary prize, the Victorian Prize for Literature. Both men achieved this recognition despite Australian government efforts to hide them away on Manus ... Read More »

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Kerryn Phelps on medical transfer numbers

Independent MP Kerryn Phelps, who set the ball rolling for the medical transfers legislation, says its passage is “a remarkable exercise in cooperation”. Michelle Grattan The Conversation Phelps says that of the about 1000 people on Manus and Nauru “around 70 people require urgent medical evacuation” and “another couple of hundred will require transfer but not as urgently”. She describes Scott Morrison’s proposal to reopen the Christmas Island detention facility as a “political statement”. “What we need to do is ... Read More »