More lies from Australia's protected and unaccountable Foreign Minister about the exile of Manus refugees in PNG
Papua New Guinea is on track to resettle a number of asylum seekers found to be refugees, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says.
Ms Bishop discussed the resettlement of Manus Island-held asylum seekers with PNG's foreign minister Rimbink Pato on the sidelines of a Pacific forum in Sydney on Friday.
She told reporters she had been briefed on the PNG government's progress on sorting out legal issues and had been told the resettlement process is "on track".
He was threatened with beheading by the Taliban after immigration officials leaked his private details online, and now asylum seeker Nadir Sadiqi fears he will be sent home to certain death in Afghanistan. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 10/7/15]
UNHCR still silent on Australian government lies about not accepting refugees since October 2014. Does PR for corporate anti refugee initiative "Barefoot to Boots". [Media Release - 10/7/15]:
... This June, Awer Mabil, who was resettled in Australia in 2006, fulfilled another dream when he returned with his elder brother Awer Bul, to launch a powerful scheme to help today's young refugee players called "Barefoot to Boots." ...
Organisation chaired by one of Australia's best known refugees bullies "good" refugees into staying where they are until selected for their desirability [Australian Financial Review - 30/6/15]:
... Thanks to humanitarian resettlement programs of the past, a refugee footballer and a draftsman with strong family values and faith are playing their part in creating a new Australia at a time when many Australians clamour for assistance and seem unable to adapt.
The brothers illustrate the undervalued ability of refugees to contribute in an undemanding and efficient way to the development of their adopted country. There would be many others in Kakuma, from countries like Burundi, Uganda and Somalia who could be model citizens in Australia and other refugee camps would have similar people.
Speaking to leaders from UNHCR and UNICEF in Kakuma and Nairobi, we discuss how this humanitarian story is also an economic one. There is agreement that the UN can adapt its narrative too in this sense. ...
Australia's protected, unaccountable Foreign Minister rewards "good" refugees who stay where they are with football boots [Hyundai A-League - 8/6/15]:
Barefoot to Boots, an Australian initiative to provide football boots, shirts and balls to refugees, can provide joy and improve health and safety for those living in refugee camps, its creators said today ahead of their trip later this month.
Supported by Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, Barefoot to Boots will kick off on June 20 when a five-person team leaves for Kakuma Refugee Camp in north-western Kenya.
Australian and Adelaide United star Awer Mabil and his older brother Awer Bul, fellow United player Osama Malik, former diplomat Rachael West and businessman Ian Smith have formed Barefoot to Boots with the backing of Qantas, FFA, UNHCR, UNICEF Australia and the Australian Government. ...
Australia hasn't accepted one refugee since October 2014.
Why are the UNHCR, "opposition" and human rights establishment covering up Morrison's lies by remaining silent?
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says he's "taking the sugar off the table" by shutting the door on all refugees registered with the United Nations in Indonesia.
Mr Morrison says Australia will no longer accept asylum seekers who apply for resettlement after July 1 through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees office in Indonesia.
The minister has rejected claims the ban extends to UNHCR applicants in other countries.
"The government's announcement only applies to Indonesia," he said.
Australia has not resettled UNHCR approved refugees since October 2014 [SBS - 10/7/15]
@RichardMarlesMP [7/4/15]: Being shown around the UNHCR run Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan today by Col Abdelrahman & Hovig Etyemezian 1/2
Australian parliamentary delegation [Phillip Ruddock, Chris Hayes] visit refugee camps in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon [November 2014]
Senator Hanson-Young asks Attorney-General George Brandis about the 8,000 stranded refugees in the Straits of Malacca. His answer: "Thanks to this government, it isn't Australia's problem anymore".
Nauru: Opposition MPs remain in custody, more arrested for protesting
Two Nauru opposition MPs will remain in custody after another failed bail court hearing and another eight men are in custody on protest-related charges.
The MPs, former president Sprent Dabwido and Squire Jeremiah, have been charged in connection with an anti-government protest outside the parliament last month.
They are to appear in court again on Monday.
The men do not have access to a lawyer on the island and a pleader, who provides some legal support, is also not presently there.
The prosecution has previously called for the men to have their families prepare the written material needed to make their cases for bail.
The MPs want a lawyer allowed in from Australia but the Nauru Government continues to refuse him a visa.
The men say they want the Supreme Court to rule on their right to have a lawyer of their choice.
The Nauru government has confirmed reports that eight other men have been remanded in custody on protest-related charges.
The men are from the MPs' Meneng district.
Nine MSN [10/7/15]:
New Zealand's foreign minister is holding the possibility of an aid cut over the head of Nauru's president following heated talks over the declining state of democracy and rule of law on the island.
Foreign Minister Murray McCully has met with Nauru President Baron Waqa on the sidelines of Pacific Island Forum talks in Sydney, where he voiced his concerns.
"I have asked ministry officials to complete discussions regarding our current concerns prior to the next tranche of New Zealand funding to Nauru, which is currently scheduled for August this year," Mr McCully said in a statement on Friday, adding that NZ provides $1.2 million a year to Nauru's justice system.
Mr McCully said President Waqa vigorously disputed some aspects of recent international media reporting and gave his government's perspective of the events.
"On some of these issues we clearly disagree and on others the president has offered to supply further information," he said.
Mr McCully has asked NZ officials to meet with their Nauruan counterparts and the first such meeting occurred on Friday.
"I also raised directly the cancellation of Roland Kun's passport, given his close connection to New Zealand," Mr McCully said.
Mr Kun is one of three Nauru opposition MPs arrested for attending a protest and suspended from parliament for talking to foreign media.
His Australian wife and children are currently living in New Zealand. Mr Waqa characterised the discussion with Mr McCully as healthy.
The president believed he was able to ease concerns about "unfounded claims of unrest and internal trouble on the island nation", he said in a statement.
"I believe Minister McCully appreciated the dialogue and we agreed that any ongoing legal proceedings are a matter for the Nauru government and its people," he said.
… Every morning she would wake me and we would walk out into the fields before the sunrise and she would put her hand on my shoulder and would always say 'Tri keep your eyes on the sun and let the light of the sun fill your life with light.' ….
Then I Came by Boat: Human Rights Arts Film Festival audience award winner – short film [Guardian - 10/7/15]:
The riveting story of fleeing war-torn Vietnam for the safety of Australia, winner of the Audience Award in the Australian Shorts section at the Human Rights Arts Film Festival.
Marleena Forward is a Melbourne-based filmmaker, photographer and writer.
She is currently completing a master's degree in documentary filmmaking and she also runs a blog called The Melbourne Local.
Her film Then I Came by Boat was made in collaboration with the Victorian College of the Arts.
Canberra exhibition remembers Jewish refugees in Shanghai [Women of China – 9/7/15]:
... Peter Witting, an 87 year old, is the only Jewish survivor from Shanghai in Canberra right now. He was invited to the exhibition and shared his experience as a Jewish refugee. He said his most unforgettable memory about life in Shanghai was the warmth of the Chinese people during the hard times.
"The friendliness of the Chinese people. I was working with Chinese workman, and they are great friends. There is no anti-Semitism and it was a very harmonious relationship. It was wonderful. They saved our lives."
In May 1939, Witting left Germany with his family, just four months before the Second World War broke out.
Witting recalled that his father considered immigrating to the US or Australia, but they just couldn't wait for the visa. So his father decided to board the ship to Shanghai, the only place at the time which allowed free access for Jewish refugees without passports or visas.
The Wittings lived in Shanghai for 8 years until 1947. Witting went to school and also worked as a mechanic to supplement their life. Although it was a really hard time when they had to rely on relief assistance, Witting said they were lucky compared to their relatives in Europe.
"I am now 87 years old and looking back over my life I must say that I have been very fortunate in that our immediate family was able to escape from Germany before World War II and receive refuge in China, which saved us from almost certain annihilation in Europe. Whilst the war years were not easy, our experiences just cannot be compared with what many of our family members and compatriots had to endure in concentration camps of Europe. Many of our family members perished during the Holocaust."
Egypt to buy border security equipment from US [Ahram - 9/7/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [9/7/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Bomber, fighter-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted seven airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Bukamal, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Aleppo, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, destroying an ISIL vehicle and two ISIL bunkers.
-- Near Raqqah, an airstrike struck 20 ISIL staging areas.
-- Near Kobani, two airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit and an ISIL tactical unit, destroying two ISIL fighting positions and three ISIL structures.
-- Near Tal Abyad, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter-attack, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 14 airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:
-- Near Baghdadi, two airstrikes denied ISIL a tactical advantage and suppressed ISIL sniper fire. -- Near Huwayjah, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL checkpoint.
-- Near Fallujah, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, destroying an ISIL mortar, an ISIL tunnel entrance, an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL recoilless rifle and two ISIL bunkers.
-- Near Haditha, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb.
-- Near Kirkuk, an airstrike struck three ISIL staging areas.
-- Near Makhmur, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL building and eight ISIL vehicles.
-- Near Mosul, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL building.
-- Near Ramadi, an airstrike struck two ISIL excavators.
-- Near Sinjar, one airstrike struck an ISIL large tactical unit and an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL heavy machine gun, two ISIL vehicles and an ISIL command-and-control node.
-- Near Tal Afar, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, and destroyed an ISIL bunker.
Syrian army says it's closing in on Islamic State in Palmyra [Ahram - 9/7/15]
Iraqi officials: Bombs in Baghdad, Iraqi town kill 16 people [Yahoo - 9/7/15]
Saudi Arabia has kept bombarding areas across Yemen, while the Yemeni army, along with allied forces, retaliated by launching attacks on Saudi bases.
In their latest airstrikes against the impoverished Arab country, Saudi warplanes pounded a district in the western province of Dhamar, killing two people, including a child, and injuring 26 others on Thursday.
The Saudi warplanes also conducted two airstrikes on an area in the central Yemeni province of Ma’rib and pounded areas in the northwestern province of Sa’ada.
Saudi Arabia bombarded a hotel in northwestern province of Hajjah twice and carried out two air raids on the port city of Aden in the southwestern province of Aden. ... [Press TV - 10/7/15]
A mounting humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen: War death toll tops 3,000, fear of famine grows [Democracy Now - 9/7/15]
Yemen: UN chief welcomes announcement of humanitarian ceasefire [Media Release - 9/7/15]
... Transit Australia Group is also eyeing part of a $69 billion public transport project in Saudi Arabia's second largest city, Jeddah.
The company is pursuing its push into the Middle East in partnership with Saudi Arabian construction and services giant El Seif Contracting and Turkish logistics company Gursel. [Gold Coast Business - 8/7/15]
A roadside bomb blast wounded 15 policemen on Thursday as they travelled in a bus in northern Sinai where militants have launched deadly attacks against security forces. ... [Al Arabiya - 9/7/15]
Afghanistan: Drone strikes kill 25 in Nangarhar [Khaama - 9/7/15]
A stray mortar shell hit a house and killed two children in central Logar province as security officials said 28 militants were killed in Logar and southern Helmand provinces. ... [Pajhwok - 9/7/15]
Israeli forces release Palestinian MP after 1 year of administrative detention [Maan - 9/7/15]
Israel will "engage" with the International Criminal Court probing alleged war crimes, but only to question the tribunal's right to investigate Palestinian complaints, an official said Thursday. … [Naharnet – 9/7/15
Japan interested in joining NATO missile consortium [Reuters – 9/7/15]
Washington’s refusal to budge on Tehran’s demands for relief on economic sanctions as part of a nuclear agreement threw a wrench into last-minute talks between Iran and world powers, a source told the country’s semi-official Fars news agency Thursday.
“While the Iranian team is showing flexibility, the Americans are refusing to accept Iran’s obvious right, particularly on sanctions,” Fars quoted an unnamed source as saying. ... [Daily Star - 10/7/15]
Countries attending a two-day summit in Russia for the world’s emerging economies, known as BRICS, have launched their biggest initiative to date: a development bank and a currency pool.
Russian president Vladimir Putin, who is hosting the meeting, encouraged the expansion of trade among the BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. ... [EURO News - 9/7/15]
The Greek "reform" proposals [Naftemporiki.gr - 10/7/15]
Germany concedes Greece needs debt restructuring [Gulf Times – 9/7/15]
Schaeuble concedes Greek Debt Relief, offers USA “Puerto Rico vs Greece” swap [Keep Talking Greece – 9/7/15]
Who are the people in your neighbourhood?
South East Asia
UN agency rushes food relief to thousands of flood-affected people in Bangladesh [UN Media Release - 9/7/15]:
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is ramping up relief efforts aimed at reaching tens of thousands of Bangladeshis stranded by a spate of flash floods which struck the South Asian country last week.
According to a WFP press release issued earlier this morning, the UN agency is now targeting over 150,000 people in the coastal village of Cox's Bazar and surrounding areas with over 100 metric tons of emergency food supplies transported by boat and truck.
Among the food assistance being distributed are vitamin and mineral-fortified high energy biscuits for the many rendered homeless by the flash floods and now vulnerable to food insecurity and worsening poverty.
“Flash floods and landslides made the distribution of food very challenging but even remote areas were reached within a matter of hours,” confirmed Christa Räder, the WFP Representative in Bangladesh.
A sudden onset of torrential rains last week unleashed widespread flash flooding across southern Bangladesh, affecting thousands of people in the region.
The country's Government has reported that some 120,000 people continue to remain stranded amid ongoing humanitarian efforts.
Hacking Team emails expose proposed death squad deal, secret UK sales push and much more [The Intercept – 9/7/15]:
... Demo for Bangladesh “death squad”
In May, a Hacking Team representative traveled to Dhaka in Bangladesh to demonstrate the company’s spy technology at the headquarters of a brutal paramilitary security agency that is known for torture and extrajudicial killings.
The Rapid Action Battalion (pictured above) – described by Human Rights Watch as a “death squad” that has perpetrated systematic abuses over more than a decade – wanted to see “a practical demonstration” of Hacking Team’s surveillance equipment “in the ground settings of Bangladesh,” according to the company’s emails.
Last month, a reseller for Hacking Team in Bangladesh reported that he had submitted the bid papers for the deal and was “pushing RAB to select our offer through our personal relationship.” ...
Denpasar airport closed for next 12 hours [Nine MSN - 10/7/15]:
... Melbourne man Brendan McCarthy was told his flight home from Bali on Friday had been cancelled until at least Monday.
Other travellers were being told their flights could be delayed until July 23, he said.
"We've been here for two weeks, have changed accommodation three times now," Mr McCarthy told AAP.
As well as missing work, medical appointments and sporting commitments, he and his girlfriend are also facing additional unplanned travel costs that they hope to recoup through travel insurance.
"A fantastic holiday is now having a really bad ending," Mr McCarthy said. ...
Diffusion of responsibility is a sociopsychological phenomenon whereby a person is less likely to take responsibility for action or inaction when others are present. However this theory lends no necessary individual safety. Considered a form of attribution, the individual assumes that others either are responsible for taking action or have already done so. The phenomenon tends to occur in groups of people above a certain critical size and when responsibility is not explicitly assigned. It rarely occurs when the person is alone and diffusion increases with groups of three or more. ...
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
Hamlet Act I Scene IV
Australia has not resettled UNHCR approved refugees since October 2014 [SBS - 10/7/15]:
The federal government has been blocking United Nations-approved refugees from its resettlement waiting list for the past nine months, according to a high level source.
The government instigated a pause on accepting new referrals from the UN's refugee agency from October last year, and which was due to be lifted on January 31, according to documents obtained by AAP under freedom of information laws.
But now a high level source familiar with the matter has told AAP the suspension actually remained in place until June 30 and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is still awaiting official confirmation that the decision's been reversed.
Former immigration minister Scott Morrison initiated the referral ban, which wasn't publicly revealed.
"While the decision has been communicated to UNHCR headquarters, the minister has asked expressly that it not be made public and as a result should be treated with appropriate sensitivity," an immigration department official wrote in an email when the pause was put in place.
Mr Morrison announced last November Australia would not take any more asylum seekers who had applied for resettlement through the UNHCR office in Indonesia after July 1, 2014.
At the time he said the processing ban didn't extend to UNHCR applicants in other countries.
According to a department talking points document, a pause on adding to the offshore humanitarian program waiting list was necessary because it was already under significant pressure with 75,000 unfinalised applications - including from 50,000 people with relatives in Australia seeking family reunions.
Recent violence in Iraq and Syria had led to high demand and there had also been an increase from Burmese and African applicants, the department said. Australia resettled a total of 13,750 refugees in 2014.
Comment is being sought from now Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and the UNHCR.
New Delhi: Bio-waste dumped near Rohingya refugee camp, children affected [Gulf News – 9/7/15]
Rohingya family’s plight prompts offers of aid [New York Times – 7/7/15]
Is the UNHCR in South East Asia under untenable pressure to not do their job, or are they corrupt?
Anadolu Agency [2/7/15]:
A Malaysian federal minister has accused the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) of dishing out refugee cards without the government's consent.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Shahidan Kassim claimed Thursday that although cards must be authorized by the Immigration Department, the Home Ministry and the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the UNHCR had been giving out cards without consultation.
"We are reviewing it as a matter of urgency, because any recognition of an illegal immigrant as a refugee must be done through the proper processes and with the authorities' knowledge," he told reporters at parliament Thursday.
Earlier this year, Malaysia and Indonesia agreed to take in around 7,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants who had become stranded in local waters after a crackdown by Thai authorities scared people smugglers into abandoning their boats.
An identification process would determine which were genuine refugees and which economic migrants. The migrants would then be returned home.
Reports have said, however, that some Bangladeshi migrants have claimed to be Rohingya, in order to pass themselves off as refugees.
Rohingya are largely stateless and described by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted groups in the world.
So far, Malaysia has taken in about 1,100 Rohingya, who are now at a detention center in northern state Kedah.
Kassim claimed that although Rohingya were to undergo the proper screening process before being issued cards, the UNHCR has apparently been issuing refugee cards to illegal migrants who were not Rohingya.
"How can this happen? The Home Ministry and Foreign Ministry must be consulted first before any cards are issued," he said.
“The National Security Council will be taking action to ensure no more refugee cards are issued without government knowledge," he said.
He refused to reveal the type of action that will be taken.
US pats Thailand on the head for using a trafficking crackdown to push back refugees [Yahoo – 9/7/15]:
… Thailand’s investigation comes ahead of a new U.S. report card on its anti-trafficking efforts, due out in mid-July. Police spearheading the campaign on the ground told Reuters they encountered official indifference about the evidence they had gathered on trafficking networks - even after the U.S. State Department identified Thailand in June 2014 as one of the world’s worst trafficking offenders.
Katrina Adams, a spokeswoman for the State Department’s East Asia and Pacific Bureau, said this year's report only covers the year to March 2015, and thus would not include Thailand's latest crackdown.
"We welcome Thailand’s law enforcement actions, including the arrests of dozens believed to be involved in migrant smuggling and abuses against migrants, which may include human trafficking, in southern Thailand," Adams added. …
US interferes in ASEAN talks [IB Times - 3/7/15]:
... In addition, the meeting also recommended exploring the possibility of setting up a task force to respond to the "crisis and emergency situation arising from the irregular movement of persons".
Representatives of the US State Department and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the International Organisation for Migration were also present at the closed door meeting.
The US government has offered to cooperate with ASEAN on capacity building, enhancement of law enforcement cooperation and to provide expert advisory services on irregular migration, the ASEAN statement said.
The 10 countries are also proposing to strengthen law enforcement efforts in combating human trafficking at the national and regional level through the sharing of information and intelligence, and where appropriate, the setting up of a special taskforce.
It also proposed to use the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters to ensure that all ASEAN member states are well-equipped to prosecute "perpetrators of the heinous crimes of trafficking in persons and people smuggling."
The association also plans to undertake a study on the problem to help member states in their efforts to address the long-term impact.
The emergency meeting also proposed the early adoption of the ASEAN Convention against Trafficking in Persons especially Women and Children and the ASEAN Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons especially Women and Children at the 10th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime in September in Kuala Lumpur.
The UN refugee agency's representative in Malaysia, Richard Towle told AFP: "We know that unless these [measures to fight traffickers] are dealt with soon, the smugglers and traffickers will be back in business, as creative as they always are, so steps need to be taken."
... "We fully support law enforcement actions against smuggling and trafficking," said James Lynch, UNHCR's Regional Representative and Regional Coordinator for South-East Asia. ... [Media Release - 3/7/15]
All over the world the US creates pockets of war, genocide, impoverishment, lawlessness and stateless people.
Any attempt to escape death and/or enslavement in the empire's zones of economic colonisation and resource extraction is a perceived threat - and must be stopped.
So when Uncle Sam stamps his foot around the regions where sovereignty has been ceded, UN conventions are repudiated and refugees are criminalised and conflated with traffickers and smugglers.
@sarahinthesen8 - Senator Sarah Hanson-Young [9/7/15]: Tomorrow I'm joining the crew on board the @moas_eu Phoenix on a search & rescue mission to help find refugees lost in the Mediterranean Sea
Greens expect Australia will remain silent on Nauru [RNZI - 10/7/15]:
Australian Greens Senator, Sarah Hanson-Young, is not expecting the Australian Government to speak out over the political unravelling in Nauru.
Pacific foreign ministers are meeting in Sydney and include Nauru President, Baron Waqa.
The New Zealand Government wants assurances from Mr Waqa about rule of law concerns and human rights issues with 3 Opposition MPs facing charges and a fourth barred from leaving the country.
Australia's Julie Bishop has already said it is essentially a domestic issue for Nauru, though she says she has conveyed her concerns.
But Ms Hanson-Young says the asylum seeker camps into which Canberra has poured millions, leave it hopelessly compromised.
"It suits the Australia Government at the moment for Nauru to be a bit of a mess, for the justice system not to work properly and of course for no proper access for journalists. It suits the Australian Government."
10 July 2015