Going back to country is good for the spirit and mind. The land has healing in it.



Image: @Clintonswalk [11/3/17]



Clinton Pryor's Walk for Justice comes through Port Augusta [The Transcontinental - 8/3/17]



@ATEmbassy [11/3/17]:  Constitution has been burnt to ashes at the front of the referendum council meeting in Sydney ...



Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations in Western Australia are dismayed that neither major party has committed to introducing a custody notification service ahead of Saturday’s election, despite a recommendation from the state coroner.


Labor has however committed to ending the practice of jailing people for unpaid fines, as Ms Dhu was.

“We will do what’s necessary to ensure that fine defaulters don’t sit on their hands in prison over the weekend at a cost of $770 a day and are instead out there in the community paying it off,” Papalia told Guardian Australia.

He suggested that policies intended to reduce the number of lower-level offenders in custody could negate the need for a custody notification service, because fewer people would be in custody. ...  [Guardian - 9/3/17]



On the day the UN Rapporteur's report was released, the Queensland government dropped its Palm Island appeal, thus avoiding any need to respond. ---> UN expert urges Australia to actually do something about violence against women [NITV - 28/2/17]:


UN special rapporteur on violence against women, Dubravka Simonovic has delivered her preliminary findings in Canberra, after her inaugural 15-day fact-finding mission to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cherbourg and Alice Springs.

Ms Simonovic was particularly concerned about the plight of Indigenous women, who are 34 times more likely to require hospital treatment as a result of domestic violence, and up to 3.7 times likely to experience sexual abuse.

She also criticised the presence of red tape, which stops women from escaping domestic violence, and called on the government to lift its game when providing crisis services and shelters for women experiencing domestic violence, which is a key cause of homelessness.

 Ms Simonovic’s tour included an opportunity to speak directly with women prisoners in a Brisbane jail.

The UN special rapporteur expressed concern for how women are being locked up for unpaid fines, and has called for better mental health care access and alternatives to custodial sentences for those with dependent children.

"I would urge the government to review a policy of incarceration for unpaid fines, which has a disproportionate effect on the rates of incarceration of Aboriginal women because of the economic and social disadvantage that they face," Ms Simonovic said.

She told reporters that adequate funding for community legal services was important, given that Indigenous women are the fastest growing prison population in Australia.

Ms Simonovic also slammed the rigidity of the basics card - a cashless debit card used to income-manage welfare payments in some remote communities in the Northern Territory, to curb spending on alcohol or gambling, for not providing the flexibility for women to spend their money on expenses related to domestic violence.

She also expressed concern about lax investigations into allegations of rape and sexual abuse of women refugees and asylum seekers in immigration detention on Nauru.



Queensland 2011:  Jailed without trial, then shackled while giving birth - and nothing's changed [ABC - 26/11/11]:


... KAREN BERKMAN: Susan gave birth to baby Fabian while she was in the Brisbane Women's Prison.

SUSAN BEBBINGTON: Because I had a really bad birth with Fabian in there and you never get over that. I was handcuffed during my ultrasound handcuffed during, when I was in labour. It was horrible. It was the most hardest birth I've had. And then being there on my own.

KAREN BERKMAN: Corrective Services denies that she was handcuffed, but Sisters Inside, who lobby for the rights of women in prison, say it's a battle they've been having for years.

DEBBIE KILROY: We have a pregnant woman who then gives birth in handcuffs. Now Corrective Services have been very clear to us that that policy exists no longer. But it obviously does exist.  ...



WA Judge Phillip McCann said the prison system was a "failure" and the way in which Aboriginal people were dealt with was nothing short of an "international disgrace." ... [WA Today - 8/3/17]



A major gas pipeline project between the Northern Territory and Queensland has been delayed because of a bitter dispute between traditional owners and Indigenous land councils. ... [ABC - 7/3/17]



@FreeWestPapua [11/3/17]:  Today Aboriginal elder June Mills was given official warning by Australian police for "walking near" the #IndonesianConsulate with a WP flag



Fear in Myanmar [BBC Newsnight - 10/3/17]



@Arakan_Times [10/3/17]:  BROUK President's interview on Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh ...



Another day, another envoy field trip where Rohingya are held to account for their identity and persecution [Rohingya Vision - 10/3/17]:


The Italian Ambassador to Myanmar, H.E. Mr. Pier Giorgio Aliberti, visited the violence-hit Rohingya villages in northern Maungdaw yesterday evening, it has been reported.

As a part of his field visit to study the crimes committed against the Rohingya, H.E. the ambassador visited ‘Sinthaepyin (Haanti Fara)’ hamlet of ‘Longdoong’ village along with his team.

During the visit, he cordially met with the villagers and inquired them about the situation that they have been facing since October 9, 2016.

“The Italian Ambassador arrived at ‘Haanti Fara’ at around 4:00 pm on March 9. He asked us about our situation.

We explained him about how many people were tortured, our houses were plundered and hundreds of our women were raped by the Myanmar military and the Border Guard Police.

We explained him everything. And he has recorded them.

“We have also proven to him with the old government-issued documents that we are an ethnic people with the identity ‘Rohingya.’  And he thanked us for welcoming him and his team and showing hospitality to them”, said a man after meeting with the ambassador in northern Maungdaw. ...



Media and human rights organisations issue statement in support of Myanmar Now editor [Coconuts Yangon - 9/3/17]



A prominent Myanmar journalist is facing a defamation case, police said Wednesday, after he took to Facebook last week to criticize a nationalist Buddhist monk who praised the January assassination of one of the nation’s leading Muslim attorneys. ... [RFA - 8/3/17]



Trincomalee disappearances protest continues for fifth day [Tamil Guardian - 10/3/17]



Snowden shelterers in Hong Kong seek Canada asylum: lawyer [Reuters - 11/3/17]:


Three families who helped shelter former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in Hong Kong in 2013 after his mass leak of information about surveillance programs have asked Canada for asylum, their lawyer said on Friday.

The families - three Sri Lankan adults, a Filipina, and three stateless children - have had long-pending asylum claims in Hong Kong that they fear may soon be rejected, lawyer Marc-Andre Seguin said in a phone interview from Hong Kong.

Seguin said the families had been thrust into the spotlight after the September release of the Oliver Stone film "Snowden" which referred to their role in Snowden's flight from the United States in 2013 and, eventually, to Russia.

Seguin said the families and Hong Kong-based lawyer Robert Tibbo, who introduced his clients to Snowden, now face increasingly adverse circumstances in Hong Kong.

They said that they have been "actively sought by Sri Lankan operatives" in recent months and fear for their safety in Hong Kong, Seguin said. ...



A 15-year-old boy has been shot dead by security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir during a protest over a raid that left two suspected rebels killed, according to police and eyewitnesses. ... [Al Jazeera - 10/3/17]



@javnaikoo [10/3/17]: Tears rolling down on face of a boy watchin funeral of his friend,Amir Nazir ... killed by indian forces in kashmir.



The Israeli army shelled several sites in the southern Gaza Strip Friday at dawn, in what locals suspected was in retaliation for rocket shells that were fired towards Israel from Gaza late Thursday evening.

Israeli forces shelled at least three at sites in the southern besieged coastal enclave Friday, including eastern al-Qarara, eastern Khan Yunis and Deir al-Balah.

No injuries were reported. ... [Maan - 10/3/17]



Israeli forces injure Palestinian youth in head with live bullet during clashes in Ramallah [Maan - 10/3/17]



A Palestinian was killed and an Hamas official was injured in the back on Friday afternoon when an exchange of fire erupted in the Palestinian Burj al-Barajneh refugee camp in southern Beirut. ... [Maan - 10/3/17]



Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq has suspended his hunger strike upon reaching an agreement with Israeli authorities to be released in mid April, the Palestinian Prisoners's Society (PPS) reported on Friday.

It remained unclear the exact release date that was agreed upon.

A spokesperson from the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) was not immediately available for comment. ... [Maan - 10/3/17]



This year’s Purim costume: IDF soldier convicted of manslaughter [Jerusalem Online - 27/2/17]



Trump invites Palestinian leader Abbas to White House [Reuters - 10/3/17]



Israel Police are reportedly seeking to question Australian billionaire James Packer as part of a corruption investigation into allegations Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted expensive gifts from wealthy businessmen, including Packer.

A Channel 10 report on Friday indicated that police have submitted a request with Australian authorities to question Packer under caution, adding that he may be considered a suspect in the investigation.

Packer has emerged as a key figure in the ongoing corruption, along with Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan. ... [Times of Israel - 10/3/17]



They aren't done fighting: 1,000s of Dakota Access Pipeline activists march on Washington [Mother Jones - 10/3/17]



Building pipelines leads to growth - not in jobs, but carbon emissions [TRNN - 8/3/17]:


... DIMITRI LASCARIS: It's interesting, to contrast Trump and Trudeau. With Trump at least you know what you're getting. You're getting somebody who doesn't really buy the whole science of climate change.

At one point, he called the global warming hypothesis a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.

He's been very clear that he's going to do everything conceivable to advance the interests of the fossil fuels industry.

He's even put the former CEO of Exxon in the all-powerful position of Secretary of State.

Trudeau, on the other hand, likes to convey to the Canadian public that he is concerned about the climate crisis.

He gets it; he understands and doesn't question the overwhelming scientific consensus.

But under the surface - or not so under the surface - he's doing essentially what Donald Trump is doing.

He's doing everything he can to promote the tar sands industry in Canada. ...



More than a dozen Hondurans filed a class action lawsuit Wednesday in a U.S. federal court against the World Bank's private lending arm for financing, aiding and abetting violence and human rights abuses against campesino communities resisting palm oil projects in the Aguan Valley region.

Campesinos claim that the International Finance Corporation, or IFC, and its opaque financial intermediary, the IFC Asset Management Corporation, have funneled millions of dollars into Dinant corporation, despite scores of farmers speaking out against Dinant being violently murdered in the Aguan region.

They believe that the World Bank arm was "knowingly profiting from the financing of murder." ... [teleSUR - 8/3/17]



Inspired by Berta Cáceres, Francisca Ramírez leads unified indigenous and campesino anti-canal movement in Nicaragua [Intercontinental Cry - 3/3/17]



Young Argentinian woman released after US authorities detained her following a speech she gave about immigration [Slate - 10/3/17]



The sad state of Atlanta’s Immigration Court [American Immigration Council - 10/3/17]:


... Observers found that the immigration judges made prejudicial statements, demonstrated a lack of courtesy and professionalism and expressed significant disinterest toward respondents.

In one hearing, an attorney argued that his client should be released from detention because he was neither a threat to society nor a flight risk.

In rejecting the client’s bond request, the immigration judge reportedly compared an immigrant to a “person coming to your home in a Halloween mask, waving a knife dripping with blood” and asked the attorney if he would let him in.

When the attorney disagreed with this comparison, the immigration judge responded that the “individuals before [him] were economic migrants and that they do not pay taxes.”

Another immigration judge reportedly “leaned back in his chair, placed his head in his hands, and closed his eyes” for 23 minutes while the respondent described the murder of her parents and siblings during an asylum hearing. ...



The Department of Justice is deploying 50 judges to immigration detention facilities across the United States, according to two sources and a letter seen by Reuters and sent to judges on Thursday.

The department is also considering asking judges to sit from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., split between two rotating shifts, to adjudicate more cases, the sources said.

A notice about shift times was not included in the letter. ... [Reuters - 9/3/17]



Caribbean nations meet in Havana on migration, trade as Trump era begins [Reuters - 10/3/17]



Lighthouse Cuban migrants in legal limbo after months of imprisonment at Guantánamo [Miami Herald - 9/1/17]



Most of the migrants who have crossed the Canadian border in recent months seeking asylum were in the United States legally, the country's public safety minister said on Friday.

Ralph Goodale said Canada is sharing information about the documents presented at the border by asylum seekers "because those are American documents.” [Reuters - 10/3/17]



Mexican authorities have found at least 242 bodies in hidden graves in the eastern state of Veracruz that were discovered by mothers searching for their missing children, officials said Friday.

The bodies were found over a six-month period, with the first discovered in August near the city of Veracruz by the volunteer collective known as El Solecito, formed by relatives of those who have disappeared. ... [Yahoo - 10/3/17]



Guatemala recoiled in anger and shock Thursday, March 9, at the deaths of 35 teenage girls in a fire at a government-run shelter where staff have been accused of sexual abuse and other mistreatment. ... [Rappler - 10/3/17]



Saudi airstrike kills 26, mostly civilians, in Yemen market [Antiwar.com - 10/3/17]



 ‘You can kill thousands of people, but you can never kill the human spirit’.


The world lost a great sports writer and a champion for human rights - Eelam Tamils lost a friend [Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam/EINPresswire.com - 10/3/17]:


The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) is deeply saddened by the demise of veteran journalist and human rights activist, Trevor Grant.

Following a decades- long career and recognized as one of the finest sports writers of his time in Australia, Trevor Grant took a keen interest in the plight of Tamil refugees arriving in Australia at the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka in May 2009.

He thus became a passionate advocate for refugee rights and a campaigner and spokesman with the Tamil Refugee Council, while also taking care of the emotional and material needs of asylum seekers and refugees through working in several fronts within the wider Australian community in his home State of Victoria.

Admirers of Trevor Grant have noted his commitment to principles and fair play and his determined stand in not letting authorities get away with power.

It is, therefore, not surprising that he did not limit his concerns to the future of the disenfranchised and downtrodden refugees arriving in Australian shores.

He also took a journalist’s interest and curiosity to dig into the causes for their fleeing from their native lands.

Trevor Grant exhibited his moral anger over the Genocide perpetrated by the Sri Lankan State on the hapless Tamil civilians in Mullivaaikaal in May 2009.

This resulted in the publication in 2014 of his book Sri Lanka's Secrets: How the Rajapaksa Regime Gets Away with Murder, a book which was described by analysts as ‘a determined and forceful portrayal of the nature of the Sri Lankan society and the corrupt regime that was running the country’.

As part of his advocacy work, Trevor Grant has also been scathing in his criticism of successive Australian governments for their foreign policy obsession that was focused on turning back boats with refugees rather than on the human rights of the Tamil refugees.

As a brave and compassionate man, Trevor Grant felt the necessity to bring out the truth as best as he could even through the period of his recent illness.

He used his pen and his sharp and powerful style of writing to bring out some of the ugly truths of the new ‘good governance’ regime of President Maithripala Sirisena in Sri Lanka, and the complicity of powerful members of the international community in allowing Sri Lanka ‘to keep its secrets’.

Equally, he has been active in sharing details of the mesothelioma that has now taken him from us so prematurely.

His honesty in telling us about the things that made him angry and those that made him sad through his illness is a measure of the caliber of the man he was.

It is tragic that the voice of Trevor Grant is no more with us at this time when new forms of nativism and populism are emerging in the West, contributing to a hostile environment for refugees fleeing persecution, violence, and enviornmental degradation, and seeking safe haven.

The craft of journalism that he much loved and practiced is facing new challenges at this time as well.

Let us find solace in Trevor’s own words, as stated in his book, ‘You can kill thousands of people, but you can never kill the human spirit’.

We, Tamils, shall remain in eternal gratitude for Trevor’s tireless work and unparalleled service to a vulnerable and oppressed people.

Farewell, dear friend! 




11 March 2017