Thousands of Indonesians suffering respiratory illnesses from haze




Jakarta Post [11/9/15]:


Tens of thousands of Indonesians have been treated for respiratory illnesses caused by thick smoke from hundreds of forest and land fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan, the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) said on Friday.

The dry weather is set to persist for several more days, it added.

Across many areas, schools have been closed and flights delayed.

Nearly 15,000 residents in Riau province in Sumatra, near Singapore, suffered from upper respiratory infections, 22,855 residents in South Sumatra and about 40,000 in South Kalimantan, according to the BNPB statement.

"The haze has produced wide-ranging impacts, in terms of health, comfort as well as security. The upper respiratory infection cases are not to be taken lightly," said the newly appointed head of BNPB, Mr Willem Rampangilei.

Nearly all five provinces in Kalimantan were shrouded by smoke, said Dr Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB's spokesman.Kalimantan had 1,312 hotspots, of which 508 were in the worst-affected West Kalimantan province, as at 5am Jakarta time on Friday, according to satellite imagery.

Kalimantan was suffering its worst haze so far this year, in terms of the size of the areas shrouded by haze.Sumatra recorded 575 hot spots, and 78 per cent of those were in South Sumatra province.

BNPB will send in another helicopter to South Sumatra soon to beef up water-bombing operations, to add to the several that are operating now.Visibility in Pekanbaru, the capital of Riau province, was 500m. In Pelalawan, also in Riau, it was 200m.

The air pollutant index in the provinces affected by thick haze -- which also include Jambi province, Central Kalimantan province and South Kalimantan province -- was mostly between the unhealthy and hazardous levels.






The United Nations General Assembly today decided that the flags of non-member observer States shall be raised at the world body’s headquarters and offices following the flags of its 193 Member States.

The resolution, “Raising the flags of non-member observer States at the United Nations,” was adopted by a vote of 119 in favour to 8 against, with 45 delegations abstaining. [Australia voted against.]

The text also requested Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to take “the measures necessary” for the implementation of this decision during the Assembly’s seventieth session, which begins on 15 September, and within 20 days of the adoption of the resolution.

The Assembly took today’s decision noting the participation of non-member observer States that maintain permanent observer missions at Headquarters, of which there are currently two – the Holy See and Palestine, in its sessions and work.  [Media Release - 10/9/15]






At least four people have been killed in a fierce exchange of fire between India's army soldiers and a group of armed men in Indian-administered Kashmir, police sources say.  ... [Press TV - 11/9/15]





The Saudi-led coalition battling Iran-backed insurgents sent more military vehicles and troops across the border into Yemen on Friday in preparation for an offensive to retake the capital, military officials said.

The arrival of reinforcements came as coalition warplanes killed seven rebels in an air raid Friday in eastern Yemen, where Apache helicopters have also joined the fight against the Houthi Shia insurgents.

The strike targeted a military vehicle used by the rebels in the eastern province of Marib, while other air raids struck rebel positions in neighbouring Shabwa province, military sources said.

 An AFP reporter at the Wadia border post between Saudi Arabia and Yemen saw at least 40 coalition military vehicles cross over into oil-rich Marib. ... [Ahram - 11/9/15]






Kurdish militants fired on a restaurant frequented by police in southeastern Turkey's main city on Friday, killing a waiter and wounding three officers, as the restive region descended further into the worst bloodshed it has seen since the 1990s.

Turkish jets bombed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq for a fifth straight night, while the leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition accused security forces of a shoot-to-kill policy in another town under a week-long curfew.  ... [Ahram - 11/9/15]





Unknown gunmen gunned down a religious scholar during prayers in southeastern Khost province the wee hours of Friday, an official said.  ... [Pajhwok - 11/9/15]





The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are expected to receive 2,293 Medium Tactical Vehicles (MTVs) under a contract by the US Army, it has been reported.

The contract worth $369 million has been awarded to the Navistar International Corporation (NYSE: NAV) – a holding company whose subsidiaries and affiliates produce International® brand commercial and military trucks, proprietary diesel engines, and IC Bus™ brand school and commercial buses.  ... [Khaama - 10/9/15]





UN and partners report ‘extremely alarming’ food insecurity figures in Afghanistan [Media Release - 10/9/15]





Former navy chief expresses concern over UK role in Syria drone strikes [Guardian - 11/9/15]






The Murdoch controlled Australian media are so obsessed with demonising refugees they've stooped to fabricating another "people smuggler" lie.





... “These small boys could be alive today, if Canada had responded more appropriately to the Syrian refugee crisis,” said Loly Rico, CCR President. “We shouldn’t need to wait for a tragedy like this to realize we must open our doors. We call on an urgent basis for Syrians with family in Canada to be allowed to travel here immediately and complete processing in Canada where they can be safe. We don’t want to see any more children die in this way.”  ... [Canada Council for Refugees - 3/9/15]






UNHCR not answering calls from journalist re Australia's 12,000 Syrian refugee "resettlement" PR stunt [Nine MSN - 11/9/15]:


... A spokesman from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection told ninemsn that partner agencies will then refer cases for permanent settlement on to Australian officials for further assessment.

"Departmental staff and other agencies, such as ASIO, will then carry out Australia’s screening," confirmed the spokesman.

"Candidates for resettlement will be required to meet all criteria for a protection visa, including health, character and security checks."

The 12,000 Syrian refugees will be processed in the same way the government has handled refugees since World War II, the spokesman said.

 ninemsn tried to contact UNHCR to enquire about their processes and selection criteria but the Canberra-based office did not return calls. ...





A refugee rally in Australia that chants "close the camps" at an LNP speaker and cheers ALP speakers given that ALP policy = concentration camps and boat pushbacks? Really?  More like a pep rally for the stinky anti-refugee ALP brand. [ABC - 11/9/15]





Hungary emulates Australia's treatment of refugees [BBC - 11/9/15]:


Footage has emerged of migrants being thrown bags of food at a Hungarian camp near the border with Serbia.

An Austrian woman who filmed the video said the migrants were being treated like "animals" and called for European states to open their borders.


The footage from Hungary comes from a camp at Roszke, one of the bottlenecks at which large numbers of migrants heading north and west have built up.

It was filmed by Michaela Spritzendorfer, the wife of an Austrian Green party politician who was delivering aid to the camp, and Klaus Kufner, a journalist and activist.

"These people have been on a terrible tour for three months," Ms Spritzendorfer told the BBC.

"Most of them have been across the sea now and on the boat and through the forest and they've gone through terrible things and we, as Europe, we keep them there in camps like animals. It's really a responsibility of European politicians to open the borders now."

The lack of support for migrants in Hungary has drawn criticism from activists. Peter Bouckaert, emergency director at Human Rights watch, described the situation at Roszke as "inhumane".



Syrian refugee family waits 18 months For Australian visa [Huffington Post – 11/9/15]




... It is an extraordinary thing to think that there will be 12,000 people whose lives will be literally saved from a miserable set of circumstances that are not of their making and they'll be brought to a country like Australia where they'll be able to be embraced and looked after and fashion a new, hopeful bright future for themselves and their families. ...




Paris Aristotle - Head of the Abbott government's new Resettlement Advisory Council, CEO Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture and member of the Gillard government's Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers [ABC 11/9/15]




If you close your eyes you don't see anyone drowining.  And if you cover your ears you can't hear them scream ----- >  .... PARIS ARISTOTLE: I- The government has stopped the boats and I for one am glad that we haven't seen anybody drown in the last 18 months as a consequence of those boat journeys, but, we also have to examine the way in which we've done that and whether that is sustainable over the longer term. ... [ABC - 29/5/15]





... We are living in a camp in the jungle. This is where they ‘re-settled’ us. This is no place to live. If we are refugees why are we not living in community? We have no neighbours here. Our ‘neighbours’, our ‘relatives’ are mosquitoes and flies and dogs. Please listen to our issues. We want to tell you that we are here like animals. ...



Refugees protest on Nauru, 26 September 2014


via @iranian_naur012




[Statement and Questions from the more then fifty refugees - given ‘temporary protection visas’ to ‘re-settle’ on Nauru - 4/8/14]:


... We want to tell you that we are here like animals. In a zoo there is different animals from different countries and people go to look at them. Nauru is a zoo.

We are just different animals from different countries. People come to visit here and then asks some questions then they note it down. But we know from experience that they are doing just paper work and nothing will happen.

They just come to look at us.

Recently one man called Paris Aristotle came to our accommodation and he said he was from a NGO in Victoria. He said he is here to help us and to listen to us.

On that first day we asked him to take our problems to the media and he said that he cannot because he has good relationship with the minister!

We are confused. Is this man here for us or immigration?

The second day when he came, he came with Mark who is the deputy chief secretary of immigration and, as he told us, he is in charge of all detention centres of Australia.

When we were talking Paris was supporting Mark, not us. When we tell them some things they laughed at us. We are confused, is this man, Paris, here for us or for the DIAC?  ...




Guardian [1/3/14]:


Chilling footage has emerged of “war zone”-like scenes during last week’s unrest at the Manus Island detention centre, showing dozens of asylum seekers – most unconscious or semiconscious and many with serious injuries – receiving treatment from frantic staff tending to them by torchlight.


“It was like a war zone,” a witness to the filmed events told Guardian Australia. “People were covered in blood – so many people came in half an hour.”

The footage was filmed between 12.41am and 1.06am on Tuesday. Almost immediately afterwards, witnesses say, all staff on the floating accommodation block, Hotel Bibby, were asked to help, whether or not they had medical training. At this point the number of casualties increased. “The medics were short of staff.

It was chaotic,” a witness said.

The wounded asylum seekers were separated into three areas: an assessment area, a critical area and a non-critical area, according to the witness.

At 12:58am one asylum seeker, a tall, muscular, young man can be seen being brought in for assessment and then moved instantly off for further treatment. His body is limp, hanging off the end of the stretcher.

Guardian Australia has contacted a family member of Reza Barati, who said they could not identify the young man in the image.

“People were moaning, ‘Papu, Papu’ – meaning local people,” said the witness to the filmed events.

Frantic staff can be heard during the continual arrivals. One shouts to a group seemingly running with a body, “walking guys, walking”. Pools of liquid can be seen on the concrete. Blood and bruising is visible on many of the patients. A line of unused chairs rests in the assessment area, but all patients are treated on camp beds or blue mattresses.

On 18 February, the day after the unrest began, Guardian Australia reported witness accounts of the scenes at the staff accommodation block. One contractor told Guardian Australia: “They were just makeshift beds.

Transferees were carried in on sheets. Blood everywhere, crying. There were 30 or 40 clients down there. We had gunshot wounds, some with head injuries.”

The contractor took notes on what patients told her. One Iranian said: “I did nothing, I wasn’t involved in the protests, I was in my room, being good, trying to sleep. They came in my room they dragged me out of my bed and beat me. They had huge rocks in their hands and they hit my head and my body with them.”

An interpreter working for the Immigration Department, Azita Bokan, also said she saw asylum seekers with “massive head injuries” at the makeshift hospital and said she saw one patient with a slashed throat.



 ...  They sought to portray the deportations as a "resettlement"  ...  


[Deportations to Killing Centres - US Holocaust Memorial Museum]




United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:


… Theresienstadt served an important propaganda function for the Germans. The publicly stated purpose for the deportation of the Jews from Germany was their "resettlement to the east," where they would be compelled to perform forced labor.

Since it seemed implausible that elderly Jews could be used for forced labor, the Nazis used the Theresienstadt ghetto to hide the nature of the deportations.

In Nazi propaganda, Theresienstadt was cynically described as a "spa town" where elderly German Jews could "retire" in safety. The deportations to Theresienstadt were, however, part of the Nazi strategy of deception. The ghetto was in reality a collection center for deportations to ghettos and killing centers in Nazi-occupied eastern Europe.

Succumbing to pressure following the deportation of Danish Jews to Theresienstadt, the Germans permitted the International Red Cross to visit in June 1944.

It was all an elaborate hoax.

The Germans intensified deportations from the ghetto shortly before the visit, and the ghetto itself was "beautified." Gardens were planted, houses painted, and barracks renovated. The Nazis staged social and cultural events for the visiting dignitaries.

Once the visit was over, the Germans resumed deportations from Theresienstadt, which did not end until October 1944.


Phnom Penh Post [11/9/15]:

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton yesterday met Cambodia’s senior immigration official, a day after holding talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen and Interior Minister Sar Kheng over the A$40 million refugee resettlement scheme.

A delegation led by Dutton that also included Major General Andrew Bottrell, the “operational and tactical liaison” for the refugee transfers, held a morning meeting with General Sok Phal, director-general of the Immigration Department.

Officials, however, remained tight-lipped following the meeting. A spokeswoman for Dutton’s office said only that the Australians “were very encouraged by today’s meetings and are grateful for the high level of engagement during our visit”.

“We look forward to continuing to work together to implement the next successful stage of the [agreement].”

Kerm Sarin, head of the Refugee Department, said no details of the resettlement project were discussed at the meeting.

Leul Mekonnen, head of the International Organization for Migration in Cambodia, also met the Australian delegation yesterday. In a statement, the organisation said it was committed to “serving the needs of the refugees through the continued provision of a robust suite of settlement services”.

Since the resettlement scheme was signed on September 26, 2014, it has been cloaked in secrecy. Australia agreed to provide an additional A$40 million (currently about $28.3 million) in aid to Cambodia as part of the arrangement, and in May announced it would spend an estimated A$15.5 million more to fund resettlement services for refugees who agree to move from detention on the Pacific island of Nauru.

The meetings this week came after it was reported that one of the initial four refugees accepted – a Rohingya from Myanmar – who took up the offer of resettlement in Cambodia in June, had applied for a visa to return to his homeland.

In a statement released yesterday, Dutton’s office said that Hun Sen and Kheng were “committed to facilitating further resettlement of refugees from Nauru who have expressed interest in moving to Cambodia and to measures to accelerate the integration of refugees into Cambodian society”.




Khmer Rouge Tribunal witness recalls vow to ‘kill all the Cham’ [Phnom Penh Post – 11/9/15]





A refugee crisis made in America,  Philip Giraldi [ICH/American Conservative - 10/9/15]:


... In writing this piece I looked up Ali Hussein, the little Iraqi boy who was killed by the American bomb.

He has been “disappeared” from Google, as well has the photo, presumably because his death did not meet community standards.

He has likewise been eliminated from the Washington Post archive.

The experience of Winston Smith in George Orwell’s nineteen eighty-four  immediately came to mind.



United States "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria




US Department of Defense [10/9/15]:



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

Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 10 airstrikes in Syria:

-- Abu Kamal, an airstrike struck an ISIL crude oil collection point.

-- Near Hasakah, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL motorcycles and an ISIL structure.

-- Near Hawl, an airstrike had inconclusive results.

-- Near Raqqah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Kobani, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL excavators.

-- Near Mar’a, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL mortar supply point and an ISIL mortar tube.

-- Near Palmyra, an airstrike had inconclusive results.

Airstrikes in Iraq

Attack, fighter, fighter-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 18 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with the government of Iraq:

-- Al Baghdadi, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building.

-- Near Beiji, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Habbaniyah, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two buildings.

-- Near Kisik, one airstrike struck an ISIL mortar firing position.

-- Near Mosul, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL mortar firing position and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Ramadi, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL building.

-- Near Rawah, one airstrike struck an ISIL large tactical unit and an ISIL encampment.

-- Near Sinjar, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and an ISIL mortar firing position and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions and two ISIL light machine guns.

-- Near Tal Afar, one airstrike struck an ISIL mortar firing position.

-- Near Tuz, four airstrikes destroyed 13 ISIL fighting positions and two ISIL vehicles.



US government blocks release of new CIA torture details [Reuters - 10/9/15]:

U.S. government officials have blocked the release of 116 pages of defense lawyers' notes detailing the torture that Guantanamo Bay detainee Abu Zubaydah says he experienced in CIA custody, defense lawyers said on Thursday.

The treatment of Zubaydah, who lost one eye and was waterboarded 83 times in a single month while held by the CIA, according to government documents, has been the focus of speculation for years.

"We submitted 116 pages in 10 separate submissions," Joe Margulies, Zubaydah’s lead defense lawyer, told Reuters. "The government declared all of it classified."

Margulies and lawyers for other detainees said that the decision showed that the Obama administration plans to continue declaring detainees’ accounts of their own torture classified. A Central Intelligence Agency spokesperson declined to comment.

After the release of a U.S. Senate report on CIA torture in December, the government loosened its classification rules and released 27 pages of interview notes compiled by lawyers for detainee Majid Khan in which he described his torture.

Khan, a Guantanamo detainee turned government cooperating witness, said interrogators poured ice water on his genitals, twice videotaped him naked and repeatedly touched his "private parts" - none of which was described in the Senate report.

Khan said that guards, some of whom smelled of alcohol, also threatened to beat him with a hammer, baseball bats, sticks and leather belts.

"The CIA has apparently changed its mind about allowing detainees to talk about their torture," said Wells Dixon, Khan’s lawyer.

CIA and White House officials opposed releasing the Senate report, but Senator Dianne Feinstein, who then chaired the Intelligence Committee, made public its 480-page executive summary.

A month after the report's release, government lawyers said in a January 2015 court filing that the CIA had issued new classification rules that permitted the release of “general allegations of torture,” and “information regarding the conditions of confinement.”

But they said the names of CIA employees or contractors could not be released. Nor the locations of the secret "black" sites where detainees were held around the world after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Margulies said the 116 pages of notes he submitted for clearance were limited to Zubayda's description of his torture and did not include prohibited information.

Margulies said he followed "the rule to the letter" and accused the CIA of trying "guarantee that Abu Zubaydah never discloses what was done to him."

Zubaydah, a 44-year-old Saudi national, has been held in Guantanamo for nine years and not been charged with a crime.


US Special Forces expand training to "allies" with histories of abuse [The Intercept – 10/9/15]




President Obama, under increasing pressure to demonstrate that the United States is joining European nations in the effort to resettle Syrian refugees, has told his administration to take in at least 10,000 displaced Syrians over the next year. ...  [New York Times - 10/9/15]




La Jaula de Oro: New feature film is an "Epic Poem" of migration through Mexico [Democracy Now - 10/9/15]:



… DIEGO QUEMADA-DÍEZ: Well, I was doing a documentary in Mazatlán, in Sinaloa, in Mexico, and I became very good friends with a taxi driver, and he invited me to live at his home. This was back in—at the end of 2002. And his home with his family was by the railroad tracks.

So every day the train would arrive, and we would give them food and water, and they all told us their stories. And they asked us to tell others. So, I felt that they were heroes, that they were very brave people that were sacrificing their lives, because many of them die in the journey trying.

And I felt their story had to be told to others, and to do it in a sort of epic poem, like if—like making them heroes.

So, through the years, I gathered over 600 testimonies from women, children and men. I was hanging out—well, going to shelters in the border, shelters along the journey in Mexico, also in the communities in Guatemala. And also I went to prisons and shelters for kids here in the United States.

And then I concentrated all the testimonies in four kids, and—in order to talk about also what kind of opportunities that we’re giving to our young kids and what kind of world that we’re giving them to realize their dreams.

And, yeah, I wanted to talk about how it doesn’t make any sense to do this policy of militarization of the borders and the criminalization of migrants and the incarceration of migrants, which in the United States is around half a million people, whose only crime was to cross a border.




Refugee crisis: Europe's leading newspapers urge governments to act now in open letter [The Independent – 10/9/15]





‏@MSF_Sea [10/9/15]:   This little guy's name is Osman. He fled Kobane in #Syria. For now, his family sleep in a brick factory in #Serbia.




@MSF_Sea [10/9/15]:   #MSF is also working in #Roszke on the Serbia-Hungary border. ~2,000 #people, mainly from #Syria, are crossing daily



@MSF_Sea [10/9/15]:   114 young men on the top deck of the #Phoenix. 114 reasons for risking it all for a new start at life in #Europe



... "There are refugees trying to get across the sea to get to Australia and being diverted to remote Pacific islands because, apparently, Australia doesn't have space."


The line drew laughter from the north London crowd.


"There's quite a lot … down there, but never mind," Mr Corbyn added. ...

UK Labour's Jeremy Corbyn slams Australia's refugee policy [Sydney Morning Herald – 11/9/15]




... He received a standing ovation at the beginning of his 33-minute speech and again at the end, with the loudest applause coming for a pledge not to renew the Trident nuclear programme, to resist bombing campaigns abroad and to reach out the hand of humanity to migrants.  ... [Guardian - 11/9/15]




Delightful, generous and a wonderful development:  Richard Marles on the Coalition's Syrian refugee PR stunt




ABC [AUDIO - 10/9/15]:



... Labor's Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Richard Marles, joins Gerladine Doogue on RN Breakfast.  ...




“There is no way that we could say that that was happening when we saw a human tragedy play out on our borders over the last few years, there is no way in which the journey between Java and Christmas Island contributes to a better world.”



“Seeing hundreds and ultimately thousands of people die on our border is unambiguously a bad thing and the role that Nauru and Manus have played in that has been absolutely critical.”



“Difficult decisions have to be made but they also, in making them, create the space for generosity to be the guide and that’s what we’ve seen this week,” he said. “The way in which Australia has gone about it is a debate that has been characterised by generosity, and I just think that is a wonderf­ul development.”





Australia stopped accepting UNHCR refugees in October 2014.





What's the difference between a media that physically trips a refugee and a media that deliberately censors the plight of refugees in their own region? [IRIN - 10/9/15]:

When word spread through this quiet suburban block in Cambodia’s capital that one of four refugees sent to the country under a controversial resettlement deal with Australia had asked to be repatriated, residents were unsurprised.

Hong Sinath, who frequently stays with his family nearby, said he had only seen them leave their guarded villa in a van with people accompanying them. "I think this place is similar to a so-called prison where they lock the people inside," he told IRIN.

Three Iranians and a Rohingya from Myanmar left Australia’s refugee detention centre in the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru to become the only refugees resettled thus far in Cambodia under the agreement. In exchange for accepting, settling and integrating refugees that Australia refuses to take, Cambodia has received AUS $55 million in aid and resettlement packages.

Lending legitimacy to the much-criticised deal, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) agreed to carry out “essential support,” including education, healthcare, social orientation and job assistance.

But just three months into the programme, the Rohingya refugee has already requested to be returned to Myanmar, raising significant questions about what efforts are being made to help the group adjust to life in a new, foreign home.





Richard Marles visits Myanmar to reassert that the ALP poses no threat to the Coalition's refugee policy ---->  @RichardMarlesMP:  The people you meet in Yangon - Kieran Gorman-Best of IOM who hails from my hometown of #Geelong.






... IOM staff told Consulate Medan that UNHCR had been in touch with them about giving status determinations to the Rohingya as early as December 21 but were holding off as per IOM's request. ...








... According to Jim O'Callaghan, Regional Director for Southeast Asia Immigration at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, the numbers of irregular migrants residing in Indonesia are an estimated 2000, the highest since around the year 2000 when Afghans and Iraqis streamed through Indonesia en route to Australia. With the calm sea sailing season of July to November imminent, he expects an even larger inflow later this year. There also has been an increase in Pakistanis, O'Callaghan told DepPol/C.


The migrants are generally treated well in Indonesia. [UNHCR's Francis] Teoh, in fact, asserted that that Indonesians are "almost too nice," not deporting irregular migrants who have no claim to protection status. A few return voluntarily but most will not.

Part of this is cultural, not wanting to force the migrants to return home and being very concerned about their human rights, but this is mostly because Indonesian Immigration has a zero budget to deport immigrants. Australia is funding all voluntary repatriations but will not fund deportations from Indonesia.

IOM Indonesia is taking care of many failed asylum seekers already rejected by UNHCR three times, a few for as long as seven years. Because of the surge in numbers and concern that this could be a pull factor, Indonesia recently began keeping migrants in immigration detention centers rather than letting them move about freely in community settings, IOM explained. Detentions centers are now overflowing, IOM said.

The GOI, meanwhile, has an icy relationship with UNHCR. Desra Percaya, Director for International Disarmament and Security at the Foreign Affairs Department, told DepPol/C that UNHCR does "nothing" to resettle refugees elsewhere, which is the cause of the problem. That is why the GOI is now keeping migrants under detention, to force UNHCR to resettle refugees. However, UNHCR explained that it is processing the refugees and resettling them as quickly as possible, limited by how quickly third countries are willing to take refugees.






UNHCR has determined that 269 of the nearly 400 migrants who landed in Aceh in January and February 2009 are Rohingyas who came to Indonesia either directly from Burma or via Bangladesh (ref B). UNHCR has determined that they would face persecution if they are returned to Burma. UNHCR intends to grant them refugee status, Francis Teoh, UNHCR Head of Protection, told Labatt.


IOM is currently using USD 236,000 in Australian funding to care for the Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants, but most of this money will be used to repatriate the Bangaladeshis, Hamilton said.

IOM will soon need the USD 280,000 requested from PRM, as it has no other sources of funding at this time. Mission requests that PRM advise on the status of this request.






... UNHCR suggested to us that a Burmese refugee would have a strong asylum claim given the on-going human rights abuses in Burma but they cannot process asylum claims for refugees that do not request it. UNHCR quietly approached the Indonesian government on April 28 for their concurrence to send an UNCHR team to interview the 77 Burmese as possible asylum cases. UNHCR expects the Indonesian government to provide an answer by May 2. Our contact was sensitive to Indonesia's desire to handle the case discreetly rather than be seen by the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) as commenting on the human rights condition in Burma. (Note: Although our UNHCR contact did not mention Papua, we note that given the GOI's vehement objection to Australia's decision to grant temporary visa's to Papuan asylum seekers, it is likely another reason the GOI will be hesitant to be seen as promoting asylum for the Burmese. End Note). ...






... We also told the Australian delegation that since the conference did not formally discuss the Rohingyas - originally slated to be the key point of the conference - that the AHG [Ad Hoc Group] mechanism should be pursued quickly to address this pressing issue.

Bringing Burma to the table was a major accomplishment, we acknowledged; however, we cannot wait for Burma to change its policy before discussing the Rohingya crisis. This can be discussed without Burma.

Foreign Minister Steven Smith later approached us privately to assure us that Australia would press for the AHG mechanism to "be invoked soon to deal with the Rohingyas."

Australia announced at the conference its contribution of AD300,000 to care for the Rohingyas in Aceh. IOM said the Dutch are promising a similar donation, perhaps conditional upon a U.S. donation. ...





New Zealand:  Stop the Spies Coalition exposed the propaganda exercise being waged by the GCSB director @ Wgtn meeting today.


via @StoptheSpiesNZ [11/9/15]



RNZI [11/9/15]:



The acting head of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) was forced to adandon a speech in Wellington this afternoon, after protesters insisted on holding up a banner in front of the stage.

Una Jagose said the incident was disappointing, as she was going to reveal details of the GCSB's operations that had never previously been discussed in public.

 She was preparing to speak at the Privacy Commission technology forum when two protesters unfurled a banner and refused to leave until the end of her address.

Ms Jagose said she was prepared to field questions but not to deliver her speech over the top of the banner.

Privacy Commissioner John Edwards then cancelled the event.

Ms Jagose said she had intended to go into more detail about the controversial Cortex system, under which government agencies and key businesses agree to have their systems monitored by the GCSB to protect against cyber attacks.





... A woman has been stabbed in a home in Bendigo early this morning and is fighting for life.

Police were called to the home in California Gully about 5.15am this morning where a woman had suffered life-threatening injuries. ... [Nine MSN - 11/9/15]


Woman in hospital after alleged domestic dispute at Wacol [ABC – 10/9/15]




Woman allegedly shot dead in Gold Coast McDonald’s by estranged husband [Nine MSN – 10/9/15]



ABC [10/9/15]:

... Tara Brown had sought help from police on domestic-violence-related issues days before she was allegedly beaten with a metal plate while trapped in her upturned car.

Queensland Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller said the matter was being investigated.

"The appropriateness of the response in relation to her visiting a police station .... that has been reported to the Ethical Standards Command which was the right thing to do," Ms Miller said.

"And a senior officer will be investigating the appropriateness of the response to [Ms Brown] seeking assistance."



Double-dipping Queensland pensioner jailed [Yahoo – 10/9/15]




12-year-old boy charged with wilful damage, Mount Isa [QPS Media – 10/9/15]







Australia to give $19million surveillance "aid" to Pacific Island countries

PNG Loop [10/9/15]:

Australia will support the protection of the fisheries industry in the region with a $19million surveillance aid.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott revealed this to the media tonight after the Pacific Island Forum Leaders’ retreat in Port Moresby.

“Australia will be increasing its Ariel surveillance of the Pacific (Ocean) and will be committing additional $19million a year so the fisheries (industry) can be properly patrolled and policed,” Abbott said.

Australia will also be giving a new patrol boat to monitor illegal fishing in the PIF nation’s exclusive economic zone.

He said a “stronger economy is vital and fishing and tourism is a mainstay of Pacific economies.”

PIF chair and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the discussions were "very constructive."

“Look at the model in New Zealand so we can manage our resource in a sustainable manner for our future generation and of cause conserving for long term benefit for the region."

He said regional monitoring and surveillance of the fishing industry especially the tuna industry is very important.





Grain ship detained near Esperance over claims crew denied, fresh food, wages [ABC – 10/9/15]




Seven regional journalists visiting PNG for the Pacific Islands Forum have finally received their passports after they were confiscated by immigration staff at the Port Moresby international airport last week. … [PNG Loop – 10/9/15]




Crawly bumlick Australian NGOs continue helping Abbott and Dutton with their despicable PR stunt.



This is "not a good beginning" John Falzon.  Any charity who is truly serious about the plight of refugees coming to Australia would boycott this event.



Abbott and Dutton are laughing at you.



The PM will meet charities and NGOs on Friday to play favourites, silence dissent, and invisibilise the plight of refugees currently incarcerated by Australia, with a $700 million carrot [AUDIO - ABC - 11/9/15]:   Steve Chase speaks to John Falzon, CEO of the St Vincent De Paul Society National Council. He'll be one of the community representatives meeting the Prime Minister tomorrow to discuss how best to resettle an extra 12,000 Syrian refugees.




Uniting Care Media Care [10/9/15]


UnitingCare Australia welcomes the Australian Government’s decision to accept an additional 12,000 Syrian refugees and to provide humanitarian support to the estimated 240,000 Syrians seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.

Speaking in response to the Prime Minister’s announcement, National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds said “Thank you for listening to the voice of the Australian people, and for acting to offer welcome and a refuge to those fleeing the crisis in Syria.”

“The UnitingCare network is ready to provide frontline care and community support to Australia’s humanitarian effort to resettle Syrian refugees.”

“We know that many of those arriving in our communities over the coming months will have experienced trauma. All will have experienced loss. UnitingCare agencies are ready to bring their expertise in the provision of compassionate, practical and professional support services to people and families who arrive in our community under the expanded programs.”

“We are committed to building vibrant and inclusive communities through our social services presence, and look forward to providing an introduction to life in Australia for people fleeing persecution.”

“Working together we are confident that Syrian people can rebuild their lives in the safety and freedom of Australia.”



11 September 2015