@MSF_Sea [13/8/15]:   The number of arrivals is not the problem. The chaos in #Kos is due to the absence of a proper system to receive people fleeing war/violence



1,000 refugees locked in stadium overnight on Greek island of Kos [Mashable - 12/8/15]












Australasian College of Physicians calls for end to mandatory detention of asylum seekers [ABC - 25/5/15]:

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) is calling for an end to the mandatory detention of asylum seekers.

Speaking at the RACP annual congress in Cairns, college president Professor Nick Talley launched a set of recommendations aimed at improving the welfare of refugees and asylum seekers.

He described the Federal Government's current asylum seeker policies as "inhumane" and said they were damaging people's health.

"The policy statement calls for the Australian Government to take a range of actions, including releasing asylum seekers from detention, abolishing mandatory detention and assessing refugee claims while people are in community-based placement," he said.

"The college is deeply concerned about the health impact of our current policies."

Professor Talley said the Government spent $3.3 billion a year on its current asylum seeker policy but could spend much less and get much better health and immigration outcomes.

He said the RACP was also calling for the closure of detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.

"We recognise it's a very complex set of issues, there are views on all sides of the political divide, but it's clear our policies are hurting people — children and adults.

"We consider that unacceptable, it's a principled view, and we believe we need to make a number of changes to improve the health outcomes of these people.

"This black and white thinking that is currently suggested by the Government is not the solution.

"We need to be looking at regional, real solutions that can relieve the problems, stop people drowning on the way here but also treat them humanely when it's appropriate."

Professor Talley said he hoped the Government would take its recommendations seriously.

"This is the view of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, a body that represents expert physicians across the spectrum, across Australia and New Zealand."




'I'm pretty sure he said shoot that guy': Nauru guard [VIDEO - ABC - 13/8/15]




...  During his five-day visit, Dr Isaacs examined a six-year-old girl with rope burns around her neck after she attempted to hang herself using a fence tie.

Dr Isaacs said every child he saw on Nauru was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.

"If I see child abuse in Australia and I don't report it I can get into enormous trouble," he said.

 "If I see child abuse on Nauru and I do report it, I might go to prison for two years."  ... [ABC - 13/8/15]





Australia's gulag archipelago is unravelling and the government is rushing to deport refugees to bury its crimes ----> Operators of refugee concentration camp on Nauru accused of misleading a Senate Inquiry [VIDEO - ABC - 13/8/15]




"Failed" refugees deported in a secret, unjust process.




Take a bow Greens, human rights establishment, UNHCR, lawyers associations  and "refugee heavyweights".



You all know what the Australian government and IOM are up to on Manus Island and have remained silent.



You have abandoned these men.



Daily Mail [13/8/15]:



An Iranian man is currently being prepared for deportation from Manus Island, asylum seeker advocates say.

Asylum seekers in the compound are reporting that the Iranian man is being deported on Thursday night after authorities rejected his refugee application, advocates said.

"There is absolutely no arrangement from Iran's side to receive this person back and I'm concerned about his safety," one who did not wished to be named told AAP.

Comment is being sought from Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and his department.





After being detained for over two years, “failed” refugees are to be imminently deported from Australia's death camp on Manus Island. [Guardian - 2/8/15]:


... Ian Rintoul, from the Refugee Action Coalition, said the advocacy group would seek injunctions against the removal of any asylum seekers from PNG until a constitutional challenge to Manus Island detention centre is heard by the supreme court.

The challenge argues asylum seekers have been systematically denied due process and the protection of their rights under PNG law, and demands enforcement of their rights under the constitution.

Rintoul said the injunction would be sought when the case is back before the court on 17 August. ...




Nine MSN [2/8/15]:


Asylum seekers whose refugee claims have been rejected and face the possibility of being stateless could be sent to Papua New Guinean jails.

The warning is in leaked documents from PNG Immigration, circulated to about 50 asylum seekers, with unsuccessful claims, at the Manus Island detention centre.

Those who can be deported should prepare to leave while those deemed stateless will remain at the centre or be transferred to any location including "correctional institutions".

 "If (Immigration and Citizenship Services) assesses that you cannot be removed to your country of origin, you will remain in custody until you are able to obtain a visa to lawfully enter and reside in PNG or another country," a document says.

Some PNG prisons have huge problems with overcrowding.

Asylum seekers who voluntarily agree to depart will be eligible for some financial help, the document says, but those who don't will miss out.

Asylum seekers will undergo departure planning interviews over the coming days and will have the opportunity to provide any last minute information about their claim.

The documents say they have a right to have a PNG-certified lawyer present but it will be difficult for the asylum seekers to arrange legal representation because of a shortage of lawyers on the island.

"If the lawyer charges a fee, this must be paid by you," a document says.

AAP understands August 20 has been slated as the possible deportation date.

The asylum seekers' removal could affect the availability of witnesses for a PNG constitutional challenge against the legality of the Australian-run detention centre being brought by lawyer Ben Lomai.

The case is due to return to the court later this month.  <----- Silencing witnesses by deporting them?  These are mob tactics.





Perverts with an unhealthy interest in pregnant women's bodies and a hatred of the internet




... What you see is what you get

But it sure ain't what we need. ...



'Walk It Down', Talking Heads [2005]




 [Queensland Times - 8/8/14]





Assange won't be able to prove his innocence after prosecution deadline elapses

Telegraph [12/8/15]:

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is “worried” and “unhappy” that he will not be able to prove himself innocent of the sex crimes he is accused of in Sweden, his Swedish lawyer has told the Telegraph, as the five-year deadline for prosecuting two of the four allegations expires on Thursday.

Mr Assange has been holed up in Ecuador's London embassy for three years, claiming refuge from an investigation which he says is politically motivated and could lead to his extradition to the United States. Swedish officials said on Wednesday they are negotiating with Ecuadorean officials to try and interview him before Thursday's deadline passes and a third allegation expires next Tuesday. However, a resolution within the time frame seems unlikely.

“He was quite worried when I spoke to him today. It’s not a moment of happiness for him,” Per Samuelson, his lawyer, said. “He will be very unhappy if the conclusion is that he is the winning party here, he doesn’t see it like that at all: he wants to clear his name.”

A 36-year-old Swedish charity executive,​ known as Miss A, ​ in 2010 accused Mr Assange of two counts of sexual molestation and one of unlawful coercion, which she says were committed when he was staying as a guest in her Stockholm flat.

An accusation of rape made by another Swedish woman, ​known as Miss W, can still be prosecuted for another five years.

Karin Rosander, director of communications at the Swedish Prosecution Authority, said that the authority planned to send out a press release on Thursday giving the decision of prosecutor Marianne Ny on the case.

“My estimation is that the prosecutor will need to close the investigation concerning these allegations, as there’s a statute of limitations,” she said. “You will get a confirmation on our website tomorrow as to whether she’s done it or not.”

Claes Borgstrom, Miss A's lawyer, told the Telegraph on Wednesday that his client was relieved that she would no longer have to face Mr Assange in court.

“She’s living her normal, ordinary life and she wants to put it all behind her, so she feels relief that now it’s all over,” Mr Borgstrom said. “She has not been looking forward to confronting Julian Assange in court so long afterwards. The important thing for my client is to get rid of the whole thing.”

Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny in March dropped her long-standing objection to interviewing Mr Assange about the accusations in London, promising to end a four-year deadlock on the case.

Mr Assange has refused to travel to Sweden for the interview, claiming that he fears he would risk extradition to the US to face spying charges for his work with Wikileaks.

In June 2012, he sought political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has remained every since. He has yet to be charged for any of the offences.

Mr Samuelson blamed Ms Ny for failing to negotiate an interview with the Ecuadorian authorities.

“She didn’t apply for assistance until June 12. That was way too late,” he said.

“If you can’t conduct a case better than that, if you can’t interview the suspect for five years, then the only conclusion is to drop the case, not only regarding these three suspicions, but also regarding the fourth one.”






Statement Julian Assange legal defence committee





Chelsea Manning faces solitary confinement under new charges, lawyer says [Buzzfeed – 13/8/15]





UNESCO chief condemns killing of journalist Azerbaijan, calls for investigation [Media Release - 12/8/15]:


The head of the United Nations agency charged with promoting press freedom condemned today the killing of Azerbaijani journalist Rasim Aliyev, who died in the capital, Baku, on 9 August, asserting that “impunity for crimes against journalists cannot be allowed to take root.”

In a statement, Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), condemned the attack, saying that the authorities must ensure that those responsible for the death of Mr Aliyev are brought to justice.

“This is essential to protect the rule of law and press freedom.”

Thirty-year-old Rasim Aliyev, a freelance contributor to several independent news websites, died in the hospital from injuries received when he was beaten by several assailants on 8 August.

Mr. Aliyev, who chaired the Baku-based Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety, is reported to have requested police protection following threats on his life.






Huge explosions at a warehouse for dangerous materials in the northeastern Chinese port of Tianjin killed at least 44 people, including 12 firefighters, and injured hundreds of others.

The massive blasts late on Wednesday night sent fireballs into the air forming a mushroom cloud in the sky. 

About 520 people are receiving treatment in hospital, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported. Sixty-six of them are said to be in a critical condition. ... [South China Morning Post - 13/8/15]







At least 55 people have been killed and 200 others injured in a massive truck bomb attack in Baghdad, police and sources have said.

The attack on Thursday morning took place in a crowded vegetable market in Sadr City, a Shia district in the northeast of the Iraqi capital. ... [Al Jazeera - 13/8/15]





Kashmir: Eight injured in grenade blast near mosque in Shopian [The Hindu - 13/8/15]




US drone strike kills 5, Yemen [Reuters - 12/8/15]




US drone strike and "clearing operation" kills 14 in Paktita and eastern Nangahar provinces, Afghanistan [KUNA - 12/8/15]





Afghanistan:  At least nine policemen killed in Taliban attack in Helmand [Khaama - 13/8/15]





At least 19 security personnel and 41 militants have suffered casualties during separate security incidents in western Farah province, officials said Wednesday. ... [Pajhwok - 12/8/15]




Israeli court halts state plan to imprison thousands of asylum seekers in desert detention facility [Haaretz – 13/8/15]:



... In its ruling, the court ordered the state to release all asylum-seekers who have been interned at Holot for more than a year within 15 days. Some 1,200 of the 1,700 asylum-seekers being held in the facility are eligible for release. 

The government’s most recent amendment to the anti-Infiltration Law stipulates that certain asylum seekers may not be sent to Holot. These include minors, women, people who are aged 60 or older, the fathers of minors, human trafficking victims and people whose health may suffer from detention in Holot.

“Everyone is getting [a summons] to Holot now,” one asylum seeker told Haaretz yesterday, after meeting with authority officials in an office located among abandoned industrial structures near the Ayalon mall. Others said the authority officials spoke to them very briefly and did not explain why they were being sent to detention.

An asylum seeker from Eritrea who has been in Israel for more than five years and lives in Tel Aviv said he came to renew his visa following the court verdict.

“I saw in the newspaper that everyone’s coming out of Holot, getting a visa,” he said. “I got [a summons to] Holot.”

He said he was not thinking of leaving for a third state or returning to his own country. “Where would I leave to? If they take me by force, I’ll go to Holot,” he said.

Another Eritrean asylum seeker who has been here for more than five years and also works and lives in Tel Aviv, said that leaving for Uganda or Rwanda was not an option for him. “I don’t know where I’ll go. I’m not going to Africa. It’s a big mess in Africa. I’ll go to my country only after the government is changed,” he said.

“I don’t want money,” he responded to a passer-by who commented that he was only in Israel for the money. “I want quiet. In my state there’s no democracy.”






Israeli water company cuts supply to northern West Bank villages [Maan - 12/8/15]





Artist Emily Jacir brings the Palestinian experience to the Venice Biennale [Democracy Now - 12/8/15]:

... AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking with Emily Jacir, who is a Palestinian artist and filmmaker, professor at the International Academy of Art, Palastine, in Ramallah. Her work includes a diverse range of media and strategies, including film, photography, social interventions, installation and performance, video, writing and sound. So now I want to go back to 2007, to the—


AMY GOODMAN: —what you won the Golden Lion award for at the 52nd Venice Biennale, in 2008 winning the Hugo Boss Prize at the Guggenheim Museum—

EMILY JACIR: Guggenheim.

AMY GOODMAN: —for the same thing. Explain what your—what your project was.

EMILY JACIR: Essentially, that project was about the first Palestinian, named Wael Zuaiter, who was killed by the Israeli Mossad on European soil, in 1972. The title for that project comes from the chapter of a book written by Janet Venn-Brown, who was his companion for eight years. There was a chapter called "Material for a Film," where Elio Petri, the famous Italian filmmaker, and Ugo Pirro had done a series of interviews with the people who knew Wael. Wael was very important in the cultural scene in Italy. He was the first person to bring Alberto Moravia to the Middle East. He took him to Iraq and Syria, Kuwait. And he was very involved with people like Pasolini. So this chapter—

AMY GOODMAN: And Pasolini was?

EMILY JACIR: The Italian filmmaker, Pasolini. So, this chapter—basically, I felt that I was building on their work and gathering more material for a film. So what the installation ends up being is not only about Wael, but also about my journey in finding him and the traces he left behind.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, talk about how you found him. You lived in Rome for many years.

EMILY JACIR: Yeah, yes, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: This is where he was murdered.

EMILY JACIR: Yes, yeah. I lived in Rome for many years, so there was always this specter of his death in my mind since I was a child, of this kind of impending threat. And to make that project, it actually required that I did a lot of research—it took five years—and collaborated mainly with Janet Venn-Brown, who, as I said before, was his companion. And frankly, we wouldn’t really have any information on him or his life if it wasn’t for her, because she kept every single documents, every single letter, all of his books. She held onto them. So, a lot of the work was working with her in her apartment, going through her archives, to create this piece. She was an Australian painter living in Rome.

AMY GOODMAN: And talk about the images you used here at the Biennale, which means the Biennial—again, it’s 120 years old, the oldest in the world—and also at the Guggenheim. It was—I remember being there, seeing this just breathtaking display.

EMILY JACIR: Thank you. What I intended to do was, I wanted it to function like you were walking through a film about this man and his life, and my life, except unlike a film, where if you’re watching a film, you’re in a very passive position and almost being lectured to, you were moving among the elements at your own pace. So there was video, and there was sound, various texts, images I had collected from his life, photographs. And it was in—it took place in several rooms, kind of like a maze.

AMY GOODMAN: And, of course, the Guggenheim is a circular building that you walk up.

EMILY JACIR: Yeah, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: The response to this? And how did you know that the Mossad assassinated him, the Israeli intelligence?

EMILY JACIR: Actually, there was a court case. It went to the court case in Italy, and it was proven. And their names are actually—which I don’t have off the top of my head right now—are available in the documents of that court case.

AMY GOODMAN: And finishing this project, what did it mean to you, bringing out this man’s life and death in such a establishment art institution? And it goes to a bigger question about your role as an artist, also as a Palestinian artist, what you’re trying to do.

EMILY JACIR: That’s a huge question.

AMY GOODMAN: You know, a lot of people might be experiencing or looking at what’s going on in the world today, so many conflicts, from Ferguson to Palestine. Here we are in Venice at an art exhibition.


AMY GOODMAN: Here you are. How does that mesh? How did you choose art as a way of expressing yourself? And do you consider yourself an activist?

EMILY JACIR: I do consider myself an activist, but I do also feel that when I’m working with my projects, many of them are very long-term and require a lot of research. And actually, it’s kind of the opposite of what journalism is about, because it’s about going really slow and taking your time, looking at tiny details that would not actually normally appear in news reports or news stories or all these—especially all these stories coming out the way the West Bank and Gaza and Palestine is contextualized in the media.






Artist Mariam Ghani, daughter of Afghan President, takes on US abuse from Gitmo to Bagram to US prisons [Democracy Now - 12/8/15]:


… MARIAM GHANI: You have the well-known incident at Bagram in 2002 when two detainees died, and they died specifically as a result of what are called peroneal strikes, which is a technique that’s taught to U.S. police departments to subdue prisoners who are resisting arrest. It’s a strike that’s applied with the point of the elbow. It’s supposed to be applied only to the thighs. But in the case of the prisoners at Bagram—Dilawar and Habibullah—the peroneal strikes were applied to their entire bodies, and they were applied not when the prisoners were in motion resisting arrest, but when they were actually suspended in a hanging position and left there for more than 24 hours, which caused blood clots to circulate through their bodies and led them to die of stroke.

AMY GOODMAN: Dilawar was a taxi driver who the U.S. authorities imprisoned—

MARIAM GHANI: Mm-hmm, on false evidence, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: And killed.


AMY GOODMAN: And, I mean, how many times was his body hit?

MARIAM GHANI: His body was hit over a hundred times. And this was revealed in an internal Army investigation. The MPs involved, the military police involved in the incident themselves testified in the internal Army investigation that they hit him just to hear him cry "Allah!" because they thought it was funny. So that’s why they kept hitting him.

AMY GOODMAN: Repeat that, please.

MARIAM GHANI: They said, "We hit him just to hear him cry 'Allah! Allah!' because it’s so funny. It was so funny when he did it."








"Freed But Not Free": Artists at the Venice Biennale respond to the #BlackLivesMatter movement [Democracy Now - 11/8/15]:


… AMY GOODMAN: Now, in headlines, I said 2,800 people came out to a Bernie Sanders event that took place in Portland, Oregon. Actually, it wasn’t 2,800, it was 28,000. But several times now, most recently in Seattle, he was interrupted by members of the Black Lives Matter movement. I was wondering if you could comment on this.

SHARIFA RHODES-PITTS: Sure. I mean, it’s interesting because there’s a sense with—as time is going on and this movement is defining itself and articulating itself and making itself known, the strategy of interruption is continuous, from these political events that are now intersecting with the election season, but also going back to the occasion when members of the Black Lives movement interrupted a rally convened by Al Sharpton’s movement in order to make their voices heard. I mean, this was a very important strategy of saying, you know, "The official bearers of our voices are not on the stage right now. Let us be heard." That was what happened. And then you can also look to the black brunch protests that were happening in the Bay Area and also in New York, where protesters were going to brunch establishments on Sundays and chanting the names of people that have been killed by police, and just really demanding the space and that this is part of our daily life.

And I think it’s interesting just because there’s a sense of—some people around me are saying, you know, there’s a sense of people waking up, or of this generation waking up and claiming its voice. And so, these strategies, I think, are part of that, of—you know, in some ways, it’s inchoate. It’s not—I think people often look to the past and say, like, "We should model ourselves after this," or, "The way forward is this." And as an observer, I see a sense of something that’s happening like in this moment. It’s not referring itself—it’s not building itself directly on past movements, but it’s using the tools of our time in order to do this work, so...






Fiona Hall: Reflecting the world and hoping to change it




News Corp. planning to sell off money-losing education unit [New York Times – 12/8/15]



McDonald's France apologises for telling workers not to feed tramps [MSN – 12/8/15]




United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria




US Department of Defense [12/8/15]:

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 strikes that took place yesterday, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Airstrikes in Syria

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

-- Near Hasakah, five airstrikes struck one large and four small ISIL tactical units and destroyed 10 ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL bunkers and an ISIL structure.

-- Near Aleppo, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL excavator and an ISIL staging area and destroyed an ISIL excavator.

-- Near Dayr Az Zawr, an airstrike struck an ISIL bridge.

Airstrikes in Iraq

Attack, bomber, fighter and fighter-attack aircraft conducted 10 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with the government of Iraq:

-- Near Huwayjah, two airstrikes struck two ISIL heavy machine gun firing positions.

-- Near Beiji, an airstrike struck an ISIL large tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL homemade explosives cache.

-- Near Makhmur, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL mortar firing position.

-- Near Ramadi, three airstrikes struck three ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL bomb.

-- Near Sinjar, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL light machine gun.

-- Near Tal Afar, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.





US begins air strikes on Iraq and Syria from Turkish base [Reuters – 12/8/15]




... "I lost everything I had – my house, my work, my car," recalled Hovig. "Everything I cherished disappeared in an instant. We were scared. We thought there was nowhere else we could go to but to Armenia, the land of our ancestors." ... [Nansen legacy lives on for Syrian refugees in Armenia - UNHCR Media Release - 12/8/15]







... Yet the lack of leadership and decency across Europe on one of the defining issues of our age is extraordinary, especially given the continent’s own history. The bluster and bullshit from British politicians is demeaning, whether stopping support for search-and-rescue missions on spurious grounds that saving lives lures more people, through to pretending landlords can lead efforts to curb illegal immigration.

Yet still they pose as protectors of the oppressed and poor, arguing that their generosity with taxpayer’s money is leading global efforts to solve problems that drive migration. So as people drown in their hundreds, the Prime Minister says the key is to deal with the causes rather than the consequences, the Home Secretary argues aid will help African countries develop economic and social opportunities so people stay, and the Defence Secretary insists floods of money deter mass migration by stabilising nations.

This argument that aid is some kind of panacea for this crisis is not just a red herring but a falsehood. It fosters conflict and corruption, of course. ...




Ian Birrell [The Independent - 9/8/15]






Up to 50 migrants went missing after a large rubber dinghy sank in the Mediterranean Sea, Italian rescuers said on Wednesday, while more than 1,500 were picked up from other vessels in the past 24 hours. The Mediterranean has become the world's most deadly border zone for migrants.


An Italian navy helicopter on Tuesday spotted a rubber boat that appeared to be deflating, the navy said, and dropped life rafts to the migrants on board. The boat then sank, it said.

The Italian naval ship Mimbelli rushed to the scene and pulled 52 migrants to safety.

Survivors said there had been about 100 on board, leaving up to about 50 unaccounted for, a rescue operations source said.

A helicopter later airlifted to safety two migrants seen hanging onto a floating barrel near where the dinghy had sunk, the navy said.

The survivors were being taken to the Italian island of Lampedusa. Overall on Tuesday, Italy's coastguard said it coordinated the rescue of more than 1,500 migrants -- many fleeing war zones and poverty in Africa and the Middle East -- from seven different vessels. ... [Reuters - 12/8/15]




@ItalianNavy [12/8/15]:  ...  Images and video of yesterday's rescue ship #MarinaMilitare  ...





South East Asia




Anadolu Agency [12/8/15]:



A rights group warned Wednesday that more than 50 Rohingya Muslims "rescued" from abandoned people smuggling boats by Myanmar may be detained “indefinitely” because they had been living as unregistered refugees in Bangladesh and are not on official records in Myanmar.

Chris Lewa of the Arakan Project - an NGO that monitors the plight of Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya - told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday that female and child Rohingya were among those still being held by Border Guard Police in Taung Pyo, Rakhine state, after being "rescued" more than two months ago.

Over 800 boat people were "rescued" by Myanmar’s navy in two separate incidents in late May. Just over 500 of those have been declared citizens of neighboring Bangladesh and repatriated [forcibly deported] following a "verification process".

The Myanmar government officially denies the existence of the Rohingya ethnic minority and refuses them citizenship, and it is unclear how the authorities will deal with the Rohingya among those "rescued".

“As they were unregistered refugees in Bangladesh, they will be excluded from the "verification and repatriation process" by Bangladesh and are not recorded in villages in Rakhine state either,” Lewa said.

“Their fate is uncertain and they may be detained indefinitely."

The Rohingya were among thousands left to fend for themselves at sea after a crackdown by Thai authorities led to a crisis in which scared human trafficking gangs who had been shipping the migrants to holding camps in the country's south abandoned their boats.

Myanmar has been blamed as the root cause of the crisis because its treatment of the Rohingya has forced tens of thousands to flee coastal Rakhine by sea after being targeted in communal violence in 2012.

The government has denied responsibility, instead blaming the traffickers.

Lewa added that in Thailand, where many smuggling boats have come ashore, over 400 Rohingya faced a similar fate to the 50 detained in Rakhine.

“Thailand does not register them as refugees and Myanmar has so far never re-admitted any Rohingya.”

She added that Bangladeshis found by Myanmar’s navy were being treated better than in previous cases.

“I certainly appreciate the speed by which Bangladesh authorities have conducted their verification process this year as, in past years, Bangladeshi boat people arrested remained in immigration detention for a year or more until the repatriation process was completed.”




Myanmar evacuates thousands as worst floods in decades hit [Reuters – 12/8/15]


Forced labour to repair army camps [Burma Times - 13/8/15]:

While Rohingyas affected by flood and cyclone continue to be denied aid, the military and Hlun Htein are using them as forced labourers to make repairs to camps destroyed in the disaster.

Rohingyas in many village tracts of Maungdaw South are reporting that the security forces are forcing them to make repairs to many remote army and Hlun Htein camps near the Bangladesh border.

They complain of backbreaking work and abuse by security forces during the forced labour.

Rohingyas say at a time when starvation has increased due to the natural disasters, it is extremely frustrating to be working without pay for the army when they should have scouring for food to feed their families.

The dreaded practise of forced labour was once extremely common especially during the time of Nasaka. In recent times, it has made a partial comeback.




... While regretting not being granted access to Rakhine state, where, she said “some serious human rights violations have occurred,” the expert raised particular concern over restrictions on the freedom of movement of the Muslim community, such as lacking access to basic health care, education and livelihoods.

“More must and can be done to address the legal status of the Rohingya and the institutionalized discrimination faced by this community,” she said, adding that improving education opportunities and access to higher education is a priority.  ... [UN Media Release - 11/8/15]



Myanmar ruling party secretary general says removed from post [Channel News Asia - 13/8/15]




Another bipartisan stitchup that has nothing to do with national security or trafficking.  Greens mute.  [Minister for Immigration Media Release - 13/8/15]:



The Australian Government took another step today to increase the integrity of Australia’s borders, with legislation passed to strengthen our ability to check the identity of travellers through the biometric programme. 

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton welcomed the passing of the Migration Amendment (Strengthening Biometrics Integrity) Bill, which enhances border agencies’ abilities to verify the identity of citizens crossing the Australian border and non-citizens seeking to enter and remain in Australia, and introduces broad new powers to combat terrorist threats and detect criminals.

Mr Dutton said the Bill will also specifically support the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and Australian Border Force’s efforts to prevent human trafficking, particularly of minors.





Australia stopped accepting UNHCR refugees in October 2014.



What's worse? Being opposed to Marraige Equality, or promoting it as a distraction to ongoing human rights atrocities and growing regional despair at Australian exceptionalism and isolationism?




Today's call by the President of the Republic of The Kiribati for a coal moratorium is a wake-up call for the Australian Government who, only last week, was publicly expressing support for the construction of the enormous Adani - Carmichael mine in Queensland.  ... [TAI - 13/8/15]




Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture [OPCAT] [Wikipedia]:

... As of July 2015, 79 states have ratified the protocol: Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia, Slovenia, South Sudan, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Uruguay.  A further 18 states have signed but not ratified the protocol: Angola, Australia, Belgium, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iceland, Ireland, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Venezuela, and Zambia.















ABC [11/8/15]:



MARK COLVIN: Volunteers at immigration detention centres say the Australian Government is deliberately distressing asylum-seekers in a bid to make them leave the country.

They say the Immigration Department is transferring detainees around Australia without notice, and deliberately separating them from friends and family.

The Department says it moves detainees around the detention centre network for operational reasons.

But volunteers say its practices appear punitive and cruel.

Eric Tlozek reports.

ERIC TLOZEK: There's more than 1,000 asylum-seekers in immigration detention in Australia. The volunteers who visit them say detainees are stressed, powerless and in constant fear of being moved around the detention network.

MICHELE FEINBERG: The detainees live in fear of the knock on their door to say they're going.

ERIC TLOZEK: Michele Feinberg helps asylum-seekers detained in Brisbane.

She says recent transfers have seen detainees separated from loved ones and young children pulled from local schools.

MICHELE FEINBERG: Nobody explains why. Nobody gives you reasons. So while there is secrecy and while there's a lack of transparency, we can only conclude the one thing, because all we're witnessing is cruelty, needless cruelty to children.

ERIC TLOZEK: This volunteer, who asked not to be named, says he believes the practice is causing extra harm to asylum-seekers, beyond the existing stress of detention.

VOLUNTEER: It's brutal. There have been times when people have been called into the property room, they go into the property room and they're told, you're on your way.

ERIC TLOZEK: Perth refugee advocate Sarah Ross is a frequent visitor to the Yongah Hill detention centre.

She says the transfers are conducted without notice, and appear to be used to show detainees they have few prospects if they stay in Australia.

SARAH ROSS: To instil fear. To make people in the centre feel like they have no power over their movements. Yeah, I think it's done to disempower and intimidate people.

ERIC TLOZEK: She says the use of short-notice transfers seems to have increased.

SARAH ROSS: It was present in the beginning but they've definitely intensified it lately and I think it's horrible, people have no control over their bodies, over where they're going, they're escorted by guards, when they're on the aeroplane sometimes they're handcuffed. It's a horrible, horrible experience.

ERIC TLOZEK: Michele Feinberg says volunteers are horrified at the effects of the practice.

MICHELE FEINBERG: The main aim is to deter asylum-seekers and so the worse you can make life for those who are seeking asylum and our protection now, the more you're going to deter others.

ERIC TLOZEK: The Immigration Department says the transfers are done for operational reasons and are conducted in consultation with health services.

It says it expects people to leave Australia if their refugee applications are rejected, and that it's trying to resolve the immigration status of asylum-seekers.

But volunteers fear the tough practices may be increasing the rate at which detainees hurt themselves, and attempt suicide.

VOLUNTEER: The whole system is just breaking people and self-harm is just one of those manifestations.

ERIC TLOZEK: Sarah Ross says the Government is punishing people within the detention network in an attempt to enforce border protection policies.

SARAH ROSS: I don't think you can justify the mental torture of men, women and children, just to deter other people from coming.

ERIC TLOZEK: There are more than 28,000 asylum-seekers living in the community.

Many of them may be put back in detention if their refugee applications are rejected, and they refuse to return to where they came from.

MARK COLVIN: Eric Tlozek.




Fastest objection ever!  A Senate motion to expedite the ratification of OPCAT didn't even get to a vote because Queensland ALP Senator Claire Moore objected.





Senate Hansard [11/8/15]:

Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (15:54): I ask that general business notice of motion No. 782 standing in my name for today, relating to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, be taken as a formal motion.

The PRESIDENT: Is there any objection to this motion being taken as formal?

Senator Moore: Yes.

The PRESIDENT: There is an objection.

Senator WRIGHT: I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator WRIGHT: I am greatly concerned that the government has chosen to deny me a chance to put this important motion to expedite the ratification of OPCAT, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. This OPCAT was voluntarily signed up to by an Australian government in 2009, and since then both Labor and coalition governments have inexplicably dragged their feet in its ratification. OPCAT would ensure independent monitoring and reporting on places of detention in Australia, all those places where some of the most overlooked marginalised and powerless people are kept detained: prisoners in jails and police lockups, patients in psychiatric facilities, young people in juvenile detention, and asylum seekers. With very recent examples of deaths in custody and cruel and inhumane treatment of people detained, it is very disappointing that I have been prevented from putting this motion today. It is crucial to fully ratify the protocol and set clear time frames to implement. Australia's own good standing is at stake.

Senator FIFIELD (Victoria—Manager of Government Business in the Senate and Assistant Minister for Social Services) (15:55): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator FIFIELD: Just for the sake of accuracy, while the government does not support Senator Wright's motion, it was the opposition that denied formality on this occasion.

Senator MOORE (Queensland) (15:56): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator MOORE: Yes, Senator Wright, we did deny formality to this important motion, because it is our longstanding practice. Where we have an issue such as this which is complex and creates a number of complex situations and also determines significant discussions across all states and territories, we believe it is not appropriate to use the notice of motion process for that, and that is our standard practice.



No matter your view on asylum seekers and offshore detention, a prohibition on torture is something we can all support, writes Greens Senator Penny Wright, who will present a motion to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture to Parliament today. ... [Lawyers Weekly - 11/8/15]




13 August 2015