@MSF_Sea [14/6/16]: While politicians disappoint us, volunteers give us hope. Today it's @RefugeeInfoBus & their free wifi in #Calais!
@guardiacostiera [14/6/16]: #SAR #CentraleOperativa #GuardiaCostiera coordina 4 operazioni di soccorso: salvi 482 migranti intervengono #MarinaMilitare e unità #MOASMED
@moas_eu [14/6/16]: ... #Phoenix currently assisting @guardiacostiera in rescue of 4 rubber boats in the #Mediterranean. ...
The EU’s plans to cooperate more closely with Libya on migration risk fuelling the rampant ill-treatment and indefinite detention in horrifying conditions of thousands of refugees and migrants, said Amnesty International.
Last month the EU announced plans to extend its anti-smuggling naval mission in the Mediterranean, Operation Sophia, for another year and to train, build up the capacity of and share information with the Libyan coastguard following a request by the new Libyan government.
However, testimonies gathered during visits to Sicily and Puglia in May 2016 reveal shocking abuses by the Libyan coastguard and at immigration detention centres in Libya.
Another Eritrean man, Mohamed, 26, said members of the Libyan coastguard who stopped them later abandoned their boat, leaving the 120 people on board stranded at sea.
“One of the men from the Libyan coastguard boat came onto our boat to drive it back to Libya. He drove it nearly half way back, but then the motor stopped working. [He] was very frustrated and went back to his own boat. I heard him say ‘if you die, you die’, before getting back on his boat and driving away, leaving us stuck in the sea,” he said. ... [Amnesty Media Release - 14/6/16]
@EUNAVFORMED_OHQ [11/6/16]: #opSophia @Armada_esp #ReinaSofia evacuated a pregnant woman rescued by NGO to Lampedusa by @ItalianNavy heli #EH101
Day 87 refugee protests, Nauru
Image: @SuchNigel [14/6/16]
@Mums4Refugees [14/6/16]: Day 87 Brave refugees of Nauru continue their daily protest 1,060 days dumped ...
Perhaps a journalist could ask the UNHCR's Thomas "I'll send in the military" Albrecht? ----> Hey, question - if Nauru an open camp why the guards??? ... @Mums4Refugees [14/6/16]
Local G4S staff member from #Manus Island RPC poses with gun and radio.
Image: @Asher_Wolf [2/3/14]
Sydney Morning Herald [20/2/14]:
The body of an asylum seeker suspected of being killed during a riot [an attack] on Manus Island is being guarded and monitored by the same security company whose officers are suspects in the man’s death.
G4S Security was responsible for securing and guarding the detention centre on Manus Island when a riot broke out [peacefully protesting detainees were attacked], leading to one asylum seeker dying, one being shot and more than 70 injured on Monday.
On Thursday when Fairfax attempted to view the body of the victim at the basic hospital and morgue on Manus Island, three G4S security guards refused access and said they had been told to guard the body.
The four guards who were stationed around the rundown air-conditioned freezer shed which is used as a morgue said nobody could see the body without the permission of their superiors. They demanded Fairfax not leave the site until their manager turned up.
When Fairfax contacted the local police to ask who was conducting the investigation, they referred all queries to their commander, who they said had gone home.
The G4S guards stationed at the morgue are indicative of the power the security company has begun to wield on the tiny island. ...
... The CEO of the main public hospital here was initially willing to speak to us and do an interview about the asylum seekers that he is treating, the most seriously injured ones, and he was then approached by G4S guards, Australian G4S guards, who told him not to speak to the media. ... [ABC - PM - 18/2/14]
How G4S tolerated the homophobic hatred of Orlando’s gunman [Middle East Eye - 14/6/16]
@danilic [14/6/16]: #G4S also runs security at ABC Ultimo... I'll let you know if my pass still works tomorrow...
Tamil boat survivors in Aceh have the right to seek asylum
The Geutanyoë Foundation Media Release [14/6/16]:
On 13 June, the Geutanyoe Foundation’s humanitarian team conducted a preliminary assessment mission to the boat carrying around 40 ethnic Tamil men, women and children from Sri Lanka that has been stranded for several days off the coast of Lhoknga, Aceh Besar district, en route to Australia to seek asylum.
The group, which appears to be fleeing from the deteriorating security situation in Sri Lanka, includes many women and children.
At the time the Geutanyoe Foundation’s assessment was conducted, the boat was located approximately 2 km from the shore, and the boat was stationary. Our team was only able to approach within 5 metres of the boat and was not allowed board the boat by the authorities.
From our assessment the group consists of largely women, including one pregnant woman, and around 7 children, including at least one infant.
On Sunday 12 June it had been reported by authorities that the passengers had been given fuel and assistance to have their engine fixed, that they were in good health, had sufficient food supplies and wished to continue on their journey to their country of destination.
We thank the authorities for their swift assistance to the group, including for facilitating a medical examination by government health officers. However, the fact that they have still not left Aceh’s waters indicates that the group may indeed wish to temporarily disembark in Aceh and there are urgent needs that remain to be addressed.
At the time of our assessment, the group had not yet had access to meet with UNHCR, who were on their way to Banda Aceh.
We strongly urge the Government of Indonesia to immediately grant full and unhindered access to UNHCR to process any asylum claims of the group as well as to humanitarian organisations who can help to identify and address any protection needs the group may have.
We wish to remind the Government of Indonesia and all stakeholders that the right to seek asylum is a fundamental right that all human beings are entitled to, as stated in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Further, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Indonesia is signatory, provides that States should ensure that a child who is seeking refugee status or who has been determined to be a refugee shall receive appropriate protection and humanitarian assistance.
In addition, children who are seeking asylum or who have been granted refugee status are entitled to full enjoyment of their rights under the Convention, such as not to be discriminated against, to be treated with humanity and respect, to have their voices heard and for the best interests of the child principle to apply.
To this end, it is critical that Indonesia provide leadership on upholding these rights and that Indonesia continues to cooperate fully with the international community in doing so.
As part of our efforts to support the Government of Indonesia in finding a humanitarian approach to address this situation, on 13 June the Geutanyoe Foundation sent a letter to the President of Indonesia appealing for the protection of the Tamil asylum seekers, with the following recommendations:
1. The Government should allow the Tamil boat journey survivors to restore their physical and mental health in Aceh first, considering the impact that their sea journey has had on them and the high number of women and children on the boat.
2. The Government should allow the survivors to be interviewed by the UNHCR. The Government has demonstrated excellent cooperation with UNHCR in the handling of asylum-seekers in previous years, including in the processing of Rohingya asylum-seekers and refugees last year, and this should continue.
3. The Government should build on the positive experience of managing Rohingya refugees over the past year in its reception, temporary protection and management of ethnic Tamil asylum-seekers.
4. The Government, as Co-Chair of the Bali Process, should use this situation as an opportunity to implement its stated commitment to ensure that the Bali Process addressing humanitarian and protection needs in managing irregular migration, including with regards to refugees and asylum seekers, as stated in the Co-Chairs’ statement of the 6th Ministerial Conference of the Bali Process in Bali in March 2016.
5. The Government should finalise the Draft Presidential Decree on the Handling of Foreign Asylum Seekers and Refugees, as mandated in Article 27 of Law No. 37 of 1999 on Foreign Relations. We believe that this endorsement can provide a significant impact on the protection of asylum seekers and refugees, even though our country has not signed the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
We believe that through the adoption of these recommendations, Indonesia can continue to be a model for the humane reception and treatment for asylum seekers and refugees at both regional and international levels.
Sri Lanka has made little progress in fulfilling its human rights commitments, observed a panel at a British parliamentary event hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT) joint with the All Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group (PHRG).
The event on June 7th opened with the screening of the documentary ‘Silenced Survivors’, a film featuring harrowing testimonies of Tamil torture survivors, recounting their experiences at the hands of Sri Lankan military and authorities and raising their fears of ever returning.
The film was produced by investigative journalist Emanuel Stokes. ... [Tamil Guardian - 13/6/16]
Turkey will support Myanmar government "solutions" for Rohingyas, FM says [Daily Sabah - 14/6/16]:
... Turkey has been closely following the situation faced by Muslims in Myanmar; specifically the Rohingyas, since 2012.
The Turkish government had previously sent a navy ship to the coast off Thailand and Malaysia to carry humanitarian aid to the thousands of stranded Rohingyas.
While economic and trade relations between Turkey and Myanmar are limited, diplomatic sources have noted that the primary goal of Çavuşoğlu's visit is to enhance economic cooperation between the two countries.
Government officials from both countries will also discuss ways to diversify relations in every field. ...
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has a moral responsibility to try to ease tensions between majority Buddhists and minority Rohingya Muslims, her fellow Nobel laureate, the Dalai Lama, said on Monday. ... [Reuters - 14/6/16]
Woodside Petroleum CEO Peter Coleman says gas industry 'out to lunch' [Sydney Morning Herald - 7/6/16]:
... Turning to acquisitions, Mr Coleman said he was watching with interest the progress of the $US2.2 billion-plus takeover bid by Oil Search, Woodside's unsuccessful takeover target from last year, for rival Papua New Guinea player InterOil.
"It's interesting theatre ... but it's theatre," he said, confirming that Woodside had also taken a look at InterOil but decided it was "a bridge too far".
"For us we always felt it was a difficult transaction to make," he said, adding that now Woodside is "not actively looking" in PNG at all.
"We're off elsewhere, we're in Myanmar, we're in Africa, we're looking at our developments in Australia and what we can do with them, and we're off in Canada. So we've got a pretty full plate at the moment of things to do."
Khmer Rouge Tribunal hears how prisoners with infectious diseases were put to death [Cambodia Daily - 14/6/16]
Cambodia sentenced an American man to a decade in jail on Tuesday, for sexually abusing girls as young as five, the latest effort to punish foreign paedophiles in the impoverished country.
Brian Naswall, the 53-year-old CEO of Aero Cambodia, a small aviation firm based in Phnom Penh, was arrested last year, reportedly in the act of abusing three underage girls. ... [South China Morning Post - 14/6/16]
PNG student boycott to continue [The National - 14/6/16]
More than 50 students from the University of Goroka have sustained injuries from the fight among themselves this morning at the campus in Eastern Highlands Province. ... [PNG Loop - 14/6/16]
3 Indonesian diplomats get top UN posts [Jakarta Post - 14/6/16]
The United Nations General Assembly today elected Peter Thomson, Permanent Representative of Fiji, as President of its upcoming 71st session.
Mr. Thomson, who will replace current General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft, will begin his tenure in September at the commencement of the 71st General Assembly session. ... [Media Release - 13/6/16]
Chinese, Southeast Asian foreign ministers meet amid South China Sea tensions [Japan Times - 14/6/16]
US Supreme Court rejects American Samoa citizenship case [RNZI – 14/6/16]
Philippines confirms second Canadian hostage beheaded [Bangkok Post - 14/6/16]
The severed head found in Jolo, Sulu hours after the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) announced it had killed its Canadian national hostage Robert Hall has been brought to Manila for DNA testing, police said Tuesday.
Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory Director Chief Supt. Emmanuel Aranas said in a DZBB report that the decapitated head believed to be Hall’s was flown to Manila early Tuesday morning and was brought to a mortuary in Pasay City.
Aranas said Crime Lab members went to the mortuary to get a specimen for forensic examination and to confirm if it indeed belonged to Hall through DNA testing.
He said the PNP has informed the Canadian Embassy of the discovery. ... [Inquirer - 14/6/16]
Landmark Sony building in Ginza to be demolished in 2017 [Japan Today - 14/6/16]
UN deplores detention of migrants in Europe, continues giving US, Australia and Israel a free pass.
"Through the looking wire" - The children of Nauru on Day 86 of continuous protests. ...
Image: @Mums4Refugees [13/6/16]
... "FREEDOM IS JUST A LITTLE DREAM" ... @Mums4Refugees [14/6/16]: Day 32 - Protests by the men illegally trafficked to Manus ...
@riserefugee [14/6/16]: 'A Wilson guard beaten a sick refugee in the Port Moresby Hospital' Behrouz Boochani
Recently I have sent staff to key locations along the Central Mediterranean and Balkan migration routes.
They have observed a worrying increase in detention of migrants in Europe, including in the “hotspots” – essentially vast mandatory confinement areas which have been set up in Greece and Italy.
Even unaccompanied children are frequently placed in prison cells or centres ringed with barbed-wire.
Detention is never in the best interests of the child – which must take primacy over immigration objectives. Alternatives to the detention of children must be developed, drawing on the solid examples of non-custodial, community-based and child-friendly good practices that we have seen in the region in past years. ... Hate is being mainstreamed - global update by the High Commissioner [UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights - 13/6/16]
Mass hunger strike, Australia's refugee concentration camp Manus Island, January 2015: UN and human rights establishment silent
Pleas from #ManusProtest ... Image: @rranwa [16/1/15]
Nauruan refugees’ protest defies police ban [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 11/3/15]
You could demand an immediate end to Australia's torture, detention and exile of refugees, or, at this critical juncture, you could help maintain the status quo. ----> ... This session, moderated by Rachel Ball, will discuss the human rights responsibilities of companies that either provide or are linked to the detention of asylum seekers and refugees. ... [Human Rights Law Centre - 14/6/16]
But will they raise the issue of Australia's illegal detention centres in Geneva, and if not, why? ----> Five years ago, at the age of just 16, Arif Hazara left behind his family in Afghanistan and made the dangerous journey by boat to Australia to escape violence and persecution.
The third-year university student is among 30 people from across the globe attending a UNHCR meeting in Geneva this week aimed at giving young refugees and asylum seekers a voice. ... [ABC - 13/6/16]
Young refugees gather to share ideas at UNHCR global summit [Media Release – 10/6/16]:
Across the world, in countries which could not be more different from one another, young refugees face similar problems and challenges.
These range from education to safety and will be the focus of the Global Refugee Youth Consultation which convenes in Geneva this weekend.
Participants will include Iraqi refugee Sarah Yahya, who now studies in Australia.
Sarah is passionate about the safety of young refugees and the barriers and disadvantages faced by those of them with disabilities. ...
Beyond the official restrictions, it is possible to write about the camps, and convey the humanity within. Nothing justifies the current information blackout while people are dying. Offshore and offlimits: Reporting Australia's anti-refugee policy [Listening Post - Al Jazeera - 11/6/16]
The Immigration Department developed its new, highly restrictive policy on media visits to detention centres with reference to US military arrangements governing media access to the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention centre. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 14/3/12]
... The manipulation of public opinion through suggestion can be traced back to the father of modern propaganda, Edward Bernays, who discovered that preying on the subconscious mind was the best way to sell products people don't need, and wars people don't want.
To get a deeper understanding of how propaganda functions in today's society, Abby Martin interviews Dr. Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media Studies at New York University. ...
Surrealist approaches to refugee policy [Professor Maley - 4/7/13]:
... The entire language of 'economic migrants' is by now thoroughly corrupted. It is vociferously used at present by the Sri Lankan leadership - Senator Carr's wonderful new friends - just as it was used by the Nazis who derided Jews fleeing Germany in the 1930s as Wirtschaftsemigranten. It is hardly surprising if people fleeing persecution also want to be better off economically. Who doesn't? (As Fanny Brice put it, 'I've been rich and I've been poor. Rich is better'.) But being well off is no barrier to having a credible refugee claim.
This was something understood by Winston Churchill, who in 1944 wrote as follows: 'It is quite possible that rich Jews will pay large sums of money to escape being murdered by the Huns … We should take a great responsibility if we prevented the escape of Jews, even if they should be rich Jews. I know it is the modern view that all rich people should be put to death wherever found, but it is a pity that we should take up that attitude at the present time. After all, they have no doubt paid for their liberation so high that in future they will only be poor Jews, and therefore have the ordinary rights of human beings'. ...
Scene from Life Is Beautiful [VIDEO]: Guido and his son Joshua are taken to a concentration camp, and to keep up Joshua's spirits he tells him its a game.
(Italian: La vita è bella) is a 1997 Italian comedy-drama film directed by and starring Roberto Benigni. Benigni plays Guido Orefice, a Jewish Italian book shop owner, who must employ his fertile imagination to shield his son from the horrors of internment in a Nazi concentration camp. Part of the film came from Benigni's own family history; before Roberto's birth, his father had survived three years of internment at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. …[Wikipedia]
Jim Wells County commissioners on Monday decided against pursuing a contract for an detention center that would have held immigrant families.
The commissioners court voted unanimously to drop negotiations with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Serco Inc., a government outsourcing company and private prison operator. ... [San Antonio Express-News - 13/6/16]
Texas: Two valedictorians reveal they are undocumented [Democracy Now – 13/6/16]:
In Texas, two valedictorians have publicly announced they are undocumented.
In Austin, Texas, Mayte Lara Ibarra, who plans to attend University of Texas at Austin on a scholarship, tweeted, "Valedictorian, 4.5GPA, full tuition paid for at UT, 13 cords/medals, nice legs, oh and I’m undocumented."
Further north in McKinney, Texas, Larissa Martinez, who is heading to Yale University, disclosed her status during her address to her class.
Larissa Martinez: "I am one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the shadows of the United States. I decided to stand before you today and reveal these unexpected realities, because this might be my only chance to convey the truth to all of you that undocumented immigrants are people, too ... people with dreams, aspirations, hopes and loved ones, people like me, people who have become a part of the American society and way of life and who yearn to help make American great again—without the construction of a wall built on hatred and prejudice."
Both young women have been subjected to a barrage of hatred on social media.
As the White House demands Congress pass legislation blocking extremists from obtaining assault weapons, figures show the United States remains the world's biggest importer and exporter of weapons, according to the latest Small Arms Survey.
Australia is the sixth biggest importer of weapons, including rifles, revolvers, pistols and ammunition.
The World Today spoke to Philip Alpers, public health researcher at the University of Sydney and the founding director of the GunPolicy.org website. ... [ABC - 14/6/16]
@vijayprashad [9/6/16]: In Tikrit, Iraq, residents erected a statue in honour of the shoe thrown at George W. Bush by Muntadhar al-Zaidi.
Peter Robert Gray (10 May 1980 in Newcastle, New South Wales – 30 April 2011) was an Australian environmental activist, notable for two landmark court cases, and for having thrown his shoes in public at former Prime Minister of Australia John Howard in protest over Australia's participation in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The shoes were bought by Volley, the company that had made them, for A$3,650. They were then displayed in the company's museum of "well-worn Volleys". ... [Wikipedia]
Brisbane Times [4/11/15]:
… David Sprigg, 34, was found guilty of being a public nuisance following a one-day trial in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
Sprigg threw his footwear at Mr Dutton at a citizenship ceremony in Brisbane's south in June.
The immigration minister had started giving a speech at the event when Sprigg yelled "release the refugees" and "free the children" before throwing his shoes at the north Brisbane-based MP.
One of the shoes missed Mr Dutton, the other he caught before continuing with his talk.
Sprigg told the court he wasn't remorseful for his actions - an act of protest against the government's border protection measures and detention of refugees - and reiterated this after his sentence was handed down. ...
Guns don’t kill people, Americans kill people.
United States continue bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 13/6/16]
US says Apache helicopter carries out strike in Iraq [Reuters - 13/6/16]
@IraqiSMCEn [Iraqi Spring Media Center - 13/6/16]:
Baghdad: A roadside bomb has exploded in Rashediya area north of Baghdad resulted in two deaths and 5 injuries ...............
Baghdad: News agencies: A roadside bomb exploded near shops in Baladiyat area east of Baghdad today evening killing a person and wounding 8..............................................
Three civilians were killed and ten others injured in a terrorist attack with rocket shells on Kefraya and al-Foua’a towns in Idleb northern countryside.
Local sources told SANA that terrorists launched rockets on the towns besieged by terrorists in Idleb countryside, killing three citizens and wounding ten others. ... [SANA - 13/6/16]
Ceasefire in Syria violated four times over past 24 hours [TASS - 12/6/16]
39 killed in airstrikes against market in northwest Syria [Antiwar - 12/6/16]
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center officials today announced a pilot program to pioneer kidney paired donation chains started via the military share program, in which families of active duty military service members donate one of their kidneys to patients listed for transplant at the medical center’s campus here. ... [US Department of Defense - 13/6/16]
Ronald Reagan shooting a rifle out of a window of Air Force One, 1983.
Image: @History_Pics [8/1/15]
From the archives : Michael Moore on gun violence and "Bowling For Columbine" [Democracy Now – 27/7/12]:
… AMY GOODMAN: Wow! So it is breaking box office records already. Talk a little about Bowling for Columbine in this time, in this day, in the United States.
MICHAEL MOORE: Well, the film, probably I should say right from the beginning, is — really isn’t about guns or Columbine or school shootings. I mean, it is the jumping-off point in the film, but what I wanted to say in this movie goes far beyond that. I wanted to take a look at why — you know, when the NRA says, "Guns kill” — “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people," I sort of — I came to believe that they were partially right when they say that, except I would alter it to "Guns don’t kill people, Americans kill people,” because we’re the only ones who do this. And we do it not just personally and locally, we do it globally.
And I wanted to take a look at the connections between the kind of local and personal violence to our global violence and why we always want to just run in and, you know, bomb another country because we don’t like what they’re doing. So that is sort of the journey through the film.
And I wanted to know, too, why Canada, who turns out to have — they’ve got like seven million guns and ten million homes — why they have all these guns laying around, and they don’t shoot each other, and what is it about their society that’s different from ours. And so, that became, you know, the sort of mission of the movie, but through my particular eye and lens in the way that I, you know, am wont to look at things. ...
Israel on Monday won an election to chair the United Nations' legal committee, the first time that it will head one of the world body's six permanent committees since joining the U.N. in 1949. ... [Reuters - 13/6/16]
Poland, Baltic states talk air defenses, want more NATO fighter jets and missiles [RT - 13/6/16]
A man fired shots with an air rifle at a refugee shelter in western Germany, leaving a five-year-old girl and an 18-year-old lightly wounded, police said Monday.
The 21-year-old man targeted the shelter from his third-floor apartment just 40 metres away in the shooting on Sunday, police said in a statement. ... [The Local - 13/6/16]
14 June 2016