Second Annual Freedom Summit held in Alice Springs calls for treaties between First Nations and State Governments
The second annual Freedom Summit was held in Alice Springs over the weekend to call for treaties between First Nations and State Governments as an alternative to constitutional recognition.
It follows from last year's Summit which focussed on engaging the next generation of leaders and establishing a unified voice across the country.
The next meeting is slated for Canberra, with a date yet to be announced.
Summit organiser and Narungga man Tauto Sansbury told Koori Radio the event was productive and hopes to continue the conversation about alternatives to recognition.
Mount Isa Indigenous youth support group Injilinji left out of juvenile crime talks [ABC - 14/9/15]
Koalas and 300-year-old trees threatened by Bruce Highway project [Brisbane Times - 14/9/15]
Man dies after being run over by truck, Milman
Authorities are still trying to work out how a man died when he fell from a truck while working at a rural property in central Queensland.
The 65-year-old man was carrying out repairs at Milman near Rockhampton on Friday when he fell from a flat-bed truck and was hit by the rear wheels.
He sustained fatal head injuries.
The incident is being investigated by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.
A man has died after his truck rolled and crashed in central Queensland.
The 64-year-old's truck veered off Moorlands Road outside Bundaberg, rolled and crashed into a power pole on Monday morning.
Police say he died at the scene. [Yahoo - 14/9/15]
Two employees at a Brisbane real estate agency have been charged with fraud, with one allegedly stealing nearly $150,000 from the business. ... [Yahoo - 14/9/15]
House fire, Moggill [QPS Media - 14/9/15]
Suspicious fire, Leichardt [QPS Media - 13/9/15]
Armed robbery charges, Noosa Heads [QPS Media - 14/9/15]
Sydney solicitor Rodney Gersbach's daughter sues over alleged sexual abuse [Sydney Morning Herald – 13/9/15]
Australian politics needs a change - what we've seen tonight is NOT a change.
New Matilda [14/9/15]:
... If you want to know why Jeremy Corbyn terrifies the absolute sh*t out of the ‘establishment’ – particularly within the British Labour Party - then look no further than his first public speech, delivered just a few hours ago after winning the party’s leadership.
In a break from tradition, not only in Britain but in western countries around the world, Corbyn used his maiden speech to take aim at the institutions which he says have been denying the basic human rights of people all over the world.
Corbyn chose a rally in support of refugees for his first public speech, delivering a rallying cry to the ‘faithful’ on the left, and taking aim at politicians across the world, who, he says, have recently ‘rediscovered’ their humanity amid a groundswell of support for Syrian refugees.
At times, the speech seemed a little stilted and forced – Corbyn is British, and so passion doesn’t come as easily as it does to a Martin Luther King, for example. But what it lacked in delivery it made up for in sentiment.
Corbyn also took aim at the media, of whom he was “shocked beyond appalled” at the way they describe those seeking asylum as illegals.
Above all, Corbyn’s key message was one of peace – a sentiment not sincerely expressed by a British leader at any time in living memory, let alone as their first speech to a nation as leader.
To his British parliamentarians he had this to say:
“… open your hearts and open your minds and open your attitude, towards supporting people who are desperate, who need somewhere safe to live, want to contribute to our society and are human beings just like all of us.
“Together in peace, together in justice, together in humanity, that surely must be our way forward.”
Okinawan governor to revoke permit for US base relocation work [Japan Today - 14/9/15]
Israeli forces and Palestinians clashed for the second consecutive day at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Monday, with Israeli troops firing stun grenades and rubber bullets which injured at least one Palestinian. ... [Maan - 14/9/15]
Pakistan air strikes kill 15 in tribal region [Naharnet - 14/9/15]
Afghanistan’s inelegance agency has killed a senior al-Qaeda commander with seven of his companions in Paktika province.
A statement issued by the NDS on Monday states NATO’s Resolute Support (RS) also assisted the operation in Mokhtar Mina area of Gomal District in which the al-Qaeda men were killed. ... [Khaama - 14/9/15]
Taliban insurgents in military uniform set off a car bomb and stormed an Afghan prison Monday, freeing hundreds of inmates and killing four policemen as they step up attacks despite a bitter leadership transition.
The brazen attack in the eastern city of Ghazni was reminiscent of the last major Afghan jailbreak in 2011 when nearly 500 Taliban inmates escaped from a prison in the southern province of Kandahar. ... [Ahram - 14/9/15]
More than 53,166 registered Afghan refugees have returned to their country from Pakistan so far during the current year, the state-run news agency reported on Monday.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) assisted their return under its longest-running voluntary repatriation programme, the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) said. ... [Pajhwok -14/9/15]
Egyptian security forces have mistakenly killed 12 people, including Mexican tourists, while chasing jihadists in the country's vast Western Desert, drawing condemnation and calls for an investigation from Mexico.
A joint police and military operation Sunday "chasing terrorist elements" had "mistakenly" targeted four pick-up trucks carrying Mexican tourists, the interior ministry said in a statement.
The ministry did not give a breakdown of the casualties but said "the incident led to the death of 12 Mexicans and Egyptians and wounding of 10 others". ... [Naharnet - 13/9/15]
Saudi airstrikes taking heavy Toll on Yemeni civilians [Antiwar - 13/9/15]
British PM follows Australian example - does a Syrian refugee PR stunt [Ahram - 14/9/15]
The aunt of three-year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi whose drowning off Turkey shocked the world visited Brussels Monday and tearfully urged the EU to adopt an emergency plan to redistribute refugees.
"Instead of putting up fences, I appeal to Europe and the world's politicians to open their doors," Kurdi added. ... [Daily Star - 14/9/15]
Following US and Australian example, EU declares war on refugees
EU member states approved on Monday plans for military action against people smugglers in the Mediterranean, seizing and destroying boats to break up networks operating out of Libya, sources said.
The European Union launched a first, intelligence gathering phase of its EU NavFor Med operation in July but now it will be allowed to stop and if necessary destroy boats which have carried thousands of migrants risking their lives to get to Europe.
"The conditions have been met" to launch the new military phase, one European diplomat told AFP.
The decision comes as EU interior ministers meet later Monday in Brussels to try and agree quotas for the redistribution of the massive flood of migrants fleeing war and upheaval across the Middle East and North Africa.
Many member states were reluctant to step up action against the traffickers for fear of getting embroiled in Libya where rival factions have been fighting it out for control since the ouster of longtime strongman Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.
EU leaders agreed however that there had to be a much tougher response, including the use of force, after more than 700 migrants drowned off southern Italy in April.
The second phase of the operation approved Monday still restricts EU NavFor Med to action in international waters.
A third phase involves military action against people smugglers inside Libyan territorial waters, aiming to destroy their boats and networks before they set sail.
This step is more controversial given the increased risks and requires at a minimum a UN Security Council resolution and preferably Libyan government agreement.
EU efforts to help establish a national unity government in Libya which could grant such approval have so far failed but special UN envoy Bernardino Leon reported at the weekend that progress was being made.
Russia, current president of the UN Security Council, has said a resolution could be adopted this month but it would only apply to action on the high seas.
More than 350,000 people have risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean this year, according to the International Organization for Migration, with nearly 3,000 losing their lives.
EU NavFor Med currently comprises four ships -- one Italian, one British and two German -- and sources said it will likely need several more vessels for the enlarged mission which is expected to begin next month.
The EU, which has no central armed force of its own, has taken part in a whole series of peacekeeping and civilian emergency missions, among them anti-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa, military training in Somalia and Mali.
Charlie Hebdo Mocks the death of Syrian child Aylan Kurdi [Morocco World News - 13/9/15]
We don't want the specially selected non muslims locked behind barbed wire: Queensland Mayor tries to help Abbott with his Syrian refugee resettlement PR stunt - fails to explain how they're going to pay the rent.
Mayor Ray Brown has committed the Western Downs region to rehoming up to 1500 Syrian asylum seekers.
After a week of behind-the-scenes investigations into the logistical constraints of the region, he said the Western Downs had, so far, ticked all the boxes.
Cr Brown said the region, including Chinchilla, Miles, Tara and Wandoan could all receive asylum seekers.
"The beauty of this is that there are about 500 good quality rentals sprinkled across the region. The last thing I want is a fishbowl with people looking in." ... [Queensland Times - 13/9/15]
Dump worker with disability paid $20-a-day on contract [Chronicle - 10/6/15]
Toowoomba's council has hired one of Australia's top lawyers to avoid paying an intellectually disabled man for years of work under an unfair contract.
Clynton Lawrance worked in council dumps for 26 years, opening gates, cleaning and keeping records, at first under the now-defunct Rosalie Shire Council.
For the first five years he worked for no pay, but was afforded scavenging rights.
His contract was changed in 1998 when he was paid $20 a day - a figure far below that which would normally be afforded a contractor.
Similar conditions continued past 2008, when the newly-formed Toowoomba Regional Council took over control of the region's dumps.
A Centrelink psychologist has found Mr Lawrance to have an IQ of 67 and to be illiterate and innumerate - factors which made him oblivious to the raw deal he was receiving.
An Industrial Court order that council pay Mr Lawrance $215,000 in unpaid wages was overturned on appeal after council hired former Solicitor-General of Queensland Walter Sofronoff.
However, Justice Glenn Martin still deemed the contract unfair. Only the amount of compensation has been brought into question.
Mr Lawrance was unaware he was being duped until the end of his tenure.
"Some of the council fellows - I got to know them well - they told me I was getting ripped off," Mr Lawrance said.
"I can't read or write, but I got letters from council saying what a good job I was doing and everything else. I used to get Rose to help me read them."
He and ex-wife Rosemary Creamer, who remains his best friend, contacted Aden Lawyers director David Riwoe.
"This is one of the fights that you like to have - when there's a person who's been given a tough deal for many, many years," Mr Riwoe said.
"So we're very happy to represent Clynton and try to get a good result. It's just a shame - there's a technicality, of sorts, that says we can't pursue the claim beyond 2008."
Changes to industrial relations laws in 2008 meant local councils were from that date treated as corporations, and could be sued.
It means Mr Lawrance's 20 preceding years of work can not be included in the case.
His job was no walk in the park. He recalls being "hit with needles", bashed by irate customers and even having rubbish filled with maggots poured over his head.
"Council never did anything about it," Mr Lawrance said.
"They kicked me around. It's wrong what they're doing now.
"If they had to pay me for 26 years, they'd be paying me a lot of money. But they won't even pay what they owe me for six years."
Mr Lawrance said all of the region's dumps had caretakers, many of whom were on similar contracts - a fact which may explain why council hired one of the country's most expensive lawyers to quash the case.
"Everybody should go see a lawyer and hit them. Why let them get away with it?" Mr Lawrance said.
"Everybody who works expects to get paid what's owing to them, not a kick in the arse."
Mr Lawrance's case will appear again before the Industrial Court in the coming months, though a date has not been set.
Refugees employed to clean council's rubbish tips [Chronicle 13/6/14]
Another example of the Australian government's "refugee assistance program" propaganda [SBS - 28/8/14]:
Tamil asylum seekers in south-east Queensland are taking on roles cleaning rubbish from roadsides and garbage dumps, work the mayor of Western Downs says locals refuse to do.
June 2009: The last time SEQ media considered the welfare of children in Tara - by demonising the locality [Brisbane Times - 5/6/09]:
... Dalby Regional Council Mayor Ray Brown this week expressed concern that children were living in 'Third World' conditions on so-called "lifestyle blocks" near the town of Tara, four hours west of Brisbane.
"There is a small minority group there who have socially chosen to live a certain way and it concerns me greatly when children are involved," Cr Brown said.
"We've been given some information in relation to young teenage girls living in absolute squalor and that concerned myself and my council and we've decided we will do our upmost to assist.
"We are not saying the parents of these kids are mistreating them or anything, it's just the standard of living is not satisfactory in this day and age." ...
Greens still helping Abbott promote Syrian refugee resettlement PR stunt [ABC - 14/9/15]:
... The Mackay branch of the Greens said with the downturn in the resources industry, there was a "glut" of available housing in the region and the refugees could help take up the slack in the market. ...
UNHCR still not answering calls from journalist re Australia's 12,000 Syrian refugee "resettlement" PR stunt [Nine MSN - 11/9/15]
Why is the Refugee Council of Australia urging New Zealand to accept Australia's refugees on Nauru? [IB Times -14/9/15]:
... New Zealand was approached by Paul Power, chief executive of the Refugee Council of Australia, according to media reports.
At a meeting with MPs at the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Power urged New Zealand to be more liberal with Nauru refugees and accommodate them.
Power is also the chair of the Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Working Group on refugees.
He said Australia expects more help from New Zealand in re-settling refugees from centres such as Nauru New Zealand Herald reported.
“In relation to Nauru I think it's pretty obvious that Australia has got itself into a real mess. I don't know how Australia is going to extract itself from the situation," he noted. ...
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [13/9/15]:
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, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted seven airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Al Hawl, two airstrikes destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL tank.
-- Near Ar Raqqah, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Kobani, one airstrike destroyed an ISIL artillery piece.
-- Near Mar’a, three airstrikes struck an ISIL staging facility and destroyed four ISIL buildings an ISIL artillery piece and an ISIL weapons cache.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter, fighter-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 18 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with the government of Iraq:
-- Near Bayji, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building.
-- Near Fallujah, six airstrikes struck two ISIL VBIED facilities, two ISIL weapons caches, an ISIL command and control facility and an ISIL staging area.
-- Near Kisik, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL truck.
-- Near Mosul, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL mortar firing position an ISIL rocket firing position and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Ramadi, three airstrikes struck three ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL buildings and an ISIL homemade explosives cache.
-- Near Sinjar, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Tuz, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL vehicles and an ISIL bunker.
@ItalianNavy [13/9/15]: ULTIMATO #SAR N.MIMBELLI #MARINAMILITARE RECUPERATI 285 #MIGRANTI,2 DONNE 9°M.GRAVIDANZA, 1 NEONATO4/5 GIORNI. VIDEO
At least 38 refugees - including at least 14 children - have drowned after a wooden fishing boat sank off the Greek Island of Farmakonisi, the Greek coastguard has said.
Four babies and 10 young children - five boys and five girls - were among 112 people on the stricken boat when it sank off the southern Aegean island early on Sunday, the Athens News Agency reported.
The toll is thought to be the largest recorded from any single accident in Greek waters since the refugee crisis began. ... [Al Jazeera - 13/9/15]
#CrossingNoMore September 15, Edirne, border between Turkey and Greece. Thousands of Syrians will go to request the opening of the border. No more sea crossings, no more children drowned. They need the support of Europe, all of us. #LetThemIn Women and men barefoot, ready to get in the way [Crossing No More]
Greece: Closure of camp in Kos leaves refugees even more vulnerable [MSF - 11/9/15]
Police from Austria’s Upper province say it has rescued 42 asylum seekers from a refrigerated truck near the border with Germany. Austrian authorities expect about 10,000 refugees to arrive from Hungary by the end of the day.
Five women and eight children were among the 42 refugees rescued from the Finnish-registered refrigerated truck used for transporting flowers, DPA news agency reported, citing police.
The incident took place on the A8 highway at Aistersheim, about 30 kilometers from the German border. ... [RT - 13/9/15]
Germany border crackdown deals blow to Schengen system [Guardian – 14/9/15]
Lesbos firemen rescued by Iranian migrants after their truck plunges into ravine
Japan Times [14/9/15]:
Four Iranian migrants rushed to the aid of two Greek firemen after their engine crashed down a ravine on the island of Lesbos, Athens News Agency reported Sunday.
The migrants had been making the roughly 50-km (30-mile) walk from Sikamnia, where their dinghy had been put ashore, to the capital of Mytilene on Saturday when they saw the engine fall into the ravine.
They quickly clambered down the five-meter (16-foot) precipice, and tried to pull the firemen from the wreck.
The migrants called for help and stayed with the firemen until they had been freed and transferred to a hospital.
Lesbos is one of several Greek islands struggling with an influx of thousands of migrants, many of them Syrian refugees, setting sail from the nearby Turkish coast.
Many are stuck on the island for days or even weeks because without their papers the migrants are unable to catch a ferry to the Greek mainland and travel on to other destinations in Europe.
In Mytilene, where most of the migrants gather hoping to catch a boat off the island, they sleep in the open without toilets or showers.
There have been repeated clashes as riot police struggled to control huge crowds pressing forward to get on board ferries.
Police told AFP on Thursday that some 22,500 refugees and migrants had been registered by officials in Lesbos since Monday evening.
Are divestment campaigns calls for nicer cages, ethical carnage and cleaner coal? [New Matilda - 10/9/15]
How is offering to imprison a group of non muslim refugees - handpicked for their exploitable traits - in military barracks and detention centres a "welcome"?
... In Australia, there are those that have looked at that same image [of drowned three-year-old boy, Alan Kurdi] and used it as an excuse for our barbarous border policies.
The repugnant irony is that there could be no stronger counter argument to the “stop the boats” dogma than that image.
All our draconian boats policy has succeeded in is having people drown in other oceans, conveniently out of sight of Christmas Island. ...
Pontville refugee concentration camp [Image: Jackson Vernon, ABC - January 2012]
... Tasmania Premier Will Hodgman on Saturday confirmed the state is in talks with Canberra about how to bring more displaced people to the island under the Commonwealth's safe haven visa scheme. ... SBS [5/9/15]
Local Councils - and perplexingly the Refugee Council of Australia - continue helping Abbott with his Syrian refugee resettlement PR stunt [Government News - 14/9/15]:
In the wake of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s announcement that Australia will take 12,000 extra refugees from war-torn Syria, a number of Australia’s local government authorities have expressed interest in receiving them into their communities.
East Fremantle Mayor Jim O’Neil and Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt have called on the Federal Government to consider using Leeuwin Barracks, located in East Fremantle, to house refugees from Syria. The barracks previously housed 370 refugees from Kosovo in 1999.
“Fremantle recently became a Refugee Welcome Zone,” Mr Pettitt said.
“With Premier Barnett saying that WA would be willing to take 1,000 refugees from Syria, I know the people of Fremantle would like to assist by making refugees welcome in our community.”
“This is a global refugee crisis,” said Mr O’Neill. “We can’t stand by while this situation gets worse. No single country can solve the crisis, but as one of the world’s richest countries, Australia should do it part and East Fremantle is proud to make a stand for this.”
Adelaide Hills has made a similar request, with Mayor Bill Spragg supporting a recent call from South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill calling for the reopening of the Inverbrackie detention centre in Woodside as emergency refugee housing.
The facility has 80 houses and a medical centre and was closed this year after the previous Commonwealth Government spent more than $10 million upgrading it.
“The facility was originally a migrant hostel, so Adelaide Hills has a long tradition in housing newcomers to Australia,” said Mr Spragg. “It should be re-opened to help accommodate this new influx or refugees.”
Mr Spragg has previously criticised the Commonwealth’s plans to sell Inverbrackie and turn it into a retirement village, saying that an influx of aged residents would put pressure on local services. It is in the safe Liberal-held Federal seat of Mayo, formerly held by long serving Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.
Adelaide Hills Council is also a Refugee Welcome Zone, an initiative of the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), the peak body for Australia’s many refugee groups. In 2013 the RCOA published a report listing 87 councils in Australia that had signed up to the program, which it initiated in 2002. The number has since grown to 125 – nearly one quarter of Australia’s LGAs.
They include the City of Sydney, the City and Melbourne and the Brisbane City Council, Australia’s largest LGA. The ACT Government has also joined the program. The experiences of many councils with the program are published in the RCOA report.
“We initiated the Refugee Welcome Zones to give some structure to community support for refugees,” the RCOA’s Tim O’Connor told Government News.
“Refugees bring many benefits to local communities. By joining our Refugee Welcome Zone program a local council shows that it is welcoming refugees into the community, upholding their human right and enhancing cultural and religious diversity in the community.”
Mr O’Connor said that councils could join the program by passing a motion in support. The RCOA then helps them with practical advice, drawing on the experience of other councils in the program. “Sometimes the motions do not get passed the first time,” said O’Connor. “But after we point out the success stories and explain the concept, the council inevitably comes on board.”
Refugees often disappear into the ethnic melting pot in Australia’s large cities. But they are very noticeable in smaller communities. A report earlier this year from research group AMES and economics consultancy Deloitte Access Economics called ‘Small Towns, Big Returns’ looked at the economic impact of the resettlement of Karen refugees from Burma in the small western Victorian town of Nhill.
Since 2010, approximately 160 Karen refugees have resettled in Nhill, the centre of Hindmarsh Shire. They now comprise about 10 per cent of the town’s population. Over 70 are in full time employment, with the report estimating of $41.5 million economic impact (net present value) on the shire’s economy. Over 50 of them work at the Luv-a-Duck facility outside of town, which breeds ducks and processes and sells packaged duck-based products to Australian and export markets.
“The social impact of the Karen settlement is extraordinary,” the report quotes Hindmarsh Shire Council CEO Tony Doyle as saying.
“Nhill, a very conservative community, has embraced and opened their minds and hearts to the Karen. This has made Nhill a better place to live.”
ALP and LNP vote against Greens Senate motion to save Rohingya [Senate Hansard - 24/6/15]:
Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (15:39): I move:
That the Senate—
(a) expresses concern at the disturbing reports aired on the Four Corners television program on 22 June 2015;
(i) that only 412 Rohingyans have been resettled in Australia through Australia's humanitarian program since 2008, and
(ii) the Government's recent refusal to provide assistance or resettlement for Rohingyans currently in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, and stranded at sea off these three countries; and
(c) urges the Government to:
(i) contribute to the search and rescue mission for thousands of migrants, including Rohingyans, currently stranded at sea,
(ii) resettle some of the Rohingyan migrants rescued by Indonesia and Malaysia, and
(iii) resettle an increased number of Rohingyans in the 2015 humanitarian program, increasing the number of the program if necessary.
The PRESIDENT: The question is that the motion be agreed to.
The Senate divided [15:39]
(The President—Senator Parry)
Ayes ...................... 13
Noes ...................... 33
Majority ................. 20
Di Natale, R
Siewert, R (teller)
McEwen, A (teller)
... Morally, it is Australia’s neighbours to whom it owes its first duty of assistance. ...
[The Conversation – 9/9/15]
South East Asia
Myanmar refugees eke out a living in Chennai [Times of India – 14/9/15]
The appearance of hundreds of strangers over the last few days in the Maungdaw area is creating panic among local Rohingyas.
Residents of Maungdaw town and the surrounding villages say most of the local Rakhines in the area are well known to them.
But over the last few days, they are seeing a surge of strangers in the town area and the village markets.
The situation is eerily similar to the situation in the Akyab region in June 2012 when hundreds of Rakhines from the Tangup region flooded the city before the massacre began. ... [Burma Times - 12/9/15]
Thailand Border Governor and "anti trafficking" volunteers seal off all escape routes to Rohingya refugees [Phuketwan - 11/9/15]
UNHCR responds to Cambodia's return of Vietnamese refugees. Maintains silence on Australia's treatment refugees in the region. [Phnom Penh Post - 14/9/15]:
Vietnam is “ready to receive” the more than 200 Montagnards currently seeking asylum in Cambodia who face forced repatriation if they do not return within three months, according to the UN refugee agency.
Vivian Tan, a regional spokesperson for UNHCR, said the Vietnamese government had given assurances that the Montagnards – an indigenous group from Vietnam’s central highlands – would not be treated ill.
They fled to Cambodia in small groups over the past year, alleging persecution.
Vietnam “has said it is ready to receive all Montagnard asylum seekers back, and provided assurances it will not discriminate against or punish them.
It has also provided assurances that UNHCR will be able to visit them after their return home,” she said.
The agency’s comments came after the Interior Ministry said Friday that it had imposed a three-month deadline on the Montagnards, who are yet to have their asylum claims registered or assessed, to return to Vietnam or be forcibly repatriated.
Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said the government had asked the refugee agency to assist the Montagnards, whom he classed as “economic migrants”, in returning before the deadline expires.
Tan yesterday said UNHCR does “not support involuntary returns”.
But, she added, while the body does “not usually get involved in the return of people who were not registered as asylum-seekers”, it was prepared to make an exception and “facilitate the return of individuals provided that it is based on a free and informed decision”.
She said the agency continued to “urge the responsible authorities” to register all of the Montagnard asylum seekers currently living in limbo in Phnom Penh.
Since October, hundreds of Montagnards have fled to Cambodia. Just 13 have had their claims assessed and have since been determined as refugees. Dozens have been deported.
Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, said Vietnam’s assurances could not be trusted.
“Hanoi issued the same sorts of false promises to entice back Montagnards who fled to Cambodia to escape violent crackdowns in the central highlands in 2001 and 2004, and those who returned faced interrogations, intimidation, and in some cases torture – just as some who were forced back by the Cambodian government earlier this year,” he explained.
“The Montagnards have learned their lessons about bogus Vietnamese pledges – now UNHCR also needs to recognise that Vietnam is not trustworthy in this regard, and stand clear of any involvement in Montagnard returns.”
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.
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.
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. ...
Australia stopped accepting UNHCR refugees in October 2014.
... 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.
The phrase "violence begets violence" (or "hate begets hate") means that violent behaviour promotes other violent behaviour, in return.
Hungary emulates Australia's treatment of refugees:
@bouckap [13/9/15]: Hungary's 'welcome' 2 refugees: fence, army, dogs, helicopters, detention camps. Must remind them of what they fled.
Hungary: Abysmal conditions in border detention [Human Rights Watch - 11/9/15]
Incident at the Manus Island Detention Centre from 16 February to 18 February 2014 [Senate Report]:
Events of the night of 17 February
5.49 Correspondence between G4S and the department indicates that on the night of 17 February, the PNG police force present at the centre was 46 officers, comprising 36 mobile squad members and ten dog squad members (with four dogs).
Each time an asylum seeker complains about their human rights or about the conditions in the centre, they are offered an appointment with IOM to discuss voluntary return.
Submission 94, Nauru Senate Inquiry
Strategic Partnership Framework with @IOM_news Director General William Lacy
Image: @PeterDutton_MP [28/4/15]
Manus Island: Refugee assaulted by guard and told to find his own medicine [Guardian – 14/9/15]:
... Loghaman told Guardian Australia that this week he had just finished speaking with a Transfield worker about getting more washing powder “because we only have very small amount”, when he was approached by a PNG national security guard.
“He came up to me and said ‘if you don’t think it’s enough, go back to your country. If you don’t like it here, go back’,” Loghaman said.
“I said to him ‘this is none of your business’. Then he punched me. He punched me hard.
“I cry, and I fall down. I fall to the ground.”
He injured his hand in the fall Loghaman said. ...
"Licence to Kill" Bill drops off Senate agenda again today [14/9/15]
Licence to Kill: Australia’s Maintaining the Good Order in Immigration Detention Facilities Bill 2015 [Border Criminologies - 12/5/15]
Remember those slowly dying of Australia's bipartisan deterrence policy as the media feign concern for drowned refugees [Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites Media Release - 8/9/15]:
... The current wide spread concern for refugees drowning in the ocean must not be divorced from the slow deaths and tortures that refugees are experiencing in Australian run detention centres.
A writer detained for 26 months on Manus Island has written a letter stating: ‘I wish I too had died in the ocean’.
Poet Kaveh Arya released a poem on facebook following the circulation of images of the young Kurdish boy Aylan Kurdi who had drowned whilst seeking asylum with his family.
The final line of the poem being: ‘we love dead children more’. ...
Violence in offshore detention: Out of sight is NOT out of mind: Open letter to the Prime Minister [Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites]:
Dear Prime Minister,
Violence in Australia’s Pacific offshore detention sites in Nauru and Papua New Guinea is a domestic issue.
As organisations and individuals working against violence against women, children and men inside Australia, we stand with the children, women and men held in Australian-funded detention centres overseas, in conditions that expose them to systematic violence.
•A 23 year-old woman brutally raped and left untreated until the point of organ failure who remains in a critical condition without access to her family or independent support.
•A 33 year-old year-old woman sexually assaulted by a male nurse contracted to fulfil the responsibilities of the Australian government, who described ‘guards masturbating and laughing as they accompanied her and the other women from a medical appointment’
•Gay men who express fears of being at risk of death in a sequence of harrowing letters
•Recognised refugees ‘settled’ in the community subjected to sexual and xenophobic violence
•Depressed and traumatised inmates exposed to marijuana dependence, traded for sex
These are not isolated cases. Expert after expert testified to a recent Senate Select Committee that the conditions of offshore detention are conducive to family and sexual violence.
Professor David Isaacs testified that ‘The living conditions on Nauru put children at high risk of suffering physical or sexual abuse’.
Ms Caz Coleman, a former Salvation Army manager, stated: ‘the issue of domestic and family violence, sexual exploitation, harassment and assault and child protection matters were obvious from the outset of the centre establishment in Nauru’.
The systemic and structural nature of the conditions that generate this violence against women, children, gay men and families are the outcome of Australian’s policy of ‘deterrence’.
The flawed logic of this policy creates fear and terror among would-be asylum seekers by punishing those already within our reach.
Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites (RAPBS) argue that this calculated violence now has to be recognized as ‘tantamount to a program of torture’. But precisely because this violence is perpetrated in our offshore equivalent of ‘black sites’, it can be carried out hidden from the eyes of the Australian public.
Feminists, women’s groups and others working against violence against women, children and LGBTIQ peoples all too often work in isolation from refugees and their supporters. We want this separation to end.
Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty, says:
‘Those of us who care about violence against women, children and other vulnerable people at home need to care about what happens to these same people elsewhere who are under our care. The Australian government funds the offshore detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island. The centres are, by their very design, unsafe and dangerous places.
These centres cannot be patched up. They must be shut down. The people forcibly held there are those who sought protection in this country. They deserve care, not punishment. Out of sight is not out of mind!’
In solidarity with Rosie Batty and RAPBS, we,
collectively, call for the end to systemic sexual, physical and psychological
torture in our Pacific Black Sites.
We call for the closure of our Pacific Black Sites.
Now Acting High Commissioner to PNG: Rudd appoints wheat kickbacks figure as ambassador to Burma [Sydney Morning Herald - 21/12/10]:
A central figure in the Australian Wheat Board's Iraqi kickbacks affair has been appointed ambassador to Burma by Kevin Rudd - the very man who rose to prominence by publicly prosecuting the case.
Mr Rudd, now the Foreign Affairs Minister, was Labor's chief critic of the Howard government's conduct during the 2005-06 AWB scandal, but yesterday announced that the diplomat Bronte Moules was Australia's new ambassador to Burma.
Ms Moules was a senior member of Australia's delegation to the United Nations in the early 2000s.
That was the same period that AWB was accused of paying kickbacks disguised as trucking fees to the regime of Saddam Hussein in return for wheat contracts.
Enough is enough - a peaceful rally to raise awareness of domestic violence:
26 September at 10:00–11:00
Orleigh Park, West End
So far this year, 62 women have allegedly been murdered by their current or ex partners.
Statistics show more than one woman a week is killed by her current or ex partner and one in three Australian women have experienced some form of physical violence.
Today about 40 per cent of ALL murders are classified as domestic or family homicides.
Enough is enough!
Please join us in this peaceful Brisbane rally to raise awareness of domestic violence.This is an inclusive event for all concerned residents. #enough
Man stabbed in chest in apparent Maryborough domestic dispute [Brisbane Times - 14/9/15]
A man was taken to the Canberra Hospital in a critical condition with burns to around 15 per cent of his body after an explosion at Braddon McDonald's on Sunday night.
Police said the Giralang man, 41, walked into the restaurant on the ground floor of the Medina Serviced Apartments and set alight a 9 kilogram bottle of gas he carried with him about 9pm. ... [Canberra Times - 14/9/15]
A woman has allegedly used her car to mow down another woman in a southeast Queensland town.
The two women, both 24, got into a fight at Warwick on Sunday before one of them got behind the wheel and drove at the other, knocking her to the ground.
The driver has been charged with acts intending to cause grievous bodily harm and will face the Warwick Magistrates Court on Monday. [Brisbane Times - 14/9/15]
Police investigate after Highway Patrol car rammed – Bangalow [NSW/QPS Media – 14/9/15]
Man in coma after crashing during police pursuit, Sydney [West Australian – 14/9/15]
Motorcyclist hospitalised after fleeing police, Adelaide [West Australian – 14/9/15]
Inmate stabbed, teargas deployed during Goulburn prison brawl [Canberra Times – 14/9/15]
Brother ends up in hospital after Darwin pub attack backfires [ABC – 14/9/15]
14 September 2015