Give me inconvenience if she can have her humanity.




Students and professors fight for families at Karnes Detention Center [American Immigration Lawyers Association - 14/3/16]:


... One of the women we saw told us a local business owner refused to pay the gangs. She found his body on a bridge.

Maybe she deserved to be safe here, but she is having trouble proving she is a refugee. Her child is, too. She and her nine-year-old daughter may be sent back, not because they aren’t afraid, but because they can’t articulate their case within the limited categories of our laws.

Do their fears rise to the level of persecution? The violence she will face, the threats and near misses to come, don’t fit into the categories in our immigration laws. She is unwelcome. While our judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals decide what persecution is, what it means and how it gets people in or keeps them out, she is living it.

She doesn’t want a hand-out; she will work hard if allowed to stay here. She just wants to make a living without violence.

There is a baseline of humanity that transcends education, language and nationality. We heard about the “hieleras” (cold rooms) and “perreras” (dog cages). 

The women know they were mistreated and it was wrong, but they endured. It is not worth mentioning to us unsolicited. We ask them and they say it was very cold. I want to apologize. I am so sorry we did that to you. We as Americans. Because we as a country should help those who need it, and we are not.







Thirteen. As of this week that’s the number of people detained by the Canada Border Services Agency who have died in custody since 2000.

It’s a disturbing total, and it’s made worse by the fact that their names, the circumstances of their deaths and why they were being detained are kept secret by the agency. It’s as if they didn’t exist.

This should not be allowed in a supposedly open, accountable, caring democracy.

So it’s no surprise that the announcement of the most recent death has led to yet another round of calls by human rights advocates for more transparency within the agency, the creation of an oversight body to hold it to account, and the establishment of an outside body to investigate deaths in custody.

That’s the least the federal government should do.

Human rights organizations are also urging the government not to hold immigration detainees in maximum security prisons, but in immigration holding cells, and for an end to indefinite detention. ... [The Star - 11/3/16]





Australia's protected and unaccountable Foreign Minister Julie Bishop finally held to account --->  Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, says his country would not accept any of its citizens repatriated against their will  [Guardian - 15/3/16]:



… Two Iranian asylum seekers previously held in the Manus Island detention centre have been left stranded – detained in Port Moresby for nearly eight months – after agreeing to be returned to Iran.

Iran has, so far, refused to accept the two men’s return.

The two men – whom The Guardian has chosen to identify only by their first names – say they have agreed to be returned, but have been left stranded in detention in the PNG.

Both men have been issued with identity numbers which identify them as Iranian citizens and would normally allow them to be granted passports.

However, they have been told there is a “problem” with their applications, and the Iranian embassy has not issued new documents.

“I signed the form for returning to Iran seven and a half months ago. I wrote, ‘Come back,’ ” 41-year-old Abdi told The Guardian from Port Moresby.

“I am destroyed man; I am shattered. We are in limbo here. I am suffering, but we are stuck.”

Both men are understood to be suffering serious physical and mental illnesses, sustained while in detention on Manus.

Sources in Tehran have told The Guardian their ongoing health conditions – which will require long-term and expensive treatment – are understood to be the basis of the impasse between Australia, PNG and Iran.

The money the men will be paid for their repatriation is considered to be insufficient to cover their ongoing health needs.

Abdi said he was chronically ill, and would require long-term care. He said his family visits doctors in Tehran, and he explains his symptoms over the phone and is then diagnosed.

“I take so many psychiatric tablets, but the pain still remains in my nerves, in my eyes and my intestine,” Abdi said. “It is like a tragic movie.”

Another of the asylum seekers, Ali, said he felt he had been abandoned. He has been on PNG since August 2013, nearly 950 days.

“No one calls us, no one care about us, no one. We are forgotten.”






Shall we compare state tyrannies, or question our own nation's abdication from international treaties? ---> 979,441 refugees reside in Iran [UNHCR 2015]





Rohingya refugee exiled from Nauru to Cambodia after being tricked by Australia and the IOM is back in hospital after speaking with the media [Phnom Penh Post -15/3/16]




Government calls Rohingya refugee ‘a liar’ [Cambodia Daily – 14/3/16]





Trafficking trial opens as 1,000s of Rohingya are still trapped in Myanmar, detained in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, and/or prevented from seeking asylum [Yahoo - 15/3/16]:



The trial of 92 suspected human traffickers, arrested after the discovery of shallow graves of migrants in Thai jungle, began in Bangkok on Tuesday and the attorney-general's office said it would be over within a year amid fears about the safety of witnesses.

Traffickers abandoned boatloads of migrants at sea last year after a crackdown by Thai authorities that led to a regional migrant crisis with Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Bangladesh refusing boats permission to land.

Rights groups had expressed fears that a drawn-out case, lasting anything up to two years, could put the hundreds of witnesses at risk because of inadequate police protection.

"The court is accelerating the case to finish within a year," said Prayuth Porsuttayaruk, deputy director-general of the human trafficking office at the Attorney-General's Office.

Thailand remains on the lowest tier on the U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report for not meeting the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

Sunai Phasuk, senior researcher on Thailand at Human Rights Watch, welcomed a shorter trial but said the cases should not be rushed to impress the United States.

"It will totally send the wrong message if the trial is being fast-tracked simply to impress the TIP report reviewers."

The defendants, wearing beige prison uniforms, were brought to the packed court for the start of formal hearings.

The investigation and arrests followed the discovery of 30 shallow graves at a trafficking camp near the Malaysian border. Many of the bodies were believed to be of Rohingya, a persecuted ethnic Muslim minority in majority Buddhist Myanmar.

Weeks later, police revealed 139 graves had been found over the border in Malaysia.

That led to a crackdown on the multi-million dollar trade which had until then flourished in Thailand's southern provinces and in Malaysia.

The 92 suspected human traffickers include an army general, civilians and police.

Rights groups have called on authorities to step up witness protection after some witnesses said they had been forced into hiding because of threats.

Prayuth said the justice ministry was "looking after the witnesses", but did not say how many of the more than 400 witnesses were receiving police protection.

Around 50 suspects were still at large, said Prayuth. Some had fled to neighboring Myanmar.

The United Nations and rights group say the number of migrants leaving Myanmar and Bangladesh by boat in past months has plummeted because of the Thai and Bangladeshi crackdowns on human smugglers.

The number of people trying to flee was expected to be significantly lower this year, they said.



US Envoy on US Refugee, Migration Policy in Southeast Asia, UNHCR and IOM press conference fobs off regional concerns about Myanmar human rights abuses and refugee exodus [3/6/15]:


... A/S RICHARD: Well thank you for your question. I did meet with Australian colleagues at the May 29th meeting in Bangkok including the Ambassador for People Smuggling -- or Against People Smuggling, I guess.

The United States takes a different approach off our shores to people coming toward us in boats.

You know our Coast Guard intercepts the boats and then conducts interviews on its decks to find out if the people, if the boat people in the Caribbean have a credible fear of persecution or not.

And if it is judged that they are economic migrants they’re returned to places from which they’ve come.

But if it’s judged that they may have a case for asylum then they are not returned and that they get follow-on interviews and they may end up being moved as refugees to a new country. So the numbers we’re talking about in the Caribbean are quite small, but this, with this approach of ensuring that people get a chance to express their case is a part of what the US is doing that I think is needed throughout the region.

I think that’s mostly on that issue. ...





The Phuketwan journalists say this picture of emaciated Rohingya on the beach was given to them by the Thai navy [BBC - 1/9/15]




... On January 1, 2013, Phuketwan reporters travelled by speedboat to intercept a Rohingya boat off the southern Phuket destination of Rawai. This boat was different to other boats: there were women and children on board. We were shocked to see whole families in the basic primitive conditions that usually only the Rohingya menfolk experienced. This was because two outbreaks of violence in Burma's Arakan state in 2012 had led to the torching of family homes, and the refugee camps were being deprived of essentials by the Rohingya's hateful neighbors. The children said they were fleeing ''certain death.'' Those families were trucked back to Ranong and put back on another boat.  ... [Phuketwan - 7/12/13]




A Ranong Immigration truck heads for the Andaman Club pier on Saturday [Phuketwan - 21/10/13]



Prominent Norfolk Islander makes plea to Turnbull [RNZI – 15/3/16]:

A businessman and former Norfolk Island government minister is pleading with the Australian prime minister to rethink his government's plans for the island.

Norfolk is about to become a regional council within New South Wales after its limited autonomy was removed last June.

Canberra claimed the island could no longer pay its way but many on Norfolk dispute both this and the way Australia has gone about the changes.

Andre Nobbs has written to Malcolm Turnbull to let him know many on the island remain opposed to the changes and have tried to raise their concerns legitimately but been ignored.

"Demonstrate to the prime minister that there's been a poorly carried out process that has robbed Norfolk Island of its democracy and its self governance, and it's also taken away a lot of its opportunity to be economically viable, and to be tourism destination competitive."





In front of a packed crowd in Sydney's Redfern Community Centre, Wirra man and Australia's first Indigenous Senior Counsel Tony McAvoy opened the night with a decisive plan for treaty.

"It is achievable that within the next few years, that we will have set a framework for treaties to be entered into by First Nations," says Mr McAvoy.

"I think the time is now and I don't think we should defer it," he said to applause front the audience.

Mr McAvoy has drafted a charter for an Assembly of First Nations people. ... [SBS - 15/3/16]





A senior Queensland police officer has faced court on assault charges, almost nine years after he was acquitted of the manslaughter of a Palm Island man.

Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, 47, appeared briefly in the Southport Magistrates Court on Tuesday on two assault charges, including one against a female police officer.

Hurley is accused of pushing the officer, who was on duty at the time, at Robina last month and has also been charged with assaulting a man in November 2013.

Bail was continued on the condition he doesn't speak to three prosecution witnesses.

The matter was adjourned until May 10 at the request of Hurley's lawyer, Calvin Gnech, from the Queensland Police Union. ... [Yahoo - 15/3/16]





Fiji has ratified the UN Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, becoming the 158th country to do so. ... [Fiji Times - 15/3/16]





The HMNZS Canterbury arrived in Suva today to restock on emergency relief supplies bound for the Northern outer islands.

Commanding Officer of HMNZS Canterbury, Commander Simon Rooke said relief focus was now on building materials to assist in the reconstruction of houses and schools affected by the cyclone. ... [Fiji Times - 15/3/16]





Witnesses of 2010 Mentawai tsunami struggle to survive [Jakarta Post - 15/3/16]





... Director of UQ’s Global Change Institute Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg said above average land and water temperatures across the summer had resulted in widespread mass bleaching north of Cairns and there were early indicators that many corals around Lizard Island had already died.

Professor Hoegh-Guldberg will lead the team undertaking extensive underwater surveys to determine the impact on the reef, by comparing its current health with imagery from 2012 baseline surveys.

“Lose the corals, you lose the fish. You lose the tourism and fishing, and of course if you lose those you lose the income to Queensland and Australia,” Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said.

“The ‘living edge’ of the Great Barrier Reef, offshore from Cape York, should be one of the healthiest and most resilient sections of the reef due to less human interference.

“This survey will investigate the ‘living edge’ and the damage that has occurred there as a result of the bleaching.”

Research findings from surveys — which will take place in June — will be important in helping the government target management solutions for reef damaged by coral bleaching.

The team will use the latest technology, including computer image recognition, and will survey multiple baseline sites established as part of the Global Reef Record.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt announced funding for the surveys on the ABC’s AM program this morning. ... [UQ News - 15/3/16]





‏@racqld:  Join @racqld & 1000's of Australians on Sunday. #CloseTheCamps #BringThemHere #LetThemStay #NotInOurName




We look forward to hearing Ros McLennan denouncing the ALP - as well as announcing that Queensland Unions will be divesting from the detention industry.




The Australian Psychological Society has called for ALL refugees out of Nauru and Manus.   Kids Out "advocates" are misrepresenting this. Why?  Australian Psychological Society calls for bipartisan approach to end offshore processing [Media Release - 5/2/16]:


... Professor Kyrios said: “Remote detention restricts access to mental health and other services, as well as impeding links to community resources and networks and increasing the likelihood of abuse. Of particular concern, the harsh restrictions around information and disclosure make it almost impossible for health professionals to meet their ethical obligations. This is a complex issue that requires input from a range of organisations and disciplines with the right expertise to ensure our obligations to protect people's health and safety are met.”




Sydney Catholic School principals take a stand against children in detention [Media Release – 14/3/16]:



... The statement calls for political leaders to “immediately free children from immigration detention… as it has become very clear that this policy is doing serious harm to these children and their families.”

The two principals associations have added their voice to other professional bodies such as the Australian Psychological Society, the Australian Medical Association and academics and staff from the University of Sydney in calling for the immediate release of children being held in mandatory immigration detention. ...





 Costa sums up the #mardisgras controversy #letthemstay @billshortenmp



Image:  ‏@KieranBennett [14/3/16]





15 March 2016