Australia exiles more young children to Nauru
An Australian Greens senator, Sarah Hanson-Young, says the Australian government is still sending children to the Nauru asylum seeker detention camp.
She says Australia sent children, some as young as four, to the camp on Friday and Saturday, just days after the release of a damning report on the abuses they face.
In the report the Australian Human Rights Commission says Canberra's policy of indefinitely detaining children in Nauru is in clear violation of international human rights law.
The report, The Forgotten Children, called for the release of all asylum seeker children detained in Australian or in Christmas Island and Nauru camps for processing.
Senator Hanson-Young says the government's response was to send more children to face abuse on Nauru.
She says it is outrageous behaviour from a government that simply doesn't care about children suffering.
United States, “allies” continue bombing Syria and Iraq
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, which took place between 8 a.m. yesterday and 8 a.m. today, local time, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Fighter, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft conducted two airstrikes in Syria while attack fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 13 airstrikes in Iraq.
– Near Al Asad, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
– Near Al Qaim, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL excavator.
– Near Bayji, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL checkpoint.
–Near Fallujah, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL mortar positon.
– Near Haditha, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL vehicles and an ISIL building.
– Near Mosul, four airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL excavator and an ISIL vehicle.
–Near Rawah, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL armored vehicle.
–Near Tal Afar, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building.
Egypt’s Sisi Pushes for UN Military Intervention in Libya [Al Akhbar - 17/2/15]
US imperialism and the catastrophe in Libya [WSWS - 17/2/15]
Syrian Army Recaptures Aleppo Villages as Rebel Group Slams UN Envoy [Al Akhbar – 17/2/15]
Kobani refugees encouraged to move into Turkey's newest and largest camp [UNHCR Media Release - 16/2/15]
Eight killed in explosion in Pakistan [Khaama - 17/2/15]
Afghanistan: 10 policemen killed, 8 injured in Logar attack
[Khaama – 17/2/15]
1 killed, 2 injured in Kabul explosion: Kabul police spokesman [Khaama – 17/2/15]
The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world's computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives.
That long-sought and closely guarded ability was part of a cluster of spying programs discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based security software maker that has exposed a series of Western cyberespionage operations. ... [Reuters - 17/2/15]
A CSX Corp train hauling North Dakota crude derailed in West Virginia on Monday, setting a number of cars ablaze, destroying a house and forcing the evacuation of two towns in the second significant oil-train incident in three days. ... [Reuters - 17/2/15]
Cyprus Eyes Gas Export Pipeline to Egypt [Naharnet [16/2/15]:
Cyprus signed an energy deal with Egypt on Monday that could see the island supplying its Mediterranean neighbour with gas.
Cyprus is keen to exploit the Aphrodite field off its southeastern coast but the reserves proven so far are not considered sufficient to make it viable for the island to develop onshore export infrastructure of its own.
Monday's deal authorises the "Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company and the Cyprus Hydrocarbons Company to examine technical solutions for transporting natural gas, through a direct marine pipeline, from the Aphrodite field to Egypt."
"This will optimise the use of the gas infrastructure and achieve an added value for both Cyprus and Egypt," a joint statement said.
The two sides aim to conclude a comprehensive agreement within six months.
Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab was in Nicosia for the signing of the agreement by Cyprus Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis and his Egyptian counterpart Sherif Ismail.
The Aphrodite field (Block 12), which was found by U.S. firm Noble Energy in 2011, is estimated to contain between 102 billion and 170 billion cubic metres (3.6 trillion and six trillion cubic feet) of gas.
The island needs to find more reserves to make a proposed liquefied natural gas plant at Vassiliko on the south coast financially viable.
But France's Total and Italian-Korean venture ENI-Kogas have yet to find signs of underwater riches in other exploration blocks.
A labor dispute at ports on the U.S. West Coast is disrupting supply chains across the Pacific, forcing some Asian exporters to resort to costly air freight and pushing up shipping rates as more freighters are caught up in long lines to dock. ... [Reuters - 16/2/15]
Thousands March against Boko Haram in Niger [Naharnet - 17/2/15]:
Bahraini Court Confirms Six-Month Sentence for Opposition Leader: Lawyer [Al Akhbar – 16/2/15]
At the end of the day, the poorest, as always, pay the most.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn , Former MD IMF - Inside Job 
Greece 'will not accept ultimatums' in EU talks, government source says [ekathimerini.com - 17/2/15]:
Greece "will not accept ultimatums" in last-ditch EU talks over the future of its reforms and cash support, a government source said Tuesday.
"The Greek government will not accept ultimatums. It is determined to honour its public mandate and the history of democracy in Europe," the source said as EU finance ministers were to meet again to discuss the Greek crisis.
However, Athens remains "steadily committed to finding a mutually beneficial solution," the source said, adding that reaching such a deal is "completely feasible".
Greek stocks were shedding more than 2.7 percent in midday trade on Tuesday.
Talks between eurozone finance ministers broke down on Monday without agreement on Greeces debt after Athens refused to apply for an extension to its bailout.
Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem said the country had the rest of the week to make the request, with the 240 billion euro ($270 billion) lifeline expiring at the end of the month.
The Greek government source said Dijsselbloem had presented a working document that Athens could not accept, such as pledges to continue privatisations, and labour and pension reforms.
Prostitutes drop allegations against Strauss-Kahn in pimping trial [France 24 – 17/2/15]
German TV channel under fire over fake ‘Russian tanks in Ukraine’ footage [RT – 17/2/15]
Democracy Now [16/2/15]:
As a federal inquiry begins in the killing of three Muslim students in North Carolina and an Islamic center in Houston, Texas, was intentionally set on fire Friday, we look at a new report that exposes the people who fund and stoke anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States.
The investigation by the Center for American Progress is called "Fear, Inc. 2.0, The Islamophobia Network’s Efforts to Manufacture Hate in America," an update of a 2011 report.
We are joined by the report’s co-author, Yasmine Taeb, Islamophobia project manager at the Center for American Progress.
Melbourne now: "There is blood on the hands of our successive governments." #ripREZA #ShutDownManus
Image: @akaCoggo [17/2/15]
@akaCoggo [17/2/15]: Hearing how detainees on #Manus are being punished for giving statements about Reza's murder. ...
Letter for Reza from men incarcerated on Manus [via Refugee Rights Action Network WA – 17/2/15]:
Hello dear Reza,
how are you?
Are you in a good place?
Everyone is here and they are saying hi to you.
I'm sure you remember Mustafa! He is saying to you, "let's play cards!"
Ali is saying, "do you remember you would always get 6-6 whenever we played backgammon?"
Hussain is saying, "do you remember whenever we played soccer, you would always be the goal keeper because you were tall?"
Behrouz is saying,"my mother goes to your mother every day and they cry together". Hassan is saying, " forgive me, when you departed, there was a bit of displeasure between us".
Reza! Do you know anything about Hamid Khazaei?
Are you together?
Please say hi to him and say to him that we miss him.
Reza! It was hard to believe you had departed, we can't believe it now either.
We would never think that they would kill the strong stocky Reza Barati, unjustly under stroke with their hand. Reza, no court of law has been established for you yet!
Your murderers and their masters are walking freely and they are showing off, blocking the way which your blood is beside it.
Reza I don't know if you know what they have done to us in this year that you weren't here. It's been really hard. Reza, they shed the blood of those like you and Hamid Khazaei in the name of human rights and they did not even care.
Do you know what Scott Morrison said after your death? He said " the way to stop these deaths is to stop the boats". It is shameful.
Reza, they are more ruthless that the dictators of our own countries. They kill people at once there but here, they kill slowly and by torture. They killed Hamid ruthlessly as well, maybe he's told you himself or maybe his pride hasn't let him to tell you that, how they did treat him ruthlessly. He died slowly slowly in front of our eyes in less than a week.
Reza, this is end of the world, no one helps us. They completed their racist confrontation by killing you and Hamid to show how mean they are.
But you don't know that great people amongst them in Australia honoured you after your death. We can remember in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and many other places. Thousands of people shed tears for you and they condemned their government and that is your actual court.
You don't know but thousands of kind people lit candles for you and sit in streets. They showed humanity has not died yet and the account of Australian people is separate from their racist government. Today, we are hopeful in the aid of these people with their great souls to achieve our freedom.
You are closer to God there, so pray to God that we will be freed from this prison very soon. Reza, I know freedom was nothing more than a dream for you and Hamid, an unachievable dream that you did not achieve here but now you are completely free, so rest in peace!
Dear Reza, I don't want to keep you busy for a long time, but you will be in our hearts and souls forever. If the tree of our freedom gives fruit, we will not forget the blood of you and Hamid by it.
We love you both!
@rranwa - Refugee Rights Action Network WA [17/2/15]: This young man was tortured in Iran and came to us for help. So we tortured him some more. #ShutDownManus now :
Greece pledges to shut immigrant detention centres
"I'm here to express my shame, not as a minister but as a human being," he said. "I couldn't believe what I saw. I really could not believe it. This must change and it must change immediately."
Greece's new left-wing government pledged on Saturday to close down detention centers for “illegal” immigrants that have long been criticized by rights groups as inhumane.
A Pakistani man had died overnight at the Amygdaleza detention center in western Athens in a suspected suicide.
"Detention centers - we're finished with them," Deputy Interior Minister Yannis Panousis, who is in charge of public order and civil protection, told reporters on Saturday when he visited the center.
"I'm here to express my shame, not as a minister but as a human being," he said. "I couldn't believe what I saw. I really could not believe it. This must change and it must change immediately."
The United Nations has accused Greece of holding migrants in shocking conditions without heating or hot water. Panousis said the government would set up "open" reception centers with better facilities.
Greece is the route of choice into the European Union for hundreds of thousands of mainly Asian and African migrants every year. Rising anti-foreigner sentiment during Greece's economic crisis made immigration a hot political issue.
The former conservative-led government of Antonis Samaras launched a sweep operation in 2012 called "Xenios Zeus", after the ancient Greek god of guests and travelers, arresting thousands of undocumented immigrants.
Amygdaleza was Greece's first dedicated detention center for illegal migrants, and consists of dozens of containers that were originally set up to house people displaced by natural disasters such as earthquakes.
It should be remembered that just like asset sales, a cruise ship terminal on the Gold Coast Broadwater was first proposed by the ALP.
Yes this sad sign is still on display - corner North Street and Gold Coast Highway, Southport [17/2/15]
Watch "Put The LNP Last" Save Our Broadwater blowins melt away as the real fight to Save the Gold Coast Spit begins ...
Annastacia Palaszczuk MP [25/1/15]:
Pleased to join with Penny Toland Labor Candidate for Broadwater and other Gold Coast residents on Wavebreak Island today for the 'Claim the Broadwater' rally. ...
We ruined Gladstone Harbour, helped decimate Brisbane's inner city landscape, and built the final solution to refugees on Manus Island.
Now we're coming for your precious Broadwater ...
There has been a fair amount of interest in an invitation to get involved in the design construction phase of the proposed Gold Coast cruise ship terminal.
450 have so far registered to find out more. An information session will be held at Metricon Stadium, Carrara, at 4pm on Thursday February 19.
The Project will source a minimum of 80% of its 5,000 per annum construction labour force locally – which means thousands of local jobs for the proposed 10 years of construction.
Project Director, Tim Poole, said that if the Project is given the green light by Government, there will be a huge amount of work available to local engineering and construction businesses.
The Local Supplier Information Session will now also be an opportunity for locals to demonstrate their support for the Project and the jobs that it will bring to the Gold Coast and SE Queensland.
Master Builders Association of Queensland Executive Director, Grant Galvin, said that fresh opportunities for the construction industry are particularly critical at this time in Queensland’s economic cycle.
“We have thousands of construction workers coming out of Gladstone, we anticipate little growth in mining in the next 10 years and we have high levels of youth unemployment.
“The only way we are going to create jobs for these workers and training opportunities for our youth is from major investment in tourism and construction, so projects like this are very important,” he said.
“When there is an investment into Queensland of this scale, it creates confidence. It drives further investment and the wave of new jobs will have a flow-on effect to the local economy as a whole for the next decade.”
“The construction industry is the litmus test of how the economy is going. Without projects like this, we could be painting a very bleak picture for the Queensland’s economic future,” Mr Galvin added.
Local construction businesses are also keen to see the project go ahead and be involved in the construction.
Steve Mulholland, Manager of Mulherin Rigging and Cranes, a Helensvale-based business which is working on projects such as the Airport Link Tunnel and the Manus Island Detention Centre in Papua New Guinea, said this project was desperately needed.
See the Australian media holding for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to account for the murder of Reza Berati ---> Age pension will not include family homes as part of assets test, Scott Morrison confirms [ABC - 17/2/15]
British media report on one year anniversary of Reza Berati's murder.
Australian media maintain their silence.
Anniversary of Reza Barati's death marked by skywriting over Opera House [Guardian - 17/2/15]:
… He died that night on a concrete wharf near the detention centre, “bleeding from the back of his skull on to the ground”, according to the doctor who treated him.
G4S guard Louie Efi and Salvation Army employee Joseph Kaluvia were arrested and charged with Barati’s murder by August.
However, the case has stalled in the PNG criminal justice system.
The last movement on the case was in November, when Judge Iova Geita adjourned the case because no lawyers had been appointed for the suspects.
No date was set for the case.
Judges visit Manus Island, a remote island north of the PNG mainland, only on circuit.
PNG police are reportedly still hunting three further suspects.
And no-one can confirm whether the refugees who were beaten and "arrested" during last month's hunger strike (calling for the UN) have access to lawyers - or adequate medical care.
Shut down Manus | Close Nauru: written in the sky [Refugee Action Coalition - 17/2/15]:
... The campaign received so much support that the organisers were able to fund a second message on the same day. “CLOSE NAURU” will appear above Parliament House in Canberra at 3pm.
“The response shows that there is widespread condemnation for Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers and refugees – and the very existence of our asylum seeker detention centres.” co-organiser Gabrielle de Vietri explains.
“It shows how determined Australians and global citizens are to see an end to a policy that deliberately inflicts suffering upon people fleeing persecution and seeking refuge in Australia.”
The giant words over Australia’s most loved and picturesque harbour, will send a clear message to Tony Abbott that thousands of Australians do not support the mandatory indefinite detention of asylum seekers.
“We know sky-writing won’t solve the problem, but it contributes to the mounting public pressure against Australia’s unforgivable treatment of those seeking our help,” they state.
“And it’s one of the few things we can do to raise our voices against a bipartisan policy of deliberate cruelty.”
The organisers wish to add their own protest to those of other concerned Australians standing up for asylum seekers – from the passengers on a recent flight who stood up for the forcefully deported Tamil man on board, to religious leaders holding prayer vigils in politicians’ offices, and the live-TV protest that took place at the Australian Open.
They encourage other concerned Australians to come up with new ways to show their profound objection to a policy that is in breach of Australia’s human rights obligations, as well as basic standards of decency.
“These vulnerable people in Australia’s care have been placed out of sight, but they are certainly not out of mind.”
'Close Nauru' written in the skies over Parliament House
Image: @KJBar - Karen Barlow, Canberra correspondent SBS news [17/2/15]
Victorian lawyers hold vigil for Bali Nine death row inmates [Lawyers Weekly – 17/2/15]:
Members of the Victorian legal profession will gather to observe one minute’s silence for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, two Australians facing execution in Indonesia.
Justice Lex Lasry QC of the Supreme Court of Victoria will briefly address the gathering before the minute’s silence, which will be held at 8.30am tomorrow, February 18, in the forecourt of the County Court of Victoria.
Victorian Bar chairman Jim Peters QC encouraged members of the legal profession to attend the vigil to support the two Australians and join other lawyers who are opposed to the death penalty.
“The death penalty is not an effective deterrent to crime,” he said. “The sanctity of human life is not protected by this barbaric penalty; it only brutalises the community further.”
Law Institute of Victoria president Katie Miller also expressed her opposition to the death penalty and paid tribute to the lawyers who had taken numerous legal actions on behalf of Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran.
The LIV has previously voiced strong opposition to the impending execution of the two members of the Bali Nine convicted of drug trafficking.
The vigil is also supported by the Australian Bar Association, with president Fiona McLeod SC set to attend.
@alanalentin [17/2/15]: #lookup #Sydney #shutdown manus
parthosengupta [17/2/15]: Shut down Manus #shutdownManus #Sydney [VIDEO]
@DuncanMaurice [17/2/15]: Sydney sky writing SHUT DOWN MANUS #freetheforgottenchildren
Senate Inquiry: Certain Aspects of Queensland Government Administration continues with a public hearing in Toowoomba on 19 February.
Palmer United Senator for Queensland and Leader of Palmer United in the Senate, Glenn Lazarus, today called for the immediate establishment of an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and the restoration of an Upper House in Queensland. ... [Media Release - 12/2/15]
See the Premier reassuring Queenslanders that what remains of their assets will stay in public hands. --- > Labor will review Queensland's finances to get a clear picture of the state of the economy, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told a meeting of more than 100 business leaders on Tuesday. ... [Brisbane Times - 17/2/15]
Thanks to the Queensland media the major parties
can continue pretending they're something that they're not.
Business as usual as weaselly ALP AWU manless piefaces "review and replace" Newman's VLAD laws (which they voted for), spend $6 million on bogus inquiry into "organised crime".
NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
REPEAL THE DRACONIAN, ANTI RIGHTS LAWS YOU FASCISTS.
Queensland's Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) Act, or so-called anti-bikie legislation, will be reviewed and replacement laws introduced by the end of the year, says the state's new Attorney-General, Yvette D'Ath.
During the election campaign, Labor said it would set up a taskforce consisting of members of the Law Society, Bar Association and Queensland Police Union to review the Liberal National Party's controversial VLAD legislation.
This would bring forward the mandated review of the laws from 2016.
Ms D'Ath said her government was also going ahead with plans to establish a $6 million inquiry into organised crime, which would have the powers of a royal commission and be able to compel witnesses to give evidence.
"The commission of inquiry will operate for six months. It will run in parallel with the task force, which has until December to draft up the new laws as far as amendments to the VLAD laws," Ms D'Ath told ABC 612 Brisbane.
Ms D'Ath said the task force reviewing the VLAD laws would properly consult in developing any changes to legislation.
"That's why we're establishing high level task force which will by December of this year, review these legislations and make recommendations to the Government as to what those replacement laws will be," she said.
"Until such time as those new laws are introduced and passed ... the existing laws will remain in place."
She said Labor believed the existing laws were flawed.
"There are elements we do not agree with and community do not agree with ... but we need to provide consistency and certainty for police on the front line enforcing these laws and we have to send a very clear message to criminal organisations and criminal bikie organisations that it's not a free for all; these laws are there, they will be enforced," she said.
"But we will be looking at these laws to actually create better laws. In fact, we will recommend to the task force that they look at developing a new chapter to go into the criminal code that actually has higher penalties so the most serious offences of organised crime, attracting up to a life sentence." ... <---- I.E. "WE ARE GOING TO STRENGTHEN THE ANTI RIGHTS LAWS YOU GULLIBLE, PATHETIC MORONS".
A little insight into how Queensland's political and media establishment market the anti rights laws [Brisbane Times - 1/9/14]:
... The SMT [the Strategic Monitoring Team is the body responsible for the overall anti rights strategy] report refers to background briefings being given to journalists in an effort to reduce negative stories about the anti-bikie measures.
Senior police have met with journalists and are actively marketing good news stories about the crackdown.
The closeness of the relationship is exemplified by this email (obtained under Right to Information) containing sensitive police intelligence, which a senior SMT member sent in April 2014 to one media outlet:
Your last piece on the CMG's was right. Where have all the public supporters of them gone? Many have gone to ground for various reasons (like egg on their faces) … Attached is a PDF with the information and breakdown of CMG participants with Queensland Criminal Histories … also attached is the spin and facts sheets I have sent you in the past just in case you need it.
Within days, the Courier-Mail was trumpeting the story as an exclusive release by senior police designed to:
… be an embarrassment to civil libertarians and the Labor Party that seeks to wind back the tough new laws.
In reality, despite the claims from senior police, all of the results of crackdown could have been achieved without any of the laws. The bikie laws are punitive in nature and add no new powers for police to investigate criminal offences. This was proven when police rolled out a number of operations in early 2014 to give impact to the bikie war.
Most operations were not bikie-related. They all achieved their outcomes without relying on the legislation passed for the bikie crackdown. Two of them began more than a year before the bikie crackdown.
Queensland Attorney-General Cameron Dick says the State's anti-bikie laws will not be affected by a High Court decision on similar South Australian legislation.
The Newman Government’s anti-bikie laws [Palmer United Party Media Release – 30/1/14]:
Below is a transcript of a speech given by the Hon Justice JA Dowsett of the Federal Court of Australia to graduating students at the QUT Faculty of Law’s graduation ceremony on Monday 9 December, 2013.
We would like to draw your attention to the portion of Justice Dowsett’s address which is highlighted in bold type. These words from Justice Dowsett illustrate superbly the inherent danger of Premier Campbell Newman’s so-called anti-bikie laws, which we believe are an attack on our fundamental right of freedom of association.
PNG: Confusion surrounds role of Bomana Transit Centre in Australian government's final solution to refugees.
PNG Loop [17/2/15]:
The Australian High Commission says that the proposed Bomana Transit Centre is not another Regional Processing Centre and will not hold transferees.
It says the facility will be for use by the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority and will hold those who are unlawfully in PNG and who are going through the process of being removed from PNG.
The clarification comes after Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, responded to questions from the media over the proposed Bomana Transit Centre.
O’Neill stated that the proposed centre was the first time he heard of it and that there was no arrangement for a centre at Bomana but only the Manus Regional Processing Centre.
Earlier this month the Australian Foreign Affairs Department took out paid advertorials inviting companies to hand in ‘Expression of Interest’ to design and construct the transit centre.
This raised eyebrows and was concluded that the centre would hold further transferees.
In response to queries by PNG Loop, the Australian High Commission stated that the Bomana Transit Centre has been in the public domain for a significant period of time and has been reported in their monthly fact sheets (follow this link: http://png.embassy.gov.au/pmsb/mediamedia.html .
They stated that the Bomana Transit Centre is not a Regional Processing Centre and will not hold transferees.
The Australian Government has allocated $23.89 million for the project and a portion of land adjacent to the Bomana Prison has been identified.
... They sought to portray the deportations as a "resettlement" ...
[Deportations to Killing Centres - US Holocaust Memorial Museum]
Bomona War Cemetery, PNG
Scott Morrison's office has confirmed the mew immi detention centre at Bomana is going ahead. #PNG
"tweeted" by @Liam_Cochrane ABC PNG correspondent [17/12/14]
Australian government approves plans for new death camp, final solution for refugees in PNG [ABC - 1/12/14]:
Australia is building a new immigration detention facility near Papua New Guinea's capital that PNG officials say is specifically for asylum seekers currently on Manus Island.
The details of the project remain unconfirmed, but it is believed the facility will accommodate asylum seekers who have had their refugee applications rejected and are being deported.
The new immigration jail will be built at Bomana prison, outside Port Moresby.
"I can confirm that the Department will be building an immigration transit facility in Papua New Guinea," Federal Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, said.
"This will be a transit and removals centre as proposed and agreed to in the Regional Resettlement Arrangement by the previous government."
PNG Correctional Services spokesman Richard Mandui said the facility was "being built purposely for those asylum seekers detained on Manus".
PNG's Immigration and Citizenship Authority and the country's Correctional Services signed an agreement about the facility last month, according to local media.
"We recognise that there is a need to manage those foreign nations who are refused entry to Papua New Guinea or who are detected having overstayed or having entered the country illegally," PNG's chief migration officer, Mataio Rabura, said.
"It will enhance PNG's national security and will allow for the detention of such persons separate from the prison population," he told The National newspaper.
Mr Rabura said the new facility was part of amendments to the Migration Act - approved by Cabinet and to be tabled in Parliament soon - that would "properly define immigration detention, enhance powers to detain and remove those unlawfully in the country".
He said work on the new immigration jail was expected to start next year.
The need for a designated facility for immigration offences appears limited, with Correctional Services spokesman Richard Mandui telling the ABC there are currently no foreigners in detention for overstaying their visas or illegal entry.
However, Papua New Guinea, with assistance from Australia, has started making decisions about whether to accept or reject asylum claims on Manus Island.
Papua New Guinea has accepted the refugee applications of at least 10 men, who will be transferred to a centre at East Lorengau on Manus Island for training and job placement on a 12-month bridging visa.
As of October 31 there were 1,056 asylum seekers in detention on Manus Island, according to the website of Australia's Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
The United Nations International Organisation for Migration is currently running a transit centre in Port Moresby for asylum seekers being "voluntarily returned" to their home country.
[The International Organisation for Migration is not a United Nations body. The UN has been blocked from Manus.]
This accommodation is not a locked-up detention centre and asylum seekers are free to move around Port Moresby during the days or weeks they spend waiting for paperwork and return flights.
Several-hundred asylum seekers detained on Manus Island have chosen to return home, receiving a cash payment if they choose to do so.
Bomana Prison: Where beaten, "arrested" hunger striking Manus refugees calling for the UN were (and still may be) held without charge.
The National [9/2/15]:
The youngest of the 14 people intially on death row died from an illness last month while detained at Bomana Prison in Port Moresby, according to Correctional Services Minister Jim Simatab.
Another person on death row is still on the run after escaping from Baisu Prison in Western Highlands.
It leaves 12 currently on death row.
Simatab said Fred Abenko, 16, from Esa’ala in Milne Bay, convicted of double wilful murder in 2007, died from hepatitis in prison.
The governments of Indonesia and Thailand are ready to help the PNG inter-agency committee set up by Cabinet to implement the death penalty this year, Correctional Services Minister Jim Simatab says.
Indonesia will provide advice and technical assistance on the “death by firing squad” method and Thailand on “hanging”. ... [The National - 9/2/15]
... None of the men arrested at the detention centre this week have been charged with any offence.
Most of the asylum seekers were arrested after detention centre guards in riot gear broke through a barricade in Delta compound.
Suspected protest “ringleaders” from other compounds were also arrested.
Guardian Australia has been told some of the men imprisoned were taken from the Manus centre’s secret solitary confinement cells, the Chauka isolation unit.
The National newspaper in PNG reported that some of the men would be held in Lorengau prison on Manus Island, while others would be flown to the larger Bomana prison in Port Moresby.
Hypocritical sleazebags and spinners in the political and media establishment accuse Australians of racism and apathy.
Want us to believe we can only care about one human rights atrocity at a time.
Seen any Australian media opinionators opinionisting on PNG's death penalty lately? No? That's because they're paid not to.
Catholic Church seeks international support to oppose death penalty in PNG [Radio Australia – 16/2/15]
Bali Nine Inmates File Lawsuit Against President Joko Widodo [Jakarta Globe - 16/2/15]:
Two Australians on death row in Indonesia for drug smuggling have filed a lawsuit against President Joko Widodo for denying them clemency.
Lawyers representing Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33, who face execution by firing squad as ringleaders of the so-called Bali Nine trafficking group, submitted the challenge with the State Administrative Court, or PTUN, on Monday. The legal team hope the move will buy them more time with the Attorney General’s Office.
“We, the legal counsel, have submitted a lawsuit to the PTUN against the president regarding him denying pardon,” lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis said on Monday afternoon.
“The legal process is still ongoing as we have been asked to see the head of Jakarta PTUN on February 24.”
The lawsuit challenges Joko’s decision to issue two decrees, on Dec. 30 last year and on Jan. 17 this year, denying clemency for Sukumaran and Chan, respectively, despite arguments that the pair, who have been in prison in Bali since 2005, have reformed.
Last Monday, Todung announced each decree would be challenged, but the legal team have changed tack and instead chosen to sue the president.
“Without wanting to disrupt the president’s prerogative right [to granting clemency], we submitted the lawsuit only due to the lack of clarity of reasons behind the president’s decision to not grant pardon,” Todung said.
Todung said Chan and Sukumaran had shown significant and positive changes throughout the 10 years they had spent in Denpasar’s Kerobokan Penitentiary.
The pair are regarded as model inmates and hold regular classes to teach other inmates new skills.
“The decree only said that there was not enough reason to grant pardon on the consideration part,” Todung said. “It is unclear and it leads to a sense of injustice toward Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.”
Todung also questioned the plan to move Chan and Sukumaran from Kerobokan to the Nusakambangan island prison off Central Java — where five of the last six condemned inmates were gunned down on Jan. 18 — which was announced to the media but not to the convicts’ lawyers or families.
“[With this lawsuit] as evidence of the ongoing legal process, we ask the attorney general not to move or execute the two. The legal process should be respected,” Todung said.
Take aim, fire at will: Australian hypocrisy on a high pedestal [Jakarta Post - 24/1/15]:
The Australian media is engaged in a surreal form of hypocrisy by criticizing the execution of those convicted of drug trafficking in Indonesia. Canberra’s exceptionalism stands out as it puts its double standards with respect to human lives and dignity on a high pedestal, problematizing the death penalty only when Australians are put before the firing squad.
First, Indonesian state treatment of convicted drug traffickers differs only slightly from Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers. Asylum seekers desperately trying to seek refuge in Australia and convicted drug traffickers vacationing in Bali are similar “abject bodies”: individuals that the sovereign state does not want and plans to effectively and efficiently dispose of.
In a nutshell, the only difference between Indonesian and Australian treatment of “abject bodies” lies merely in each country’s preferred legal methods and the distance considered comfortable and acceptable by its public.
Indonesia provides open and accessible trials, opportunities for appeal, sympathetic media coverage, rehabilitation programs and a chance at being granted presidential clemency.
On the other hand, Australia seemingly prefers secretive on-the-spot extra-judicial actions, better known as “on-sea-matters” that the Abbott government refuses to comment on.
Furthermore, Indonesia prefers openly using its own firing squad, having solid legal justification and being fully accountable for the lives it takes.
Meanwhile, Australia prefers the outsourcing and subcontracting of their deeds to private companies and offshoring them to distant locations that are conveniently out of sight and out of the mind of its public, such as Manus Island, Nauru and Cambodia.
In July 2014, the forced return of Australian-bound refugees to Sri Lanka also indicated that Canberra is content with practices bordering on “forced disappearance” of civilians at sea while effectively breaching international legal principles of non-refoulement, the UN Refugee Convention and UN Convention against Torture.
Asylum seekers, sometimes including children, in Australian detention facilities have undergone hunger strikes, sewn their lips shut, inflicted self-harm and attempted suicide, swallowed razorblades and even burned themselves to death in protest at the “Australian solution”.
Currently, 700 asylum seekers are on hunger strike in Manus Island. Two asylum seekers from the camp, Reza Barati and Hamid Kehazaei, have already died but not a single asylum seeker has been successfully resettled to date. This makes the facility more of a death camp than a resettlement camp.
Second, insistence on saving individual Australians misses the bigger picture which should be the abolition of the death penalty and upholding human dignity in Indonesia, Australia and beyond. When former president Yudhoyono left his presidency, he controversially granted Schapelle Corby parole.
His act of conceited generosity fostered Australian exceptionalism, giving the impression that the death penalty is avoidable by turning convicted Australians into media darlings, concluding backroom negotiations, having your appeal heard by the president and finding legal loopholes that Australians can exploit.
Before concerned Australians can start seeing the bigger picture and join ranks with like-minded liberals and reformists in Indonesia, Australian parents will continue to worry about their youth vacationing in Bali, knowing that once caught experimenting with recreational drugs, their loved ones might be sent to the firing squad.
Third, implying that executions will affect bilateral relations to the disadvantage of Indonesia is ridiculous. Former Australian prime minister John Howard and opposition leader Simon Crean were not opposed to the execution of convicted terrorists Amrozi bin Nurhasyim and Imam Samudra in 2008 and Canberra, through its counterterrorism aid, had actually subsidized the bullets used to execute them.
Australian media coverage of their executions was surprisingly detailed and even savored many of its graphic moments. Australia’s main ally, the United States, enforces the death penalty in the majority of its states and one of Canberra’s largest trading partners and paymaster, China, performs one of the highest numbers of executions worldwide and has only stopped harvesting organs from executed prisoners this year. If anything, Australian hypocrisy and exceptionalism risks worsening its public image in Indonesia as a neighbor that not only disrespects international law and Indonesia’s borders, but now also Indonesian law and legal corridors.
Australian government appeals are neither heroic nor heartfelt; Canberra is merely trying to save their own “subject bodies” from the firing squad, while slowly disposing of “abject bodies” it does not want through inhumane detention camps or returning them to foreign regimes that will probably finish the job for them. Indonesia paying “blood money” to save the “subject bodies” of Indonesian domestic workers in Saudi Arabia from beheading is no less hypocritical as these efforts are done against the backdrop of killing off “abject bodies” that were once warmly received as guests in Bali.
Australia and Indonesia betray human rights and violate human dignity alike by abusing the criminalized and illegal “abject bodies” in surprisingly similar ways, differing only in their preferred legal methods and comfortable distance acceptable to their respective publics.
All lives matter greatly, not just Australian ones. Any debate that does not start from these fundamental premises of equality of human life and dignity is not worth visiting and is a waste of the Indonesian public’s valuable attention and time.
The writer is executive director for the Marthinus Academy in Jakarta.
With @janlogie [NZ Greens parliamentarian] calling for closure of Manus Is at Aussie High Commission [Wellington] #shutdown manus #doingourbitnz ...
Image: @greencatherine - Caherine Delahunty - New Zealand Greens parliamentarian [17/2/15]
@NZGreens [17/2/15]: @janlogie and @greencatherine joined Kiwis standing up for human rights earlier this morning #ShutDownManus
@DoingOurBitNZ [17/2/15]: #NewZealand solidarity with #asylumseekers and OZ #refugee activists #ShutDownManus - @AusHCNZ
Wellington vigil marks 1st anniversary of Reza Berati murder [Doing Our Bit Media Release – 16/2/15]
… [Murdoch] Stephens said they expected about thirty people at the vigil. The aim was to have Australian activists wake up to images of solidarity to start their own days of remembrance and action.
“We have so much respect for Australian refugee activists and we want them to know it. We were so inspired by their recent stands to stop a Tamil asylum seekers being deported, as well as their ‘unapologetic spoilsport’ disruptions at the Australian Open and World Cup Cricket.”
“And if people can’t attend the vigil we’re encouraging them to share their own ‘Kiwis for #ShutDownManus’ selfies on social media.”
Galvanizing under the hashtag #ShutDownManus and organising through social media, activists from the group Australians and Allies Overseas Against Mandatory Detention call for an end to what Berlin organizer Carol Peterson describes as the “cruel on-and-offshore detention policies that inflict deliberate harm on people fleeing war, genocide, and political or religious persecution.”
Peterson says, “If the public knew the truth about what is happening they would be shocked. Many would feel compelled to join us in our demand that the Australian Government drop it’s illegal, deliberately brutal, and extremely expensive policy of offshore mandatory detention.”
At the time of this press release, vigils and rallies have taken place in New York, London, Dublin, Boston, Cambridge (UK), Berlin, Brussells, San Francisco, Santiago (Chile) and Leeds (UK), with future actions also planned in Amsterdam and The Hague, Houston (Texas), Austin, Paris, the West Bank, Belgium, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Sheffield, Belfast, Hong Kong and Japan.
The wave of activity highlights growing discontent among the Australian and broader global communities with Australia’s illegal border protection policies. Boston organizer Julia Dehm said,
“It is imperative to build an internationalized grassroots movement to stand in solidarity with the detainees inside Manus Island, to support their struggles and make sure that their messages reach an international audience.”
Australian company Transfield Services manages the Manus detention center under government contract, overseeing the detention of over 1000 people claiming asylum in Australia including Iraqis, Somalis, Sudanese, Pakistanis, Afghans, Iranians, Sri Lankans, Burmese, stateless Faili Kurds, stateless Rohingya, Egyptians and Lebanese people.
As the Sydney Morning Herald recently outlined, the Manus center is part of Australia’s offshore immigration processing system, which contravenes Australia’s international human rights obligations and cost Australian taxpayers an estimated $1.2 billion in 2014.
The hunger strike that triggered the vigils, the
largest hunger strike in Australian detention history, protested Australian and
PNG plans to permanently “resettle” refugees in PNG - one of the most poorly
resourced countries in the region. Detainees sewed their lips closed, swallowed
razor blades, and ingested detergent as part of their protest.
Vigil for Reza Barati:
Hosted by Refugee Action Collective Gold Coast
Friday, February 20 at 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Crn of Hanlan st and Esplanade, Surfers Paradise Beach Market
Remember Reza Barati – still waiting for justice close Manus Island [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 17/2/15]:
... In New South Wales, a dramatic sky-writing event, “Shut Down Manus “ will appear above the Sydney Opera House (1pm) and Canberra (3pm).
International vigils are planned in The Hague, Paris, Geneva, Belfast and Wellington. There will also be a vigil in Melbourne.
In Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast protests will be held this Friday, 20 February. In Sydney, a protest vigil is planned for Friday, 20 February, 5.30pm at Sydney Town Hall. Speakers will include a relative of Reza’s family, other Iranian refugees, The Greens and the Refugee Action Coalition.
“One year, since Reza’s death and there is still no justice. The investigation has all the signs of being a cover-up. Two locals who have been charged with Reza’s murder remain in jail, but there is no sign of the trial that could expose more details of those involved in the attacks. Eye-witnesses have not been interviewed,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“The PNG police investigation has already cleared PNG police from involvement although the evidence of them shooting asylum seekers that night is incontrovertible.
“There is no sign that the PNG police are actively pursuing the expatriates they allege were involved in Reza’s killing.
“But the real responsibility for Reza’s death lies with the Australian government. The brutality that was unleashed on defenceless asylum seekers on 16, 17 February 2014 remains a pervasive feature of the Manus detention centre.
“The ruthless suppression of the recent mass hunger strike has seen the detention centre become even more a prison-camp. Around 36 so called ‘ringleaders’ remain in isolation in Charlie Compound where the fence has been wrapped in plastic to prevent people seeing in or out.”
“There will no justice for Reza until all of those involved in his murder are on trial and until Manus is closed and all of the asylum seekers are brought to Australia.”
... "It's time the media were allowed into the Manus Island camp so that the Australian people can finally see what is being done in their names," Senator Hanson-Young said.
The Greens have renewed calls for the government to urgently accept the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry into the tragic events of February 2014. [Greens Media Release - 17/2/15]
Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Recommendations re "Incident at the Manus Island Detention Centre from 16 February to 18 February 2014" [December 2014]:
8.26 The committee recommends that the Australian Government ensure an adequate and effective investigation into the criminal assaults perpetrated against individuals detained at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre during the events of 16 to 18 February 2014, including by assisting the Papua New Guinea authorities in any ongoing investigations and facilitating the taking of witness testimony from individuals present at the incident who are now in Australian territory.
8.35 The committee recommends that the Australian Government acknowledge its responsibility to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of individuals detained at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre.
8.39 The committee recommends that, in accordance with the right to an effective remedy and right to health in international human rights law, the Australian Government:
• acknowledge and take responsibility for violations of human rights in relation to the incident at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre from 16 to 18 February 2014; and
• provide compensation to those who have suffered human rights violations, including to Mr Reza Barati's family and to asylum seekers who were injured during the incident.
8.40 The committee recommends that the Australian Government ensure that all asylum seekers injured in the violence at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre from 16 to 18 February 2014 receive adequate professional assistance, including medical treatment, full rehabilitation and mental health services, as well as independent legal advice.
8.49 The committee recommends that, in the interests of transparency and accountability, the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea take measures to facilitate appropriate access to the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre, including:
• allowing United Nations representatives full access to the centre and transferees;
• permitting qualified lawyers, including lawyers certified to practice in Australia, access to the centre in order to meet with transferees and provide legal assistance;
• allowing the Australian Human Rights Commission to regularly inspect the centre and meet with centre staff and transferees; and
• permitting journalists to visit the centre and speak freely with centre staff and transferees.
8.52 The committee recommends that Transfield Services and the Australian Government ensure that service provider staff employed at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre be provided with sufficient workplace training to perform their roles, in line with the standards applicable to employees working in detention environments in Australia, and accounting for the particular difficulties associated with working in remote conditions.
1.8 On account of the committee's inability to make a site visit to the centre under its own powers, the committee sought the support and assistance of the Commonwealth Government to do so.
On 28 April 2014, the committee wrote to the Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP, as well as the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, seeking the government's approval and assistance.
1.9 The committee did not receive any response.
4.70 In specific evidence about actual incidents of encouragement to return home, a former employee of Playfair suggested that staff from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) were 'speaking to transferees, trying to convince them of the benefits of returning home'.
4.71 In contrast, government representatives re-confirmed their view that any returns from Manus Island RPC were strictly voluntary. For example Lieutenant General Campbell stated that '[i]t is really important to note these are voluntary returns'.
4.72 In terms of the number of returns from the Manus Island RPC, the department provided information that:
As at 1 August 2014, 203 transferees have been voluntarily returned from an Offshore Processing Centre (OPC) and 174 transferees from the Manus OPC since 18 February 2014 with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
6.57 Other evidence presented to the committee contested the claim that no individuals involved in assaults on asylum seekers were now employed at the centre.
Humanitarian Research Partners (HRP) contended that 'at least two of the alleged 17 February assailants are now back working in the centre and terrifying their victims by their mere presence'.
Mr Ben Pynt, Director of Human Rights Advocacy at HRP, told the committee that asylum seekers at the centre had reported to him on multiple occasions that perpetrators were still working at the centre.
Mr Pynt expanded:
[The transferees] do not feel that they are being adequately protected by the guards that are employed at the centre. In fact, they feel threatened by a number of the guards at the centre. I know of one story that chilled me to the bone. An asylum seeker contacted me shortly after he had been to medical. He was in Mike compound. From Mike compound you get in the back of a ute and they take you through to IHMS, because you are not meant to walk through. He got into the ute, screamed, and got out of the ute, because the person driving the ute was one of the people who attacked him. This is happening all the time. The mental harm that is created simply by having the attackers remain at the centre is unbelievable and unconscionable.
Miss Judge [who worked on Manus Island] continued:
The attacks on asylum seekers [in February 2014] were not unpredictable and unforeseen. The attacks were not due to asylum seekers insulting PNG nationals in February or asylum seekers feeling discontent with their processing time frames. The attacks were due to the entire system. The attacks were due to the lack of due care for asylum seekers' safety and wellbeing, the acceptance by staff that PNG was just a dangerous place and that there was nothing we could do to change that. With reports going unheard and incidents being covered up, with no-one really to report to and the threat of danger being from outside, I am unsure of how anyone can guarantee the asylum seekers' safety. Regardless of how high fences are built around the centre, how many CCTV cameras are installed or how many extra guards are employed, I do not believe anything can change the fact that the key threat to the asylum seekers safety is, in fact, simply being detained on Manus Island.
17 February 2015