Refugee Week 2015:  Where are you Greens, crossbenchers?

 

Senate debates Tuesday, 11 October 2011:

 

 

 

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens)

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes the current dismal state of debate on asylum seeker policy in Australia with:

(i) the Prime Minister (Ms Gillard) calling the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Abbott) hypocritical, and

(ii) the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Abbott) calling the Prime Minister (Ms Gillard) hypocritical; and

(b) calls for Australia's international refugee obligations to be respected.

Question put. The Senate divided. [15:53]

(The Deputy President—Senator Parry)

Question negatived.


 

 

 

PNG Supreme Court told 100s more refugees incarcerated at Australia's death camp on Manus Island wish to join constitutional challenge

 

 

 

The National [17/6/15]:

 

 

 

A court has been told that 277 more detainees at the Manus regional processing centre want to join the court case of fellow detainees Benham Satah and 24 others. 

Satah and others had filed an application in the Supreme Court for the enforcement of their constitutional rights and asked the Court to order their release from the processing centre. 

Lawyer Ben Lomai, representing Satah, and others appeared before Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia in Waigani yesterday.

He moved an application to have the 277 transferees join the case.

Sir Salamo will make a ruling today. 

 Lomai said his clients were non-citizens residing in PNG and that their human rights were covered under its constitution. 

He said the detainees were denied access to information regarding their constitutional rights and were denied access to a lawyer of their choice. 

Lawyer Peter Kuman appeared for Chief Migration Officer Rabura Matio and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato. 

Kuman asked the Court to refuse Lomai’s application to add the 277 detainees to the case because the application was defective and an abuse of process.

Lawyer Tauvasa Tanuvasa, representing the State, agreed with Kuman’s submissions.  Satah and 24 others filed an application in the Supreme Court to invoke Section 57 of the Constitution.

They are seeking various orders including the enforcement of their rights, reasonable compensation damages and exemplary damages. 

 



Queensland teenager denies joining terrorist group in Syria


ABC [17/6/15]:


A Queensland teenager, who was feared to have joined a terrorist organisation in Syria, has written on Facebook that he is only there doing humanitarian work.

Oliver Bridgeman, 18, left his hometown of Toowoomba in March, leaving the country under the guise of doing aid work in Indonesia.

He had reportedly joined the Al Nusra Front, the official Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda, and several Islamist factions.

However, his parents insisted he had not joined the conflict or taken up arms for a terrorist group after leaving Australia.

Mr Bridgeman said he was working in parts of Syria which were free from fighting.

"I am not associated or fighting for any terrorist organisation or rebel group inside or outside Syria," Mr Bridgeman wrote early on Wednesday morning.

"My only activity in Syria is the distribution of medical supplies, food and basic life essentials inside the rural parts and Turkish boarders (sic) of Syria."

"Even though Syria is in the middle of a civil war I have never feared for my life or safely (sic) since I started two months ago."

Mr Bridgeman was school captain of Coombabah State High school on the Gold Coast last year but completed year 12 at Toowoomba's Harristown State High School.

He told his parents he had gone to do aid work in Indonesia but when he failed to meet them at the airport when he was due to return, they raised the alarm.

An Australian Federal Police spokesman said it was a long-standing practice not to comment on individuals, operational and intelligence matters.

...

 

 

 

Alleged former bikies committed to stand trial on extortion charges [Yahoo - 17/6/15]

 



Origin star's drugs charge back in court


Yahoo [17/6/15]:


A former Queensland State of Origin star accused of trafficking cocaine has had his matter adjourned until August.

Jason Smith, 42, was charged with the drug offence in January following a six-month joint operation between the Crime and Corruption Commission and Queensland Police, which has netted a number of former and current footballers.

The former NRL utility's matter was heard in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court on Wednesday, and will return to the same court on August 5th.





Rogue Corruption and Crime Commission unit exposed [West Australian – 17/6/15]

 

 

 


Police investigating Civic incident involving off-duty officers [Canberra Times – 16/6/15

 

 

 

FIFO worker stabbed man to death after partner involved in caravan park threesome, WA court hears [ABC - 17/6/15]

 

 

Cape York man jailed for life for murdering partner in Kowanyama [ABC – 17/6/15]

 

 



Building Fire, Wynnum



QPS Media [17/6/15]:


Police are investigating a fire that destroyed a business premises at Wynnum early this morning.

Emergency services were called to an address on the Tingal Road around 2.40am and on arrival, smoke was billowing from the building.

The blaze was extinguished, however there is extensive damage to the building and property stored within.

Police will guard the scene overnight and specialist police will attend the scene in the morning.

Investigations into the cause of the fire are continuing.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.

 



Weapon charges, Mooloolaba

 

QPS Media [17/6/15]:

Sunshine Coast detectives have charged a 20-year-old Buderim man with a number of offences in relation to an incident at Mooloolaba on March 5, 2015.

Police will allege the man discharged a firearm into a unit on Ulmarra Court in the early hours of the morning causing damage to an external door, washing machine and side fence.

The two occupants home at the time were uninjured.

The 20-year-old man was charged with one count each of discharging a weapon in a public place, unlawful possession of weapons and threatening violence (discharge firearms or other act at night).

He is due to appear in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court on June 29.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.

 

 



Armed Robbery Hope Island



QPS Media [17/6/15]:

 

 

 

Police are investigating an armed robbery that occurred last night at Hope Island.

At about 1.20am two men entered a service station on Crescent Ave where they produced a crow bar and demanded money.

The console operator complied with the demands and the man fled the premises with an undisclosed amount of cash.

The console operator was not injured during the incident.

The men are described as approximately 180cm high and of slim build.

Anyone who may be able to assist with this investigation is asked to contact Crime Stoppers.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teenage boys charged with armed robbery, Marsden [QPS Media - 17/6/15]

 

 

Handgun and assorted drugs found at Broadbeach [QPS Media - 16/6/15]

 



Drug Arrest, Palm Beach [QPS Media – 16/6/15]

 



Robbery with violence, Acacia Ridge



QPS Media [16/6/15]:


Police are investigating a robbery that occurred this afternoon in Acacia Ridge.

Around 5.40pm, a woman was walking along Yandiah Street when a white Audi pulled up along side her.

One of the men exited the vehicle and struck her in the head and stole her handbag.

The men have then fled the scene in the vehicle.

The 54-year-old woman was taken to hospital for facial injuries.

Investigations are continuing.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.

 

 


Teenager charged with possessing explosives after police find small fireworks in backpack


QPS Media [16/6/15]:



Police have uncovered a quantity of fireworks during routine patrols on 7th Avenue, Palm Beach yesterday. Detectives from the Southern Crime Group located a 16-year-old male who had 20 small fireworks in a backpack.

Police seized the fireworks and the individual was dealt with under the provisions of Youth Justices Act for the offence of Possessing Explosives.

This find is a timely reminder, particularly in the lead up to the 4th of July that possessing fireworks is an office under the Explosives Act with serious penalty’s. Independence Day is commonly celebrated in the United States with fireworks, however we do see some people marking the occasion locally.

Officer in Charge, Palm Beach Police, Senior Sergeant Chris Ahearn said that police want people to celebrate an event like the 4th of July

“However, we urge people to do so safely and without illegal fireworks. There is a real risk of inexperienced people and children handling fireworks being seriously injured, aside from the legal consequences,” Senior Sergeant Chris Ahearn said.



 

Cars impounded after teenagers caught “street racing” [Canberra Times – 17/6/15]

 



Coomera police target “hoons” in the usual places – Yatala, Norwell, Jacobs Well [QPS Media – 16/6/15]

 

 

 

 

Motorbike rider in serious condition after Burleigh crash



MYGC [17/6/15]:


A motorbike rider is in a serious condition in hospital this morning after a crash in Burleigh Water on Tuesday night.

According to the Queensland Ambulance Service two men were injured in the accident, which occurred on Acanthus Avenue around 10.20pm.

It’s understood the man in a serious condition was suffering with lower back pain and remains in Gold Coast University Hospital.

Another man involved in the accident was also taken in a stable condition to the Uni Hospital.

 

 

 



A motorbike rider who got caught in floodwaters in southwest Queensland is stranded up a tree.

Emergency services at Quilpie, west of Charleville, were trying to rescue the motorist on Wednesday afternoon.

The person was thought to have been riding a motorbike when they got caught in the fast moving water. [Yahoo - 17/6/15]

 


 

Six injured after head-on crash in Toorbul [Brisbane Times - 17/6/15]



Perth toddler dies after being hit by car driven by his mother [ABC - 17/6/15]

 

 

 

 


One of Australia's biggest builders paid Bill Shorten's union nearly $300,000 after he struck a workplace deal that cut conditions and saved the company as much as $100 million on a major Melbourne road project.

A Fairfax Media investigation has uncovered large payments from joint venture builder Thiess John Holland to the Australian Workers Union when Mr Shorten, now opposition leader, ran the union. ...  [Canberra Times - 17/6/15]





Former Coalition adviser Tristan Weston charged with impersonating lawyer [ABC – 17/6/15]

 



Woolworths chief quits, 1,200 jobs to go [Economic Times – 17/6/15]

 

 



Queensland councils will be allowed to use their own workers rather than contractors to recover and rebuild their communities following natural disasters.

The Local Government Association of Queensland struck the deal on Monday night following a long campaign to convince successive federal governments that day labour often saved taxpayers money.  ... [Morning Bulletin - 16/6/15]

 


 

 

Cairn overlooking seaway



Gold Coast Spit [17/6/15]



 

Website blocking laws passed


CSO [17/6/15]:


The federal government last night passed controversial new laws aimed at combating online piracy after winning bi-partisan support for the measures in the lower house.

The passage of the new laws means that content owners will soon be able to apply to the federal court for orders requiring ISPs to block access to websites in cases where they can prove that their “primary purpose” is to facilitate copyright infringement.

The laws target piracy promotion websites including those that provide torrent files used for peer-to-peer sharing in illegal digital copies of music and video that are hosted overseas in jurisdictions beyond the legal reach of domestic copyright law.

During two-hours of debate when the bill was read in parliament for a second time last night, both sides of politics expressed support for the new laws whilst acknowledging that they weren’t a “silver bullet” to address online piracy.

...

 



Liberal and Labor remain united in mass surveillance collusion [Greens Media Release – 16/6/15]

 


 

Witness is Liar, Says News of the World Man

 

 

 

 Byline  [16/6/15]:


Veteran newspaperman Neil Wallis launched a strongly-worded attack on his former colleague Dan Evans in a police interview.

Mr Wallis, former deputy editor of the News of the World, described Evans as a "self-confessed liar" with a history of drink and drug problems who was beset by "personal and emotional difficulties."

In his evidence to police – repeated at the current Old Bailey trial of Mr Wallis – Evans said that he had played Mr Wallis a hacked voicemail in the newspaper's newsroom in Wapping.

In a prepared statement given to his final police interview in October 2013, Mr Wallis said any allegations made by Evans would be "lies."

Mr Wallis told the detectives investigating his case: "I raise with you whether Evans has admitted to you his well-known serious and profound problems of alcohol and substance abuse – difficult for him to conceal, I suspect – which resulted in him severely struggling to operate and cope effectively in his demanding role as a News of the World journalist.

"Evans' personal and emotional difficulties, which he has made no secret of over a long period of time, are highly likely to justify his own behaviour and try and escape or mitigate the percussions of his own chosen actions.

"He is, and continues to be, a self-confessed liar, having already pleaded guilty to committing perjury in the High Court.

"Any allegations which he makes of my participation in phone hacking are lies."

Mr Wallis denies conspiring to hack phones between 2003 and 2006.

The case continues.


 

 

Refugees ask why Australia did not let them go to New Zealand.

 

I'd like to know too.

 

 

Indonesia's Vice President is still awaiting clarification on the Australian government's payment to repel refugee boat. [VIDEO - Jakarta Globe - 27/6/15]

 

 

Canberra Times [17/6/15]:

 

 

 

... The Kanak was shifting on the reef, and he was worried they would be cast adrift with no food or fuel.

Most of the 65 asylum seekers from Myanmar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka [52 are registered as refugees] were already swimming ashore, but Mr Kayuran had stayed on board with his pregnant wife V. Nadhiya, and a handful of other women and young children. The women were crying with fear. They tried to call for help but couldn't go outside because the ship was tilting sideways.

The Navy warship HMAS Wollongong and an Australian customs trip had transferred the asylum seekers onto two small boats, which they say was woefully inadequate.

"All we had was a small chocolate and water," Mr Kayuran said. "It was not enough. If we had been stranded on an uninhabited island we would have died."

There were also no toilets: Ms Nadhiya, three months pregnant, had to use a box while Mr Kayuran covered her with a bed sheet.

The fuel on one boat, the Jasmine, had run out and almost 70 people had been forced to cram into the Kanak. Then it hit a reef.

When the villagers came to their rescue, Mr Kayuran discovered that far from being cannibals they were incredibly kind.

"They eat chicken and pigs," he says.

The people of Landu are mostly subsistence fishers and seaweed farmers, whose livelihoods were severely impacted by the Montara oil spill six years ago, which killed fish and turned seaweed yellow. Despite their poverty they were incredibly generous, cooking and providing clothes for the asylum seekers.

Mr Kayaran, is now being processed at the immigration hostel, Inaboi, in Kupang. He has already eked out an existence in Malaysia for nine years, working illegally part time when possible.

"If I have to spend another 10 years here, it would be easier to die." All he wants, he says, is a peaceful life in New Zealand, where he can work legally and start again with their new baby.

Many of the asylum seekers Fairfax Media spoke to at Inaboi can't understand why the Australian navy and customs ships sent them back to Indonesia when they were still in international waters. They say they had no intention of going to Australia, which they knew closed its borders in 2013, but had read on the internet that New Zealand had a refugee quota program which offers 750 places per year.

Bangladeshis Nazmul Hassan and Muhammad Habib were among those who allege they saw an Australian official called "Agus" give envelopes of money to the captain, Yohanis Humiang and crew.

"We saw the crew put it inside his pocket. It was inside a white envelope," Mr Hassan said.

"Yohanis said we have to go back to Indonesia and Australia wants to pay for that."

The asylum seekers recall the mysterious "Mr Agus" as a man who worked for the Australians, spoke fluent Indonesian and wore jeans and a black T-shirt with sunglasses pushed up on his head.

Bangladeshi Mohammad Belayer Hossain paid people smugglers $US4000 ($5190) to take him to New Zealand. Now he is back in Indonesia. "I'm very sad - my money has finished," he says.

"I don't know why Australia stopped us. They should have let us go. They caught us, they turned us back and now they don't want anything to do with us."


 

 

Refugees on boat at centre of turn-back payment allegations ask why they were intercepted in international waters [ABC - 17/6/15]

 

 

 

… Mr Yohanis said the boats were unseaworthy, had limited fuel, no toilets and no navigational system other than a GPS, which was "of no help because it won't tell reef conditions".

The interview took place under oath on Rote island on Wednesday.

Mr Yohanis also claimed the Australian authorities "didn't care" when one of the wooden boats, Jasmine, ran out of fuel on the way back to Indonesia.

"Panic ensued among the passengers onboard, it was like in an emergency situation, they were going to kill each other," Mr Yohanis said. "At the time I was scared: What to do?"

General Endang asked Mr Yohanis if the Australian Navy and customs ships were still there when Jasmine's engine stopped.

"They were in the back, they already said: 'OK you just head [to Rote Island]," Mr Yohanis said.

"So they ignored you?" General Endang asked.

"Yes, after we were let go, they don't care any more," Mr Yohanis said.

Mr Yohanis said he was offered 150 million rupiah ($AUD15,000) by a people smuggling agent to take 65 asylum seekers from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar to New Zealand.

The Navy warship HMAS Wollongong and an Australian Customs ship intercepted the asylum seeker boat, the Andika, on about May 19.

Mr Yohanis told the Australian official, Agus, they had no right to stop the boat, which had just passed Timor Leste, because it was still in international waters.

... [Canberra Times - 17/6/15]

 

 

 

 

Read the letter sent to the New Zealand Government by the refugees via [RNZI - 7/6/15]

 

 

 

 

ACT Education Minister Joy Burch expects the autism cage inquiry will be completed within three weeks and defended the level of communication with the affected school.

Parents at the school publicly expressed their anger on Wednesday at a lack of information over the March incident, in which a student with autism was confined in a cage intended to be a withdrawal space.

In response to frustration at the lack of answers from an inquiry established after the incident was made public, more than 10 weeks ago,  

Ms Burch set up a hotline on Wednesday for concerned parents to call. Advertisement She defended the lack of information given to parents as necessary to protect the identity of the family involved.  ... [Canberra Times - 17/6/15]

 

 

 

 

Oh hardy hardy ha:  Very unfunny, savvy insider's take on the Annual Monster Ball ----> ... So you're heading to Parliament's Night of Nights, the Midwinter Ball! Or maybe you're just curious about what our politicians get up to when ordinary Australians are distracted by State of Origin? Here's an exclusive guide to enjoying the only social occasion within the Parliamentary Triangle that's more entertaining than Senate Estimates.  ... [ABC - 17/6/15]

 

 

 

 

Deliberate humiliation in wake of BBC report, leadup to Ramadan, and constitutional challenge at Australia's refugee death camp on Manus Island

 

 

 

Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [17/6/15]:



The forced strip search of an Iranian asylum seeker has sparked a tense stand-off between asylum seekers, Wilson’s guards and PNG police in Delta Compound on Manus Island around 6.00am this morning (Wednesday, 17 June).

The early morning raid forced all of the detainees in Delta Compound into one corner of the yard. The Wilson’s guards accompanied by the PNG police to give them legal cover, began turning over people’s rooms, throwing personal goods and bedding.

The search which went on for five hours and the asylum seekers were also subjected to personal searches. The asylum seekers say in a letter to Transfield that the search was ‘disrespectful and insulting’. (Photos of letter attached.)

When the guards forced a strip search and demanded that the Iranian submit to a body cavity search, things had gone too far.

The man writes,”I took my T shirt and shorts off, but they wanted to pull my underwear down, but I refused…”

This attempt angered the asylum seekers who surrounded the man and forced the guards to back off.

“Tensions are on the rise again inside the Manus detention centre,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Wilson guards act with impunity. The guards do not wear identification tags and often use false names so they cannot be identified when asylum seekers want to make complaints.

“Management should have no problem identifying which guards were involved in the raid on Delta compound. But no-one is holding their breath expecting that any of the guards will be held to account.

“Transfield and Wilson’s seem to be very aware of the pending constitutional challenge to Manus Island and the scrutiny over human rights abuses that will fall on them in the trial.

“Around 200 asylum seekers who have so far refused to make a refugee claim in PNG are being pressured to make their claims with threats of removing access to phone and internet and the canteen along with threats they will be summarily deported.”

 



Death in custody prompts hunger strike at Arizona refugee concentration camp



Sputnik News [16/6/15]:

 

A hunger strike against inhumane conditions at an illegal immigrant detention center in the US State of Arizona was prompted by the death of a detainee, the migrant rights group the Puente Movement told Sputnik on Tuesday.

“Some of what triggered the hunger strike is the death of Jose de Jesus Deniz-Sahagun. It [Sahagun’s death] also brought up for them [illegal immigrant detainees] all the conditions they have been living under,” the Puente Movement Organizing Director Francisca Porchas said.

Porchas added that the Puente Movement received several anonymous letters from detainees stating that Sahagun was beaten, stripped down, and taken into solitary confinement, where they believed he died on May 20, 2015.

Sahagun is the third person to die in US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody in 2015.

The death and inhumane treatment prompted up to 200 illegal immigrants at the Eloy Arizona Detention Center to start a hunger strike over the weekend demanding better living conditions and treatment at the facility.

ICE denied that any of detainees have refused food and stressed that migrants at Eloy receive constant medical assistance.

Porchas said the detainees are paid a dollar a day for work, not provided a public defender in court and forced to wait extended periods for an immigration hearing.

She attributed the poor conditions to the Corrections Corporation of America, a private contractor that builds, manages and operates prisons, jails and detention centers around the United States.

Earlier this month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said that thousands of undocumented migrants, including children, are denied food, water and medical care while being held in frigid and filthy US detention facilities along the Mexican border.

On Monday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights slammed US immigration detention centers for their inhumane conditions, citing a lack of health care, violence and overcrowding.

The UN envoy called for an overhaul of US policy on migrants, especially women and children, whose rights he said are being gravely violated.

The Puente Movement is a grassroots migrant justice organization, based in Phoenix, Arizona, whose mission is the development, education, and empowerment of migrant communities.




United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria

 

 

US Department of Defense [16/6/15]:

 

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, 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.

Airstrikes in Syria

Bomber and fighter aircraft conducted nine airstrikes in Syria:

-- Near Raqqah, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL excavator.

-- Near Kobani, three airstrikes struck one large and two small ISIL tactical units, destroying an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Tal Abyad, five airstrikes struck three large and two small ISIL tactical units, destroying three ISIL vehicles.

Airstrikes in Iraq

Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 16 airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:

-- Near Baghdadi, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Huwayjah, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying two ISIL heavy machine guns and an ISIL structure.

-- Near Beiji, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Fallujah, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL structure.

-- Near Makhmur, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Mosul, seven airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL mortar firing position, destroying an ISIL excavator, an ISIL rocket system, an ISIL structure and an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Ramadi, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL motorcycle.

-- Near Sinjar, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL mortar firing position, destroying three ISIL structures, two ISIL heavy machine guns and an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Tal Afar, two airstrikes struck two ISIL fighting positions.

...

 

 

 

 

Four children were among seven civilians killed in renewed rebel rocket fire on government-held areas of Syria's second city Aleppo, a monitoring group said on Wednesday.

Tuesday's fire came despite U.N. condemnation of a massive barrage the previous day that killed at least 36 civilians, 14 of them children.  ... [Naharnet - 17/6/15]

 

 




Some 23,000 refugees flee latest Syria fighting into southern Turkey [UNHCR Media Release – 16/6/15]

 

 

 

Renewed EU rescue effort for Mediterranean refugees saves 3,000 lives in less than two months



Independent [16/6/15]:

The European Union’s renewed rescue operation for migrants crossing the Mediterranean has already saved over 2,900 lives in less than two months, the Ministry of Defence says.

Last month the UK dispatched HMS Bulwark, a warship capable of carrying two helicopters, to join in the international effort after a series of high-profile boat disasters led to a surge in deaths.

Around 700 people died in a single incident in late April on top of another 900 who had already previously been killed that year.

The rescues performed by the new operation have contributed to a fall in the death rate in May down from 329 in May 2014 to fewer than 100 in May 2015, according to the United Nations.

“The Royal Navy is playing a full part in the international effort to save lives at sea,” said defence minister Penny Mordaunt.

“HMS Bulwark deployed on 4 May 2015 and is working closely with the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre; efforts so far have saved over 2,900 lives.”

The in-kind assistance provided to the Italian coastguard replaces Operation Mare Nostrum, which was cancelled amid budget cuts in Italy and initial international reticence to help.

In October last year the Government said it did not support planned search and rescue operations, stating that they encourage more migrants to come to Britain.

“We do not support planned search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean,” said Foreign Office minister Baroness Anelay at the time.

“We believe that they create an unintended “pull factor”, encouraging more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing and thereby leading to more tragic and unnecessary deaths.”

This position was revised by David Cameron after the surge in deaths, however.

The figures come as EU interior ministers discuss how to distribute the refugees who make it across the sea between European countries.

Most currently make landfall in Italy, Greece or Malta, but there is a growing view amongst Europe’s ministers that other countries should take a fairer share.

The UK has said any quota plan is unacceptable, however.

 

 

 

 

UK could withdraw from refugee rescue missions in Mediterranean [Guardian - 16/6/15]


 


France, Italy, Germany deliberate over allocation of refugee in leadup to Brussels EU Summit [EURO News - 16/6/15]:

 



UNHCR calls for urgent European support for Greece [Media Release - 16/6/15]


 

 

 

Afghanistan:  Seven soldiers martyred, 83 "militants" killed in newest military operations [Khaama - 17/6/15]

 

 

 

 

UN continues to push for Ramadan ceasefire in Yemen [Albawaba - 17/6/15]

 

 

 

EU parliamentarians call Israel to end its siege on Gaza [Middle East Monitor - 16/6/15]:

Sources from the Freedom Flotilla Alliance revealed that around 100 EU parliamentarians have signed a petition calling for the end of the eight-year Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian-European Club revealed yesterday.

Among those who signed the petition was Vice President of the European Parliament Dimitris Papadimoulis and representatives from more than 15 EU countries.

They also called for international protection for Freedom Flotilla III and for it to be allowed to safely arrive in Gaza.

Fengales Pesias, principal of the Greek ship, which is part of the Flotilla, and one of founding member of the Alliance, said: "This number of petitioners reflects a change of the popular European mood after eight years of the Gaza siege."

Felesteen newspaper reported Pesias saying that there would be "negative consequences" if Israel refused the Flotilla access to Gaza.

The petition, which was raised in the EU Parliament a couple of weeks ago, called for lifting the Israeli siege on Gaza, opening crossings, guaranteeing freedom of movement, affording international protection for the Flotilla, stressing the right of Gaza to have a sea passage and pushing Israel to commit to international law.



 

 

 

Nauruan opposition MP taken off flight and prevented from leaving country [Guardian - 17/6/15]

 

 

 

 

 

@deantregenza:   The #lovemakesaway crew forcibly removed and "pushed back" outside Australian Parliament House foyer.

 

 

 

SBS [17/6/15]:

 

 

Security officers have escorted protesters out of Parliament House's entry foyer after they staged a sit-in over asylum seeker policy.

A group of more than 30 people, wearing 'Kids don't belong in detention' t-shirts, formed a circle and started singing shortly after midday on Wednesday.

Security guards gave them a warning before leading them out of the building one by one.

 

 

 

 

Christian leaders make a space of lament/hope to call for the Australian Parliament to release children and their families from detention. [VIDEO - Love Makes A Way - 17/6/15]

 

  



Mass Sit-In with Catholic Bishop, Nuns, Pastors in Parliament House

 

“Clearly our political leaders need a change of heart. They already have more than enough information. They need to re-learn that people seeking asylum have the same inherent dignity as everyone else, and deserve the same support.”


 

Love Makes A Way [17/6/15]:

 

A group of 40 Christian priests, nuns, pastors and other leaders, including a Catholic Bishop, have begun a sit-in prayer vigil in the Main Foyer of Australian Parliament House, risking arrest by police for civil disobedience.

The group, part of the Love Makes a Way movement, is calling on both major parties to “have a change of heart” on asylum seekers, beginning with the immediate release of all children and their families from Nauru Detention Centre.

Sister Jane Keogh, a 70 year-old Brigidine (Catholic) nun, said: “The ongoing shocking revelations of physical, sexual and psychological abuse of children on Nauru demand an immediate response. But instead of protecting these precious children, our government and opposition continue to put them in harm’s way.”

“In fact, we are deporting even more children to Nauru, despite expert medical advice”, Sr Keogh said.

“We are here today to say to both major parties that the abuse has to stop,” Sr Keogh said.

“We are willing to risk arrest because we feel so strongly about speaking up for those who have been silenced and abused by our government", said Sr Keogh.

Retired Catholic Bishop Pat Power, from Canberra, said that the community is trying every possible means of reaching out to politicians.

 “We have met with them, written letters, signed petitions, presented evidence, had private dialogue, everything. But both parties simply refuse to acknowledge the devastating impacts of their cruel policies on innocent people."

“Every single church denomination, and every single health and medical body in Australia has condemned offshore detention. Still the government and opposition refuse to listen.” Bishop Power said.

Salvation Army Captain Craig Farrell said: “We know from reports by the Human Rights Commission, the UN Committee Against Torture, the Moss Review, and ongoing revelations from doctors and social workers, that offshore detention is “inherently toxic” [Dr Peter Young] and is completely unsafe for anyone, but especially children.”

“Clearly our political leaders need a change of heart. They already have more than enough information. They need to re-learn that people seeking asylum have the same inherent dignity as everyone else, and deserve the same support.” Captain Farrell said

Captain Farrell noted that today is the 10th anniversary of the announcement by (then PM) John Howard that all children would be released from immigration detention, following agitation by Liberal backbenchers led by Petro Georgiou.

Captain Farrell said “We are asking for nothing more than John Howard did ten years ago today. The simple truth is that children don’t belong in detention.”

 

 


‏@lovemakesaway:   Where you there when those kids were locked away..... Tremble tremble tremble  ...

 

 

 

‏@misskate: ... Children deserve hope, opportunity and freedom. Not detention. ...

 

 

 

‏@peterbranj:   Brisbane believers praying at St John's cathedral supporting #LoveMakesAWay Parliament House action #RefugeeWeek2015

 


 

 

Despite IOM deal, residency eludes 60 refugees already in Cambodia

 

What will be the fate of the 4 refugees exiled by Australia?

 

 

Cambodia Daily [17/6/15]:

 

 

When the International Organization for Migration (IOM) agreed to help Cambodia with a controversial refugee resettlement plan earlier this year, it did so on the condition that the government furnish the refugees already in the country with the paperwork they need to find employment.

That was nearly four months ago, and refugees who agreed to move to Cambodia under a deal the government signed with Australia in September have already arrived. But refugees who have been here for years are still waiting for the residency documents they are entitled to under Cambodia’s own legislation—and the government is lying about it.

“Nobody has received their residency documents yet, not one,” said Denise Coghlan, who, as head of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Cambodia, works with the majority of refugees who come to the country. She said there were about 60 in Cambodia at the moment.

By law, Ms. Coghlan said, the refugee papers the government issues after approving applications for asylum should to be enough for any employer in the country.

“In reality, it’s not accepted,” she said, forcing most refugees to eke out a living with menial, irregular and informal jobs and what little the NGOs helping them can afford to provide.

The IOM was well aware of the problem when, in February, it agreed to help Cambodia resettle refugees that Australia is holding on the South Pacific island of Nauru under the agreement signed last year.

As a condition of helping Cambodia, the IOM said in February, it insisted that the refugees coming from Nauru receive all the legal documents they need to find work, and that the provision of those documents be “efficient.” Not to leave anyone out, it said it also insisted that the refugees already in Cambodia get the same deal.

The IOM says Cambodia agreed to its conditions in a letter, but the organization has refused to release a copy, citing its policy not to share confidential correspondence.

The first four refugees on Nauru to volunteer to resettle in Cambodia arrived in Phnom Penh less than two weeks ago. Courtesy of the Australian government, they have been lavished with thousands of dollars each, put up in a spacious villa, and promised personal bank accounts and all essential living expenses for at least a year.

On Tuesday, IOM regional spokesman Joe Lowry said the Cambodian government had already issued a decree granting residency status to the four, adding that their residency cards were “in the works.”

As for the dozens of refugees who are here already, he said residency cards for them were “also under preparation. However, we are not in control of the timeline.”

“[W]e strongly believe that existing refugees should benefit from our settlement program to the extent possible,” he said.

Cambodia claims that the 60-odd refugees have been issued residency cards already.

...

 

 

 

Phnom Penh Post [28/5/15]:

 

... Mike Pezzulo, secretary of Australia’s Immigration and Border Affairs Department, told the same committee on Tuesday that the secrecy was because Canberra does “not want [the refugees] to become zoo exhibits”.

“They are being managed sensitively and empathetically. People have been with them caring for them and engaging with them whilst they have been in transit, and we look forward to helping them to get on their way and settle in Cambodia in the not too distant future.”

“It is just a matter of working through some final logistical details,” he added.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), which is providing initial accommodation for the refugees and some services, yesterday suggested that media access to the refugees would not be forthcoming.

“Media exposure could potentially jeopardise protection needs of refugees and carries high level of risk to their families at home,” an IOM spokesman said.

“While IOM can speak in general terms about what services will be available to refugees, IOM will not disclose any specific details about a refugee’s particular assistance.”

The group said last week that it had “villa-style” accommodation in Phnom Penh readied for the arrival of the four. ...

 

 

 

 ...  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.

 

 

 

'What we actually have now is a humanitarian crisis, and as various nations continue to violate their international obligations, more will continue to die at sea'

 

 Anna Nguyen

 

 

Rappler [22/5/15]:

 

... Nations stating the Rohingya is not their problem are violating international law, especially if they are signatories to the United Nations Refugee Convention. Those who are not signatories, however, still have a legal obligation under customary international law to prevent the return of people at risk of serious rights abuses. Saying “no” to asylum seekers does nothing to address the dangers, which force people to flee and demeans the power of international law.

As long as persecution continues, people will continue to seek asylum. The real crisis is not people smuggling or human trafficking. What we actually have now is a humanitarian crisis, and as various nations continue to violate their international obligations or refuse to co-operate for domestic political gains, more will continue to die at sea.

Of course, the root problem is state sanctioned persecution and discrimination in Burma. The Rohingya is a distinct Muslim ethnic minority group in Burma who are not afforded any basic rights or citizenship status. This needs to be addressed in order to control the Rohingya from leaving, although this is a long-term strategy.

The short-term strategy is for nations to step up and provide humanitarian aid and temporary refuge to the Rohingya asylum seekers while their cases are being processed. Much like what the Philippines did when thousands of Vietnamese asylum seekers arrived their shores in the 1970s in areas such as Bataan and Palawan, and very much like what Malaysia did when my parents ventured on their harrowing and long journey to a better life before being granted asylum in Australia.

As I write this article, I question where my parents would be today if they were not resettled. Where would I be today if my parents’ boat had been pushed back to the nation that persecuted them? Where would many former Vietnamese asylum seekers be if sovereignty was the main priority?

...

 

 

Wads of cash?

 

Turning asylum boats around – that’s the crime


Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [17/6/15]:

It is now quite clear that the Coalition government, the architects of Operation Sovereign Borders, did pay the boat crew of a recent asylum boat to take asylum seekers back to Indonesia.

The crew says it, the asylum seekers say it, the Indonesian police say it and the long list of government denials says all the public needs to know about who is telling the truth.

In this case, as in every other turn-around, the government is guilty of crimes on the high seas; trafficking defenceless people who were attempting to get to safety in New Zealand and returning them to danger.

The incident has also exposed the lie that the Coalition has stopped the boats. Almost two years since the start of Operation Sovereign Borders, asylum boats are still coming. The turn around also revealed that for all the supposed sophistication and military power of Operation Sovereign Borders, it is underpinned by wads of cash.

The media and political furore has focussed on the government’s denials and the payment of money to the boat crew – but the real crime is that the government has prevented another boat of asylum seekers gaining the protection and security they need.

“The furore has revealed much hypocrisy – the Coalition’s complete lack of scruples, and its willingness to use bribes, but also from Labor,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Labor politicians have tried to make political mileage by using the same rhetoric about ‘people smuggling’ as the Coalition. Rather than demonise boat crews, that provide an indispensable service for asylum seekers, Labor should be attacking the Coalition’s turn-around policy and its ban on accepting refugees from Indonesia.

“Abbott says that the Coalition uses turn-arounds, when it is ‘safe to do so’. But there is nothing safe about turn-arounds. These boats foundered on a reef off Landuti Island.

“By choosing not to use the very obvious orange lifeboats to return asylum seekers to Indonesia, the government had to resort to paying the crew to try to make sure that the boats would head to Indonesia and not attempt to continue to travel to Australia, or New Zealand, as they originally intended. The government has been caught out by it’s own ‘cleverness’.

“We support the Indonesian government fully investigating the incident,” said Rintoul.

“The Australian government’s cover-up attempt deserves to be exposed. It shamefully continues to use Indonesia as a dumping ground.

“It has tens of thousands of dollars, indeed millions, to arrange turn-backs but has not given a cent to Indonesia to assist with the thousands of Rohingya asylum seekers who recently found safety in Aceh.

“The turn-around policy is just an invitation for asylum seekers to die elsewhere. The real crime of the Abbott government is that it continues to violate human rights and international law by turning asylum boats back to Indonesia.”

 

 

 

 

 "People smugglers" terminology is harmful and unnecessary.

 

A political, media and human rights establishment with a backbone would be calling for a Royal Commission with broad terms of reference and strong powers.

 

 

 

Jakarta Post [16/6/15]:

 

 

The Australian government has paid thousands of dollars to turn back boats of asylum seekers for at least four years, a document reveals.

An exclusive report by Australian media group Fairfax states that the policy, called boat payment, has been in force for some time, including under the former Labor government.

Quoting multiple sources, the report reveals that the practice has existed since 2010 under the Rudd government.

The practice involves intelligence officers paying members of Indonesian people-smuggling rings for information about their operations or to discourage them from operating the boats, the report states.

The practice emerged in the media last week when the captain and five crew members of a boat carrying 65 asylum seekers told local police on Rote Island in East Nusa Tenggara that they were each paid US$5,000 by an Australian official to return to Indonesia.

The revelation has soured relations between Jakarta and Canberra, with the Indonesian government demanding confirmation from Tony Abbott’s administration.

Australian media have reported that the opposition has attacked Abbott for this policy.

Yet, the report finds at least one former Labor immigration minister was aware of this practice during his tenure.

 

 


World Refugee Day protest: A people's trial of mandatory detention:

Hosted by Refugee Rights Action Network WA

Saturday, June 20 at 1:00pm

Join the Refugee Rights Action Network WA on Saturday 20th June for World Refugee Day as we put mandatory detention on trial and bring the likes of Abbott and Rudd to justice.

We will be holding a people's trial of mandatory detention outside the Perth Immigration Detention Centre (PIDC) to commemorate World Refugee Day.

The people's court will hear testimony written by people currently being held in detention on Nauru and Manus Islands.

The PIDC address is:

Corner Baker st & McComb st

Redcliffe (near Perth Domestic Airport)


Free the refugees!

End offshore processing!

End mandatory detention!

 



Nauru protest may go into second day [RNZI – 17/6/15]:



There are plans today to continue a protest outside the Nauru parliament with people demanding that five suspended MPs be re-instated.

The five opposition MPs were suspended, their salaries stopped and offices shut, in May last year after they had criticised government actions.

The government accused them of damaging the name of Nauru but the MPs have said they were doing their job of scrutinising government actions.

A Nauru businessman, Lockley Denuga, says the protest was prompted by the increasingly dictatorial actions of the government.

"This government is trying to pull dictatorship tactics out - that's what they are turning the country into. People are backing up their MPs so that we have a voice again in the Parliament House."

Lockley Denuga has dismissed government claims that the protest was a riot.

He says it was noisy but peaceful.

Mr Denuga was commenting while outside the parliament mid morning where he says a large number of police in riot gear had gathered but no protestors had gathered at that point.

One of the suspended MPs, Mathew Batsiua, a former justice minister, was arrested yesterday and is believed to have been held in custody overnight.

It is not yet clear what charge, if any, Mr Batsiua will face.

 

 

 

RNZI [17/6/15]:

 

... Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed reports that Mr Batsiua was beaten by police following his arrest.

Sources on Nauru have confirmed, however that police set up his arrest.

Eyewitnesses say Mr Batsiua was informed by the police that he would be able to meet with the President, Baron Waqa, to discuss the crisis.

They claim that when he stepped through the police line, he was arrested from behind as he set foot in parliament, where he is banned from entering as a result of his suspension.

 

 

 

Australia's human rights establishment continues conflating people smugglers with refugees and invisibilising Rohingya. [The Age - 17/6/15]:

 

 

...  The reports of alleged payments to people smugglers add to the questions the government refuses to answer on the way it treats asylum seekers. ...

 

 

 

Refugee Week 2015:  In Indonesia’s Aceh, a warm welcome

 

 

 

Which country on this map of  South East Asia is a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention?

It should adhere to its obligations.

 

 

 

Carlos Sardiña Galache [IRIN - 15/6/15]:


Nur Yanah can’t hold back the tears when she recalls hundreds of emaciated boat people arriving in her native Aceh province after being rescued by local fishermen in defiance of the government decision to leave them adrift.

The new arrivals were Bangladeshis escaping poverty and ethnic Rohingya fleeing persecution in Myanmar. They had paid human smugglers to take them to Malaysia, but many turned out to be traffickers who would hold migrants hostage in camps along the border between Thailand and Malaysia until their families paid thousands of dollars.

In early May, Thailand cracked down on human trafficking rings and discovered graves near the jungle prisons. The crackdown created a crisis at sea as smugglers either refused to land or, in many cases, abandoned the boats, leaving their victims adrift with little food and water. Thousands of boat people found themselves at the centre of a regional emergency as Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia refused to accept them.

On 20 May, Malaysia and Indonesia finally agreed to allow the boats ashore – but not before Acehnese fishermen had chosen to ignore their government’s policy and rescue almost 2,000 people.

Many in Aceh could not ignore the boat people’s predicament, having themselves suffered terribly during years of ruthless conflict between the Indonesian military and separatist rebels, which only ended when the new horror of the 2004 tsunami devastated the region.

“We Acehnese have suffered a lot, that’s why we understand well the plight of the Rohingya,” she said. “My husband disappeared during the conflict and we have never seen him again.”

Yanah said she sends leftover food from her restaurant to the nearby camp at Kuala Langsa, a port that shelters 425 Bangladeshi migrants and 231 Rohingya refugees.

“I feel that they are part of our family, part of the Acehnese society, because they have suffered as much as us,” she said. “It’s better if they stay permanently here.”

Many refugees have the same hope.

“This is the safest place for us,” said Rehama, a 19-year-old Rohingya woman who provided only one name.

She left her home in Maungdaw in western Myanmar near the Bangladeshi border with her sister and two daughters, hoping to join her husband in Malaysia.

“Now I would like him to join us here in Indonesia,” she said at another camp, Bayeun, which shelters 340 Rohingya and 92 Bangladeshis.

The welcome that the boat people have received in Aceh is unmatched anywhere else in the region.

On 14 May, Human Rights Watch accused the governments of Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia of playing “human ping pong” with the boats by refusing to let them land and in some cases even pushing them back into international waters. After intense international pressure, Indonesia and Malaysia finally agreed to provide shelter for the refugees – on condition that they would be resettled elsewhere within one year.

The refugees have found no sympathy in their home countries.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was quoted in state media calling them “mentally sick” for endangering their lives and “tainting the image of the country” by getting on the boats.

In Buddhist-majority Myanmar, about one million Rohingya Muslims live under virtual apartheid with their movements tightly restricted and with little access to health care and education. Almost 140,000 remain in dismal camps, unable to return to their villages after their homes were burned by mobs of ethnic Rakhine Buddhists during violence in 2012 that killed more than 200 people, mostly Rohingya.

But in Aceh, the refugees were welcomed with a concert on 29 May that was organized by Rafly, a popular local singer who like many Indonesians uses only one name. The event was held to raise money for the refugees and it was also a Pemulia Jamee, a traditional Acehnese ceremony to honor guests, which opened with the thunderous beating of more than 50 Rapai Pasee traditional drums.

Rafly is also a senator and says he will use his position of influence to advocate for the Rohingya in the capital Jakarta.

“I really wish they will stay permanently in Aceh,” he told IRIN. “I have lobbied the governor of Aceh on this matter and will raise it with the head of the senate.”

 Once their identities have been established by embassy personnel – who have already visited the camps – the Bangladeshis are likely to be repatriated, but the situation for the Rohingya is uncertain.

Almost all Rohingya in Myanmar are stateless after decades of institutional discrimination, including a 1982 law that stripped most of their citizenship. The government and many people in Myanmar refuse to accept the term Rohingya, referring to them instead as “Bengali”, a term that suggests they are migrants from Bangladesh despite the fact that many families have been in Myanmar for generations.

Myanmar’s government has launched a verification programme, which aims to grant citizenship to Rohingya who can provide evidence that they qualify. But it has had little success so far and faces resistance from both within the Rohingya community and without.

Nationalist ethnic Rakhine Buddhists oppose the programme, because they consider the Rohingya interlopers from Bangladesh, while many Rohingya refuse to participate in it because it requires them to list their identities as “Bengali”. In addition, many Rohingya have lost identification documents over the years, either because they turned them over to the authorities or because they were destroyed during the 2012 violence.

The Rohingya in Aceh would likely have difficulty proving they qualify for Myanmar citizenship, while resettlement to a third country could take years. Yet, the camps cannot serve as permanent homes.

In Bayeun, Rehama shares a cramped room of about 30 square metres with dozens of other women and children. Men are sheltered metres away in huge tents that barely protect them from the wind and the rain.

Still, the makeshift camps are an improvement from the terrible journeys at sea.

Mohammad Idiris, a 25-year-old fisherman from Maungdaw, said he was held captive for six months in an overcrowded ship and beaten regularly by human traffickers who demanded a ransom from his parents that they couldn’t pay.

“I didn’t know it was going to be like this. If I had known, I would have stayed in Myanmar,” he said. “We feel happy here, because the Acehnese people are treating us as brothers, but we are still worried about our families in Myanmar.”

 



OIC meeting adopts Pakistan’s proposals on Rohingya’s persecution [Pakistan Today  16/6/15]:


A meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held at UN headquarters in New York on Monday unanimously approved a Pakistani proposal to bring into greater focus the plight of Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslims in a bid to give a push to efforts aimed at restoring their human rights.

The ambassadors’ meeting discussed the situation of the beleaguered Rohingya community at the request of Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, who opened the discussion by underscoring the urgency of the issue and the need to evolve a “collective response to this great tragedy.”

Kuwait’s Ambassador to the UN Mansour A. Al-Otaibi, the current chairman of the OIC at the UN, presided. OIC delegates welcomed Ambassador Lodhi’s proposal that, as a first step, a delegation of the OIC meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and apprise him of their serious concern over the oppression of Rohingyas who have been forced into risking their lives by crossing the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea to seek refuge in Malaysia and Indonesia.

The meeting also approved the Pakistani envoy’s proposal, adopted by foreign ministers of Islamic countries in Kuwait earlier this month, be sent to UN Security Council President for its circulation as a document of the 15-member council.

That resolution underlined that the current crisis cannot be fully resolved through humanitarian action alone, and called on the government of Myanmar to restore the citizenship rights of its Rohingya minority.

In her remarks, Ambassador Lodhi said that the root cause of the Rohingya problem lay in the persistent denial of their fundamental human rights and liberties, including the right to citizenship.

“Subjected to systematic discrimination, restrictions on freedom of movement and practice of religion, constraints on property rights as well as access to education and health, they are certainly one of the world’s most persecuted minorities,” she said.

“They are forced to escape a life of confinement, waves of deadly violence directed against them, humiliation, persecution and lack of legal status in their own country. These unbearable conditions have compelled them to flee in desperate search for safety and human dignity.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burma Times [16/6/15]:

 

 

Police removed two Rohingya patients from the Sittwe general hospital in the state capital follwoing demands by Buddhist nationalists.

At around 4pm on Sunday, police entered the hospital and took away the two men to another spot. The two were the only Rohingya patients in the hospital.

Hospital staff in most of Arakan generally refuse to treat Muslim patients.

Some Rohingyas have even being murdered by hospital staff in recent years.

The two were in the hospital only because of very serious illnesses.

But nationalists have demanded authorities that they are not comfortable with Rohingya patients in the hospital which was meant to be treating Rakhines and Buddhists.

Many were misinformed by propaganda that most patients in the hospital were Rohingyas.

Nationalist groups mobilised hundreds of protesters on Sunday to protest the rescue of migrants from the country’s coast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian Embassy in Myanmar [16/6/15]:   The Australian Ambassador to Myanmar, H.E. Nicholas Coppel, Australian Government officials and a delegation of Australian businesses operating in Myanmar visited Mandalay on 10 June 2015. The delegation met the Chief Minister of the Mandalay Regional Government, H.E. Ye Myint, and his officials, held a roundtable discussion with community and business leaders to discuss business opportunities between the region and Australia, and an evening networking event with local business and alumni.

 

 

 

 

 

17 June 2015

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