The European Commission said Wednesday just 1,500 refugees have been redistributed among EU member nations out of a total of 160,000 to be relocated from Greece and Italy by September 2017. ... [ANSAmed - 18/5/16]
Médecins Sans Frontières calls for immediate opening of 'hotspots' [Media Release - 18/5/16]:
... This incarceration serves only to aggravate the situation of these refugees who are being treated in an increasingly inhumane and degrading manner.
It is both urgent and vital to ease at least some of their suffering by opening up the camps and allowing them to move freely around the islands.
MSF reiterates to the European Union and the Greek authorities the abject conditions of these incarcerations and calls for the immediate opening of hotspots.
Italy says Africa nations back plan to close Libya migrant route [Yahoo - 19/5/16]:
... Chad, which currently holds the African Union's rotating presidency, welcomed moves this week to arm Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj's fledgling administration.
"The situation in Libya deserves to have our full attention. This country is on its way to becoming a haven for terrorism," Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat said. ...
Turkey wants withdrawal of NATO refugees surveillance mission in the Aegean Sea [Keep Talking Greece - 18/5/16]
NCL cruise ship rescues migrants at sea [Cruise Law News - 13/5/16]:
... Travel Market Report says today that "Norwegian Cruise Line released its first-quarter financial results this week, (and) it acknowledged that the attacks in Europe have impacted its bookings mainly among just one customer base: North America."
The Cruise Critic web site stated today that Carnival Cruise Line has canceled calls on the port of Izmir, Turkey, on all upcoming sailings of Carnival Vista, following a warning from the U.S. State Department.
Cruise Critic says that "Izmir was specifically named in a March 29 travel advisory from the State Department, which warned against unnecessary travel to southeastern Turkey due to an increased risk of terrorist activity targeting American travelers."
If U.S. national politics are any indication, there is a significant percentage of U.S. citizens who are xenophobic and view Arab refugees as potential trouble.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has formally apologized in the House of Commons for the Komagata Maru incident in 1914, in which hundreds of Sikh, Muslim and Hindu passengers were denied entry to Canada and forced to return to an uncertain and ultimately violent fate in India.
Opposition Leader Rona Ambrose, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, BQ Leader Rheal Fortin and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May also rose to add their voices to the apology and to offer their own remarks. ... [CBC - 18/5/16]
Day 61, refugee protests on Nauru
"SHUT DOWN! OFFSHORE!" via @InsurrectNews [19/5/16]
Image: @Mums4Refugees [19/5/16]
*UPDATE* "Op Voice" SITE TAKEN DOWN but can still be found on GOOGLE CACHE, and partially here.
... They tried to encourage refugees to utilise the one and only option (Cambodia) to go and live there but on the other side, refugees did not want to be misused again as laboratory rats ...
Cambodia's offer from Australian immigration to Nauru refugees have proved that Nauru does no have abilities for local integration.
The purpose of NO ADVANTAGE and PACIFIC SOLUTION policies for refugees [who are] described as queue jumpers to be punished in underdeveloped countries and be processed as long as it will take for refugees who applied for UNHCR resettlement process from Indonesia that attest take 3 to 4 years to get an answer.
The difference between us and refugees who are in Indonesia is that we have been processed in DETENTION CENTRE under mouldy tents. ...
We can witness a processing case from a refugee that applied UNHCR in July 2013 in Indonesia who has been accepted and will be resettled in Australia next week, but Nauru refugees still located in Nauru and they are just eligible enough to tolerate the discrimination from UNHCR processing system.
This strategy has proved to all Nauru refugee that the time of the torture is over and all refugees deserve to be transferred as soon as possible to the 28 UNHCR countries so they can start their new life if they are still mentally and physically healthy.
In conclusion, we are asking from UNHCR to arrange a resettlement in the 27 UNHCR countries except Australia.
But it is obvious that regarding to UNHCR, absence of visiting Guantanamo, government of Australia have used the opportunity to cover some of the problems and disasters therefore it is fair for us to doubt on your visitation of Nauru after all these years for another political games.
We are going to publish this news so at least you can answer media and reporters' questions. ...
Letter from men illegally incarcerated by the LNP and ALP on Manus Island to PNG's Chief Justice [via Lynne Murphy - 18/5/16]
Brisbane maths teacher Jacob Rice taught at the Manus Island immigration detention centre in 2014 when a 23-year-old Iranian man name Reza Berati was bashed to death by security guards during a riot by hunger strikers [when refugees were attacked].
One of the friends the teacher-turned-whistleblower made while working on Manus for nine months was a Rohingya maths teacher.
His friend is still in indefinite detention as his application for asylum had just been rejected on the grounds that he was educated.
The man has told his family that they should consider him dead.
Mr Rice said the Immigration Department had rejected his friend's asylum claim because they concluded he could not be a genuine Rohingya person because members of this religious minority in Burma were not allowed to be educated.
He holds a masters degree in mathematics.
One of his daughters was studying medicine while the other had won a maths competition. ...
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin today ahead of the ASEAN-Russia Commemorative Summit here.
Malaysian ambassador to Russia Datuk Hayati Ismail said the two leaders were expected to discuss steps to enhance economic cooperation between the two countries. ... [New Straits Times - 19/5/16]
Chinese jets intercept US military plane over South China Sea: Pentagon [Reuters - 19/5/16]
A day after signing two agreements with Russia to explore the possibility of nuclear power plants in Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen assured a group of university students in Moscow that such technology would be employed for peaceful means. ... [Cambodia Daily - 19/5/16]
Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Tuesday he stands behind a group of former U.S. sailors suing the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, who claim health problems they now suffer were caused by exposure to radiation after three reactors melted down in the days after a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
Koizumi made the remarks at a press conference in Carlsbad, California, with some of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought in the United States in 2012 against plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), which is now Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.
The plaintiffs include crew members of the U.S. aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan as it provided humanitarian relief along the tsunami-battered coastline in a mission dubbed Operation Tomodachi. ... [Japan Today - 19/5/16]
... How can we talk about the price of gas
When they're stealing our brothers' and sisters' rights to live? ...
'What If We all Stopped Paying Taxes?', Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings 
... Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Ann Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday, May 15, 2015 ... @codepink [18/5/16]
UPNG students give O’Neill 24-hour ultimatum [PNG Loop - 19/5/16]
Pro-democracy protest swells at UPNG [PNG Loop – 19/5/16]:
Hundreds of people have gathered at the University of Papua New Guinea’s main Waigani campus.
Among them are more than 50 Port Moresby Technical College students.
They are wholeheartedly supporting the universities’ call for Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to submit to the law and go in for questioning.
Addressing the 5,000-plus UPNG students as well as the general public, a Pom Tech representative said they are here not only as students but also as concerned citizens of this country.
He commended UPNG for the initiative, for leading the fight for their country.
Representing the women folk, a concerned mother took to the stage, thanking the students for helping secure a good future for her grandchildren.
Whatever is hidden will be exposed, she said. We are supporting you students in your fight.
A father said: “Respect the cry of the 8 million people of Papua New Guinea. That office belongs to the people of PNG.
“If they want it back, give it back. It doesn’t belong to your mother, father or grandfather,” he said.
People are still entering the main campus.
“This is a black Thursday,” said SRC member Hercules Jim.
A Government delegation is expected to receive the students’ petition this afternoon.
Operator of the PNG LNG project, ExxonMobil PNG Ltd, has spent more than K12 billion on services provided by local companies.
Managing director Andrew Barry told the Papua New Guinea-Australia Business Forum in Cairns that this was apart from developing the company’s workforce. ... [The National - 18/5/16]
Renaissance Minerals and Emerald Resources finalised a joint venture agreement and commenced exploratory drilling near the Okvau gold deposit in Mondulkiri province. ... [Phnom Penh Post - 18/5/16]
Kaing Guek Eav, the chairman of the infamous Tuol Sleng prison and more commonly known as Comrade Duch, is set testify at the Khmer Rouge tribunal next week.
Duch was the first Khmer Rouge leader convicted of crimes against humanity by the court over his role at the Phnom Penh prison, also known as S-21, where more than 12,000 people were detained, tortured and killed. ... [Phnom Penh Post - 19/5/16]
American denies child sex; lawyer wants lesser charge [Cambodia Daily - 19/5/16]
Many children in Australia enjoy the benefits of good economic conditions and the protections of a democratic society.
However, that is not the case for a significant number of children.
As UNICEF’s Report Card 13 recently highlighted, many children in Australia are falling behind in key indicators relating to education and health.
In Queensland in particular, recent years have also seen a concerning upward trend of children in criminal detention, in addition to the continued treatment of children who are 17 years old as adults within the criminal justice system. ... [UNICEF Media Release - 13/5/16]
Men charged with fleeing Australia by boat thought crime face court [Yahoo - 19/5/16]:
Parliamentarian calls on Canada to refer Sri Lanka to International Criminal Court [Tamil Guardian - 19/5/16]
Myanmar: Nationwide anti-Rohingya protests begin in Ayeyarwady region [Myanmar Times - 19/5/16]:
... Yesterday’s protesters demanded clarity and pressured the government to denounce the Rohingya.
“Today we marched and shouted our demand, that those who call Bengali people Rohingya are known as our enemy,” said U Wai Yan Aung, a demonstration organiser and a member of an Ayeyarwady nationalist group.
The demonstration was led by the Yangon-based Myanmar Nationalist Network and Buddhist group Ma Ba Tha, also known as the Committee to Protect Race and Religion.
A Pathein township police officer said the demonstration was applied for and permitted.
Protest leaders estimated a turnout of close to 1000 supporters, but according to locals most of the people appeared to have come in from out of town.
“I saw the group of protesters came from Yangon and cooperated with the regional organisation,” said Ko Si Thu, a resident of Pathein township. Ko Win Ko Ko Latt, chair of the Myanmar Nationalist Network, said further protests are scheduled for other major cities, including in Shan State on May 21 and another protest in Yangon on May 22. ...
... In another sign of its growing influence, foreign diplomats regularly visit the group's monastery headquarters.
One was U.S. ambassador Derek Mitchell, who went there twice in May to discuss "the need for increased interfaith dialogue" and "the importance of keeping religion out of politics", according to a statement from the U.S. embassy in Yangon. ... Anti-Muslim Buddhist group moves toward Myanmar's mainstream [Yahoo - 1/9/15]
... When Pacific Standard reached out to Nauru Ambassador Judith Cefkin for her thoughts on the refugee camp conditions, she sent back only a boilerplate response: “We encourage all countries to work with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to find durable solutions for refugees and asylum seekers.” ...
Nauru: A ‘Human Dumping Ground’, Julie Morse [Pacific Standard - 12/4/16]
Greater protection of #humanrights leads to stability, & prosperity in our societies. - @AmbCefkin - Judith Cefkin - US Ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu. ...
Image: @FWRM1 [1/12/15]
... My husband and I were prisoners in my home country. I was held with women who had been sexually abused. They were afraid and I was scared it would happen to me. I managed to escape but I had to leave my husband behind. I tried to get to Australia but I was caught and taken to a place called Nauru. They said "you will be safe there".
I thought I would be safe there ...
Ravi's poems tell of journey from hell [West Australian - 19/5/16]:
... “Many of us made the journey because we were facing certain death,” he says.
“So it was better to risk our lives at sea. At least we had a chance.”
He says the poems and drawings in From Hell to Hell are the products of “pain and suffering” and a need to share his experience with others.
“I’m not a writer,” he says.
“I’m not an artist. But what I faced these last 3 and 1/2 years motivated me to write and draw because you never knew what would happen from one day to the next. If you sat around thinking about it you would go crazy.”
Most difficult of all for Ravi and his fellow detainees was the realisation that in attempting the journey to Australia they were merely swapping one kind of hell for another.
“The hopes and dreams of people fleeing persecution are locked up in a detention centre and they feel betrayed,” he says. ...
Why is Amnesty pretending otherwise?
... “Australia has a long history of welcoming refugees and the overwhelming approval of the decision to accept 12,000 Syrian refugees is testament to that,” Amnesty International Refugee Coordinator Dr Graham Thom said.
“Australia has always been a hospitable country: we showed this when refugees were in need in the wake of World War II, then again 30 years later following the Vietnam War, and again when Chinese students were seeking safety after the Tiananmen Square massacre.
“This Refugee Welcome Index is further evidence that the Australian Government should reconsider its current refugee intake policy: Amnesty continues to call on the Government to increase the annual humanitarian intake to at least 30,000, prioritising UNHCR-approved refugees and for the resettlement of the 12,000 Syrian refugees to be completed fairly and efficiently.” ...
Jakarta Globe [21/3/16]:
... However, since the Australian government cut its resettlement programs — effectively barring the UN Refugee Agency from submitting any new cases registered in Indonesia since July 2014 — asylum seekers and refugees have found themselves stranded in Indonesia.
Since the cessation of settlement programs in Australia the burden of processing new arrivals in Indonesia, and finding a safe place for them, is straining organizations that were already struggling to deal with the influx.
"We're trying our best to provide the most vulnerable refugees with assistance," Vargas says, "but we unfortunately have a very limited budget given the terrible crisis that we are seeing right now globally, with the refugee situation."
... UNHCR [Indonesia] says that Australia's policy of pushing boats back into harm's way, and essentially assisting ruthless smugglers, is unacceptable.
"From UNHCR's [Indonesia] point of view any state that intercepts a boat in international waters, or in their own territorial waters, becomes responsible for the safety of the passengers on that boat, including refugees and asylum seekers," country representative Vargas says. ... <---- UNHCR's regional representative in Canberra has no comment.
Secret federal government documents cast doubt over whether Australia told Indonesia and the United Nations about a retrospective ban on taking refugees from official channels. ... [Guardian - 11/2/15]
Australia's Bali Process endorsed anti-refugee regime has created a flow on regional human rights catastrophe --> Trapped in Sittwe or rounded up and imprisoned while registering at a UNHCR office in Malaysia [Myanmar Now - 19/2/16]
... The asylum seekers remain in limbo in Indonesia.
Kandiha Kayuran and his wife, who gave birth in December, are still in immigration detention in Kupang.
He told Fairfax Media they had no idea what the future held.
"No one cares, New Zealand is not listening, and Australia too, even after the Amnesty report came out. Please help us." Jail for boat crew paid by Australian official to turn back [Sydney Morning Herald - 17/1/16]
The lengths to which the Australian immigration department has gone to facilitate the repatriation of traumatised Syrian asylum seekers detained in offshore detention centres has been extensively revealed in departmental emails obtained under freedom of information laws. ... [Guardian - 19/8/14]
1. The attack on refugees at Australia's concentration camp on Manus Island in February 2014 was not a "riot".
2. Perhaps you could ask Thomas Albrecht why the UN never advocates for the rights of refugees imprisoned on Nauru and Manus.
"tweeted" by @KaldorCentre [19/5/16]
Filed today in the HC re legality of the Manus Island RPC - thanks to all the brave and courageous! Before two justices of the High Court on Monday - best wishes to all!
Jay Williams [18/5/16]
More on Manus Island political prisoners' High Court challenge [The Conversation - 5/5/16]
More than 700 asylum seekers held on Manus Island have launched legal action calling on the Federal Government to immediately move them to Australia.
The application for an urgent injunction was filed with the High Court on Wednesday by human rights barrister Jay Williams.
It follows last week's decision in the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court which ruled that the Manus Island detention centre breached the country's constitution.
The group of 757 asylum seekers are also seeking an order from the court preventing the Australian Government from moving them to Nauru.
The group allege that both the Australian and PNG governments have committed "gross" human rights breaches including forcible detention, torture and degrading treatment and false imprisonment.
A solicitor for the group, Mathew Byrnes, also called for a Royal Commission into the operation of the Manus Island centre.
"In addition to the orders being sought from the High Court in these applications, we are of the view that there is an urgent need for an inquiry or a Royal Commission in relation to the arrangements," Mr Byrnes said.
Mr Byrnes said any inquiry should be headed by retired High Court justice Michael Kirby. ...
Instead of emboldening Dutton with partisan indignation, perhaps those complaining about the presence of Murdoch staff on Manus Island could counter their anti-refugee propaganda by conveying the explicit demands for freedom, justice and GENUINE resettlement contained within the recent letter from illegally imprisoned men?
There is a News Limited photographer prowling Manus. ABC is not allowed on Manus or Nauru. Why does News Ltd have special access?
"tweeted" by @JulianBurnside [19/5/16]
Sydney Morning Herald [14/3/12]:
The Immigration Department developed its new, highly restrictive policy on media visits to detention centres with reference to US military arrangements governing media access to the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention centre.
Documents released under freedom of information show the ''deed of agreement'' that Immigration insists journalists and media organisations visiting detention centres must sign was ''informed by … the current US Department of Defence media access policy for its detention facility at Guantanamo Bay''.
The department also justified extremely tight media control and censorship to the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, as ''the right balance'' in circumstances that included ''the current climate associated with media ethics, media 'phone hacking' [in Britain]''. ...
And will no doubt be dutifully censored by the Australian media ---> A case filed at the Supreme Court involving detainees at the Regional Processing Centre in Manus and PNG Migration will return to court for hearing this Thursday.
The matter came for directions hearing today in Waigani where parties agreed to have counsel acting for Chief Migration Office, Mataio Rabura, move an application seeking leave of the court to introduce fresh evidence into the case. ... [PNG Loop -16/5/16]
@RichardMarlesMP [11/3/14]: Great to meet my old friend Rimbink Pato, PNG Minister for Foreign Affairs & Immigration in Port Moresby yesterday.
Australia's refugee detention centres are concentration camps and must be closed, Stephen Charles, QC, former judge of the Victorian Court of Appeal [The Age - 4/5/16]:
... The camps in Manus Island and Nauru have long since ceased to be mere detention centres. They are now concentration camps.
Labor's immigration spokesman Richard Marles has called offshore processing "the single most important policy that any Australian government has made".
The Prime Minister recently described those who oppose the government's policy towards asylum seekers as "misty-eyed".
A week ago, representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees visited Nauru and told detainees that none of them would escape from the camps within 10 years. ...
Free the Children NAURU [27/11/15]:
25.11.15 Connect told to refugees in Nauru : "we have new accommodation for you" when I went there I didn't have room
I lied on the street and Nauru police arected (arrested) me and 3 strong Nauruian men with force pushed me in the police car and they kept me in the jail, still I don't have room for live.
please help me just I need a room for live.
I asked Australian connect worker (her name is (deleted) and they left me alone and Nauru police arested me and they kept me in ...the jail and they left my belongs in the street, I need your help please. still I dont have any place for live.
I am not alone,we are 4 single ladies.
This morning 27.11.15 a protest started at RPC3 one man (Name deleted) climbed to the top of a crane
He was protesting about having another interview with Australian immigration because he has had many interview and he still doesn't know about his refugee statue .
he has a message to world : ( WORLD ,KIDS IN NAURU NEED YOUR HELP )
... First-hand accounts from Central American women and their family members interviewed for this project reveal the dangerous and bleak circumstances of life these women and their children faced upon return to their home countries, as well as serious problems in the deportation process.
The testimonies describe how women are living in hiding, fear for their own and their children’s lives, have minimal protection options, and suffer the consequences of state weakness and inability to ensure their safety in the Northern Triangle.
The stories presented in the report are those of a fraction of the women and children who navigate a formidable emigration-detention-deportation process in their pursuit of safety.
The process and systems through which they passed only contribute to the trauma, violence, and desolation that many Central American families already endured in their home country. ... Deterrence strategy targeting Central American asylum seekers comes at a high human cost [American Immigration Council - 18/5/16]
Palestinian hunger-striking prisoner Sami Janazreh renewed his strike Wednesday, following a one week suspension ahead of the Israeli Supreme Court’s review of his case.
Janazreh, 43, from al-Fawwar refugee camp near Hebron, suspended his more than two month strike last week as Israeli authorities reportedly agreed to present evidence against him in a hearing on Wednesday if he agreed to discontinue the strike.
The decision followed a ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court to postpone the review of Janazreh’s appeal so the prisoner could undergo interrogations.
The hunger-striker agreed to suspend his strike during the waiting period before the Israeli Supreme Court hearing, but pledged to renew his hunger strike if his administrative detention was extended past the court date on Wednesday. ... [Maan - 18/5/16]
Nearly a dozen people have been killed in Khan Eshieh refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus since late Monday as fighting between armed rebels and Syrian government forces has engulfed the surrounding area, according to a Palestinian education and relief group.
The Jafra Foundation stated on Tuesday that three internally displaced persons were killed during heavy shelling that began one day prior, “with continued artillery fire targeting civilian sites in the Khan Eshieh area.” ... [Electronic Intifada - 17/5/16]
CIA 'mistakenly' destroys copy of 6,700-page US torture report [Independent - 18/5/16] <--- @Snowden [18/5/16]: I worked @CIA. I wrote the Emergency Destruction Plan for Geneva. When CIA destroys something, it's never a mistake.
19 May 2016