3,000 migrants rescued off Libya: Italian coastguard [Yahoo - 20/3/17]:


... One participant was the Aquarius, a humanitarian ship run by the NGO SOS Mediterranean and Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which said it saved 946 people, including 200 unaccompanied minors. ...



Canada's quiet crackdown on Mexican migrants [teleSUR - 19/3/17]:


Canada has detained more migrants from Mexico in the first three months of 2017 than they have annually in each of the past three years, according to a report by Reuters released on Friday.

The Canadian Border Services Agency told Reuters that it arrested and detained 444 Mexican citizens in the first three months of 2017.

This is more than the 410 detained in all of 2016, the 351 in 2015, or the 399 in 2014.

The CBSA would not provide information on the reasons for the detentions but says that it can detain foreign nationals if their identity is unclear, or if the CBSA believes they "pose a threat to public safety" or might not appear for a deportation proceeding.

While like all migrants Mexican nationals require a Visa in order to work or study in Canada, they no longer need a Visa to enter the country.

Despite this, Reuters also found that Mexican nationals are being turned back at the Canadian border in record numbers.

More than 313 were denied entry in January 2017, more than the annual totals for each of 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The Reuters report comes as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tried to present his country as more welcoming to migrants and refugees in contrast to his southern neighbor. ...



... Much of it dates back to the so-called "border surge" under President Obama, when tens of thousands of families and children fleeing deadly violence in Central America began pouring into this country. ... Why New Jersey's immigration court has one of the highest backlog of cases in the nation [NJ..com - 19/3/17]



36 Cambodian refugees could soon be deported. This man's story will break your heart. [Mic - 19/3/17]:


... Phan is among one of at least 36 Cambodian refugees who are currently being held in immigration detention facilities scattered across the United States, according to advocates and attorneys who spoke to Mic.

Many of them committed nonviolent crimes and have already served their time in jail or prison. More than two dozen of them escaped Cambodia's Khmer Rouge regime, a violent communist dictatorship led by Pol Pot that ultimately led to the deaths of half a million people, and were part of the largest refugee resettlement in United States history.

Some of them could be deported in a matter of days.


President Barack Obama deported 2.5 million people during his presidency, more than any other president, including more than 530,000 immigrants with criminal convictions.

Though the Obama administration vowed to focus its deportation efforts on "felons, not families," a 2016 investigation by the Marshall Project found that 21% of deportees were people like Phan, who had been convicted of nonviolent offenses.

Phan was ordered to check in with ICE every six months to renew his work permit.

Then he was detained by ICE officials in August. He's been in immigration detention centers — first in Minnesota, then in Louisiana and now Arizona — ever since. 

Phan's sister, Montha Chum, says her family feels betrayed. 

"My dad was a freedom fighter for the United States during the Cambodian War," Chum said in a phone interview.

"For the U.S. to try to deport his youngest son to a country that he fled from is just not right." ...



Reuters picks up on the latest "US officials fingerprinting refugees" installment of the sick Obama-Australia refugee "deal" sideshow [20/3/17]



The following was revealed at this evening's [20/3/17] public hearing of the Serious allegations of abuse, self-harm and neglect of asylum seekers in relation to the Nauru Regional Processing Centre, and any like allegations in relation to the Manus Regional Processing Centre Senate Inquiry:


1. A DIBP official stated that fingerprinting of Nauru refugees would be conducted 20-30 March and 4-8 April on Manus.  So who's been fingerprinting refugees on Manus for the past few days?


2. DIBP Secretary Michael Pezzullo gave indecipherable responses to most questions regarding logistics and numbers of refugees for consideration as part of the US "deal" .


3. Much hypothetical discussion ensued regarding the US "deal", as Border Force blackshirts and DIPB officials doodled, smirked and played on their phones.


4. A single moment of clarity occurred when the relentless partisan point scoring fell flat, with Pezzullo explaining to ALP Senators Pratt and Watt how the July 2013 ALP policy works  i.e. boat refugees will never be allowed into Australia.


5. Check the body language next time. We are being lied to.



How very Australian: Bangladesh allows Myanmar government officials to harass Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar camps [bdnews24.com - 19/3/17]



Myanmar Buddhists protest government's plans for pissweak half-citizenship for Rohingya [Yahoo - 19/3/17]



Sri Lanka Tamil party TNA against granting Sri Lanka more time to implement UN resolution proposals [Colombo Page - 20/3/17]



French journalists deported from West Papua [RNZI - 20/3/17]



Russia summoned Israeli ambassador over airstrikes near Palmyra [RT - 20/3/17]:


... On Friday morning, Israeli planes attacked several targets in Syria, reportedly destroying advanced arms provided to the Lebanese militant movement Hezbollah.

Syria’s air defense force fired anti-aircraft missiles at the planes as they were returning from the mission.

Israel said it shot down one of the interceptors with its Arrow long-range SAMs.

On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened to destroy Syria’s air defenses if the country attacked Israeli warplanes again. ...



The Egyptian air force conducted air strikes in recent days in the northern Sinai Peninsula that left at least 18 suspected militants killed, according to the Egyptian army, days after Human Rights Watch accused Egyptian forces of committing possible extrajudicial executions and forced disappearances in the region under the guise of counterterrorism operations. ... [Maan - 19/3/17]



IDF launches 2 drills in Israel's south [Times of Israel - 19/3/17]



Gaza court sentences 2 Palestinians to death for drug dealing [Maan - 19/3/17]



Israeli forces 18 Palestinians for being in WhatsApp group with slain alleged attacker [Maan - 19/3/17]



Al-Duheisha refugee camp residents say Israeli forces escalating violence [Maan - 19/3/17]:


Days after five residents of al-Duheisha refugee camp were shot and injured during a violent military raid, locals have again warned of Israeli forces deliberately targeting unarmed Palestinians in the camp with live fire without justification.

Detention raids in al-Duheisha, which is located south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, have become a near-daily occurrence.

Due to the aggressive nature of the raids, clashes often erupt between local Palestinian youth who throw stones and are met in response with live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas, often resulting in serious injuries.


Three other locals were shot and injured amid the clashes. One of the three, a now wheelchair bound 22-year-old who asked to remain anonymous, told Ma’an after undergoing knee surgery that he was shot while trying to rescue another young man who had also just been shot.

Arab Society Hospital doctor Nasser Jawabra told Ma’an on Saturday evening that while the conditions of all five of the men were improving, dozens of leg and knee injuries he’s seen in recent months have caused permanent disabilities.

"Knee injuries are no longer surprising. We have treated dozens of young men hit in the knees, which indicates that Israeli soldiers are deliberately aiming their guns at this part of the body, because it contains main nerves and arteries and could result in disabilities," he said. ...



Palestinian police in Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip prevented a man from setting himself on fire in a local market on Sunday, amid a police campaign to remove street vendors' carts from the market.

Witnesses said they saw the man pour gasoline on his body and try to set himself ablaze in an apparent suicide attempt before police intervened.

The man was unharmed.

Locals said that the man owned a street vending cart that was seized by police during the raid. ... [Maan - 19/3/17]



If you will not respect existence, you can expect resistance:  Former Israeli Army combat solider speaks about the systemic oppression of Palestinians  [teleSUR - 6/3/17]



Report on the International Conference on Palestinian Children and Israeli Detention Policies [PNN - 19/3/17]:


... Speakers described the Israeli detention policies and their international law violations.

A panel of psychiatrists explained the effects on the mental health of the children.

A group of liberated children even told about their horrible experiences: stories about scare tactics using dogs, severe beatings and refusal to administer insulin to a diabetic to make him confess.

The conclusion was that the systematic arrests of children, the abusive interrogation methods and the harsh sentences for very minor offences are part of a very deliberate strategy.

Not a strategy to improve security or obtain information, but to break the spirit of a generation.

At the end of the conference a national strategy and an international campaign was launched.

The main message to the international community was to put more pressure on Israel to stop their violations of international law and human rights.

The European Union in particular was called upon to activate article 2 of the E.U.-Israel Association Agreement, the free trade agreement between both parties. ...



Remember David Dungay where everything started [1 April 2017]



... Ms Dungay said her son died in the prison hospital soon after being restrained by a group of guards after he refused to stop eating a biscuit for his blood sugar levels.


Paul Silva, David Dungay's nephew, said his family was suffering through unimaginable heartache.

"He did the time with less than three weeks to go but he came out in a body bag," he said.  David Dungay's family demand justice [Nine MSN - 22/12/16]



Guards at Australian youth detention centre asked boys for oral sex, goaded them to eat faeces, filmed them in toilet [ABC - 20/3/17]



A Northern Territory teenager was forced to shower with adult prisoners and threatened by guards with rape, the juvenile justice royal commission has been told.

A former youth detainee identified as BY has told the inquiry he was sent to Darwin's adult prison from Don Dale Youth Detention Centre after throwing a chair at a guard during a riot at Christmas 2011.

While giving evidence at the Alice Springs hearing, BY said he was kept in solitary confinement and forced to shower with adult inmates.

"While I was showering an adult prisoner was standing next to me. I was really embarrassed and scared and I turned to face the wall," he said on Thursday.

The then 17-year-old said officers also spithooded him each time he left isolation to visit a nurse even though he hadn't been spitting.

"I couldn't breathe and I didn't know what was going on. I freaked out," he said.

BY, who is still in custody, said one guard asked when he'd turn 18 and return to the adult prison, saying "I'll get some of the guys to rape you when you get back." ... [NITV - 17/3/17]



...  Ronalds [lawyer] said Palm Islanders had been victims of systemic racism that was “so entrenched that it is apparently invisible to those who did it and those who manage and supervise it”. ...


SERT pointed guns at children in Palm Island raids, court told [Guardian - 21/9/15]



Police surround a pool and use a dog to threaten a child at Cleveland Detention Centre, August 2015.



ABC [19/8/16]:


... Jeff Ingram [former Cleveland Detention Centre staff member] says his complaint about a manager assaulting an inmate in the face with steel can was never followed up.

I've been trying for two years to get somebody to listen, and somebody to do something about it, and even when I went to outside organisations like the Official Visitor and the Guardian.

I got no help, I got nothing, they just didn't want to know about what happened to that boy. 

And these are organisations that are meant to protect those young people.


Shane Duffy [Head, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service]:  The profile of the staff, we notice more and more ex-service people. ...



Former worker claims abuse rife at Cleveland Youth Detention Centre in Queensland [ABC – 30/7/16]:


... Shayleen Solomon, a youth worker at the Cleveland Youth Detention Centre in Townsville, told Lateline that physical and emotional abuse was rife in the north Queensland centre.

Ms Solomon worked at Cleveland for almost six years from 2009.

She described an incident in 2012 in which she alleges a 15-year-old boy was involved in a physical altercation with a group of male staff.

Ms Solomon said she was returning the boy to his room when he yelled out at the group of men.

"[He was saying] 'I'll have a go at you', stuff like that. So they came out and absolutely trashed this boy," she said.

"There were 15 fully grown men on top of this child. They had him in a sort of crucifix position trying to bend his arms back behind his body to put handcuffs on him.

"The young boy was head butting the ground because he was face down. He had blood coming out of his forehead. There was no room to move.

"I was the worker that went down and put my hands underneath his head to stop him hurting himself more. And he was pleading with them to stop and everything, but they didn't."

Ms Solomon's claims follow similar allegations of abuse made earlier this week at the Cleveland centre.

Ms Solomon said the Four Corners report on the Northern Territory's Don Dale detention centre proved incidents like this had been going on for too long.

She alleged that she regularly witnessed verbal and emotional abuse of detainees at the Cleveland centre.

"In the detention centre the things that you see — and it's not only the physical abuse — the way that these big brutes of men will boast about how many young people they've smashed," she said.

"They strip them of everything ... they strip them of all their self-esteem." ...



In August 2015, a Senate motion to expedite the ratification of OPCAT [Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment] didn't even get to a vote because Queensland ALP Senator Claire Moore objected.  



Are Hinch and McKim serious about their role in Australian democracy, or are they happy to keep performing as extras in banality of evil damage control theatre for ALP/LNP refugee "deterrence" policy?


Women and children, including unaccompanied minors, will be among those sent to Nauru and Manus Island for processing under a hardline approach aimed at sending a message to people smugglers that there will be no exemptions.

With the first batch of about 40 asylum seekers to be flown this week to Nauru, where a temporary tent city has been erected, the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, said he would not be issuing any blanket exemptions to people sent offshore because these would be exploited by the people smugglers. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 12/9/12]



A political prisoner of the Australian government protests on Nauru [November, 2014]



If Omid's case is being scrutinised this evening, UNHCR reps who visited Nauru in April 2016 should be called to give evidence ---> 20/03/2017 8:30PM - 10:30PM AEDT Senate, Legal & Constitutional Affairs References Committee (Serious allegations of abuse, self-harm and neglect of asylum seekers in regional processing centres)   



Senate Hansard [15/3/17]:


... Senator McKIM: I wanted to just take you to something in your submission to the committee from 23 February. It is the response to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners' submission.

It has been co-signed by Mr Johnston and Dr Seevnarain. You have said in there that you are not aware of any suicides on Nauru or Manus Island over the last three years.

Then you have said that one death, which was reported as possible suicide in the media, was from unknown causes, and then you have gone on to say: 'The other was a man who set himself on fire as a form of political protest, with what appears to be an accidental death ensuing.'

How do you know that it was an accidental death? I mean, how do you know that that was an accidental death and that the person did not intend to kill themselves?

Dr Holdaway [Medical Director, Mental Health Service, International Health and Medical Services]: I can talk to that. My definition of a suicide would be a person who attempts to kill themselves with the intention of being dead at the end of it—they intend to die of whatever act they commit.

Senator McKIM: How do you know this person did not intend to die?

Dr Holdaway: There is no history prior to this attempt which would indicate that he was suicidal.

Senator McKIM: That is not definitive, is it, Dr Holdaway?

Dr Seevnarain [Senior Health Adviser, International Health and Medical Services]: I would ask that, if we are to discuss the specifics of cases, we take it in camera, please. ...



If exposing the truth is offlimits, what does it say about ANY of our rights?


“Omid was doing well, enduring hardships for better future. What happened to Omid’s hope?

Who has taken his hope?

Who has taken our hope, our Omid?

Who has made the life so bitter for him?”


(And why isn't anyone interested in pursuing the truth?  Doesn't Omid's wife and family deserve that?)


[Guardian - 21/5/16]



Omid [ABC - 29/4/16]



In late April, representatives from the UNHCR - lead by Thomas Albrecht - undertook secretive missions on Manus and Nauru.

After being pressed by the media what they were up to, they said their mission was to "monitor" conditions of the camps, and the mental health of the refugees.

During the UNHCR visit to Nauru, refugees were told to expect to remain on the island for "another ten years". [Arman has never been given a right of reply to the UNHCR's denial of these claims.]

Immediately after they conveyed this message to the refugees, Omid Masoumali covered himself in flammable liquid and set himself alight shouting at the delegation "We're sick and exhausted! You've destroyed our lives! Did you come just to gape at our misery? We lead miserable lives! You've been torturing us for three years!"

After more than 24 hours without adequate medical attention he was airlifted by private contractor to Brisbane, where he died on 29 April 2016 from his burns.

Up until the time Omid died, the UNHCR Australia branch deflected any queries about the plight of refugees and asylum seekers in South East Asia to the "Bangkok office".

Their only recent publicised activity in the region has been to assist the Australian government in its subversion of the right to seek asylum by "welcoming" its lies about the "release" of refugees on Nauru in October 2015.

Their fundraising and highlighting the plight of refugees and asylum seekers anywhere but in our region  - especially those imprisoned in Australia, and on Nauru, Manus and Christmas Island - has never been scrutinised.

That the UNHCR are only calling for the "immediate movement" of refugees, and not urging Australia to immediately close offshore camps and resume meeting international obligations under the refugee convention, is telling.

Albrecht should explain why the UNHCR does not want the refugees on Nauru and Manus freed and resettled.



Latest installment of phoney Obama-Australia refugee "deal" pantomime [ABC - 20/3/17]



At the very least, a journalist should ask if the "deal" is binding, and has a timeframe --->  US Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman still awaiting declassification of Obama-Australia refugee "deal" [Senator Chuck Grassley Media Release - 2/2/17]



They’ve lied to us so often that nothing is believable to me anymore.


Political prisoner at Australia's refugee concentration camp on Nauru [Guardian - 17/2/17]



"WE ARE ASKING THE WORLD TO TAKE US FROM THE HELL"  ‏@elahe_zivardar [14/2/17]



Something to bear in mind when Australian human rights bobbleheads actually emerge to say things  ---> ... While Amnesty International poses as a leader in human rights advocacy, in reality, it is one of the largest and most destructive threats undermining genuine and legitimate human rights advocacy.

Because of the systematic. politically-motivated deceit employed by Amnesty International and others, genuine advocates are finding it more difficult to engage an increasingly jaded and sceptical public when real abuse is taking place. ... [offGuardian - 17/3/17]



Amnesty bizarrely praises the sham Bali Process forum - which has condemned 1,000s of refugees across South East Asia [15/3/17]



... Among the group’s biggest boosters is Sophie McNeill, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation correspondent who was among the first reporters to publish the now-famous photo of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh being extracted from the rubble of an Eastern Aleppo apartment building.

On her Twitter account, McNeill urged readers to donate money to the White Helmets and expressed her hope that the group wins the Nobel Prize.

(McNeill did not respond to questions sent to her publicly listed email.)


Back in November 2014, Tim Dixon, the managing director of Purpose Europe, a former adviser to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and an original Syria Campaign board member, issued a report detailing how his firm’s “White Helmets campaign uses compelling storytelling to mobilize public support.”

Dixon wrote: “Purpose believed their story had the power to inspire empathy and action in the wider public, and launched the White Helmets campaign in August as part of an ongoing effort to build support for the protection of civilians.” ... [Alternet - 2/10/16]



20 March 2017