Does this mean the US influence in establishing Guantanamo-style refugee gulags throughout the region is also here "to stay"? ---> US Ambassador Cefkin to stay … @FijiOneNews [19/1/17]
Image: @AmbCefkin [5/12/16]
@AustraliaUN [21/1/17]: Delighted to continue to work closely together to empower women and girls. Gender equity a key plank of our 2018-20 first ever HRC bid.
In December 2016, the Government of Australia and UN Women signed a new four-year Partnership Framework Agreement, reaffirming their shared commitment to the advancement of women’s empowerment and gender equality in the Indo-Pacific region and globally.
The Partnership Framework also outlines Australia’s multi-year contribution of USD 22.74 million (AUD 31.16 million) to core resources over the next four years, providing UN Women with greater funding predictability and flexibility to support the implementation of the current Strategic Plans for 2014-2017 and the upcoming Plan for 2018-2021, as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. ...
January 2017 Marie Claire: Jennifer Aniston, hot holiday hair and deliberate denial of medical care to Nauru refugees.
... It’s unusual that they [Connect Consortium - who run "settlement" services for refugees exiled on Nauru] haven’t encountered any allegations of rape or sexual assault, because there are many. Such as the story of Beth, a young Ethiopian refugee who was released into the Nauruan community in May.
Allegedly Beth, whose name I have changed, was sitting on the beach with some other Ethiopian women when local men gave her a drink. Beth began to feel woozy, before being dragged into bushes by two or three men and raped.
They then poured fuel on her and set her alight. I have seen photographs of her after the assault.
Her left breast is so badly burnt that the skin has blackened and lifted from the flesh.
As a result of the rape, Beth became pregnant. A solemn Christian, the thought of abortion appalled her but she decided to go through with it. Beth was flown to Brisbane for the termination where, not long after, she attempted to hang herself with a bed sheet. She is now back on Nauru.
These are not isolated incidents. I have another letter, also written by a Somali woman, who recounts a similar story. Sarah, whose name I have also changed, was offered a lift by a man at the supermarket’s bus stop.
“In car, man said I have to get something from my home first. When we got there dogs came out barking. Man said get out of car, dogs won’t hurt you. Dogs came close to attacking me. I asked him to call dogs away. He said get inside the house – they don’t know you – if you go inside they think you are part of family.
“I went inside. Dogs came in too. Man took off all his clothes and showed me his private parts. I wet my pants and soiled my pants. This is reason I left Somalia – this fear of rape – I see it happen to many. Then he said I don’t care and hit my face very hard. He said dogs will kill you if you don’t suck my private part. Then I have no choice.” ... [The Saturday Paper - 22/8/15]
@Clintonswalk [21/1/17]: ... The Walk Team: Clinton Pryor The Walker, Noonie Raymond on the bike, Garry Ashwin driving the Justice Mobile.
Indigenous man filmed with whole-body tremors days after being tasered by WA police [Guardian - 20/1/17]:
An Indigenous man suffered ongoing whole-body tremors after being tasered and allegedly stomped on by police in Western Australia, according to a video released to Guardian Australia.
Clifton Wayne Penny, 28, was tasered while being arrested by police on Armadale Road near the Great Eastern Motor Lodge in Rivervale, southern Perth, on 2 January.
He was then arrested and taken to Royal Perth hospital, where he was assessed in the emergency department and released, on 3 January, back into police custody.
He was later taken to court, refused bail, and checked into Hakea remand prison, where he was allegedly given a wheelchair because he was unable to walk.
Video taken by the prisoner advocate Mervyn Eades at Perth’s Fiona Stanley hospital nine days later, on 11 January, showed Penny’s arms and legs were shaking and his eyes were unfocused.
Family who saw Penny on the day of his arrest said he appeared healthy before being taken into hospital.
The video, released with Penny’s family’s permission, shows Eades asking: “You never stopped shaking, uncle?” Penny replies: “No.”
His hands are handcuffed in his lap and the video pans down to show his ankles are chained to the chair.
Penny continues: “They dragged me along the hot concrete … They dragged me along the hot concrete, stomped on my head and they tasered me until I pissed my pants … I don’t want to stay like this, uncle … I don’t want to stay like this.”
A friend who was with Penny at the time of his arrest said he did not appear unwell before police arrived, and showed no sign of tremors.
“He was actually pretty bubbly, he was out there, he was really good,” Jaydan Ballard told Guardian Australia.
According to WA police, the Cloverdale man tried to drive away in a stolen Ford Mustang when police found him on 2 January.
In a statement, a spokesman from WA police said: “It will be alleged the man resisted arrest.”
Two police officers were injured in the arrest attempt and one later required stitches.
“The man continued to resist arrest and was tasered to prevent further injury to the officers and to apply a set of handcuffs,” the police spokesman said.
Ballard watched the arrest from a second-storey window of the Great Eastern Motor Lodge, where she and two others were held by police.
She said Penny tried to escape by driving the Mustang away but a police car rammed into the side of the driver’s side of the vehicle, pushing it on to the curb.
“When the car struck on the side to stop him, the police officers dragged him out, and when they dragged him out they started attacking him,” she said.
“I didn’t want to look any more, I was crying, I was upset, I was getting an anxiety attack.” ...
Video emerges of killing in Umm al-Hiran, as family awaits return of slain Bedouin's body [Maan - 21/1/17]:
A new video has emerged capturing the killing of Umm al-Hiran resident and local teacher Yaqoub Abu al-Qian who was shot to death by Israeli police on Wednesday, while his family continues to await the return of his body.
Ma’an obtained a video on Saturday that was filmed by a resident of Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran of the moment that al-Qian was shot, as dozens of gunshots are heard and Israeli police yelling “gunshots” and heading to the source.
Israeli police claimed that the math teacher was carrying out a vehicular attack which killed police officer Erez Levi, 34, though a number of witnesses and Palestinian officials with Israeli citizenship have disputed Israeli security forces’ version of events, saying that police officers opened fire on Abu al-Qian despite him not representing a threat, causing him to lose control of his vehicle and fatally hit Levi.
Meanwhile, Israeli police footage published by Israeli daily Haaretz on Wednesday, which they said was most likely from a police a helicopter hovering above the scene, appeared to show police officers shooting at al-Qian as he was driving at a very slow pace, and only several seconds after the gunfire does his car appear to speed up, eventfully plowing through police officers.
Abu al-Qian’s autopsy report was also released on Friday, detailing that the teacher had been killed by two bullets that were fired at his vehicle, the first of which struck him on his right knee, and the second in a main artery in the chest area, before he was left to bleed to death.
Israeli Channel 10 reported that Abu al-Qian’s knee injury led to the acceleration of his vehicle after his leg pressed against the gas pedal, and added that he had lost large amounts of blood which would have made it impossible to save him.
Nevertheless, they reported that he had been left to bleed for a half and hour as ambulances were prevented from providing him first aid.
Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli police pulled an injured Abu al-Qian from his vehicle at the time and shot him another time to confirm his death. However, this testimony contradicts the autopsy report that stated he had bled to death. ...
Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has canceled a planned trip to Belgium over fears that she would get arrested and questioned for war crimes. ... [Press TV - 21/1/17]
Palestinian child injured by Israeli bullet in northern Gaza [Maan - 20/1/17]:
A Palestinian child was reportedly injured on Friday evening after being struck by an Israeli bullet in Beit Lahiya in the north of the Gaza Strip after Israeli forces opened live fire at homes in the area. ...
Eight people were killed on Saturday after a shell landed on a house in southern Rafah, in the north of Sinai, eye witnesses and medical sources said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack and witnesses and medical sources said the source of the shell was unknown.
Rafah is on the border with Gaza. ... [Reuters - 21/1/17]
India to deploy hundreds of main battle tanks along border with Pakistan [RT - 21/1/17]
Pakistan has handed over to Indian authorities an Indian soldier who crossed into Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir region in September. ... [Yahoo - 21/1/17]
Blast kills at least 21 in Pakistan vegetable market, says official [Reuters - 21/1/17]
Primary military court judge kidnapped in Kunduz [Pajhwok - 21/1/17]:
Unidentified gunmen kidnapped a primary military court judge in the restive northern province of Kunduz on Saturday morning, an official said.
Mahfoozullah Akbari, spokesman for the 808th Spinzar Police Zone, told Pajhwok Afghan News the judge was abducted in the Khwaja Pasti locality of Khanabad district. ...
TOLO TV this week marked the first anniversary of the attack on a staff vehicle that killed seven employees and wounded 25 others. ... [TOLO News - 20/1/17]
NATO’s Resolute Support Mission (RS) in Afghanistan has said the United States Defense Secretary has stopped salaries of more than 30,000 ghost soldiers in Afghanistan and that from now on the Pentagon will only pay salaries of soldiers that are registered biometrically. ... [TOLO News - 20/1/17]
At least four foreign militants affiliated to Daesh insurgents were killed in drone strikes carried out by foreign forces in Nangarhar province, provincial governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said on Friday. ... [TOLO News - 20/1/17]
Obama’s drone report omits civilians slain in Iraq, Afghanistan; claims only one civilian killed all year as a result [Antiwar.com - 19/1/17]
... On Saturday, Saudi aircraft struck residential buildings in the port of Mokha in the southwestern Yemeni province of Ta’izz, killing a woman and wounding some others, Yemen’s al-Masirah television network reported.
A day earlier, Saudi forces had dropped cluster bombs on the Zabou’ah Village in the Nihm District of the Sana’a Province, located in the west-central part of the war-torn country.
The attack killed three civilians and injured eight others. Children were both among those killed and injured, according to Yemen’s Saba Net news website.
Also on Saturday, Saudi fighter planes hit the al-Salif District in the western coastal al-Hudaydah Province. ... [Press TV - 21/1/17]
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [21/1/17]:
Organizations demand the government forces and US-led coalition to stop using the heavy weapons in Mosul battles as they have caused large number of deaths and injuries mostly women and children.
Anbar: A child was killed and "3 " others were wounded as an IED exploded in Garma district east of Fallujah.
Baghdad: Two persons were wounded as an IED exploded in Diyala Bridge area southeast of Baghdad.
Influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has said his militias were not involved in the battles to retake the city of Mosul from Islamic State because U.S. forces were involved in the process.
Sadr, a central political and militant player, who for sometime following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq was branded an enemy to the United States, told NRT on Thursday that Saraya al-Salam militia, which he commands, did not partake in the three-month-old campaign for Mosul due to the involvement of “occupier” American troops, as he put it.
“I do not deal with Americans,” he said. ... [IraqiNews.com - 20/1/17]
Syrian Army regains strategic crossroads of al-Qaryatain in Homs, advances in Deir Ezzor [SANA - 20/1/17]
Seven people were killed in terrorist rocket attacks that hit residential areas in Deir Ezzor city on Friday. ... [SANA - 20/1/17]
Two citizens were killed and another one was injured when an explosive device planted by terrorists in a car of a member of the local reconciliation committee went off in Beit Sabir village in the west of Damascus Countryside. ... [SANA - 20/1/17]
Expanding on their involvement in US-led coalition’s military operations in Iraq and Syria, the Danish Parliament today approved the deployment of up to 60 special forces ground troops into Syria.
The Danish government had sought, and failed, to get similar permission back in April, but won the vote this time. ... [Antiwar.com - 20/1/17]
United States continues bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 20/1/17]
Islamic State group militants destroyed the landmark ancient Tetrapylon and parts of the 2nd century Roman theater in Syria's historic town of Palmyra, the government and opposition monitoring groups said Friday.
On Thursday, reports emerged that the militant group killed 12 captives it held in Palmyra, some of them beheaded in the Roman theater. [Yahoo - 20/1/17]
An unidentified gunman attacked police in Istanbul on Saturday, the private Dogan News Agency reported, a day after unidentified assailants attacked Istanbul's police headquarters and an office of the ruling AK Party with rocket launchers. ... [Reuters - 21/1/17]
Turkey can no longer insist on Syria settlement without Assad: Turkish deputy PM [Reuters - 20/1/17]
… Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can't say
People just liked it better that way …
… One of the better-known versions of "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" is the cover by the alternative rock band They Might Be Giants (TMBG), who released it on their album Flood in 1990. … [Wikipedia]
Turkey's parliament has narrowly approved a controversial constitutional reform package, which aims to empower the office of the Presidency.
The parliamentary approval paves the way for a referendum on the measures. ... [Deutsche Welle - 21/1/17]
Commissioner for Migration tells Greek Mayors that the EU solution to refugees freezing to death in island camps is forcible return to Turkey [Ekathimerini - 20/1/17]
@Souidos [20/1/17]: #Athens right now. Solidarity demo with hunger-striker Mohamed A. who is threatened with deportation ...
UK community refugee scheme has resettled only two Syrian families [Guardian - 19/1/17]
@wikileaks [20/1/17]: The police build up (Diplomatic and MET) around the embassy where Assange has asylum has now ceased. Buildup first sighted at 7am GMT.
Hamburg, Germany: Protest against forced deportation of Hazara asylum seekers to Afghanistan @hazarapeople [21/1/17 ]
A group of Nigerian writers, intellectuals and media figures called on President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday to stop the persecution of journalists, after an online publication's news staff was briefly detained.
Nigerian police late on Thursday arrested the editor and a reporter for the Premium Times, the rights group Amnesty International said, in a dispute raising concern about press freedom in Africa's biggest democracy.
The two were released later that evening without being charged. ... [Reuters - 20/1/17]
Deaths from Nigerian refugee camp air strike rises to 90, could reach 170: MSF [Reuters - 20/1/17]
After the raid is over: Marshalltown, Iowa and the consequences of worksite enforcement raids [American Immigration Council - 25/1/11]:
... The ever-expanding arsenal of ICE enforcement policies, together with harsh state and local laws and policies, have harmful side effects that go far beyond the unauthorized population. Policies meant to target unauthorized immigrants also impact their family members, employers, and neighbors.
A large number of the people affected are U.S.-citizen children. Latinos, Asians, and others who “sound” or “appear” to be foreign may be the victims of mistakes (such as the U.S. citizens who have been mistakenly deported), or may experience civil rights violations, discrimination, or profiling.
In states and localities with anti-immigrant laws and policies, negative attitudes towards immigrants and nasty rhetoric might be enough to cause lawfully present people to leave.
When large numbers of people leave an area, either because they have been deported or because they simply couldn’t endure the hostility, there is a negative impact on the community. Immigrants and their families are workers, taxpayers, business owners, and consumers.
When they disappear, so do tax revenues, businesses, and jobs.
Furthermore, the goodwill between ethnic communities that took years to build can be quickly destroyed. ...
Determining when an immigrant who has been convicted of a crime can be deported is a feat that has been described by federal judges as “far from clear,” “dizzying,” and “labyrinthine.”
There is no doubt that the intersection of criminal and immigration law is complex, but how vague can a statute be before it is deemed unconstitutional?
This question came before the Supreme Court this week in Lynch v. Dimaya. ... [American Immigration Council - 19/1/17]
Mexico expels 91 Cuban migrants after US law change [Yahoo - 21/1/17]
The local immigration authorities confirmed yesterday that another 39 Cuban migrants (35 men and four women) were repatriated this week.
The group was flown to Havana on Thursday, which involved a joint effort by staff from customs, the prison and police as well as the immigration department.
This leaves 72 Cubans in Grand Cayman who are still going through the repatriation process.
Those migrants are now all being held at the Immigration Detention Centre at Fairbanks. ... [Cayman News - 20/1/17]
Hundreds of Cuban migrants seeking US entry stranded across the Americas [Miami Herald - 19/1/17]:
... Some of the Cuban migrants did not stop their trek northward after the end of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy was announced last week, and are continuing moving toward the Mexican border with the United States.
Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes has said U.S. officials will no longer accept undocumented Cubans who try to enter through the border.
“We will not stop. We will go on to the border. We went through a lot to escape from Cuba, and we’re not taking one step back — not even to regain our momentum,” said Yuniel Ramos, who left everything behind and started his trek north in Ecuador.
He was due to enter Mexico on Thursday.
“We don’t have a home or money, nothing [left in Cuba]. Why would we return? Besides, the Cuban government doesn’t want us,” Ramos said.
“Obama betrayed us,” Antúnez said. “And that’s after he went to Cuba and promised to be friends with Cubans. Trump is our only hope.”
Keppapilavu villagers threatened by Sri Lankan army ahead of Presidential visit [Tamil Guardian – 20/1/17]:
The Sri Lankan army has been intimidating Mullaitivu villagers ahead of a presidential visit.
Soldiers threatened Keppapilavu villagers against holding protests over land-returns during President Sirisena’s visit.
The villagers were told that if they protested and demanded their own lands back - instead of accepting the alternative lands or monetary compensation currently promised - they would be forced to remain in their displaced situations.
Keppapilavu villagers, currently living in temporary settlements, were expecting their lands to be returned during the upcoming presidential visit on the 25th January.
Villagers reported that they had only become aware of the plan to resettle them in alternative lands through the military threats.
Rohingya in Sittwe yearn for freedom from the ghetto [Aung Aung Sittwe - 19/1/17]
Rohingya IDPs (internally displaced people) living in two camps in Rathedaung Township of Arakan State are at risk of starvation and have not had access to healthcare for years.
The refugees are suffering inadequate clothing for the cold season as well.
187 families from Koe Tan Kauk village and 255 families from Chain Khali village in Rathedaung Township have been living in IDP camps since June of 2012.
In both camps the total number of IDPs is 2,467 people who have not received any rations from the World Food Programme since November of last year.
Moreover, the local authorities ordered those inside the camps not work beyond the boundaries of the camp.
Now the IDPs are facing a food shortage and have no ability to earn any income at all, according to IDPs in the camp. ... [Rohingya Blogger - 21/1/17]
@nslwin [20/1/17]: From today #Rohingya in #ChinThaMa VT in #Buthidaung are banned to shop at #PhaungTawPyin bazaar. Nowhere to get foods. They'll starve soon.
One in three women interviewed by BenarNews this week in Bangladesh’s refugee camps for Rohingya Muslims who fled violence in Myanmar claimed they were raped by security forces before their escape. ... [BenarNews - 19/1/17]
@JamilaHanan [20/1/17]: Hundreds of women have been gang raped. Thousands of homes burnt/destroyed. Children thrown on fire. And she wants 'constructive engagement'
UK's Boris Johnson visits Myanmar to say things about democracy and lend his support to Aung San Suu Kyi's genocide [Reuters - 20/1/17]
UK media help UNHCR spruik its enslavement proposal for refugees stranded in South East Asia [Independent - 21/1/17]:
... Like most Southeast Asian nations, Malaysia is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, although it has allowed the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) to register refugees on the basis that most will be resettled elsewhere.
While registered refugees are not held in camps, they are left to live in urban environments without crucial legal protections.
Denied residency or work rights and given little aid, they take on low-paying jobs in unregulated sectors, living in constant fear of arrest, abuse, or extortion.
Those with the coveted refugee status then wait for the creakingly slow [non-existent] process of resettlement to a third country.
But now, after years of stalled talks, the government is working on a potentially game-changing pilot plan long advocated by the UNHCR – granting 300 Rohingya legal permits to work in the plantation and manufacturing sectors for a three-year period, starting early this year.
At the agency’s hub in Kuala Lumpur, Richard Towle, the UNHCR representative in Malaysia, says the plan is a “win-win” situation if everybody works together. ...
UNHCR gives explicit endorsement to Australia's proposal to traffick and exile refugees for slavery [ABC - 22/11/16]:
... MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: So a regional solution. One of the countries the Government is in talks with currently is Malaysia. Malaysia hasn't signed the UN Convention on Refugees. Would you be comfortable with any deal involving that country?
VOLKER TURK [UNHCR]: Well, Malaysia has had a tradition of hosting refugees.
It's true they haven't signed the convention, but there are a lot of opportunities, especially when it comes to access to the labour market, to ensure that one could negotiate a certain standard of treatment for people.
Obviously I am not privy to these negotiations. I've heard about it in the press.
There was a deal that was struck a couple of years ago and we thought that the deal was workable at the time. ...
Sham Bali Process condemns 1,000s of refugees in South East Asia to indefinite detention, refoulement, slavery and genocide ---> UNHCR leadership "pins hopes" on democracy in Myanmar and "repatriation" - calls on Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia to sign the refugee convention, while ignoring the role of Australia's exclusionary policies in creating the bottleneck [23/3/16]
... Why do people set themselves on fire in front of UN? Because they remind us how human rights is a big business in this country and there is no real action. ... Mina Taherkhani - political prisoner of the Australian government, Nauru [Guardian - 7/11/16]
She writes her name, it is CAV 020 ... the boat number which she comes into the country with.
Save The Children not saving anyone [Green Left Weekly – 10/9/16]:
.. Save The Children board members, including a Corporate Social Responsibility academic, declined to speak with Green Left Weekly on the record.
Green Left Weekly has uncovered that a corporation that provides military ships to the Department of Defence is the employer of one board member.
This is critical because one of the specific questions RISE asks is: “Paul Ronalds, the CEO of Save The Children — Australia, publicly urged refugee advocates to accept asylum seeker boat turnbacks are here to stay.
Considering the fact that the operation of boat turnbacks endangers the lives of asylum seekers does your organisation endorse this compromise of human lives, including the lives of children?” ...
Former Nauru worker explains how abuse of children is a deliberate component of Australia's anti-refugee torture policy [24/8/16]:
... What was the first case that came to your attention that made you think something is seriously wrong here?
"Three days into my first rotation on Nauru there was an adolescent boy who had been sexually assaulted. The child was living in fear of this sexual assault being repeated not just to him but to his mother who was living without a partner in the detention facility."
Who was the alleged abuser, according to the victims?
"So it was an employee who was a cleaner. And he actually admitted to the sexual assault, and while the security guards were making note of the sexual assault and taking the boy's report, the person who sexually assaulted the young boy continued to mock him. And see there was a complete lack of privacy in this detention facility, so here is a boy having to report a sexual assault and he is doing it in the open air, in front of guards, while the abuser is standing there mocking him. And see what was really amazing to me is here was a Save the Children manager there and she told me at the time that this person was going to be moved to a different detention facility within Nauru but that he wasn't going to be fired. And she said this just as a matter of, this was just normal, you have to accept it, this is just the way it is." ...
Some witnesses to the Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry said they were treated like child convicts.
Others claimed they were forced to eat their own vomit, preyed upon by serial sexual predators and one was told he was the product of an "evil and satanic relationship".
The poverty-stricken youngsters were among the most vulnerable in society and their experiences dated from 1922 to 1995.
Children were shipped off to Australia as migrants like "baby convicts", witnesses said, and their names were changed once they arrived. ... [RTE - 20/1/17]
Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry calls for public apology and compensation for victims [The Irish Times - 20/1/17]
STOP THE LIES.
END THE POLICY.
FREE THE REFUGEES.
Australians being denied THEIR RIGHT to render assistance to a refugee boat [Geraldton, April 2013]
1. Close all of the refugee the concentration camps - offshore AND onshore;
2. Release, compensate and give all necessary assistance to the refugees currently on Manus Island and Nauru - including full resettlement in Australia to any who would still be willing to give us a second chance;
3. Start taking refugees from the "queue" again - with a particular focus on those already in our region such as the thousands in Indonesia and surrounding countries (Australia takes about 200,000 migrants every year already - the refugees under this plan would be included in that number);
4. Put the "people smugglers" out of business by offering a free and safe alternative way of coming to Australia for refugees departing from countries in our region who cannot afford or attain the far more numerically significant mode of arrival in Australia for asylum seekers (i.e. by airplane with a "valid" visa);
5. Where necessary, ocean surveillance and rescue of all distressed vessels regardless of whether they are millionaire adventurers or asylum seekers;
6. Adherence to both the spirit and the letter of tthe 1951 UN Refugee Convention for ALL asylum seekers regardless of mode of arrival; and perhaps most importantly,
7. An end to ALL support (whether financial, military, political or diplomatic) for the wars, economic policies and resource exploitation that have created all of these refugees in the first place.
Jason Smith, Everything Geraldton [9/4/13]:
"Quick, get down to the foreshore! There's an asylum seeker boat here."
I started to jog down from the centre of town after a friend dropped her sandwich in disbelief as to what she was seeing, then quickly rang whoever she knew might be near by.
The boat had gotten within a few metres of the shore, as though they were heading for a casual coffee from Skeetas, before a customs boat encircled them and guided them back out a little.
Still only a stones throw from the shore, we took some photos and I quickly uploaded them to Everything Geraldton, Facebook and Twitter.
Within moments the story went viral as of course it would. Comments were rather mixed. Some people were simply gob smacked, others upset that a boat could make it this close to the shore.
But for the most part, people were compassionate and understanding... that some people had travelled a long way under harsh conditions risking their lives.
They must have been leaving something not very pleasant to risk such a journey and the least we could do is treat them like fellow human beings.
People were asking how they could provide assistance, and who to talk to offer any help they could.
The desire of Geraldton locals to be hospitable to these people was touching. ...
"Good refugee" 2017 Invasion Day award winner joins dogwhistling narrative. Australia's atrocities continue unopposed. [Nine MSN - 20/1/17]
21 January 2017