Refugee Council of Australia calls for urgent answers on asylum seeker boat [Media Release – 21/7/15]:
... “The desperate search for effective protection from persecution is a humanitarian issue, not a threat to Australia’s national security. Australia needs to ensure that people seeking refugee protection have an opportunity to put their case, have it fairly assessed and be treated humanely throughout the process. ...
Australia stopped accepting UNHCR refugees in October 2014.
The ABC is deliberately hiding the fact that since October 2014 Australia has refused to accept any more UNHCR refugees ----> Journey to Australia explored in refugee artwork [ABC - 21/7/15]
The bit the national broadcaster omitted: ... "We applied three times to come to Australia and were rejected. "On the fourth attempt we were accepted, on January 28 2009 we came to here. ... [Bendigo Advertiser - 25/1/14]
Serco guards bashed by criminal deportees at Yongah Hill
Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [21/7/15]:
There has been a major clash between Serco guards and so-called criminal deportees (501s) in Hope Compound.
At least two bloodied guards were taken out of the compound as a result of the clash at around 12.30pm, Western Australia time.
The four compounds at the Yongah Hill detention centre have been locked down.
Today’s clash is just the latest with the 501s at Yongah Hill over the last few months.
The problems have been made worse by the fact that immigration department no longer separates 501s from asylum seekers.
The result is that there have also been clashes between 501s and asylum seekers. Asylum seekers have routinely been assaulted; one Chinese asylum seeker was bashed by 501s as recently as two days ago.
One Yongah Hill asylum seeker told the Refugee Action Coalition, “We are not safe here and we are frightened to stay here. There is no use making a complaint to Serco – they are unable to protect us.”
“There are only around 80 asylum seekers being housed at Yongah Hill,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“There is no reason that asylum seekers cannot be housed safely. Indeed there is no reason for them to be there at all. Many are long-term detainees, one of them for over six years.
“The department lost control of Yongah Hill months ago. Moving 501s and detainees to Christmas Island has solved nothing.
The court hearing for Nauru's Roland Kun has again been delayed after the Nauru government refused to waive certain formalities for the opposition MP's overseas lawyer. ... [RNZI - 21/7/15]
Go back to where you came from: IOM fills void left by UNHCR in the pacific and South East Asia
The International Organisation for Migration has signed an agreement to help Papua New Guinea cope with people forced to move because of the changing climate.
The IOM and the PNG Government's Office of Climate Change and Development signed an memorandum of understanding this week.
The IOM's head of mission in PNG, George Gigauri, says they want to increase the ability of affected communities to find durable solutions and also to use migration as an adaptation strategy.
"We recognise that climate change is the new driver of migration and we are working together with our partners on a number of things, but ultimately it is about helping people to adapt to the climate change and the changes around them induced by environmental changes. And that ranges from disaster risk reduction work to ultimately, resettlement."
He says while the term refugee cannot be applied to environmental migrants there is a need for a legal mechanism that recognises their plight.
This week an i-Kiribati man, Ioane Teitiota, who has been seeking to stay in New Zealand, was refused a legal appeal to a deportation order, after he had claimed he was a climate refugee.
Mr Gigauri says refugee status is clearly defined under the Refugee Convention, and as it stands this cannot be applied to climate change victims.
He says they can be climate change migrants or internally displaced people but this points to the need for a new legal framework.
"It doesn't mean that we have to change the Refugee Convention, it just perhaps means that we have to come up with a new, whether it is a regional or a national or even a global convention, that is some sort of a normative instrument that recognises this special category of people. So yes the legal system does need to catch up to this emerging group."
US Embassy in Port Moresby awards two new grants totalling US$1 million to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) [11/12/14]:
... “There is perhaps no greater threat to human dignity, and no greater attack on basic freedom, than the evil of human trafficking,” said U.S. Ambassador North, “these two grants will empower the people of the South Pacific by providing populations at risk of being trafficked with access to information and justice.” ...
The United States is calling on the Papua New Guinea Government to certify and gazette its anti-human trafficking legislation to eradicate modern-day slavery.
US Ambassador to PNG Walter North said his country welcomed the legislation on human trafficking passed in July last year which unfortunately PNG was yet to enforce.
“The Criminal Code (Amendment) Act 2012 passed in Parliament six months ago would have amended the criminal code of PNG on issues related to human trafficking and people smuggling,” North said.
“The bill would have given PNG law enforcement agencies and prosecutors the necessary tools to address trafficking crimes.
“Unfortunately, six months later, this important legislation is not yet in force in PNG. The US government urges swift certification and gazettal of this legislation.
“This amendment to the PNG Criminal Code is a significant step towards combating modern-day slavery.
“As we said six months ago, Parliament’s action and vigorous implementation of the new legislation offer hope that the scourge of human trafficking can be eliminated in PNG.”
North said the US Department of State was funding a project to combat trafficking of human beings in PNG through the International Organisation for Migration.
“The project aims to strengthen the capacity of the PNG government to prevent human trafficking, prosecute traffickers and protect victims of trafficking,” he said.
“The US works actively with the government and people of PNG not only to combat trafficking but to help implement programmes to combat corruption, increase transparency and improve governance in extractive industries, and improve the rule of law.”.
At Vatican conference, world mayors urge action on climate change
Mayors and governors from major world cities on Tuesday will urge global leaders to take bold action at this year's U.N. climate change summit, saying it may be the last chance to tackle human-induced global warming.
Pope Francis has invited some 65 local and regional leaders to attend a two-day conference on how cities can address what the Vatican calls the "interconnected emergencies" of climate change and human trafficking.
It is the Vatican's latest attempt to influence a United Nations summit in Paris in December aiming for a global deal to combat climate change after past failures.
The pope issued an encyclical in April demanding swift action to save the planet from environmental ruin and urging world leaders to hear "the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor".
Mayors from South America, Africa, the United States, Europe and Asia will later on Tuesday sign a declaration stating that the Paris summit "may be the last effective opportunity to negotiate arrangements that keep human-induced warming below 2 degrees centigrade."
Leaders should come to a "bold agreement that confines global warming to a limit safe for humanity while protecting the poor and the vulnerable...," says the declaration, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.
High-income countries should help finance the cost of climate change mitigation in low-income countries, it says.
In a direct rejection of so-called climate change deniers, the declaration says: "Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its effective control is a moral imperative for humanity."
The conference linked climate change and modern slavery because, according to an introductory paper, "global warming is one of the causes of poverty and forced migration".
Strike action draws closer for Chevron's Gorgon project [Mining Australia – 21/7/15]
Gas not to blame for worker dizziness [Mining Australia – 21/7/15]
A husband has appealed for public help after he woke to find his
wife missing from their southwestern Sydney home. ... [Nine
MSN - 21/7/15]
Bendigo death: Woman's body found in Mijuda Court, Kennington [The Age – 21/7/15]
... Castaneda was initially accused of murdering her long-time partner, Greg Peck, but the trial took a dramatic turn on Tuesday when Justice Helen Wilson directed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty on that charge.
Instead, the jury is now considering whether Castaneda committed manslaughter when she fatally stabbed Mr Peck with a kitchen knife on February 22, 2013.
Her barrister, Philip Strickland SC, has argued that this was an act of self-defence. ... [Nine MSN - 21/7/15]
Sarahjane Dower murder: Attorney-General urged to review sentence given to killer's co-accused [ABC - 21/7/15]
Former Townsville soldier jailed for life for murdering ex-partner [ABC - 17/7/15]
... Apolonia McDonnell carried her daughter's ashes through five days of disturbing testimony at Devenna's trial and sentencing.
A video-taped police interview in which Devenna, 32, recalled telling Ms Dower "you're going to die, I'm not calling an ambulance" was among the most confronting evidence. ... [Yahoo - 17/7/15]
Rocherlea siege over, man surrenders to police [Examiner - 21/7/15]:
... Northern Commander Brett Smith said a patient and calculated response saw the man surrender himself to officers just before 2pm.
Police report that the man broke into the Waratah Road home at 2.30am this morning.
The family inside left soon after however.
A NSW mother has been charged after allegedly poisoning her child, leaving her in hospital with life-threatening renal failure. ... [Nine MSN - 21/7/15]
Two Melbourne men with links to the killer of underworld figure Carl Williams have been charged over the alleged attempted murder of a police officer. ... [Nine MSN - 21/7/15]
Detectives from the Bundaberg Criminal Investigation Branch investigating the death of a 50-year-old Maryborough man in Branyan, Bundaberg on July 15 have determined the man’s death to be non-suspicious. ... [QPS Media - 21/7/15]
Aboriginal mothers kept in jail "for their own safety", family violence hearing told [The Age - 20/7/15]
Foetal DNA testing should be subsidised by Australian health authorities, obstetrics researchers say [ABC - 20/7/15]:
... Professor de Costa is wary the advancing technology could lead to pregnancy terminations based on gender.
"There is no evidence whatsoever that sex or gender-related abortion is occurring in Australia, but we know that it occurs other countries," she said.
"At the moment, that information can't be given to parents until somewhat later in pregnancy, at which stage termination of pregnancy is more challenging — it is more risky for the woman.
"But if the information is widely available at 10 weeks, there is the potential for an increase in the incidents of gender-related abortions.
"I'm not saying there is but I think it's something that we need to think about really before the technology becomes widely available."
Passing motorists desperately tried to revive a pedestrian after he was struck and killed by a car in Sydney’s west this morning. ... [Nine MSN - 21/7/15]
Pregnant woman trapped under car in Upper Ferntree Gully flown to Melbourne hospital with broken leg [ABC - 21/7/15]
Car crashes into Gold Coast home [MYGC – 21/7/15]:
A car has crashed into a home on the Gold Coast this afternoon.
Emergency services rushed to the scene on the corner of Whiting Street and Government Road in Labrador following reports a motorist had crashed into a home.
It is alleged the motorist is an elderly woman.
The extent of her injuries are currently unknown.
Gold Coast: Woman arrested, two men on the run after another dangerous, resource wasting police chase
A woman has been arrested and two men are on the run after a high-speed police chase through the streets of the Gold Coast this afternoon.
Officers reportedly spotted the stolen vehicle in Mudgeeraba around midday today and as they tried to pull it over it sped off.
PolAir was called in to track the vehicle, which was eventually found in Merrimac.
The two men remain on the run.
A man remains on the run after taking a stolen car on a joy-ride through southeast Queensland and northern NSW.
The ute was reported stolen at Burleigh on Tuesday morning and was driven south to Coolangatta and across the border before returning to Queensland.
A woman was arrested at Merrimac, where the car was dumped, and a man remains at large in the same area, a Qld police spokesman says. [Yahoo - 21/7/15]
Wilful damage charges, Helensvale
QPS Media [21/7/15]:
Police have charged a man with wilful damage in relation to the alleged damaging of overhead rail power lines on July 13.
It will be alleged the 22-year-old Helensvale man caused damage to overhead rail power lines situated between the Helensvale and Nerang train stations.
This has resulted in a southbound train coming in to contact with the affected section of the power lines causing significant damage to the train.
The man was charged with two counts of wilful damage and one count of endangering the safe use of vehicles and related transport infrastructure.
He appeared in the Southport Magistrates Court today and was remanded in custody until a further appearance in September.
Police and Queensland Rail 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.
Armed robbery, Bald Hills
QPS Media [21/7/15]:
Police are investigating the armed robbery of a service station at Bald Hills last night.
Around 9.15pm two men armed with a knife entered the Strathpine Road business before confronting an employee at the counter and demanding he hand over cash from the till and cigarettes.
The attendant complied with their demands and the pair fled the scene with a quantity of cigarettes and a sum of cash.
No one was physically injured during the incident.
The first man is described as being about 183cm tall with a slim build and wearing a dark hooded jumper and long pants.
The second man is described as being about 170cm tall with an average build and wearing a green hooded jumper and white running shoes.
They were both wearing balaclavas.
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.
''It stops them from using our judicial system and taxpayer money to stay here.''
Brisbane Times [17/6/14]:
... Meanwhile, the Abbott government will get Labor's support in its attempt to crackdown on visa applications by asylum seekers.
A wide-ranging bill labelled as ''technical and difficult'' by both sides of the lower house was passed on Monday, aiming to close legal avenues available to asylum seekers.
''It stops them from using our judicial system and taxpayer money to stay here,'' Liberal MP Don Randall said.
From the opposition benches Graham Perrett said the legislation addressed inconsistencies in the Migration Act, and signalled that Labor would back the bill.
Under the changes, minors or mentally-impaired visa applicants refused visas can't themselves, or have others, make further applications.
Members of the same family unit – some who could be minors or mentally impaired – will all get the same visa outcome.
Asylum seekers facing deportation will still be removed even if they are waiting to hear the outcome of a bridging visa application.
Australian Greens MP Adam Bandt [and independent MPs Andrew Wilkie and Cathy McGowan] voted against the Migration Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014, which now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Australia approves South Galilee project
Argus Media [21/7/15]:
The Australian federal government has granted approval for US energy firm AMCI and Australian independent Bandanna Energy to develop their 17mn t/yr open-cut and underground South Galilee thermal coal project.
The approval comes as the voluntary administrators of Bandanna continue their search for buyers for all or part of the company. They began looking last month, but are still seeking expressions of interest from those looking to buy assets or return the company to operation as a going concern.
South Galilee is dependent on others developing coal mines in the Galilee basin so that it can use their infrastructure. But work on the other projects, including Indian-Australian joint venture GVK Hancock's 32mn t/yr Alpha and 30mn t/yr Kevin's Corner mines, Indian firm Adani's 60mn t/yr Carmichael mine and Australian producer Waratah Coal's 56mn t/yr Galilee basin coal project, have stalled as the economics are unviable in the current weak coal price environment.
The Galilee's potential reserves underpin original plans for more than 150mn t/yr of new coal mining projects by 2020. The development of the region could push a large amount of new coal supplies into the market, weighing on prices. Galilee coal is slightly lower quality than that usually shipped from Queensland.
Other developers interested in the Galilee basin include Brazilian mining firm Vale and China's Meijin.
Australian lower grade, high-ash coal is currently assessed at $45.17/t fob Newcastle, with it below $50/t since late March and down from $90/t in early 2012 when the impetus to develop the Galilee was much stronger.
Thanks for numbering every box and putting the LNP last! Queensland government allocates $10 million for mining industry bulk cargo facility in Mackay [ABC - 21/7/15]
Residents of Fairfield and surrounding suburbs voted at a community meeting yesterday to make their suburb coal dust free for the sake of their health. ... [Lock The Gate - 19/7/15]
Maybe Latinos Post will follow up on Maritime Safety Queensland's investigation into the Great Barrier Reef oil slick? [Latinos Post - 20/7/15]:
... "It is quite possible that in a week's time - maybe in three days time - on some of the beaches around Townsville - there will be small globules of a spongy material found on the beach, because it doesn't all deteriorate," Quirk explained. ...
Felicity Wishart, Australian conservationist who campaigned for the Great Barrier Reef and rainforests, dies aged 49 [ABC – 21/7/15]
Senator Lazarus to join Q&A panel following screening of Frackman the Movie, Brisbane
Lock The Gate:
Queensland Senator Glenn Lazarus will join an expert Q&A panel after a screening of Frackman in Brisbane on Wednesday night.
Senator Lazarus joins Q&A panel host, reporter Mike Munro, Lock the Gate Alliance’s Drew Hutton, star of the movie Dayne Pratzky and Western Downs farmer, Narelle Nothdurft.
The award-winning movie tells the story of ‘accidental activist’, Dayne Pratzky and his struggle against international gas companies at the Tara and Chinchilla area of Queensland.
In the movie, Pratzky embarks on a journey that transforms him from conservative pig-shooter to sophisticated global activist as “The Frackman”. He meets the people drawn into a battle that is crossing the ideological divide, bringing together a peculiar alliance of farmers, activists and political conservatives against powerful CSG companies.
Queensland State and Federal politicians have been invited to the special screening and Drew Hutton said all politicians should see the movie.
“Queensland is being wrecked by coal seam gas and the politicians just aren’t listening to the farmers and communities the industry is impacting,” he said.
“CSG is taking over our precious farmland and threatening our water supply and it’s about time our politicians opened their eyes and ears to this irreparable damage.”
Narelle and Nood Nothdurft, parents of 11 children, live in the middle of gasfields at Chinchilla on their 350 hectare property.
“The impact on our family has been huge and the gas industry has literally ruined our lives and our health,” Narelle said.
WHERE: Palace Centro, 39 James St, Fortitude Valley
WHEN: From 6.30pm, Wednesday July 22
WHO: Senator Glenn Lazarus, Drew Hutton, Narelle Nothdurft, Dayne Pratzky, Mike Munro
WHAT: Q&A panel after the screening of Frackman, the Movie
Senator Glenn Lazarus joins locals at coal mine and gasfields free event at the Southern Downs this weekend [Lock The Gate]
June 2009: The last time SEQ media considered the welfare of children in Tara - by demonising the locality [Brisbane Times - 5/6/09]:
... Dalby Regional Council Mayor Ray Brown this week expressed concern that children were living in 'Third World' conditions on so-called "lifestyle blocks" near the town of Tara, four hours west of Brisbane.
"There is a small minority group there who have socially chosen to live a certain way and it concerns me greatly when children are involved," Cr Brown said.
"We've been given some information in relation to young teenage girls living in absolute squalor and that concerned myself and my council and we've decided we will do our upmost to assist.
"We are not saying the parents of these kids are mistreating them or anything, it's just the standard of living is not satisfactory in this day and age." ...
Since 60 Minutes' May 2010 report - Undermined - there has been a virtual media blackout on what is happening in Tara.
Cold case of missing chauffeur's son could be key to busting open UK's 'Westminster Pedophile Ring'
Nine MSN [20/7/15]:
The son of a chauffeur to one of Australia's highest officials could be the key to a renewed police investigation into a historical UK pedophile ring that could be responsible for the abuse of hundreds of alleged victims.
High-profile members of the British establishment, including former MPs and even the aristocracy, have been accused of involvement in the ring.
The "Westminster Pedophile Ring" is alleged to have been responsible for the abuse of dozens if not hundreds of state wards trafficked out from institutions.
However, as 60 Minutes has learned, the chilling case of a 1979 disappearance could be the key to bringing any culprits to justice.
Martin Allen, 15, vanished on the way home from school on November 5, 1979.
A son of the chauffeur to Australia's High Commissioner, Martin's body has never been found.
His brother Kevin spoke to 60 Minutes about his belief his brother had been abducted off the streets for the well-protected pedophile ring.
"I smell rats of the highest order," he said.
A witness came forward in the weeks after Martin's disappearance saying they had seen him led onto the train by a tall blonde man in his 30s.
The man held Martin by the scruff of his neck and led him off the train at Earl’s Court, where he was overheard telling the teenager, "Don't try to run".
However, no trace of the man was ever found.
"It's like he was abducted by aliens," Mr Allen said.
As a 17-year-old, Mr Allen told police of his belief his brother had been abducted by somebody "high-up".
He claims he was told, "You keep saying things like that, you could get hurt".
"That was it, it was over with the police," he said.
Former police officer Kelvin Ashby also claims he had his investigation into a pedophile suspect, high-profile Labour MP Greville Janner, interfered with.
Mr Ashby said as a detective inspector, he had dealt with a child who claimed to have been abused by the MP.
"He said that he'd been collected from the children's home many, many times by Janner in his car, and we backed that up," he said.
However, he said a decision came down from "higher up the chain" to close the case.
The now-Lord Janner has denied all allegations, though the Crown Prosecution Service has admitted they have had enough evidence to prosecute him all along.
Lord Janner also claims to be suffering from dementia, though he has voted hundreds of times in the House of Lords since receiving his diagnosis.
"It still sticks in the craw," Mr Ashby said.
Thailand, Vietnam uncooperative in Khmer Rouge investigation, Judge says [Jakarta Globe – 20/7/15]
A 90-year-old Danish man believed to have taken part in the murder of Jews at a prison camp in Belarus during World War II should be held accountable for his crimes, a well-known ‘Nazi hunter’ from the Simon Wiesenthal Center told Danish media over the weekend. ... [The Local - 19/7/15]
... Customs and border protection officers were understood to have accompanied WA Water Police who arrived at the asylum seeker boat about 3pm on Monday, Channel Seven reporter Grant Wynne told Radio 6PR on Tuesday morning. ... [Canberra Times - 21/7/15]
Media, "opposition" facilitate the disappearing of a refugee boat that actually made it to Australia
Australian media outlets have the resources to fly (or sail) out and/or communicate with the people on the tanker and the refugees. Did they even try? And if they did try, but were prevented from undertaking this basic journalism, why not report the obstacles?
West Australian [21/7/15]:
The fate of a group of suspected Vietnamese asylum seekers spotted about 150km off Dampier yesterday remained unknown as border protection officials raced to intercept their small fishing boat.
The blue wooden boat is believed to have made it closer to Australia than any other asylum seeker vessel since the last successful arrival in June last year.
Crew on the oil production platform Modec Venture 11 spotted the boat at first light yesterday within their 500m exclusion zone.
Modec Australia country operations manager Gary Kennedy said the group aboard the fishing boat had not made direct contact with his crew but appeared to be in good health and good spirits.
He said the boat did not appear to be in distress and had its own propulsion. ... [Did they dob them in?]
PISSWEAK LABORNTHAGREENS SAY:
... “The Government has a woeful record when it comes to being upfront on its border protection policies,” shadow immigration minister Richard Marles said.
Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said Mr Dutton needed to say if there were women and children on the boat and what the Government intended to do with the passengers. She said it was almost farcical that the Government would not say if there was a boat there or not. ...
Human beings call on government to bring Vietnamese boat refugees to Australia [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 21/7/15]:
The Refugee Action Coalition has called on the Coalition government to bring the Vietnamese asylum seekers off Dampier to shore and allow them to make protection applications.
“We know from past actions, the government will likely attempt to return the asylum seekers to Vietnam,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
Forty-six Vietnamese asylum seekers were intercepted and returned to Vietnam in April. There are reports that the adults were detained and questioned. Some men are reported to still be in prison, and some children are not allowed to attend school. Some of the 41 asylum seekers screened out and sent back to Sri Lanka in July 2014 have been found to be refugees after fleeing to other countries. Some of the 41 remain in jail.
“Our concern is that the government will screen out these asylum seekers and deny them the right to have their asylum claims properly considered. The secrecy that the government seeks to impose on so-called ‘operational matters’, is designed to prevent scrutiny of the abuse of asylum seekers’ human rights. Some asylum seekers have previously been held captive on customs boats for a month before finally being returned. The government has no respect for human rights,” said Ian Rintoul.
“In this kind of turnback situation, the asylum seekers are being directly handed to those they are fleeing from. It is a complete violation of their rights and international law.”
“We are also calling on the Federal Labor party to clearly state where it stands on such turnbacks,” said Rintoul.
“Labor should clearly oppose such turnbacks, but recent comments from Opposition Immigration spokesperson, Richard Marles have indicated Labor leaders intend to continue the Coalition’s turnback policy; something expected to be discussed at Labor’s national conference on the weekend. Marles owes it to Labor members and asylum seekers to say whether Labor would intercept and return asylum boats.”
For what Senator Lazarus? The refoulement of refugees?: Cairns most logical place to build patrol boats [Media Release – 19/7/15]
"Politically divisive"? Try: ANTI DEMOCRATIC and DEEPLY UNPOPULAR: Since 2009 the Australian government has spent $1.6 billion denying refugees health care [Guardian - 21/7/15]:
An independent audit of healthcare records kept by International Health and Medical Services (IHMS) on Christmas Island in 2012 has been leaked to Guardian Australia and shows IHMS repeatedly failing criteria set by the immigration department on how to look after the health of asylum seekers in its care.
Asylum seekers saw a GP within three days of making the request only 29% of the time.
Vaccinating children when needed only happened in 7% of cases.
When an asylum seeker was involved in a critical incident, a report was provided within four hours only 56% of the time.
An accurate and complete summary of an asylum seeker’s clinical history was only kept in 25% of cases.
A screening for mental health concerns, substance dependence problems and torture and trauma history occurred 71% of the time.
@CanberraInsider [21/7/15]: #OnThisDay 1947: Immigration Minister Arthur Calwell signed a UN agreement to accept Europeans displaced by war.
In October 2014 Australia stopped accepting UNHCR refugees. #OnThisDay still not a murmur from the "opposition", UNHCR and human rights groups.
Malaysia: A simple Raya for Rohingya refugees [The
Rakyat Post – 20/7/15]:
... Mohd Hussein Jalal Ahmad, 46, expressed sadness for having to be alone the past eight years, without any of his family to accompany him in the celebration.
“I miss my parents, my sisters, my siblings and my relatives and what is more saddening for me is that I can’t even contact them.
“I don’t know what is going with them, if they are still alive or if they are dead. Their mobile number is uncontactable.”
Abdul Manaf Anah Hat, 50, considered himself luckier than the other refugees as unlike most of them, he has almost all his family members out of the uncertainties that surrounded the lives of those still living in Myanmar.
“My family are mostly safe and sound, with some living in Malaysia and others in Thailand, India and Indonesia.
“Every year we will call each other but sadly, I still haven’t had the opportunity to contact my parents who are in Myanmar.
“I constantly worry for their well being,” he said, recounting the tragic Raya incident in Myanmar, 20 years ago.
“It was the saddest Raya and I still remember it to this day. A lot of the Muslims were arrested and imprisoned for no reason and when I ran to Thailand before heading to Malaysia, I got news that a friend of mine was killed on his way to visit his relatives.”
Dr Zarni's critique of Myanmar elections and Commander in Chief [AUDIO - BBC - 20/7/15]:
… For the investors and the western governments who want to do business with the Burmese military ... such as the Pentagon and British Ministry of Defense .. they need a facade of democratisaion, so they can say Burma is moving forward, whereas in fact we are looking at an extension of the status quo. ...
The 'boat people' crisis won't end until Burma stops persecuting the Rohingya, Matthew Smith, Executive director of Fortify Rights [Guardian – 20/7/15]:
... Since 2013, my colleagues and I at Fortify Rights have interviewed hundreds of survivors and more than a dozen traffickers. We documented how traffickers tagged their human cargo with red, white, and yellow bracelets. A mid-level broker of Rohingya descent operating in Malaysia told us without pause that the bracelets were used “as a kind of confirmation” of who owned whom.
I found four separate mass grave sites in Rakhine state, each filled with Rohingya corpses.
Captives who couldn’t raise money to buy their freedom were, in some cases, sold to the highest bidder: to bonded-labour bosses, fishing boat captains, and other purveyors of exploitation. Since 2012 hundreds of millions of dollars have gone directly into the pockets of traffickers and their accomplices, including government officials in Burma and Thailand.
On May 1, Thai officials announced the discovery of a mass grave in an abandoned torture camp, with dozens of corpses believed to be victims of trafficking rings. Weeks later Malaysian authorities announced the discovery of 139 bodies in a remote camp.
But that’s only half the story. Three years ago, dozens of Rohingya villages in western Burma were burned to the ground. Local Buddhists razed Muslim homes and mosques while state security forces opened fire, killing scores of men, women, and children. The following October, another wave of violence struck, more coordinated and lethal than the last, designed to destroy the Rohingya community, or at least drive them out of Burma.
A week after the violence, I went to the scene and interviewed witnesses to the killings, local record keepers, and people who buried the dead in mass graves. I located four separate mass grave sites in Rakhine state, each filled with Rohingya corpses, some of which had been “hogtied” with string. Burmese security agents manually dug some of the graves and surreptitiously buried an unknown number of bodies, according to multiple eyewitness accounts.
The current “boat crisis” in south-east Asia is rooted in state-sponsored persecution in Burma. The risk of more atrocities against Rohingya and other Muslims is high, particularly ahead of planned national elections later this year. Not nearly enough pressure is being put on Burma to change course.
Australian Embassy in Myanmar [21/7/15]:
Australia supports the peace process in Myanmar. Here Australian Ambassador to Myanmar Mr Nicholas Coppel meets with Minister of the President's Office U Aung Min to discuss progress in national ceasefire talks.
Pacific Islands Forum Sec Gen to visit Nauru amid democratic crisis
Looks like the occupied terrorities: Pictures of Australia's refugee concentration camp on Nauru [Guardian - 19/5/15]:
The secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor, is heading to Nauru next week amid concerns about a breakdown in democracy on the island.
This follows inconclusive meetings two weeks ago between the Nauru President Baron Waqa and New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully.
The Forum Secretariat is downplaying the trip saying it is part of an official schedule of visits to all Forum countries before leaders gather for their annual summit in September.
Radio New Zealand International understands Dame Meg's visit comes at the behest of Wellington and Canberra which have expressed concern about the alleged violation of civil and political rights on Nauru.
After their meeting in Sydney, Mr McCully said he and Mr Waqa disagreed on some issues and Mr Waqa disputed some of the media reports about the goings on on Nauru.
Mr McCully hinted that the next tranche of aid to Nauru is being reconsidered, saying the two countries will meet further.
He said he wanted his officials to complete discussions before the aid was due to be delivered in August.
In a statement, Mr McCully said Mr Waqa has invited Dame Meg to visit Nauru and he welcomes this engagement on behalf of the members of the Forum.
The Forum Secretariat said Dame Meg's tours to Forum countries include meetings with Forum leaders, senior officials, civil society and representatives from the private sector.
It said Dame Meg has visited 13 Forum member countries and will shortly undertake her official visits with the remaining countries, Nauru and Cook Islands, with a visit to Niue still to be agreed.
In June the Secretariat said it was ready to assist Nauru if the government sought help but said the issues were primarily for Nauru to settle and resolve.
A court in Nauru is due to finally hear the case of the opposition MP Roland Kun today. ... [RNZI - 21/7/15]
@MSF_Sea [20/7/15]: UPDATE: Amongst the 334 people, there are 30 women, 5 children and 43 minors. ...
@MSF_Sea [20/7/15]: ... #Dignity I completed 3 rescues today. There are 334 people onboard. All are safe and taken care of. ...
@moas_eu [20/7/15]: Rula,28,escaped war in Damascus through #Libya.When #MOAS saved her along w 416 ppl, the boat would have sunk in 2h
Introducing the Charter of Naples [The Maritime Executive - 19/7/15]
Uruguay will take in a new group of Syrian refugees by the end of the year, officials said Monday, adding that the country was committed to helping alleviate a humanitarian crisis.
A total of 117 family members are being relocated to Uruguay from refugee camps in Lebanon. ... [Naharnet - 21/7/15]
Security Council adopts resolution endorsing Iran nuclear deal [Media Release - 20/7/15]
UN Mission condemns surge in armed attacks on main supply route in Central African Republic [Media Release - 21/7/15]
Almost 400 people fleeing a renewed outbreak of fighting in northern Mali have sought refuge in Mauritania over the last few months.
Much of the territory of northern Mali is claimed by different rebel groups. Lately, the area has seen a new upsurge in fighting.
UNHCR figures show that the number of new arrivals since end of April is now 395, though others who have not yet been registered may also have arrived. Mbera camp is located 50 km from the Malian border.
During the day temperatures reach 45 degrees Celsius. However, as the sun slowly begins to descend, children take over the dusty streets, playing with wooden sticks and makeshift soccer balls. ... [UNHCR Media Release - 21/7/15]
Stick to selling coffee machines dickhead: George Clooney wants to help - and just like other prominent US "lefties" - refuses to challenge the obvious role their own country plays in creating the conditions for corruption, war and genocide [Al Jazeera - 20/7/15]
Whether fighting deadly diseases, facing the challenges of refugees fleeing [US backed] violence in their homelands [i.e keeping them where they are as an enslaved underclass], or combating [US funded] violent extremists, nations in Africa are [US imperialists are] seeking ways to move across the continent quickly with the right equipment to meet these needs.
To discuss how, military and civilian logistics experts [a bunch of US stooges], representing 36 African countries, and others from several European countries, attended the Africa Logistics Forum June 21-23, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. U.S. Africa Command sponsored the forum in partnership with the African Union and the U.S. Africa Center for Strategic Studies. ... [AFRICOM Media Release - 26/6/15]
NSA helped CIA outmanoeuvre Europe on torture [WikiLeaks – 20/7/15]:
... Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief, said: "Today's publication indicates that the NSA has been used to help the CIA kidnap and torture with impunity. For years the CIA was systematically abducting and torturing people, with the tacit complicity of European governments. In 2005 German Foreign Minister Steinmeier was thrilled that his tactic of asking Condoleezza Rice no hard questions about CIA renditions had worked. The US said nothing that would require him to do anything. And how do we know about it? Because the National Security Agency was gloating to the US senior executive about intercepting this cowardly display. Nobody comes out of this looking good." ...
Interview with Julian Assange: 'We Are Drowning in Material' [Spiegel – 20/7/15]:
… SPIEGEL : Secret services are perceived as potential criminals but the big IT corporations are perceived at least in an ambiguous way. Apple produces beautiful computers. Google is a useful search engine.
Assange: Until the 1980s, computers were big machines designed for the military or scientists, but then the personal computers were developed and companies had to start rebranding them as machines that were helpful for individual human beings. Organizations like Google, whose business model is "voluntary" mass surveillance, appear to be giving it away for free. Free e-mail, free search, etc. Therefore it seems that they're not a corporation, because corporations don't do things for free. It falsely seems like they are part of civil society.
SPIEGEL : And they shape the thinking of billions of users?
Assange: They are also exporting a specific mindset of culture. You can use the old term of "cultural imperialism" or call it the "Disneylandization" of the Internet. Maybe "digital colonization" is the best terminology.
SPIEGEL: What does this "colonization" look like?
Assange: These corporations establish new societal rules about what activities are permitted and what information can be transmitted. Right down to how much nipple you can show. Down to really basic matters, which are normally a function of public debate and parliaments making laws. Once something becomes sufficiently controversial, it's banned by these organizations. Or, even if it is not so controversial, but it affects the interests that they're close to, then it's banned or partially banned or just not promoted.
SPIEGEL: So in the long run, cultural diversity is endangered?
Assange: The long-term effect is a tendency towards conformity, because controversy is eliminated. An American mindset is being fostered and spread to the rest of the world because they find this mindset to be uncontroversial among themselves. That is literally a type of digital colonialism; non-US cultures are being colonized by a mindset of what is tolerable to the staff and investors of a few Silicon Valley companies. The cultural standard of what is a taboo and what is not becomes a US standard, where US exceptionalism is uncontroversial.
Depok police arrest two suspects for alleged murder of journalist [Jakarta Globe – 20/7/15]
Almost 70 fighters have been killed in the two-week-old battle between pro-government forces and Islamist rebels for control of Zabadani on Syria's border with Lebanon, a monitoring group said Monday. ... [Naharnet - 20/7/15]
Iraq: funding shortage forces UN to shutter critical water and sanitation responses [Media Release - 20/7/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
The United States and its allies targeted Islamic State militants with nine air strikes in Syria and 14 in Iraq on Sunday, the U.S. military said.
In Syria, the strikes hit tactical units and fighting positions near Aleppo, al Hasakah and Kobani, and minefields near Ar Raqqah, the Combined Joint Task Force said in a statement on Monday.
In Iraq, the air strikes destroyed tactical units, vehicles and fighting positions near eight cities, including Mosul, Fallujah and Ramadi, it added.
21 July 2015