As the Australian parliament "debate" 18C, remember that LNP and ALP politicians are united in their complicity with this genocide ---> Tens of thousands of Muslims who have fled violence in northern Myanmar are living in "extremely poor" conditions in neighboring Bangladesh and need better shelter as the country's cyclone season approaches, the Red Cross said on Monday. ... [Reuters - 20/3/17]
Which country on this map of South East Asia is a supposedly a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, but hasn't accepted refugees since 2014?
US signals approval for Rohingya genocide as expeditionary "humanitarian assistance" vessel visits Myanmar [Stars and Stripes - 21/3/17]:
... Marines, sailors, soldiers and civilian crewmembers arrived from Sri Lanka and will be in Myanmar nearly a week before heading to Malaysia, where they will resume the annual Pacific Partnership humanitarian assistance and disaster-relief planning mission.
The Fall River’s crew will tour Yangon, home to 7 million people, and engage with the Myanmar navy.
The 7th Fleet band will also perform at the U.S. Embassy.
The ship is carrying roughly 200 troops and civilians, including personnel from the U.S., Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom for the mission. ...
While Australia pushes back and imprisons Rohingya with impunity, UNHCR pressures Bangladesh to respect refugee rights [Media Release - 20/3/17]
... Anwar Kamal, a Rohingya refugee, alleged a Myanmar envoy called him a liar after Anwar described the atrocities he witnessed.
Whenever a refugee would speak, they would interrupt and say they were lying, he said.
However, the 10-member delegation has not spoken to the media at all during their visit.
Members of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and other aid agencies accompanying the delegation also refused to make any statements. ... Myanmar government officials accuse Rohingya of lying about atrocities during their harassment expedition to Cox's Bazar refugee camps [Dhaka Tribune - 20/3/17]
Myanmar government imposes total travel ban on Rohingyas resisting discriminatory NV card [Rohingya Vision - 20/3/17]
Woodside ticks all its own boxes in 2016 Sustainable Development Report [16/3/17]:
... In 2016, Woodside undertook human rights risks assessments in a number of countries where we have activities. These assessments primarily focused on Myanmar and countries in West Africa.
Woodside also participated in a number of national and international forums that aim to advance the protection of human rights, including the Australian UN Global Compact Annual Plenary and the Australian Government National Action Plan process.
We also participated in the Multinational Investors Group, coordinated by the International Labour Organisation and Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB), and joint government-investor workshops conducted by MCRB and the Norwegian Environment Agency in Myanmar.
In 2016, we undertook consultation within Myanmar at the national, regional and village level in support of future planned and contingent drilling activities in the Rakhine Basin. The consultation process included discussions with local fishermen and fishing associations to understand the nature of their fishing activities and the potential for our activities to impact on livelihoods.
Consultation confirmed that potential impacts as a result of project activities are not expected to be significant in scale and duration, due to the offshore nature of the activities. This information was disclosed as part of the relevant Environment Impact Assessment reports.
Woodside has an international community grievance mechanism (CGM), which provides a structured approach to receive, acknowledge and respond to grievances. Our CGM provides a framework for community stakeholders to raise questions or concerns and have them addressed in a prompt and respectful manner.
Community stakeholders have the ability to lodge grievances at local Woodside offices or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org. In 2016,
Woodside received five community grievances, all of which have been resolved. ...
Sri Lanka's Criminal Investigations Department on Monday told a court that the former president's brother and former Defence Minister, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa ran a 'top secret death squad', Al Jazeera reported.
The death squad was responsible for the assassinations of political opponents and journalists, including the former Sunday Leader editor, Lasantha Wickremetunge.
Excerpts of a report compiled by the CID was read out in court: "Testimony from the former army commander [Sarath Fonseka] shows that there was a special secret unit outside his authority and controlled by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa through the then-chief of national intelligence Kapila Hendawitharana."
"This unit was operated outside the army command structure and was used to target journalists and other dissidents." [Tamil Guardian - 21/3/17]
Impunity reigns in Sri Lanka, concludes People for Equality and Relief in Lanka [PEARL] in latest report [Tamil Guardian - 20/3/17]
Teenagers tortured at Australian youth detention centre win compensation case [Sydney Morning Herald - 21/3/17]:
The Northern Territory government has lost a civil lawsuit and will pay a total of $53,000 to four teenagers who were tear-gassed at Darwin's Don Dale youth detention centre.
The unnamed boys sued the NT government after they were shackled, spit-hooded and tear-gassed in August 2014, arguing it amounted to assault and battery.
Justice Judith Kelly has today ruled in the NT Supreme Court that the government is to pay three of the boys $12,000 each in damages, while the fourth former inmate will receive $17,000.
Six teens were tear gassed in August 2014 after one inmate, Jake Roper, escaped his solitary confinement cell and began trashing an exercise yard. ...
... Ms Gillard – who was elected unanimously by the Beyond Blue Board of Directors – is the first former Prime Minister to run a not-for-profit organisation since Malcolm Fraser launched CARE Australia in 1987.
“My father was a psychiatric nurse so I grew up with an awareness of and commitment to mental health causes,” said Ms Gillard. ... Jeff Kennett hands the reins of Beyond Blue to Julia Gillard [Media Release - 21/3/17]
Hunger strike will not change Canberra policies - Gillard [Daily Mirror - 16/4/13]:
... Gillard was commenting on a group of 27 asylum seekers on hunger strike at a Melbourne detention centre.
While the Immigration Department won't comment on why the detainees are on strike, it is believed they have been granted refugee status but have had their release into the community refused due to adverse Australian security assessments.
Gillard on Monday stressed the importance of assessing would-be refugees on security grounds.
"We've got duties and obligations to the nation here in terms of properly assessing who's a refugee and making appropriate security assessments," she told ABC Radio.
"You do not change your circumstance as an asylum seeker or a refugee with an adverse security assessment through hunger striking," she said. ...
... ‘I don’t know if it was an accident or if it was deliberate,’ says Nicole Brooks (not her real name), on the timing of the 2012 amendment.
Either way, she believes, media focus on Gillard’s speech meant that the government’s move against single parents went unheeded.
‘The focus was on Julia Gillard and what an amazing feminist she was, but on the same day she’s hurting the most vulnerable women. That was particularly difficult to go through.’ ... [Meanjin - Volume 73, Number 3, 2014]
The Age [3/12/12]:
... On Monday morning, Ms Gillard was delivering the opening address at a conference for disability services CEOs, when she was interrupted by a woman in a wheelchair.
Mel Leckie, 28, spoke up from the floor to read a handwritten statement stating the tough situation she found herself in as a paraplegic.
Ms Leckie - who described problems with incontinence - was angry about the poor levels of support she had access to.
''I will never be able to work full-time,'' she said. ...
Gold Coast Movie World withdraws Catatonic "virtual reality experience"
[SANE - 21/3/17]:
StigmaWatch recently worked with an Australian theme park which was planning to launch a new a virtual reality experience that invited people to ‘step into the shoes of a mental patient being welcomed into an insane asylum’.
The experience not only exposed people to terrifying and stigmatising visuals, but inaccurately depicted mental health treatment.
StigmaWatch contacted the park’s management and within 24 hours the experience, along with all advertising, was removed.
Stigma is a huge barrier to getting help for those living with untreated mental illness symptoms and often prevents people from seeking help early on, especially young people.
This can lead to people only getting help when things have reached an absolute crisis point, or not getting help at all, which can have devastating consequences.
US launching soaring number of airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq, Syria [Antiwar.com - 20/3/17]
Reports from earlier this month that Pentagon has been increasing deployments of special forces around the Middle East and Africa appears to be continuing apace, with the most recent reports suggesting that President Trump has expanded the deployments into Central Africa, and is continuing the policy across the region. ... [Antiwar.com - 19/3/17]
@matthewcassel [20/3/17]: Iraq 14 years ago and the person responsible with Ellen earlier this month.
@wikileaks [20/3/17]: How smug, inaccurate, uncritical journalism led to the ongoing death and displacement of millions
NZ defence officials reject Afghan raid claims [RNZI - 21/3/17]
A historic murder conviction against a British marine who shot dead a seriously wounded Taliban prisoner in Afghanistan has been quashed and replaced with one of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. ... [The Guardian - 15/3/17]
A prominent leader of the anti-base movement in Okinawa was released on bail Saturday after spending five months in jail over minor offenses.
The Naha branch of the Fukuoka High Court ordered Hiroji Yamashiro, 64, head of the Okinawa Peace Action Center, released on bail, upholding the Naha District Court’s decision on Friday.
Prosecutors had appealed the district court ruling.
Yamashiro was arrested in October for allegedly cutting barbed wire at a U.S. military training area in Higashi, Okinawa.
He has also led groups opposed to the relocation plan for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma further south in Ginowan. Okinawa hosts the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan. ... [Japan Times - 19/3/17]
@wikileaks [20/3/17]: CIA ‘Black Site’ prisoner & guinea pig for torture program Abu Zubaydah to take stand ...
The number of people self-harming in one of the UK’s immigration detention centres has increased three-fold in four years, an inspection report has revealed, prompting NGOs to highlight an “urgent” need for detention reform.
An unannounced inspection of Morton Hall immigration removal centre in Lincolnonshire, carried out in November, found incidents of self-harm among detainees had nearly tripled since the previous assessment in March 2013 – rising from 30 to 83 in the six months before the inspection, with the number of individuals involved up from 19 to 53.
The report, published on Tuesday by the Chief Inspector of Prisons, found 49 per cent of detainees said they had problems with feeling depressed or suicidal on arrival — a “significant” increase on four years earlier. ... [The Independent - 21/3/17]
At least two people were wounded Monday when shots were fired at a motorcade carrying former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, lawyers for the ex-leader and a close political associate said.
Yvon Feuille, a senior executive of the Fanmi Lavalas political movement that Aristide founded decades ago, described the shooting at a bustling intersection in downtown Port-au-Prince as an "assassination attempt." ... [ABC News - 20/3/17]
What does "get in line" mean in immigration debate? [San Diego Union-Tribune - 20/3/17]:
Those who support President Donald Trump’s increased immigration enforcement frequently say that immigrants should “get in line” to come to America, rather than enter without authorization.
But, what line? For most people who might want to come to America, there is no line.
Potential immigrants generally need a family member or employer in the U.S. as a sponsor before they can seek entry.
And those who have such a host face waits that many would consider unreasonably long.
Mexican brothers and sisters of American citizens who applied to come to the United States legally almost 20 years ago are just now getting green cards.
For siblings in the Philippines, the delay is even longer — 23 years.
Siblings from India have waited 14 years.
Both sides in the immigration debate have used the concept of an immigration “line” in their rhetoric over the years. ...
30,000 march in solidarity with migrants at US-Mexico border [teleSUR - 20/3/17]:
Archbishop Francisco Moreno Barron led a Catholic mass Sunday next to the border wall between the United States and Mexico in the border city of Tijuana before 30,000 joined in a march in solidarity with migrants worldwide.
The march for “Life, Peace and Migrants” has been organized by the Catholic Church in Tijuana for 17 consecutive years with the goal of uniting the society of Tijuana.
However, this year's march has the added goal of solidarity and prayers for migrants worldwide. ...
Specifics of Obama-Australia refugee "deal" stay secret as media flounders i.e. the "deal" is BULLSHIT. [ABC - 21/3/17]
Australian refugee concentration camp goons arrested and issued with removal order says Nauru government propagandist [SBS - 21/3/17]
"Zabra chicken used as medication on us. Breakfast zabra lunch zabra dinner zabra. When I go to sleep I dream zabra" @ManusChefAU [11/6/16]
Anti-refugee policy continues unchallenged and unscrutinised as Australian government ramps up humiliation and provocation at its illegal concentration camp on Manus Island [The National - 21/3/17]
... Kurdish-Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani said a fight between asylum seekers and security guards erupted at the mess located in the Mike Compound after a fence was placed for asylum seekers to queue up.
“It’s unacceptable that they are treating me and others like criminals,” Boochani said.
“We are not criminals.
“We left our countries because of war and discrimination.
“It’s so disrespectful that they are giving food behind the fence.
“They had already made a wall between the refugees and kitchen in Oscar Compound, so they could only give food to refugees from small holes in the wall, just like for criminals. ...
... The refugee from Iran, Amir Taghinia, said the fight happened last Saturday in Mike compound, which houses men who have been denied refugee status. [After 4 years illegal imprisonment and a sham assessment process. ---> Former Manus worker tells forum man's refugee claim rejected because he was deemed "too educated" to be a Rohingya - Brisbane Times - 9/4/16]
"They have made the mess look like a money changer. I haven't even seen these things in the movies in the prisons," he said.
"The reason that made guys angry was the treatment of the guards, provoking the guys, using offensive words. There were a few of the guys injured. There was apparently a case of broken nose which was hit by chair in the face."
Mr Taghinia said he was not aware if any of the guards were injured in the fight.
The brawl lasted several minutes until the guards retreated outside the compound.
The Kurdish journalist and detainee Behrouz Boochani said another altercation took place on Saturday at the centre between refugees and guards at the gate of Oscar compound.
He said the incident at the gate started when a guard punched a Rohingya refugee in the face. [RNZI - 21/3/17]
After saying nothing about recent forced deportations, Amnesty belittles an increasingly dire situation at Australia's refugee concentration camp on Manus Island [RNZI - 21/3/17]
UN continues its strong advocacy for the rights of refugees on Manus Island [The National - 21/3/17]:
The Government has thanked the United Nations World Tourism Organisation for choosing the country to host its national forum on sustainable tourism for development.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Tobias Kulang, pictured, told the forum in Port Moresby yesterday that PNG had been given a “rare opportunity” to host such an international conference with delegates from 17 countries.
UN official responds to the untenable situation on Manus Island, and other urgent human rights issues in PNG [The National - 20/3/17]:
United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Secretary-General Dr Talib Rifai is in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific region for the first time to promote and support the development of the tourism industry.
The organisation, in conjunction with the Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA), will host a one-day tourism forum today at the Stanley Hotel in Port Moresby followed by a two-day 11th UNWTO Asia-Pacific executive training programme on policy and strategy.
The programme is funded by the Korean government and will be attended by delegates of more than 18 UNTWO member countries. ...
PNG court case regarding Manus compensation and relocation set down for a directions hearing today - 21 March [RNZI - 16/3/17]
Port Moresby settlers threatened with eviction petition Opposition Leader [The National - 21/3/17]
Manumanu and Gabadi landowners in Central want a full commission of inquiry instead of the administrative inquiry set up by the National Executive Council to investigate allegations surrounding the compulsory acquisition of portions of land to establish a PNG Defence Force naval base. ... [The National - 21/3/17]
@SamShepEdwards [20/3/17]: Moroccan police prevented a group of 250-300 migrants crossing border fence into Spanish enclave Ceuta this AM
New arrivals to the eastern Aegean islands of Lesvos, Chios and Samos have raised the number of migrants landing in Greece from neighboring Turkey since last Thursday to 566, government figures showed on Monday.
The figure represents a significant increase compared to arrivals in the rest of March and for the whole of February.
In the past four days, 195 migrants landed on Lesvos, 341 on Chios and 30 on Samos.
More than 14,000 migrants remain stuck on the islands of the eastern Aegean awaiting the outcome of their applications for asylum or deportation.
The majority are living in overcrowded reception facilities where conditions have been described as "unacceptable" and "inhumane" by human rights groups. [Ekathimerini - 20/3/17]
21 March 2017