United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US-led air strikes in Iraq, Syria [Reuters - 25/6/15]
US Department of Defense [24/6/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, which took place between 8 a.m. yesterday and 8 a.m. today, local time, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrike in Syria
In Syria, a bomber strike near Tal Abyad struck an ISIL tactical unit.
Airstrikes in Iraq
In Iraq, coalition military forces conducted eight airstrikes approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense using attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft:
-- Near Beiji, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying three ISIL vehicles and an ISIL staging area.
-- Near Haditha, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Sinjar, four airstrikes struck one large and one small ISIL tactical unit and two ISIL staging areas, destroying three ISIL buildings.
-- Near Tal Afar, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL mortar firing position, destroying an ISIL building.
ISIL re-enters Syrian Kurdish town Kobane [Al Jazeera - 25/6/15]
US drone strike kills 4, Yemen [Naharnet - 25/6/15]
Saudi-led warplanes strike key targets of Houthis across Yemen [Global Times - 24/6/15]
Afghanistan: 12 policemen dead in fight with rebels in Helmand [Pajhwok - 25/6/15]
A nine-year-old Syrian boy was killed and three of his relatives wounded when a nearly decade-old Israeli cluster bomb exploded in south Lebanon Thursday, a security source told The Daily Star.
The source said the cluster bomb, dropped by a Israeli warplane during the 2006 invasion of Lebanon, killed Khaled Barakat, 9, and wounded his two brothers, Hasan, 5, Mahmoud, 7, and father, Jamal, 33.
The incident took place near the public square in the Marjayoun district town of Majdal Selem. ... [Daily Star - 25/6/15]
Palestine to submit hundreds of documents to ICC for first time [Maan - 25/6/15]
Thousands of civilians fleeing ‘rule of fear’ in Eritrea, say UN experts, warning of gross rights abuses [Media Release - 23/6/15]
Refugees crisis in Mediterranean 'genocide' says Italian Mayor
Daily Star [25/6/15]:
Failing to provide asylum seekers with safe passage to the EU while hundreds die at sea is tantamount to genocide, a mayor on the frontline of the crisis warned Thursday.
"We're living a genocide, and in a few years we Europeans risk being found responsible," Palermo's mayor Leoluca Orlando said in reference to the 1,800 or so people who have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean by boat this year.
Orlando said Europe should make it easier for asylum seekers to apply for refugee status outside the EU, after which they could enter the bloc legally rather than having to place their fate in the hands of people traffickers.
"If Syrians, coming from a country at war, have the immediate right to refugee status, why stop them taking a plane ticket from Istanbul to Paris, for example, and oblige them to go via Libya and the Mediterranean sea?" he asked.
Orlando, whose city in the northwest of Sicily has had to deal with a fair number of the over 60,000 people who have arrived in Italy so far this year, said many of the tales migrants have to tell were hair-raising.
"The stories told by survivors who make it to Sicily resemble the accounts told by survivors of Dachau and Auschwitz (concentration camps)," he said.
Orlando was in Rome for a meeting between Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the country's regional heads on the question of giving shelter to migrants, after areas of the rich north in particular said they refused to take in any more.
Renzi called for "ethical and reasonable" solutions to the problem, saying refugees must be cared for and economic migrants quickly expelled - without explaining how the country would speed up its identification processes.
The talks were slammed as a waste of time by the president of the Lombardy region, Roberto Maroni, who told his Northern League anti-immigration party that "the chaos continues."
His counterpart in the Veneto region, Luca Zaia, called on his prefects "not to answer the phone anymore when the government rings."
New Zealand concerned
by suppression of Nauru opposition.
Australia concerned about securing continued existence of refugee concentration camp.
New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully says it's an understatement to say he's deeply concerned about developments in Nauru.
Five suspended opposition MPs have either had their passports cancelled, or are facing criminal charges following anti government protests in Nauru last week.
Mr McCully says he will have what he calls a pretty direct conversation with the Nauruan President Baron Waqa at a meeting of Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers in just over a week's time.
"I'll certainly take the opportunity in any informal discussions to raise these issues and to see if we can find a pathway forward. We need to take pretty seriously the reports that are coming out and we need to have some focused conversations about these developments."
Mr McCully says he will also again raise with
Nauru its 7-thousand US dollar journalist's visa which he says has diminished
scrutiny by the international media.
UNHCR and PNG government asked to explain the mistreatment of exiled refugees on Manus Island.
IOM, US Embassy in Port Moresby and Australian government stay protected and unaccountable.
... A spokesman for the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said the travel restrictions imposed on the men was not legal.
"Under international law, the fundamental right to liberty and the prohibition of arbitrary detention applies to all people regardless of their immigration or other status, including asylum seekers and refugees," the UNHCR spokesman said.
"Contracting states to the 1951 Refugee Convention are obliged to provide refugees lawfully within their territory the right to choose their place of residence to move freely within its territory, subject to limited exceptions."
PNG has defended its right to stop refugees leaving Manus Island.
"The government of PNG does not want to restrict any freedoms of refugees and does not do so lightly," PNG's acting chief migration officer, Esther Gaegaming, said in a statement.
"However, we also have a duty of care to ensure that refugees are adequately prepared to successfully and safely settle in Papua New Guinea."
Portfolio Budget Statements in support of the 2014-15 Budget for the Immigration and Border Protection portfolio:
Refugee and Humanitarian Assistance
$762,000 ---> IOM
Initiatives to address the situation of displaced persons and promote sustainable returns - $700,000
Refugee and humanitarian passage, associated costs and related services - $18,966,000
$4,817,000 - offshore biometric program expansions
Minister for Immigration Media Release [28/4/15]:
A new Strategic Partnership Framework (SPF) with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will further strengthen Australia’s important relationship with the organisation.
Today the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton met with the Director General of IOM William Lacy Swing in Canberra where they signed the new SPF.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said this signing marks a milestone for Australia’s relationship with IOM.
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.” ...
IOM, Australian High Commission, US Embassy and PNG immigration officials hijack PNG's first World Refugee Day by pretending the death camp on Manus Island doesn't exist [EMTV - VIDEO - 20/6/15]:
Today marked a significant year for Papua New Guinea as it celebrated its first ever world refugee day at the Jack Pidik Park in Port Moresby.
Representatives from the Australian Immigration and the United Nations International Organization for Migration [IOM] including the West Papua Representative were all there to witness the world refugee day.
Singer Song Writer, Anslom Nakikus, was awarded a certificate by the PNG immigration, as the PNG Refugee Ambassador.
Many who attended the world refugee day described it as a very special occasion for all Papua New Guinean and a time to take the opportunity to pay tribute to honour the strengths and resilience of the refugee in the country as well as those around the world.
Community leader for West Papua Refugee praised the work of the PNG Government for their helping hand towards refugee in the country including the assistance provided by the UN organisations [IOM].
Scott Mann, Representative from the Australian Immigration and High Commission expressed similar consents regarding refugees not just in PNG but around the world.
He said across the world today, many refugees are seen displaced and need our helping hand, as they have experienced a lot through conflicts, persecution and many other for of violence.
Singer Song writer and international recording artist Anslom Nakikus is the first Papua New Guinean to volunteer, to show his respects to the refugee community as the First PNG Refugee Ambassador for PNG.
Does the UNHCR even have a presence on Manus Island (or Nauru or Christmas Island) any more? Hasn't the Australian government restricted their access?
Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Recommendations re "Incident at the Manus Island Detention Centre from 16 February to 18 February 2014" [December 2014]:
8.26 The committee recommends that the Australian Government ensure an adequate and effective investigation into the criminal assaults perpetrated against individuals detained at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre during the events of 16 to 18 February 2014, including by assisting the Papua New Guinea authorities in any ongoing investigations and facilitating the taking of witness testimony from individuals present at the incident who are now in Australian territory.
8.35 The committee recommends that the Australian Government acknowledge its responsibility to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of individuals detained at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre.
8.39 The committee recommends that, in accordance with the right to an effective remedy and right to health in international human rights law, the Australian Government:
• acknowledge and take responsibility for violations of human rights in relation to the incident at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre from 16 to 18 February 2014; and
• provide compensation to those who have suffered human rights violations, including to Mr Reza Barati's family and to asylum seekers who were injured during the incident.
8.40 The committee recommends that the Australian Government ensure that all asylum seekers injured in the violence at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre from 16 to 18 February 2014 receive adequate professional assistance, including medical treatment, full rehabilitation and mental health services, as well as independent legal advice.
8.49 The committee recommends that, in the interests of transparency and accountability, the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea take measures to facilitate appropriate access to the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre, including:
• allowing United Nations representatives full access to the centre and transferees;
• permitting qualified lawyers, including lawyers certified to practice in Australia, access to the centre in order to meet with transferees and provide legal assistance;
• allowing the Australian Human Rights Commission to regularly inspect the centre and meet with centre staff and transferees; and
• permitting journalists to visit the centre and speak freely with centre staff and transferees.
8.52 The committee recommends that Transfield Services and the Australian Government ensure that service provider staff employed at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre be provided with sufficient workplace training to perform their roles, in line with the standards applicable to employees working in detention environments in Australia, and accounting for the particular difficulties associated with working in remote conditions.
1.8 On account of the committee's inability to make a site visit to the centre under its own powers, the committee sought the support and assistance of the Commonwealth Government to do so.
On 28 April 2014, the committee wrote to the Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP, as well as the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, seeking the government's approval and assistance.
1.9 The committee did not receive any response.
4.70 In specific evidence about actual incidents of encouragement to return home, a former employee of Playfair suggested that staff from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) were 'speaking to transferees, trying to convince them of the benefits of returning home'.
4.71 In contrast, government representatives re-confirmed their view that any returns from Manus Island RPC were strictly voluntary. For example Lieutenant General Campbell stated that '[i]t is really important to note these are voluntary returns'.
4.72 In terms of the number of returns from the Manus Island RPC, the department provided information that:
As at 1 August 2014, 203 transferees have been voluntarily returned from an Offshore Processing Centre (OPC) and 174 transferees from the Manus OPC since 18 February 2014 with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
6.57 Other evidence presented to the committee contested the claim that no individuals involved in assaults on asylum seekers were now employed at the centre.
Humanitarian Research Partners (HRP) contended that 'at least two of the alleged 17 February assailants are now back working in the centre and terrifying their victims by their mere presence'.
Mr Ben Pynt, Director of Human Rights Advocacy at HRP, told the committee that asylum seekers at the centre had reported to him on multiple occasions that perpetrators were still working at the centre.
Mr Pynt expanded:
[The transferees] do not feel that they are being adequately protected by the guards that are employed at the centre. In fact, they feel threatened by a number of the guards at the centre. I know of one story that chilled me to the bone. An asylum seeker contacted me shortly after he had been to medical. He was in Mike compound. From Mike compound you get in the back of a ute and they take you through to IHMS, because you are not meant to walk through. He got into the ute, screamed, and got out of the ute, because the person driving the ute was one of the people who attacked him. This is happening all the time. The mental harm that is created simply by having the attackers remain at the centre is unbelievable and unconscionable.
Miss Judge [who worked on Manus Island] continued:
The attacks on asylum seekers [in February 2014] were not unpredictable and unforeseen. The attacks were not due to asylum seekers insulting PNG nationals in February or asylum seekers feeling discontent with their processing time frames. The attacks were due to the entire system. The attacks were due to the lack of due care for asylum seekers' safety and wellbeing, the acceptance by staff that PNG was just a dangerous place and that there was nothing we could do to change that. With reports going unheard and incidents being covered up, with no-one really to report to and the threat of danger being from outside, I am unsure of how anyone can guarantee the asylum seekers' safety. Regardless of how high fences are built around the centre, how many CCTV cameras are installed or how many extra guards are employed, I do not believe anything can change the fact that the key threat to the asylum seekers safety is, in fact, simply being detained on Manus Island.
Current action at syd town hall: #HESTAdivest. While you care for others, hesta finances detention. Time to divest.
#HESTAdivest "super that cares" currently investing in transfield on #manus, #nauru. ...
Image: @Nikki_San [25/6/15]
@end_md: #HESTAdivest is at the 2015 HESTA Community Sector Awards at the Sydney Town Hall this evening.
@end_md: Will ASU rep @lisadarmaninASU & @ACOSS rep decide in favour of #hestadivest? #hestacommunitysectorawards
@xBorderOps: Health & care workers played for mugs, supporting drive to privatise & detain. #HESTAdivest #HESTACommSectAwards
Labor supports detention bill giving government unfettered power to run offshore detention with no oversight [Greens Media Release - 25/6/15]:
The Abbott Government and Labor Party have voted together to ram through laws that will keep asylum seekers and refugees indefinitely detained in centres on Nauru and Manus Island despite serious concerns about the inhumane conditions inside the camps.
"The Abbott Government has rammed through laws in order to scuttle a high court case assessing the legality of these detention centres. It's not refugees who are illegal, it's the Government detention of them that's been unlawful," Greens Immigration Spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
"Today the Parliament had an opportunity to fix some of the worst and most harmful aspects of offshore detention but since Labor sided with Tony Abbott, children will continue to be sent to detention camps on Nauru.
"It is extremely disappointing that the Labor Party did not have the courage to stand up for decency today. As a result children and women remain indefinitely detained in the unsafe and squalid Nauru camp.
"It is shocking that neither the Government nor the Labor Party could support the Greens amendments that would require mandatory reporting of child abuse and assault to police and child protection agencies.
"The four Greens amendments were simple and straightforward:
1 // A 3 month time-limit on the length of detention
2 // No further children being sent to detention in Nauru
3 // Mandatory reporting requirements of child abuse and assault.
4 // Access to offshore detention camps for the Human Rights Commission, the Commonwealth Ombudsman, and journalists.
"If Australian taxpayers are going to spend billions of dollars funding these camps they should be run properly, humanely and without secrecy. These amendments would have helped clean up the conditions inside these camps and provide much needed transparency.
"Many Australians will be ashamed that rather than doing something to restore decency in how we treat refugees, particularly children, both the Labor and Liberal parties voted together to continue the cruelty on Nauru and Manus Island.”
... Australia should talk with ASEAN countries in handling asylum seekers. Australia cannot do what it wants unilaterally for the sake of its own interests and harm its neighbour countries.
It should also care about ethical and humanitarian aspects. ...
General Ryamizard Ryacudu talks to Al Jazeera about asylum seekers,
executions, and tensions in the South China Sea [Al Jazeera
Amid rising tension over disputed territory in the South China Sea, Indonesia's defence minister has proposed joint military patrols among claimant countries as a way to keep the peace in the region.
General Ryamizard Ryacudu, 65, sat down with Al Jazeera to also discuss the issue of asylum seekers boarding rickety boats for the dangerous journey to Australia, and relations with its southern neighbour after the recent execution of Australian nationals.
Al Jazeera: Australia's navy is alleged to have paid people smugglers to turn back asylum seeker boats to Indonesia. What is your comment on this?
Ryamizard Ryacudu: We are members of ASEAN and Australia should talk with ASEAN countries in handling asylum seekers. Australia cannot do what it wants unilaterally for the sake of its own interests and harm its neighbour countries. It should also care about ethical and humanitarian aspects.
Al Jazeera: What are your concerns about Australia's handling of the so-called boat people?
Ryacudu: Australia and the West are always shouting about the enforcement of human rights. Australia should not handle the issue of human smuggling by breaking human rights principles. If Australia pushed them to turn back further from its border and deaths occur, then Australia is considered in violation of human rights.
Paying off smugglers to turn the boat people back to Indonesia - if it is true - is breaking ethical standards. Australia seems concerned with its own interests without caring about others.
We have to sit together and talk. Australia and ASEAN countries should bear the burden of refugees together. As you know, Malaysia and Indonesia are the two countries that accommodate the biggest number of refugees who supposedly target Australia.
It is therefore not fair if Australia carries on in its own way without any coordination with ASEAN countries.
Indonesia has been helping migrants significantly over the past five years, although it never ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention.
Al Jazeera: Indonesia-Australia relations were also recently challenged after the execution of two Australian drug traffickers. Will the issue further strain ties?
Ryacudu: Our bilateral relations with Australia is still cooperative. The execution of two Australians is not hampering our defence relationship at all. We have to see the diplomatic issues of the two countries proportionally. We are friends of all nations until they threaten our sovereignty.
Al Jazeera: President Joko Widodo has said Indonesia wants to remain 'an honest broker' in the disputes over South China Sea territory. How do you translate his statement into your defence policy?
Ryacudu: Indonesia has nothing to do with the dispute actually. What we are going to do is to become an independent mediator between the conflicting parties.
What the president wants is a peaceful solution, reminding China that its claim to the entire South China Sea has no legal basis.
So the key point of the message is peace. The defence ministry translates his message into building political communication between the conflicting countries with Indonesia as the mediator.
Al Jazeera: Do you have a plan in mind?
Ryacudu: I met China's Defence Minister Chang Wanguan at the regional meeting of defence ministers and military chiefs in Singapore two months ago. He told me that most of the delegations attacked China's position until he walked out of the forum.
I suggested to Chang that China should try different ways of communication and diplomacy. I proposed joint patrols in the waters among the conflicting countries. He agreed.
Al Jazeera: What is your aim with the joint patrols?
Ryacudu: The dispute is potentially leading to war if no one can manage the conflict. So we need a breakthrough. If the joint patrols become a reality then everything would be transparent. It would be joint peace patrols - not security patrols.
The proposed patrols would send a message that no single country should build up strength or threaten anyone in the water.
Al Jazeera: Although Indonesia has long said it is a neutral party in the disputes, it has the oil-rich areas of Natuna and Tanjung Datu near the South China Sea. Do you think China has designs on these?
Ryacudu: I don't think so. We have a good relationship with China as I mentioned previously. China has no right over them. We have a long history there.
No sanctions or international condemnation: US Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard pops up again to assert her regional authority and disseminate more pointless, confused messaging about Rohingya refugees - mostly that they should stay put - and die [NPR - 24/6/15]:
... MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: When assistant secretary of state, Anne Richard, attended a recent regional meeting to deal with the thousands of boat people fleeing hardship and persecution, the last thing she wanted to do was announce a big, new resettlement plan.
ANNE RICHARD: Because we were concerned that that would then create a pull factor to attract people to get on boats and make this very dangerous journey. So we intend to do our part, but we really believe that the solution for the Rohingya is that they be able to live peacefully inside Burma.
KELEMEN: Burma, or Myanmar, doesn't recognize the Rohingya and has forced many into internment camps.
RICHARD: It was one of the more oppressive atmospheres I have ever experienced in all my travels around the world. People do not have freedom of movement. Their kids are not in school. They can't practice their livelihoods, be that farming or fishing. They live in fear.
KELEMEN: The U.S. has sent numerous high-level envoys to Myanmar to press the government to give these people more rights. Michel Gabaudan, who runs the advocacy group Refugees International, says the U.S. messaging has been spot on.
MICHEL GABAUDAN: That being said, it hasn't had a lot of impact on the way the government of Myanmar has reacted to the Rohingya. I mean, their policies become tougher and tougher. Recently they've passed a law spacing the time a woman can have children, which is specific to the Muslims.
The Malay Mail Online [5/6/15]:
The condition of the Rohingya boat people in Malaysia is acceptable compared to the conditions in Thai and Indonesian detention camps, US Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration Anne Richard said.
She was satisfied with the layout and accommodation facilities at the Belantik detention camp in Kedah.
“They are being held in modern facilities with clean conditions but they don’t know what to expect (about their future),” she said, adding that the government should review their status quickly.
“I’m surprised by the generosity of Malaysians and how rapidly the general public has organised and sent aid to the immigrants,” she said.
Richard called on Malaysia to ratify the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention but appreciated Malaysia’s move to grant temporary shelter despite not being a signatory.
[June 1 - The Rakyat Post: ... When asked whether it was important that Malaysia signed the 1951 Convention Relating to the status of refugees, Richard said everyone should, but in Malaysia’s case, the government was already working well in handling the issue. ...]
“Malaysia has a history of being a haven for refugees and I believe it can provide valuable assistance in cases like this to help those genuinely seeking asylum,” she said.
During her three-day visit to Malaysia, Richard lauded the Forces Of Love (FOL) coalition’s initiative to launch a basic education programme, “Early Intervention, Fostering With Love”.
The project aims to secure the welfare of the 404 Rohingya children at the Belantik detention camp by providing basic education, books and other educational material.
The donations will be distributed among the Rohingya children, some of whom are orphans. This is not inclusive of five tonnes of personal use items delivered last week by FOL
When the US Empire stamps its foot, refugees trying to flee persecution are accused/charged with people smuggling or trafficking [Bangkok Post - 24/6/15]:
Twenty members of a human trafficking ring, facing charges in connection with a migrant ship that was intercepted off the Arakan coast last month, were each handed five years in prison on Monday by a township court.
Aung Kyaw Nyunt, a court attorney in the predominantly Rohingya town of Maungdaw, said the smuggling ring, including crew members and interpreters, was apprehended with 208 people on board in May.
He said they were sentenced under the Immigration Act and would also face additional human trafficking charges along with five other fugitives.
“The group of 20 individuals on the ship, including crew members and interpreters, were each sentenced to five years in prison under the Immigration Act by Maungdaw township court,” DVB on Wednesday quoted him as saying.
“They are also facing additional human trafficking charges at the district court along with five other individuals who are on the run and have been declared fugitives.”
He said the 20 found guilty on Monday included residents from Yangon, Irrawaddy and Tenasserim divisions and Arakan state, and that they were currently being detained in Buthidaung prison.
The vessel carrying migrants, which intended journeying to Malaysia or Indonesia, was intercepted by the Myanmar navy off the coast in Maungdaw on May 21 after it was forced to make a turnaround due to heavy naval patrols in the Strait of Malacca.
To date, the Myanmar government has repatriated 187 migrants from that ship who were verified as Bangladeshi nationals.
Arakan state government spokesperson Tin Maung Swe told DVB the officials are continuing to verify the origins of the remaining boat people.
Rohingyas tell Europe they are Burmese [bdnews24.com – 14/6/15]:
... As Rohingya people cannot raise their demands at home, their compatriots living in the countries of Europe are doing that for them.
Registered in the Netherlands, the European Rohingya Council has its members in at least 12 EU nations.
Mohamed Ibrahim is the general secretary of this Council that works as a “lobby and advocacy” group.
“I am Rohingya. I am a Burmese,” he introduced himself to bdnews24.com on the sidelines of the just-concluded DW Global Media Forum in Bonn.
He said they were raising their voice in Europe, as “we can’t speak in our own country”.
He said they had volunteers in both Bangladesh and Myanmar, who fed them with information. They also run a news portal.
“We lobby here,” he said.
They go to the EU headquarters in Brussels and the UN office in Geneva to make themselves heard.
“Why is Bangladesh silent? You should also raise your voice,” he said.
“We want our citizenship back in Myanmar. We want our basic human rights.”
“If someone wants to go to Bangladesh, they can easily go. Even they are pushed by the Burmese authorities, but they’ll not take (Rohingyas) back once they are out.”
“They always try to push Rohingyas to Bangladesh or to other countries,” he said.
He pointed to Myanmar authorities initially tagging a condition to the release of abducted Bangladeshi border guard Abdur Razzak – that Bangladesh must also take in the 555 ‘human trafficking victims’ found on boat without checking their nationality. ...
Rohingya stripped of voting rights ahead of key Myanmar election [UCA News – 24/6/15]
Thai Buddhists to help anti-Muslim Myanmar monks set up radio station [France 24 - 24/6/15]
Myanmar military puts its case for hanging on to political power [Reuters – 24/6/15]
Newly opened pipeline transporting gas from Myanmar to China starts leaking near Kunming [China Daily - 24/6/15]:
A pipeline that started transporting natural gas from Myanmar to China just 13 days ago began leaking near a tunnel on the highway from Kunming to Shilin on Tuesday.
The leak was brought under control after experts turned off the upstream and downstream valves and released all the gas in the section. An investigation is underway to spot the source of the leak.
The gas pipeline is an important channel of transporting gas from Myanmar to China.
The pipeline, which has been in operation since June 10, has total length of 91.5 kilometers and an input capacity of 903 million cubic meters per year, which can meet the demand of seven million users.
In 2015, the natural gas use supplied by the Kunming east branch is expected to be 78 million cubic meters.
On the 29th of January, China opened, with little fanfare, a new oil link through Myanmar. Despite its low profile, this project has clearly been a huge undertaking, both technologically and politically. This 2,400km long pipeline runs through some of the most rugged areas on the planet, marked by jagged hills and ridges and dense jungle. On top of that, two stretches of the pipeline traverse two of Southeast Asia’s political hotspots, the Rakhine and Shan States, which retain semi-autonomous armies that have only just recently been nominally pacified. … [Forbes - 10/2/15]
Sydney Morning Herald [23/3/15]:
Woodside Petroleum has emerged as the largest holder of exploration acreage in Myanmar's promising Rakhine Basin, formalising contracts with the government that will give it large interests in four additional permits.
The award of the permits was first flagged last year by Woodside's partner, BG Group, which said the partners would carry out 3D seismic in the blocks, with options for future drilling.
Myanmar has become one of the world's hotspots for exploration after political reforms introduced in 2011 saw sanctions lifted by the European Union and the US, allowing international players to re-enter the market. The first award of exploration rights was made to international companies last year, with drilling due to get underway this year. The country is estimated to hold an estimated 3.2 billion barrels of oil resources and 18 trillion cubic feet of gas, with unproven resources potentially vastly greater, attracting majors including Chevron and Shell.
Woodside said that its stakes in offshore blocks AD-2, AD-5, A-4 and A-7 increased its exploration acreage to about 46,000 square kilometres. It is set to commence exploration work in the permits this year.
Woodside is already working with South Korea's Daewoo International in another Myanmar licence, and with local national company MPRL in another, as part of its expanded effort to explore emerging petroleum provinces with high potential. Woodside's first exploration well in Myanmar, named Saung, is due to be drilled in late 2015 or early 2016, targeting a large gas discovery.
Woodside is taking the role of operator in two of the new offshore production sharing contracts, and will have non-operated interests in the other two. The under-explored Rakhine Basin lies off north-west Myanmar.
Executive vice president global exploration, Phil Loader, described the Rakhine Basin as "an emerging oil and gas province that fits very well with Woodside's proven capabilities in deepwater exploration and development."
Woodside has received retention lease renewal offers for petroleum retention leases WA-28-R, WA-29-R, WA-30-R, WA-31-R, WA-32-R, TR/5 and R2, from the Commonwealth-Western Australia Offshore Petroleum Joint Authority and the WA Minister for Mines and Petroleum. Woodside has 30 days to accept the retention lease renewal offers. … [Media Release – 24/6/15]
White people are the biggest terror threat in the US, report finds [Independent – 24/6/15]
... If members of the government honestly believe that they have a good policy they should sell it to the people without the unnecessary fear mongering and scare campaigning. If they are so convinced that they are making a decision in the best interests of Australia, they should be prepared to be scrutinised and have a good, calm argument to back up their views – not jump up and down screaming that the boogie man is coming in the hope that everybody will pull the blankets over their head and pee the bed.
I agree that those who travel abroad to fight against us with ISIS should feel the full weight of the law. I do not accept by-passing our judicial system, nor do I believe removing citizenship and leaving our “problems” in a situation where they can continue to commit crimes is good policy. I do believe that we should strengthen our current laws and consider life imprisonment without parole for those found guilty, but not without a proper judicial process to ensure that we do not falsely accuse a single innocent person. ...
It's a slippery slope if we enact laws based on fear rather than reason, Senator Ricky Muir [Guardian - 25/6/15]
Citizenship could be stripped for wide range of offences under terror laws [Sydney Morning Herald - 25/6/15]:
... Under the legislation, dual nationals who are convicted of certain offences would be automatically stripped of their citizenship.
Those offences range from treachery, sabotage and mutiny all the way down to damaging or destroying Commonwealth property.
It also includes a broad range of speech-related offences such as urging violence or advocating terrorism. ...
ALP Headquarters, Melbourne
Image: @akaWACA [5/6/15]
Police issue felony arrest warrant for famed street artist [Detroit Free Press - 24/6/15]:
Famed street artist Shepard Fairey, who visited Detroit last month to create the largest mural of his career, now faces felony charges that he tagged other properties across the city on his own time.
A warrant for his arrest was filed in 36th District Court on Friday. He faces two counts of malicious destruction of property, which bring a maximum penalty of five years in jail, plus fines that could run higher than $10,000.
Police, who accuse the artist of causing about $9,000 in damage, said that the next time he comes back to Detroit, they will arrest him if he doesn't turn himself in first.
"Just because he is a well-known artist does not take away the fact that he is also a vandal," said Detroit Police Sgt. Rebecca McKay, who oversees the city's graffiti task force. "And that's what we consider was done, in these instances, was vandalism."
Fairey had already told the Free Press he intended to leave illegal marks in the city. He arrived in May to paint the 18-story mural on One Campus Martius for Dan Gilbert's Bedrock Real Estate Services and others, but before the work began, he said he would be doing more.
"I still do stuff on the street without permission. I'll be doing stuff on the street when I'm in Detroit," Fairey said last month. His signature black-and-white Andre the Giant face had since appeared on several buildings downtown, in Eastern Market and along Jefferson Avenue.
Fairey's legal troubles in Detroit open a window on the evolution of street art from its illegal origins into a more professionalized genre recognized in museums and galleries. Fairey has always liked to play both sides of the street, accepting major commissions like the One Campus Martius but also retaining his street credibility by continuing to work in the shadows, tagging private property without authorization.
An exhibition of Fairey's prints is also currently on view at the Library Street Collective in downtown Detroit.
"This is a whole genre that's become institutionalized, and you'll always have some outliers go back to where they started and where they get their inspiration," said Elysia Borowy-Reeder, executive director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.
On another front, the crackdown on illegal graffiti suggests that the reputation Detroit has had for years among artists elsewhere as a kind of Wild Wild West of opportunity needs amending.
While inexpensive studio space, a supportive artists' community and the chance to help shape the future of the city remain powerful incentives to live and work in Detroit, the notion that anything goes, including illegal activities, is no longer true.
"That reputation lingers but change happens slowly and it's catching up," said Borowy-Reeder. "The city is becoming more mature."
A spokeswoman with Bedrock Real Estate Services, Robin Schwartz, declined to comment on the arrest warrant Wednesday. Bedrock Executive Vice President Dan Mullen has previously told the Free Press, "I definitely do not promote any unsanctioned work." Representatives of the Library Street Collective did not return a call seeking comment.
Police say the between May 16 and 22, Fairey pasted nine posters with his own iconic symbols like Andre the Giant and other images. The various posters measured roughly square in size, and measured four or so feet in height and width.
The total amount of damages that police say he has caused: $9,105.54.
Police also suspect that Fairey tagged several more properties -- up to 14 in total -- but only nine of the locations had owners who were reachable and interested in pressing charges, McKay said.
Fairey is still best-known for creating the now-iconic "Hope" poster of Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.
He has been arrested more than 15 times for defacing property. He is based in Los Angeles, and last came to Detroit in the early 2000s, when he tagged public and private spaces without permission. He has said it was considered a coup to get to make work that at times might be at odds with other aspects of a company's profile.
A spokesperson for Fairey said by email that the artist is "currently traveling out of the country," and that a representative would get in touch at a later date.
Shove it, Senator Siewert
Image: @clayton_dixon [14/12/14]
Constitutional Recognition Survey [Conducted by IndigenousX]:
The question of whether Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people wish to be recognised within the Australian Constitution, and what form that recognition would take, is still a topic of strong debate in the community. External to the community, because it has stated bipartisan political support, as well as government funding to run a recognition campaign, it is framed continually as a “black versus white” issue, where black people really wish to be recognised, and white people either need to be convinced or are opposed. This has long been a misrepresentation of the situation and just as some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been clearly visible in support of the “Recognise” campaign, so too have others been showing opposition. More are still trying to get more visibility and clearer answers on what it is that we are supposed to be supporting or opposing and why.
The problem continually appears to be that despite the clear evidence that this is not a ‘black versus white’ issue, the oppositional voices continually get discredited or even completely ignored. Perhaps this is a matter of pride, or political convenience; governmental or individual. The government is hardly, for example, going to come out and say that not all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are convinced their recognition in the constitution will be a good thing considering that they have put several million dollars into funding a campaign stating that we are. Likewise, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been a part of that campaign. Some have even supported it or been employed within it. And Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been a part of the expert panel and therefore, the discussions of models and ways forward. So perhaps it is a strategic choice not to acknowledge contrary views, or perhaps there is something darker at play and what we are looking at is silencing of debate and voices on a platform which should really be about our rights and how we wish to move forward…
On the 18th of May this year, Recognise issued a media release stating that recent polling they had conducted via Polity Research indicated that 87% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people would vote “yes” to be recognised within the Australian Constitution. Since then, this figure appears to have become a media tagline with numerous stories replicating it. Yet one glance on social media channels showed something quite different. Most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have laughed at suggestions by Cory Bernardi and Andrew Bolt; amongst others; that our recognition would be somehow be racist (or a form of reverse racism). But from the Black Nationalists and also the pro-treaty activists all the way through the spectrum to the Aboriginal people who have actively written on Gary Johns’s website, the figure of 87% support seemed highly questionable. Even many Indigenous people who support Recognise seemed to think it was a bit excessive and this is not a surprise; a lot of them would have friends and family members who disagree with them after all.
Questions were asked from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people all over social media: who did Recognise survey? What did they ask them? What were the respondents actually indicating that they supported? The media release was big on the figures and light on the details. And certainly, the 87% support was not indicative of a lot of mob discussions. Social media cannot be sneezed at as a method of grassroots engagement, as it has been established that Indigenous people use social media at a much higher rate than mainstream, and this is the case in urban, regional and remote areas. We have a lot of debate and discussion online and some of us have even carved out media careers by initially taking to online spaces. Therefore, it was felt by many that the online discussions were reasonably indicative of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander views and could not be, in all consciousness, ignored.
In light of this, IndigenousX decided to release their own survey to the community on the topic of Constitutional Recognition. IndigenousX is uniquely positioned in Social Media as one of few Indigenous owned and operated online spaces that actively engages with many sides of the political spectrum, whether they are seen as ‘mainstream’ or not. In the 1.5 weeks this survey has been available for responses, 827 community members have responded. This survey was distributed online, via social media channels, and was shared widely. The results it has reaped have been telling. We will investigate the question responses one by one in the interest of transparency.
'Recognising' The Artful Con That Is The Constitutional Reform Debate, Amy McQuire [New Matilda - 12/12/14]:
The great academic Noam Chomsky once wrote: “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum”.
This quote perfectly encapsulates the current debate around constitutional reform – where there is a bipartisanship backed by reams of PR spin as a “positive”, while in reality it demonstrates one of the most insidious developments in black policy today – a dangerous “Canberra consensus”, as described by Indigenous policy expert Jon Altman.
How can two white leaders agreeing on the best way to shortchange blackfellas, at the expense of Aboriginal opinion, be a good thing?
The debate around ‘Recognise’ is made worse by the fact even the Greens are snuggly in the fold, leaving the opposition to a growing chorus of disenchanted and disenfranchised Aboriginal people, who are vilified for their justifiable and commendable cynicism.
Don’t fall for the Con in Constitutional Recognition [Aboriginal Tent Embassy Canberra - July 2014]:
As the world watches Israel mercilessly slaughter the unarmed civilians of Gaza under the apparent pretense of self-defense the world mourns for the countless lives lost in the ongoing massacre.
The mainstream news fails to mention the extreme crimes against humanity taking place on our planet as an oppressed and occupied people of Palestine are bombarded with weapons of mass destruction claiming innocent civilians who have nowhere to go and hide from the explosions as the borders are closed on both sides.
The terror of a bomb being dropped on their homes come in the form of a telephone call, telling them to RUN they have 48 seconds to get out of their home.
Where are they supposed to run one asks, as the ground invasion of Gaza shoots them in the streets?
It the most inhuman thing I have ever witnessed in my life and it’s totally heartbreaking to see such blatant cruelty and savagery towards fellow human beings.
Why is this happening? Has the human race learnt nothing from the mistakes of the past? Why are world leaders so eager to wage and support war and drop bombs on unarmed people? It totals insanity. When will peace prevail?
While all the carnage happens and with a death toll continuing to climb with over 500+ Palestinian civilians killed from attacks this Statement on the 14 July 2014 from the Zionist Federation of Australia, which Mark Leibler is the Executive President, states: "The Zionist Federation of Australia strongly condemns the continued indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip."
Rockets that have not claimed any lives and are no doubt in the name of true self defense from the cruelty and ongoing oppression of Israel towards them.
The author Nima Shirazi asks, why is Leibler appearing to be an avid campaigner and advocate for Australian Indigenous rights yet works for numerous Zionist organisations that are activity oppressing the rights of Indigenous people of Palestine and systematically cleansing them from their land?
He mentions that his biography reeks of hypocrisy entitling his article: The Hypocrisy of Mark Leibler: Indigenous Rights Advocate Denies Indigenous Rights to Palestinians.
From an Original Peoples perspective here in Australia we can see that Mark Leibler does not appear so hypocritical in his advocacy of denying Original land inhabitants their sovereign human rights and that what he is doing in Australia is part of a well-oiled government process and propaganda machine that has been in operation for many years in this country since the Original Peoples begun in the 1970’s to lobby and campaign for their Land Rights.
Australians should be proud of the fact that our Prime
Minister and Foreign Minister have consistently supported a genuine, negotiated
two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
This is why Australia wisely voted against the admission of Palestine to UNESCO and why Australia should vote against Palestinian ''statehood'' if and when it comes to the United Nations General Assembly. ... Mark Leibler [Sydney Morning Herald - 17/11/11]
New Zealand: Climate protest at Parliament buildings
Four climate change protesters have scaled the roof of Parliament buildings in Wellington.
The situation so far:
Greenpeace protesters have taken solar panels and banners on to the roof of the Parliament buildings
The organisation tweeted that it was a reaction to Prime Minister John Key's inaction on climate change
Police say it is more risky to arrest the protesters than to leave them up there.
The Green Party's Gareth Hughes says he doesn't know the protesters, but was trained as a climber in his days with Greenpeace.
He says climbing the building is probably less risky than driving a tractor up the steps as a National MP did in 2003.
Presumably this refugee is still in hiding as the ABC and Australian High Commission in PNG enthusiastically promote Transfield's Manus Island boxing ring?
Transfield's donation of mobile boxing ring to Manus Island locals in "poor taste"??? Try: "The latest edition of the Australian government's Manus Island pro refugee death camp/pro torture propaganda is an example of fascism which mocks locals, refugees and Australians." [ABC - 24/6/15]:
The operator of the Manus Island detention centre has donated a mobile boxing ring to the community, despite local staff being accused of bashing an Iranian asylum seeker to death last year. The donation was publicised in the Australian High Commission's monthly newsletter. "The mobile boxing ring will assist the Boxing Association to stage boxing tournaments in all places in Manus," said the newsletter caption. One of the two men arrested for the murder of Reza Barati in February last year was a competitive amateur boxer. Refugee advocates worry about the message the boxing ring sends to local staff. "Given the levels of endemic violence on Manus Island, and the alleged involvement of a boxer in the death of Reza Barati, Transfield's gift of a mobile boxing ring to stage tournaments is inappropriate and in poor taste," Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said. "It would seem to be the actions of a company completely out of touch with the society in which it operates and devoid of any idea of corporate responsibility."
Australian High Commission Papua New Guinea [25/6/15]:
Read edition 7 of Manus i go het! ... Manus i go het! brings you the latest news and stories about Australia’s assistance in Manus and the Regional Processing Centre. In this issue read about business workshops, Lorengau police station, the road and bridgeproject timeline, Rambutso Island, N’drehet village and our work in the community.
Refugee exiled by Australia in hiding on Manus Island after being exploited by Transfield for propaganda campaign [ABC - 13/6/15]:
A refugee is in hiding on Manus Island in fear of his life, after allegedly being tricked by Papua New Guinea immigration officials into making a newspaper advertisement promoting resettlement [exile].
Haider Khan told the ABC other refugees are furious with him and have threatened his life for appearing in a photograph holding a digitally-altered sign saying: "Thank you for helping us."
Mr Khan said he did not agree to the campaign and specifically asked PNG officials not to use his image publicly.
"Why Australian Government and PNG Government play with us, this is our lives," he said in a phone call from Manus Island.
Mr Khan said the photo was taken during a trip to PNG's capital Port Moresby, which was suggested by a woman named Jenna working for Transfield Services.
Mr Khan said PNG immigration officials promised him a meeting with the immigration minister and refugee status if he agreed to go on the trip.
He said he felt "very happy" to have a break from Manus Island, where he has spent 19 months, mostly in detention.
Mr Khan said he posed for a photo to thank officials for giving him $303 to buy food and T-shirts, but warned PNG immigration not to publish the image.
"[I said] if you put my photo in the poster, here the refugees and asylum seekers will be very angry with me," he said.
On June 10, two national newspapers published an advertisement featuring a photograph of Mr Khan, as well as his name, nationality and occupation.
"The Government of PNG has permitted refugees to live and rebuild their lives in PNG," the newspaper advertisement said.
"Let's give them a positive start."
But that positive start quickly turned negative for Mr Khan, when other refugees in the transit centre accused him of speaking on their behalf and promoting a[n] resettlement [exile] plan many see as deeply flawed.
"Many refugees said, 'Everyone witness, if I see his face, we are kill him'," Mr Khan told the ABC.
He said he understands why other refugees are upset but insists he did not mean to speak on their behalf and was duped into appearing in the promotion.
The ABC has independently confirmed the threats against Mr Khan.
"Yes unfortunately, somebody are still threatening him," another refugee staying at [detained at] the East Lorengau transit centre said.
On Wednesday, the 33-year-old Bangladeshi man fled the Australian-funded transit centre, a place for those who have been released from detention and are awaiting resettlement [exile].
"In front of the road there is one small empty shop ... I'm sleeping there, many mosquitoes bit me," Mr Khan said.
He then walked away from the transit centre and is sheltering in the home of a local resident with only bread and biscuits to eat.
"Now I'm in a very bad situation, I have one T-shirt, one shorts, I can't shower here, no toilet," he said.
"I'm so much hungry," he said, breaking into tears on the phone.
He has been hiding for three days.
Mr Khan said he does not want to return to the transit centre where other refugees have threatened him and cursed his mother.
"This is not life. I get the refugee status, why I wait here, why I don't go outside, why this situation?" he said.
Papua New Guinea's immigration minister Rimbink Pato, chief migration officer Mataio Rabura and Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton have been contacted for comment.
Earlier this month an Iranian refugee at the transit centre was repeatedly punched in the face and allegedly threatened with death for missing a 6:00pm curfew.
Three PNG immigration officials have been charged over the incident.
In July 2013, Papua New Guinea agreed to take about 1,300 asylum seekers who had tried to reach Australia by boat, detaining them on a naval base on remote Manus Island.
In exchange, Australia is giving PNG $420 million in additional aid and spending $513 million to upgrade immigration [the death camp] infrastructure, on top of the cost of detention and processing [incarceration and torture] on Manus Island.
More than 400 asylum seekers have returned [been deported] to the country they fled and 129 have been found to be refugees.
Two Iranian men have died – one bashed to death allegedly by local staff at the detention centre, and the other from an infected foot.
Almost two years after the Refugee Resettlement [Exile] Arrangement was signed, no refugees have been resettled [exiled] in Papua New Guinea and the Government does not have a policy for resettlement [exile].
Probably the last time Australia's protected and unaccountable High Commissioner in PNG was questioned by the media - 11 mins in ----> [VIDEO - Keep Out! - SBS Dateline - 28/3/13]:
… Just days before Prime Minister Gillard's arrival in Port Morseby, the Australian High Commissioner, Deborah Stokes, made a flying visit to the refugee centre, not expecting to be bugged, it would seem, by the presence of any journalists on the island.
REPORTER: Ma'am, it's Mark Davis from SBS TV, can I ask you how your trip was to the facility?
DEBORAH STOKES, AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER: It was a very straight forward trip to the facility.
REPORTER: Are you concerned - I mean there's been various rumours published about the place. Are you concerned about those rumours of inadequate facilities for children and mistreatment of adults?
DEBORAH STOKES: I've had a good look at the facility and that's all I can say at this point.
REPORTER: Could I ask you one question - why is the place so obsessively secretive - no access to journalists, NGOs, lawyers?
DEBORAH STOKES: It's run by the Papua New Guinean Government and that's their decision.
REPORTER: The Papua New Guinean Government says it's not, the Prime Minister says he's happy for journalists and others to go there because he's worried the rumours are growing to such a degree no-one can verify them or otherwise.
DEBORAH STOKES: We will have a discussion with the PNG Government about that.
REPORTER: So as far as you're aware, the Australian Government has no problem with access?
DEBORAH STOKES: The PNG Government is the administrator of the centre and it is on their land, and we will have a discussion with them about that.
REPORTER: So theoretically if they're happy with it, it shouldn't be a problem?
DEBORAH STOKES: Yes.
Case against immigration officials accused of assaulting refugee exiled by Australia on Manus Island set down for 29 June [PNG Loop - 12/6/15]:
The assault case against three Immigration officials at the Manus Processing Centre has been set to be heard on June 29, 2015.
The suspects identified as Randall Livingstone, Kopi Kamaniel, and Septer Wailiou aged between 28 to 30 are all not from Manus.
It is alleged the Iranian refugee, Mohse Sakharavi was asulted at the Lorengau Harbourside Hotel by the Immigration Officials for breaching curfew rules at the Centre on the June 1, 2015.
A reliable source said the Refugee had befriended a local woman and planned to stay over at the hotel and was dropped off by his friends who are from Manus.
The source said, they probably could have allowed him if he had requested formally.
Papua New Guinea immigration officers charged with assault on refugee exiled on Manus Island [Guardian - 9/6/15]:
... The officials allegedly told Sakhravi “this is our country” and threatened to kill him before making him run ahead of their car.
After a while they allegedly beat him again then drove him to the accommodation where his pleas to be taken to hospital were refused. ...
"It's important for us to be part of the refugee debate, to lead it."
Challenging Australia's refugee narrative [Al Jazeera - 24/6/15]:
A portrait of a thoughtful Malcolm X overlooks the chaotic office space in the heart of the city.
It is home to a refugee-run organisation fighting to reframe Australia's asylum seeker debate.
At a desk amid the stacked boxes and clutter sits Ramesh Fernandez, the founder of RISE: Refugees Survivors and Ex-Detainees, an organisation that provides services to refugees and advocates for policy change.
Fernandez is a passionate man who talks slowly but with purpose.
He fled Sri Lanka as a political refugee in 2001.
After a harrowing 15-day boat journey to Australia, he spent three years in some of the country's most infamous immigration detention centres on remote islands and on the mainland.
"Labor 4 Refugees" are interlopers.
They DO NOT represent the 1,000s of Australians who oppose the ALP and LNP's inhumane refugee policy.
Texas: Hundreds of Detained Immigrant Women, Children Stage Protest [Democracy Now - 24/6/15]:
Video has emerged showing hundreds of immigrant women and children being held at a private, family detention center in Dilley, Texas, protesting during a tour of the facility by Democratic lawmakers.
Footage shot Monday by a congressmember and posted by BuzzFeed shows the women and children chanting "Libertad" and holding protest signs made from pillowcases and bedsheets.
Judge Orders Deported Guatemalan Woman, Child Returned to US [Democracy Now - 24/6/15]:
A federal judge has ordered authorities to return a woman and her 12-year-old daughter to the United States after they were deported to Guatemala on Friday.
The judge said he would have blocked the deportation if he had known it was going to happen. The pair were victims of domestic violence who had been held in a Pennsylvania detention center for a year.
US lawmakers: Texas migrant detention facilities are like 'jail for children' [Guardian – 25/6/15]
Refugees, activists demand end to US family detention centres [teleSUR – 8/6/15]
Private Prisons for Immigrant Families Grow Despite Court Ruling Against "Detention as Deterrence" [Democracy Now - 25/3/15]:
The Obama administration continues to expand its controversial practice of detaining mothers and their children despite a judge’s order that using it to deter mass migration is illegal. Starting last summer, thousands of Central American women with kids as young as a few months old crossed into the United States seeking asylum.
Even though many were later found to have a "credible fear" of violent persecution, they found themselves rounded up and put into detention, with little chance for freedom until they were deported.
But last month, a federal judge ordered immigration authorities to begin releasing the women and children.
He found the Obama administration’s policy of detaining them in order to deter others from coming was illegal.
Since then, more families have been granted bond and released, while others who are unable to afford the bonds remain locked up.
They are held at one of two new family detention centers run by private prison companies in southern Texas.
We air an on-the-ground report from Texas by Democracy Now! producer Renée Feltz, who speaks to a recently released mother and her son.
We are also joined by Barbara Hines, former director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Texas Law School. Hines’ affidavit in a lawsuit challenging detention of women and children as a method of deterrence to mass migration was cited by the federal judge in his order to halt the practice. ...
Federal Court blocks government from detaining asylum seekers as tactic to deter others from coming to US [ACLU Media Release - 20/2/15]
Great to chat to @BarackObama about importance of minimum wage &Abbott's refusal to engage with L20
Image: @GedKACTU - President, Australian Council of Trade Unions [15/11/14]
Congress victory moves Obama's Pacific “free trade” tyranny forward [Reuters – 24/6/15]
25 June 2015