Remember "we stopped the boats"? ---> The atrocities we visit upon the victims of our refusal to adhere to our obligations under the UN Refugee Convention [Stuff.co.nz - 26/3/17]:
A mother who gave birth by caesarean section this week says she was destined for New Zealand with a group of 43 other asylum seekers when their boat's engine failed off the coast of Indonesia.
Instead, Indonesian authorities have now sent them to a detention centre just days after their son's birth.
Our photographer was there this week as the family was loaded into an Indonesian immigration van.
Sivarangini Bakitharam, 32, and her husband Bakitharam Kandasamy, 34, are one of two couples that spoke exclusively about escaping torture, spending eight years in prison in Sri Lanka, and their treatment in Lhokseumawe refugee centre and an immigration detention facility in Medan despite being granted refugee status.
The two Tamil couples were among 20 men, 15 women and nine children who arrived by boat off the coast of the northern Indonesian province of Aceh on June 11 last year.
While one couple has refugee status and the other doesn't they both say they've been subject to repeated pressure from both the International Organisation for Migration and the UN refugee agency to return to Sri Lanka.
The International Organisation for Migration declined to comment.
The UN's refugee agency did not respond to requests for comment in time. ...
Remember how the Australian Greens and human rights establishment said nothing, while the media mostly censored what happened? ---> Several of the [Australia-bound] Tamil asylum seekers stranded after arriving by boat on the Indonesian island of Aceh have been tortured in Sri Lanka and face certain persecution if they are returned, a compatriot living in Australia has claimed.
Karikalan said Anathi and her now husband, Wasanth, who is also on the boat, had been in jail alongside him. He said they were all tortured daily, including being hung upside down while being interrogated.
Those on board the boat reportedly did not pay a people smuggler to bring them from the southern Indian city of Velankanni from where they left in early May.
Instead, the asylum seekers pooled their money to buy the old boat, which is now aground on the beach at Lhoknga and listing badly. ... [Guardian - 23/6/16]
[Australia-bound] Migrants from Sri Lanka gesture aboard a boat off the coast of Indonesia on Monday.
Authorities in the province of Aceh are preparing to tow the boat out to sea. [National Post - 17/6/16]
New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully has announced that New Zealand will open a High Commission in Colombo, Sri Lanka. ... [Daily Mirror - 24/3/17]
Rajinikanth not to visit Sri Lanka [The Hindu - 25/3/17]:
... Earlier, Mr. Thirumavalavan said that Rajinikanth was being used to fool the world that all was fine in Sri Lanka after the civil war in 2009.
“Artists should only entertain people. We request Rajinikanth not to earn Tamil people’s wrath by participating in this event.”
Various political leaders have welcomed Rajinikanth’s decision to cancel his Sri Lanka trip.
Myanmar military operations recommence in Buthidaung [The Stateless - 25/3/17]
@nslwin [25/3/17]: Bulldozing #WaPeik village in #Maungdaw north. #SuuKyi govt won't leave any evidence for Int'l Fact-Finding Mission. ...
"Fear is not the natural state of civilized people".
Aung San Suu Kyi
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop presents Daw Aung San Suu Kyi with a photograph of their meeting in 1995 [28 November 2013]
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. ...
... The port of Kyaukpyu, Rakhine state is predicted to become ‘the region’s next petrochemical hub after Singapore’. ... Land disputes and the ongoing development of the substantive rule of law in Myanmar (Burma), Nathan Willis [Southern Cross University 2013]
On our way to crush the revolution
Camp by a lake in the blackened lands ...
'Deadman's Hand', The Church 
Amnesty bizarrely praises the sham Bali Process forum - which has condemned 1,000s of refugees across South East Asia [15/3/17]
A fascinating expose in Ha’aretz reveals how, in the mid-1970s – not long after the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and Golan Heights – Israel used university faculty members to infiltrate Amnesty International.
The state thus actively intervened in order to shape human rights activism, just as the rights discourse was becoming one of the most popular forms of political struggle against injustice around the globe. ... [Counterpunch - 24/3/17]
Report finds Israel Prisons Service detains asylum seekers in substandard conditions to pressure them to leave [Jerusalem Post - 22/3/17]:
A report published Wednesday by the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants NGO accused the Israel Prisons Service (IPS) of providing substandard conditions for detained African asylum seekers as a way to pressure them into leaving the country.
“The findings of the report indicate a very limited living space and overcrowding in cells contrary to IPS regulations, inadequate translation and medical services, and lack of basic hygiene products,” the report said, based on a survey of more than 100 asylum seekers, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, detained in the Holot, Saharonim, Givon and Yahalom detention centers.
The report also noted that the number of detained asylum seekers has dropped from approximately 5,000 to 3,000, but added that asylum seekers face pressure from the Israel Population and Immigration Authority to self-deport, despite the majority being from Sudan and Eritrea, countries to which Israel says it cannot deport them.
As a result, the report contends that Israel is improperly using detention as a means to promote self-deportation. ...
HOTLINE (Israel 2015, 100 min) Best Documentary Award at the Jerusalem Film Festival. Premiered at the Berlinale Int Film Festival. ...
... The subject of the film is the Hotline organization, but the issue is the plight of Eritrean and South Sudanese asylum seekers who face deportation to dangerous third-world countries or detainment in Israeli prisons.
Sigal Rozen, public policy coordinator for Hotline, emerged as the main character of the film.
Her advocacy efforts show the uphill battle Hotline faces in trying to ensure that existing Israeli laws are respected.
The film shows Rozen, and other volunteers and employees, at public information meetings, the Knesset and the Supreme Court. Landsmann also offered a glimpse into the circumstances of those asylum seekers.
She showed Eritreans and South Sudanese visiting the Hotline office in South Tel Aviv, seeking help with various problems: they accidentally got their ID cards wet; they were missing paperwork; they needed access to medical care.
Landsmann doesn’t develop them as characters; she just shows them, one after another, explaining their complicated misfortune and chronically displaced lives.
“It was very important for the structure of the film,” she said.
“It was a way to show the Israeli bureaucracy and complexity, and through the many personal situations of asylum seekers in Israel, the larger systemic situation.” ... [Times of Israel - 27/7/15]
People are being boiled to death in US prisons ---> Prosecutors in Florida found no evidence of a crime in the death of a prison inmate left for nearly two hours in a hot shower, concluding that he died accidentally in part because of undiagnosed heart disease and suffered no burn injuries.
The memo released Friday by the office of Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle ends a lengthy criminal probe into the 2012 death of 50-year-old Darren Rainey, a mentally troubled man serving a two-year sentence on a cocaine charge. ... [Concord Register - 25/3/17]
Florida’s largest privately-operated women’s prison is in danger zone. Lawmaker wants Gov. Scott to act [Miami Herald - 23/3/17]:
... Richardson said that when he told the Herald/Times about the harsh and unsafe conditions at Gadsden Correctional in February, he knew he would get feedback.
But he didn’t expect the avalanche of emails and phone calls from families — and even former officers employed by the private prison operator.
Richardson shared some of the emails. One mother wrote that her daughter who is incarcerated at Gadsden has experienced “black mold over her bed, flies swarming the chow hall” and “sometimes no drinking water for extended periods of time.”
Another mother wrote that since Richardson’s visits, “ALL the inmates are now being punished for embarrassing the prison. They no longer have any privileges, no canteen, no microwave, no rec and minimal medical care.” ...
Black man stabbed to death by white supremacist -then smeared by media [FAIR - 23/3/17]:
... According to police, white 28-year-old Maryland man James Harris Jackson took a Bolt bus up to New York City Friday for the express purposes of killing black men and did just that, stabbing 66-year-old Timothy Caughman in Hell’s Kitchen Monday night.
Police say the suspect, an ex-military member of a white supremacist hate group, asked police to arrest him, warning he would attack again if they didn’t. ...
The first immigrant detainee to die under President Trump had a treatable disease [Think Progress - 23/3/17]:
... Prior to being transferred over to immigration detention, Rayson had been serving a 30-month prison sentence for importation of cocaine.
Rayson was the fourth detainee to die in ICE custody in the 2017 fiscal year, according to the ICE agency statement.
In total, 166 people have died in ICE custody between 2003 and late November 2016.
The circumstances leading up to Rayson’s death are unclear.
But Rayson wasn’t the first immigrant detainee to die at the LaSalle Detention Facility, which is owned and operated by the controversial private-prison operator GEO Group.
Within the first six months of 2016, two detainees at LaSalle died of heart ailments, while a third died of liver failure after being admitted for possible sepsis.
Another detainee died of cancer when she was released from LaSalle in part because she received inadequate medical care despite repeatedly throwing up, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) revealed in a 2016 report.
The report also found that LaSalle lacks a medical staff where nurses can’t prescribe medication. ...
A Mexican immigrant whose daughter appealed to Pope Francis three years ago to stop his deportation from the United States requested asylum at a federal court hearing in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Mario Vargas-Lopez's attorney argued the 45-year-old could be the victim of violence if he is deported to Mexico because of the international attention his case has received.
"People in Mexico know who he is, and he might be targeted for ransom and extortion," attorney Alex Galvez said in a phone interview after the hearing.
Vargas-Lopez was granted a hearing for Sept. 18 by Judge Rose Peters. ... [Reuters - 22/3/17]
Theologian Frei Betto urges Ecuador's next leader to stand by Julian Assange [Alianza Metropolitan News - 25/3/17]:
... "I hope that whatever government Ecuador has continues ensuring the right of Julian Assange to asylum," Frei Betto told a press conference in Quito.
"It's a scandal that this man is being persecuted for speaking the truth," the Brazilian said of the WikiLeaks founder, while declining to comment on Ecuador's presidential race. ...
Saaed still in Australia as ALP "advocates" protest at Villawood. Anti-refugee policy continues unopposed. [Green Left Weekly - 25/3/17]
... Saeed’s access to his lawyer was blocked from 2.30pm on March 23.
He was then bundled into a car and driven to Villawood detention centre in Sydney, where he regained access to his lawyer at 9am on March 24.
The Sydney Refugee Action Coalition called an action outside Villawood detention centre that afternoon.
Refugee activists gathered outside the main entrance and checked cars as they came out.
The police presence grew and they eventually attacked the activists, pushing them off the road so vehicles could drive out.
Four arrests were made.
The protest has delayed Saeed’s deportation for several days and, at time of writing, he still has not been deported. ...
HUMAN RIGHTS. RED CROSS. UN. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU.
DON'T STOP THE BOATS BY KILLING US IN OFFSHORE.
Political prisoners of the Australian government and opposition protest on Nauru, April 2016
The Australian media are corrupt, anti-refugee fascist propagandists. Do not deal with them ---> It is 1 year since Australia's refugee prison [on Manus Island] was declared unconstitutional and ordered to close. It is still open. Where is your story on that? @Aussie4Refugees [25/3/17]
26 March 2017