How many refugee boats did Australia push back, sink or abandon over the past 24 hours? ---> @ItalianNavy [27/5/16]: #SAR nave Vega #MarinaMilitare in attività di #VigilanzaPesca ha prestato soccorso a due gommoni recuperando in totale 256 #migranti
@guardiacostiera [27/5/16]: #SAR #CanalediSicilia #NavePeluso #GuardiaCostiera soccorre un terzo gommone, salvati 125 #migranti
@guardiacostiera [27/5/16]: #SAR #CanalediSicilia #CentraleOperativa #GuardiaCostiera coordina numerosi soccorsi. #NavePeluso GC salva 256 #migranti su due gommoni
Sickening tokenism by the US and UNHCR invisibilises the plight of 1,000s of Rohingyas whose lives are imperilled ---> One year after landing in Malaysia, following a harrowing ordeal in the Bay of Bengal, 36 Rohingya refugees have been resettled in the United States.
As of February this year, there are 53,700 Rohingya refugees registered with the UNHCR in Malaysia.
The Malaysian Government does not legally recognise refugees, although they are allowed to work in informal sectors. [The Straits Times - 27/5/16]
Detention, deportation and death: The UNHCR's "durable solutions" in South East Asia where Australia has shredded the refugee convention (and pushed back its border) with impunity [Guardian - 27/5/16]:
Hundreds of trafficking victims [refugees] from Myanmar and Bangladesh remain detained in Malaysia a year after being rescued from near-certain death at sea during the Asian migration crisis.
In total, 390 trafficking victims [refugees] – 325 Rohingya and 65 Bangladeshis – have spent the past year in detention, despite nominally being freed from captivity in May 2015, in research Amnesty will be publishing in the coming weeks. ...
Bali Process affirms Australia's obsession with stopping people from seeking asylum, and criminalising refugees throughout South East Asia [Foreign Minister and Minister for Immigration Media Release - 23/3/16]
... Rohingya refugees in Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia told BROUK and Fortify Rights that police routinely used the threat of arrest to extort money and property from them, particularly if they were unable to produce proper documentation or a card demonstrating they were a registered asylum seeker with the UNHCR.
Changes in the UNHCR's registration practices in Malaysia have considerably narrowed access to asylum procedures for Rohingya refugees, the [Everywhere Is Trouble] report said, leaving many without any documents and at risk of serious security abuses, including the possibility of indefinite detention.
Rohingya refugees in Malaysia said the lack of access to UNHCR registration was the single most important issue they faced, followed by a lack of access to affordable healthcare and livelihoods.
"We hoped the international attention on the boat crisis last year would have resulted in durable solutions and greater protections for Rohingya refugees in Southeast Asia, but that's not what we've found," said Tun Khin.
"ASEAN can and should do better. ... [The Nation - 12/3/16]
"Everywhere is Trouble" An update on the situation of Rohingya refugees in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia [March 2016]:
... BROUK [Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK] and Fortify Rights note with concern the disappearance of hundreds of Rohingya refugees from the camps in Aceh.
When Fortify Rights first visited Rohingya refugees in Aceh less than two weeks after fishers rescued them from boats abandoned by human traffickers in May 2015, more than 1,000 Rohingya men, women and children were living in several makeshift camps.
BROUK and Fortify Rights noted that there are now only 300 Rohingya refugees in the camps in Aceh. ...
Bangladeshi and Rohingya refugees sheltering in Aceh progressively deported by the IOM [TRIBUNnews.com - 27/9/15]
Some 100 refugees from Bangladesh being accommodated at Blang Mangat immigration office in Lhokseumawe city, Aceh province, have been repatriated, according to local immigration spokesman Albert Djalius.
"We hope that all the Bangladeshi refugees can be repatriated in mid-August 2015," Djalius stated here on Wednesday.
He remarked that some 100 refugees who were stranded in Aceh in early May, this year, had complete immigration documents, and therefore, they were flown back to their country of origin from Kuala Namu Airport in Medan, North Sumatra, on Tuesday.
However, he noted that 71 other refugees are still being accommodated in shelters, awaiting a clear demographic data from the Embassy of Bangladesh to Indonesia in Jakarta.
According to Djalius, the repatriation was managed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which has been making all the necessary arrangements for providing accommodations. ...
... “We want to live with dignity and want the Myanmar Government to give us citizenship or any other country. We have an identity and we no longer want to live like this,” he said. ... 3,000 Rohingya living in tents in Hyderabad [The Hans India - 25/5/16]
Day 69 refugee protests, Nauru
Image: @SuchNigel [27/5/16]
The battles of life will not always favour the strong. Rather they will end with those who do believe. via @SuchNigel [27/5/16]
... Paradoxically, Behrouz Boochani was granted "PNG refugee status" (i.e. exile) he did not want, during a visit by the UNHCR in April. ... Life within the Australian Guantanamo [Lamarea.com - 26/5/16]
Little vigil of people giving up their Friday night at Flinders St #BringThemHere ...
Image: @JarniBlakkarly [27/5/16]
Labor will be supporting this legislation because it is our policy.
"Opposition" Leader, Bill Shorten speaking on the Migration Amendment (Regional Processing Arrangements) Bill 2015 [House of Representatives Hansard - 24/6/15]
ALP helps Coalition lock in offshore detention [ABC - 24/6/15]
Shorten will send Marles to Geneva for a selfie with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees [Sydney Morning Herald - 27/5/16]:
... The UNHCR's regional representative, Thomas Albrecht, said the agency would welcome any constructive conversation around "the humanitarian imperative" of finding a way forward for those on Nauru and Manus.
But Mr Albrecht stressed that securing an outcome would depend on the attitude of potential resettlement countries.
After visiting both sites last month, the UNHCR expressed alarm at the "immense harm" being done to the physical and mental health of the asylum seekers and called for them to be "immediately moved to humane conditions with adequate support and services". ...
The UNHCR's secretive visit to Nauru in April triggered two suicides and several attemped suicides. <----- Report THAT Michael Gordon. Then ask Albrecht why the UNHCR doesn't want refugees to be settled in Australia.
... That's not what some people on the island are saying, it was put to us yesterday in the program and subsequently after that a number of others backed up the claim that in meetings, Thomas Albrecht, the UN's representative who led that mission was making statements along with a fellow woman in that team from the UN that the asylum seekers could expect to be on the island for as much as 10 years.
That was directly blamed for the suicide of the Iranian last week, and perhaps it may have been a factor in what happened overnight with the Somali woman. ... [ABC - 3/5/16]
Nauru refugees have written to the UNHCR requesting genuine resettlement after three years punishment. Why is that impossible to report ABC?
And why are you using old news in a Friday news dump? ---> Two more refugees exiled by Australia and the IOM from Nauru to Cambodia have been disappeared [Cambodia Daily - 8/3/16]
... We of course hope to grow this team soon and sustainability is the key for that.
That is one reason why we have partnered with The Opinion Collaborative Ltd to grow our events organisation arm.
The Opinion Collaborative Ltd has proven themselves in events organisation, while we have the eyeballs to draw participants in to such relevant events.
It is a win-win for both organisations. ... [The Independent Singapore - 27/5/16]
PNG protests spread to the provinces [RNZI - 27/5/16]
A combined students group from the University of Papua New Guinea and University of Technology put on public campaign in Madang yesterday to have Prime Minister Peter O’Neill step down from office.
The students from the Mamose region drove around the town and held a two-hour rally on issues and problems they thought the country was facing. ... [The National - 27/5/16]
Chile's students clash with police as protests intensify [Reuters - 26/5/16]
'I still hate the glow of the sun': Hiroshima survivors' tales [Japan Today - 27/5/16]
... Now, seventy-one years on, Obama will visit the site of Truman’s specular atrocity to once again present the bombing of Hiroshima as a simple tragedy, rather than an unforgivable outrage. ... [Jacobin - 26/5/16]
... “I believe he is not apologizing to leave the possibility open to use nuclear weapons in the future,” said Yohei Sakube, a protester at the Peace Memorial Park. ... Japanese protest ahead of Obama’s visit to Hiroshima [teleSUR - 26/5/16]
Marine officials in Thailand have banned tourist activities at coral reefs near three islands off Phuket’s east coast to prevent further damage to corals at the popular tour sites.
Shops and restaurants on these islands have also been dismantled this week, after the ban came into effect on Tuesday, 24 May. ... [Traveller 24 - 26/5/16]
End of empire ---> Woman given permission to remove dead fiance's testes [ABC - 27/5/16]
Two teenagers have been sentenced to 12 months' probation after they pleaded guilty to animal cruelty for repeatedly running over a possum with a car, which they filmed. ... [ABC - 27/5/16]
Men who ride motorbikes - and hang out together - arrested in Tasmania [Nine MSN - 27/5/16]
People with tattooed faces arrested in Melbourne [ABC - 26/5/16]
A 25-year-old man died in custody at the Alexander Maconochie Centre on Friday.
The man was found in a cell around 11.30am and police have launched a criminal investigation. ... [Canberra Times - 27/5/16]
Because there aren't any suitable academics in Australia who could have been consulted? ---> US juvenile justice expert to help Queensland with its "low incarceration rate" [Brisbane Times - 26/5/16]
Queensland Parliament Hansard [26/5/16]:
Hon. CR DICK (Woodridge—ALP) (Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services) (6.53 pm): On Friday, 13 May it was my privilege to open as Queensland’s Minister for Health the new Kooky Kid Clinic in Springwood.
The Kooky Kid Clinic, which is located very close to the Woodridge electorate, will help children living with Tourette syndrome. The opening of the clinic was attended by the families of children and young people living with Tourette syndrome.
It was also great to meet Robyn Latimer, the national President of the Tourette Syndrome Association of Australia, who was present at the opening.
I am pleased to say that the Department of Health was the major sponsor of the 2016 national Australian Tourette syndrome conference held in Brisbane on the weekend of 14 and 15 May 2016. Tourette syndrome is a neurological impulse control disorder which affects one per cent of the population. For many with Tourette syndrome it is the reaction of others to their condition that can cause the most suffering.
The Kooky Kid Clinic is a place for these kids to process their emotions in a judgement-free and safe place. I want to thank all staff at the Kooky Kid Clinic, in particular child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Shannon Morton, whose passion and vision brought the clinic to life.
I know the families in the city of Logan and the electorate of Woodridge will benefit greatly from this clinic. ...
Police in Queensland say they are prepared and equipped to respond to a terrorist attack, after holding the state’s largest ever counter-terrorism training exercise which is set to wrap up on the Gold Coast today.
Hundreds of officers from Brisbane and the Gold Coast took part in Exercise Gorgon as part of an ongoing program to ensure the Queensland Police Service is best prepared to protect the state in the event of a terrorist attack.
The exercise started in March with significant planning and preparation before culminating in a four-day deployment exercise.
The exercise has been conducted in and around the Brisbane metropolitan area and on the Gold Coast since Tuesday, but Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said the general public were not affected. ... [MYGC - 27/5/16]
A senior educator who oversaw the troubled Aurukun school has spoken out about what he says is the failure of an expensive and contentious education program backed by Noel Pearson.
John Bray was executive principal at Pearson’s Cape York Academy for six months last year before quitting, in part over his disillusion with the effect of the multimillion-dollar “direct instruction” syllabus wholly imported from the US. ... [Guardian - 27/5/16]
... Meanwhile, the Queensland Teachers Union (QTU) said imposing a curfew in Aurukun was one of the options being considered to prevent night-time violence.
QTU spokesman Kevin Bates said Aurukun mayor Dereck Walpo wanted to discuss the possibility of a curfew.
Mr Bates said a curfew might help the community prevent a repeat of the violence, but it might be hard to enforce.
"This community has a whole suite of options open to it and that's one that's certainly worth considering," he said. ...
Premier Anna Bligh and Cape York Partnerships Chairman, Noel Pearson today announced the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy (CYAAA), which achieved promising results in Coen and Aurukun this year, would be extended to include Hope Vale State School students next year. ... [Queensland Government Media Release - 17/12/10]
Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes in the central and southern Gaza Strip early on Thursday, targeting two sites used by the Hamas movement’s military wing, after a Palestinian militant group fired rockets towards Israel. ... [Maan - 26/5/16]
Palestinian rights groups try to stop Gaza executions [Electronic Intifada - 26/5/16]
The Israeli Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked on Tuesday night promised that her government will continue settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.
Shaked’s statement came during the opening of a new school in Itamar illegal settlement. ... [PNN - 26/5/16]
The Netherlands has affirmed that activism calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel is a form of free speech.
In response to parliamentary questions from Green Left MP Rik Grashoff, Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders said that “statements or meetings concerning BDS are protected by freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, as enshrined in the Dutch constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.”
Koenders also said that the Dutch government regularly discusses BDS with Israel and makes clear to Israel that it “opposes a boycott of Israel, but that endorsing BDS falls under freedom of expression.” ... [Electronic Intifada - 25/5/16]
Queensland Parliament passed the National Injury Insurance Scheme (Queensland) Bill and Public Health (Water Risk Management) Amendment Bill yesterday [26/5/16]
Diverting recycled water to irrigate hundreds of millions of dollars worth of crops on the Darling Downs and the Lockyer Valley is back on the federal government agenda after almost two decades.
The ballpark figure for the cost of the NuWater "Recycled wastewater to Darling Downs project" is estimated at "less than $600 million."
Lockyer Valley alone produces more than $263 million in agriculture and vegetables each year, with the Darling Downs providing considerably more.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Thursday promised $650,000 to look again at using recycled effluent from Southeast Queensland to water crops in the Lockyer Valley and Darling Downs. ... [Brisbane Times - 26/5/16]
Santos CSG wastewater to top 1 million litres a day – with nowhere to go [Sydney Morning Herald - 28/3/15]
Peerskill, New York: Two arrested for blockading Spectra AIM pipeline [Democracy Now - 26/5/16]
Massachusetts: Religious leaders arrested blocking Spectra pipeline [Democracy Now - 26/5/16]
At its annual meeting in Dallas, ExxonMobil shareholders rejected a series of resolutions Wednesday calling for climate action, including resolutions backed by CalPERS, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, as well as New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and the Church of England.
Shareholders did pass a measure to let minority shareholders nominate outsiders for seats on the board, raising the possibility that a climate activist could someday become a director at Exxon.
It was the first Exxon annual meeting since a series of revelations that for decades the company covered up its own scientific findings linking rising carbon emissions to dangerous climate change.
At the shareholders meeting, the granddaughter of a former Exxon scientist questioned the CEO of Exxon about the company’s record.
We speak to the woman, Anna Kalinsky. ... [Democracy Now - 26/5/16]
''Australia is a very strange situation.''
Former UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres addressing UNHCR-NGO consultations in Geneva, June 2014 [Sydney Morning Herald]
It was great to meet with @RefugeesChief Filippo Grandi in Geneva today
Image: @PeterDutton_MP [29/3/16]
Sydney Morning Herald [27/5/16]:
The Turnbull government intervened to excise references to Australia in a United Nations report on the risk of climate change to World Heritage sites including the Great Barrier Reef in a move dubbed by one Australian reviewer as "disgusting".
The report, released on Friday by UNESCO, the United Nations Environment Programme and the Union of Concerned Scientists, examined the impacts of warming world on 31 natural and man-made sites in 29 countries.
Australia is entirely absent in the report, despite an initial version of the report outlining at length the threat posed to the Great Barrier Reef.
The section was reviewed by Australian researchers Will Steffen from the Australian National University and Ove Hoegh-Guldberg from the University of Queensland.
Mark Butler, Labor's shadow environment minters, said Malcolm Turnbull "is trying to bury the existence of climate change".
"This is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and we have a responsibility to act to restore health and build resilience," Mr Butler said.
"What we don't need is a government that won't act on climate change and won't allocate any new funds to protect the Reef," he added.
"The best way to help the reef and to boost tourism and economic growth is to take serious action on climate change, to face the challenge and show leadership."
Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens deputy leader and climate change spokeswoman, also condemned the government's intervention.
"The Turnbull Government will stop at nothing to cover up the devastating impact its inaction on global warming is having on our World Heritage Areas like the Great Barrier Reef and our magnificent Tassie Wilderness," Senator Waters said. ... <----- Go away Labor 'n the Greens. I do not give my consent to two party tyranny and will #VOTEINFORMAL
The Resources and Energy Minister, Martin Ferguson, has secretly pushed for increased surveillance by federal police intelligence officers of environmental activists who have been protesting peacefully at coal-fired power stations and coal export facilities. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 7/1/12]
Detention deja vu as victimising begins anew [Canberra Times - 15/8/12]:
... How long has it been since anyone raised the point that a private and overseas prison corporation, Serco, runs our detention centres?
How long since any politician gave reliable figures for the cost of detention, the sheer waste of shipping goods and services back and forth from Christmas Island - closer to Indonesia than to Australia - and the profound lack of healthcare for people detained for the legally valid motive of seeking refuge from torture and trauma?
How long since the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, visited a detention centre to see for himself what mental state the ''inmates'' were in? ...
Every time the Greens "welcome" a hollow promise from the ALP or LNP, they betray their voters.
Similarly, every time Lock The Gate "welcome" an ALP promise, they betray their members and supporters.
Cue Greens, UNHCR and other human rights organisations "welcoming" this whitewashing - as refugees continue being tortured and killed - and their request for GENUINE resettlement goes unheard. [Republic of Nauru Media Release - 27/5/16]:
The Government of Nauru continues to show progressive leadership and in keeping with its legislative agenda, has passed a new number of laws including the decriminalising of homosexuality and suicide.
In complying with its international obligations under various international treaties, The Nauru Parliament has had laws drafted to be consistent with appropriate international standards. ...
"Man up Malcolm" precludes Shorten's complicity.
The only way to challenge bipartisan cruelty is with sustained, non partisan pressure.
Omid [ABC - 29/4/16]
@OddemocracyA [25/5/16]: A painting by an asylum seeker on Nauru
The real cost of (NOT) settling refugees in Australia, Professor Mary Crock, Phoebe Yule [Huffington Post - 26/5/16]:
... For us, the debate confirms that much of Australian policy towards refugees and asylum seekers has become confused, incoherent and counter-productive.
At the centre of this latest confusion is the tendency in government to draw a sharp line between 'good' refugees -- those brought to Australia through organised programs -- and the 'bad' refugees who enter without permission as asylum seekers.
Let's gloss over the fact that international law prohibits such discrimination.
The simple truth is that the bipartisan race to deter and deny 'irregular' humanitarian migration has produced punitive policies that destroy lives and actively impede the integration and social acceptance of refugees in Australia.
Our policies are costly indeed, in both fiscal and human terms -- and for all refugees. ...
A court in Vietnam has jailed two men and two women for “organising others to flee abroad illegally” after Australia sent back a group of asylum seekers, their lawyer said.
The 46 asylum seekers, including the four defendants, were on board a small vessel intercepted off Australia’s west coast last year and were returned to Vietnam as a result of negotiations between the countries.
The four, who have been jailed for terms ranging from 24 to 30 months, were crossing the border illegally for the first time in July 2015 and their 42 Vietnamese companions were relatives and acquaintances, the lawyer Vo An Don told Reuters.
“The verdict is too heavy and lacks humanity,” Don said, adding that the defendants were likely to appeal against it.
“They are too poor and just want a better life. They didn’t arrange it for money.” ...
Woman sues US Department of Homeland Security for denying DACA renewal over her activism [Democracy Now - 26/5/16]:
And in Chicago, a migrant justice activist is suing the Department of Homeland Security for refusing to renew her DACA protection because of her activism.
Twenty-nine-year-old Ireri Unzueta Carrasco was granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status in 2013. But its renewal was denied due to her participation in civil disobedience actions.
More than 100 civil and immigrant rights groups have signed on to a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson calling on the agency to renew her DACA status and protect the constitutional right to political expression.
Ireri has organized for immigrant rights for years. In 2014, she spoke on Democracy Now! about receiving DACA protections and her decision to come out as undocumented.
Ireri Unzueta Carrasco: "Before I had the deferred action, anything could have put me in deportation proceedings, any small mistake, being at the wrong place at the wrong time, right? I really wanted to travel, and traveling isn’t something that you can just do, necessarily, right? And sometimes there are risks involved, and there are, you know, different ways to get stopped. And so, this is a risk that I was running every day. To me, when I decided to come out publicly and talk about my status, it was a decision about that. If this is something that I’m facing every day, then I need to take this head-on. I need to be able to show my side of the story publicly, and I need to be able to use that to benefit the other members of my community."
"God's love does not stop at the borders, and neither should ours!" @WRFG_radio [26/5/16]: Today, #Atlanta Area Interfaith Leaders denounced the impending ICE raids at the Atlanta Field Office.
... My son always say, why is the border closed? We don't have weapon, we don't have bomb. Why are they afraid of us?... @MSF_Sea [26/5/16]: #Idomeni is over but the misery of those who lived there has merely been displaced. What will their future hold?
27 May 2016