United States continues bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [CENTCOM - 1/12/16]
European countries should offer a "welcome package" to refugees and migrants rather than build fences to keep them out, according to the head of a global medical charity who described the current response as "totally shameful".
Around 1.3 million refugees and migrants, mainly from the Middle East and Asia, arrived in Europe last year, triggering bitter disputes between countries over how to handle the influx and prompting some to erect barriers along their borders.
Joanne Liu, president of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), said a "callous and hypocritical" deal between the European Union and Turkey to stem the flow had set a dangerous precedent.
Turkey agreed in March to stop migrants and refugees crossing by sea to Greece in exchange for financial aid, accelerated EU membership talks and other concessions.
But Liu said the deal sent a signal that countries could buy their way out of moral and legal responsibilities to provide asylum.
"This is really, really cowardly. It's irresponsible," Liu said ahead of speaking about the crisis on Wednesday at Trust Women, an annual women's right and trafficking conference hosted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Liu voiced concern that countries were increasingly flouting the 1951 Refugee Convention and other global humanitarian agreements set up to protect the world's most vulnerable people.
"When I met a mother in Greece and I asked her, 'Why did you flee?', she looked at me as if I had asked the most stupid question on earth. And she said, 'Because every day we die in Syria.'.
"Nobody would (risk) their child's life on a rubber boat just for the ride." ... [Reuters - 30/11/16]
@dimitrigalanis [1/12/16]: Greek church in Chios island refuses to open its facilities to shelter refugees even in this bitter cold
@MSF_Sea [1/12/16]: Do #European tax payers realize their cash is being spent locking up families just like these?
Amnesty representative calls on Australia to reassess attitude to refugees (while she's in New Zealand) [RNZI - 1/12/16]:
An Amnesty International researcher, says Australians need to re-assess the way their country treats asylum seekers and refugees.
Anna Neistat recently visited Nauru and conducted research into the plight of the people being held in the Australian-run camps on the island.
Amnesty concluded that Australia was effectively torturing the asylum seekers and refugees as a deterrent to others considering trying to reach Australia by boat.
Canberra had claimed it was necessary to stop the boats and save lives, but Ms Neistat said it was high time Australians questioned this.
"Because it is not true. People continue to die. They continue to die at sea, just not at Australia's shores, but they continue to die in boats near Indonesia, near Malaysia - wherever the boats are diverted to.
"They continue to die in countries of transit when they cannot be processed to get to Australia or another place of safety, and they continue to die in their home countries that they cannot flee because countries like Australia are closing their borders."
@AmnestyNZ [29/11/16]: Human Rights Parliamentary Network @AnnaNeistat talking #Nauru with NZ MPs. @MaramaDavidson @KennedyGraham @JulieAnneGenter @BarryCoates
Four given jail terms for Nauru parliament protest - Australia's political prisoners still imprisoned [RNZI - 1/12/16]:
Four of the 20 people charged over an anti-government protest outside the Nauru Parliament in June of last year have pleaded guilty and been sentenced.
The protest, which the government deemed a riot, led to the arrests of several MPs and their supporters.
The four, one of whom is a woman, pleaded guilty to disturbing the legislature, two admitted riot charges, one to assault, one unlawful assembly and one charge of damaging property.
The three men have been jailed for terms of six to nine months, with the woman given a suspended six-month sentence.
The severity of the sentences is being appealed and the three men remain on bail.
Meanwhile the remaining 16, who include former president, Sprent Dabwido, a former justice minister Mathew Batsiua and another MP Squire Jeremiah are due to have their cases heard in April - nearly two years after the alleged offences occurred.
The charges they face include rioting, disturbing the legislature and entering a restricted area - namely the airport, which is adjacent to the parliament.
The MPs, who had been suspended from parliament for more than a year at the time of the protest, lost their seats in this year's election.
One of the many occasions the UNHCR, Human Rights Commission, Amnesty, Greens and Australian Law Societies maintained a perplexing silence. [Guardian - 4/3/15]:
Up to 70 refugees on Nauru have been arrested for protesting in the island’s capital, as video has emerged showing refugees being assaulted as they protested peacefully at the weekend.
The majority of refugees were arrested for walking towards the Nauruan police station in Yaren, to protest the arrest of eight others earlier in the day.
At least 40 men are being held in the police cells at Yaren, others are being held in other locations. It is unknown if, and when, they will face a court.
The initial eight were arrested as they walked from the refugee compound to the shops on Wednesday morning.
They were arrested reportedly because they were believed to have been ringleaders in earlier protests over the weekend.
One of that group is understood to be 13 years old.
The video, shot on mobile phone, shows a group of demonstrators walking slowly towards a police line on a road.
The group is noisy, chanting “justice”, but peaceful. Several protesters have their hands crossed above their heads and some are kneeling.
A policeman holds up his hand to stop the protesters.
As the protesters come close to the police, scuffles break out between police and some demonstrators, including one woman wearing a chador.
One refugee close to the camera is filming the demonstration on his mobile phone.
A Nauruan man, not wearing any uniform, steps from behind the police line to punch the refugee in the face while he is not looking.
The refugee staggers, and drops his phone, but picks it back up and resumes filming. He does not retaliate.
The assailant retreats behind the line of police officers. ...
This is a jail cell some of the female refugees were imprisoned for 30 hours and given only one bottle of water to share. ... [Refugees on Nauru - 5/3/15]
Miss Nauru pretends her country doesn't host a refugee concentration camp for Australia [Samoa Observer - 1/2/16]
Malaysia cancels football matches with Myanmar to protest genocide of Rohingya [International Business Times - 1/12/16]
Bangladesh proudly pushes back 11 more boats of Rohingya refugees [Dhaka Tribune - 1/12/16]
The UNHCR has condemned refugees in South East Asia by playing along with sham regional forums like the Bali Process. Tan is doing S.F.A. The UNHCR is thoroughly discredited. [Frontier Myanmar - 1/12/16]
Over a dozen of Rohingya homes in ‘Kamauk Seik’ Township have been demolished under the order of the township administrator in the last few days.
The township administrator have alleged the villagers of ‘Chong Naphei’ and ‘Aung Thabyay’ of building many homes illegally and subsequently ordered them to demolish the homes through their respective village administrators.
Over 19 Rohingya homes have been demolished up until now and many more likely to be demolished in the coming three days. ... [RVision TV News - 1/12/16]
Myanmar state media alludes to Rohingya Muslims as 'human fleas' [PRI – 30/11/16]
Orchid hybrid named after Aung San Suu Kyi [The Straits Times - 1/12/16]
China has told Myanmar that they should work together to stabilize their shared border, in the wake of a series of attacks by ethnic armed groups on Myanmar security forces and thousands of people crossing into China to escape the violence. ... [Reuters - 30/11/16]
Tamils detained under Prevention of Terrorism Act granted bail by Sri Lankan court [Tamil Guardian – 1/12/16]
Police apprehended on Thursday several people who were participating in a peaceful rally to demand a referendum for West Papua.
One of the people arrested was the coordinator of the rally, Surya Anta, a lawyer for the rally participants, Veronica Koman, said on Thursday.
Veronica said the protesters were beaten and arrested by police officers who wore civilian attire on Jl. Imam Bonjol in Central Jakarta when they were about to head to the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, located a few meters away from the scene. ... [Jakarta Post - 1/12/16]
Jakarta Governor Ahok ready to face blasphemy trial: Lawyer [Jakarta Post - 1/12/16]:
... Police submitted the 826-page dossier to the AGO on Friday after naming Ahok a suspect of blasphemy on Nov. 16 over a reference to a Quranic verse at an event in Thousand Islands regency in September. ...
Residents and workers in the capital say they plan to go about their normal activities when another large-scale rally demanding the arrest of incumbent Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama over blasphemy allegations is set to take place in the capital on Friday. ... [Jakarta Post - 30/11/16]
Police are questioning two persons of interest in connection with an improvised explosive device (IED) found near the US embassy last Monday. ... [Philstar - 1/12/16]
Phlippines military kill 61 "members of Maute terror group" [Update.ph - 30/11/16]
One week since the detention of nine Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles (ICVs) in Hong Kong, customs officials there have yet to provide formal reasons on why they are holding the vehicles, but they hope to complete their investigation soon, said Singapore's Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) on Thursday. ... [Channel News Asia - 1/12/16]
Singapore Armed Forces regular serviceman pronounced dead after being found unconscious in camp [Channel News Asia - 30/11/16]
Human rights groups in Fiji have been granted a permit to hold a march to mark World Human Rights Day after earlier being told they weren't allowed.
The NGO Coalition on Human Rights said it had been granted a temporary permit by the Fiji Roads Authority to march between 9am and 10am on Saturday 10 December from the Flea Market to Sukuna Park in central Suva. ... [RNZI - 30/11/16]
Japanese protest US Marine base in Okinawa prefecture [Press TV - 1/12/16]
Japan Atomic Power Co. has revealed that 10 workers were doused in radioactive coolant water during maintenance work in an auxiliary building for reactor 2 at the Tsuruga nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture. ... [Japan Times - 1/12/16]
Ukraine starts missile launches in country's south [Sputnik News - 1/12/16]
Trump offers to help Pakistan, calls PM Sharif a 'terrific guy': Islamabad [Reuters - 30/11/16]
Pakistan on Wednesday said India had deployed one million troops in Jammu and Kashmir, which is the highest concentration of soldiers in the world at one place.
Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said the presence of Indian troops on such a “large scale was a hurdle in implementing the United Nations resolution” on Kashmir. ... [The Hindu - 30/11/16]
Afghans cannot tolerate imposed war anymore, Ghani tells US envoy [Khaama - 1/12/16]
At least two explosions were heard in Kabul city earlier tonight amid reports two rockets landed in Shash Darak diplomatic area of the city. ... [Khaama - 30/11/16]
A number of military commanders said on Wednesday that General Muhayuddin Ghori, who died on Tuesday in the Badghis helicopter crash, had been committed to his country and was a good commander. ... [TOLO News - 30/11/16]
The war with the Islamic State militants left at least 3,976 people dead in Iraq during November, and another 1,571 wounded.
The fighting has slowed in Mosul, as has the number of casualties.
In October, 5,930 people were killed and 2,463 were wounded.
The Iraqi government will not release their casualty figures, so these numbers are rough estimates. ... [Antiwar.com - 30/11/16]
Labour MPs turned out in force on Wednesday to help defeat a parliamentary motion calling for Tony Blair to be held to account for allegedly misleading parliament over the Iraq war by 439 votes to 70, after a sometimes angry debate.
The motion, tabled by the Scottish National party’s foreign affairs spokesman, Alex Salmond, was backed by MPs from six other parties, and called for parliamentary committees to investigate and take appropriate action against the former prime minister.
It said the Chilcot Inquiry “provided substantial evidence of misleading information being presented by the then prime minister and others on the development of the then government’s policy towards the invasion of Iraq”. ... [Guardian - 1/12/16]
Yemeni political parties vow to support new government [Press TV - 1/12/16]
A report says more American military forces have arrived in Yemen’s port city of Aden to join the contingent of U.S. troops allegedly fighting al-Qaeda militants in the country’s south.
Yemen’s al-Masirah television channel published footage showing American troops arriving in Aden.
The report further said the new batch is apparently linked to the U.S. troops already deployed in al-Anad Airbase and other Yemeni areas, adding that the deployment is aimed at reinforcing the U.S. forces claiming to be fighting al-Qaeda terrorists. ... [American Herald Tribune - 29/11/16]
Saudi airstrike kills at least 13 civilians in Yemen [WTOP - 28/11/16]
Militants have struck two airports in northern Mali with an explosives-laden truck and rockets, residents and a security source said on Wednesday, in attacks that caused no victims but pointed to desert jihadists intensifying their insurgency.
In Gao, the offices of the U.N. peacekeeping mission located next to the airport terminal were razed by Tuesday evening's truck-bomb explosion which forced the airport to close.
French soldiers stationed in Gao took forensic evidence from among a tangle of papers, corrugated iron sheets and fragments of the attacker's flesh and bones strewn out next to the runway. ... [Reuters - 30/11/16]
Rwanda has launched an inquiry into the possible role of at least 20 French military and other officials in the 1994 genocide, the prosecutor general said on Wednesday, a move that will deepen already strained relations with Paris. ... [Reuters - 30/11/16]
North Carolina police officer not charged in shooting that sparked protests [Reuters – 1/12/16]
Two people were killed and four others were injured in a shooting Wednesday outside a grocery and deli store in northwest Baltimore, police said. ... [WBALTV11 - 1/12/16]
The final death toll of an earth tremor causing rockfalls deep underground in Europe's largest copper mine in southwestern Poland rose to eight miners, the mine's operator KGHM said on Wednesday. ... [Reuters - 30/11/16]
Australia's political prisoners on Manus Island chant "FREEDOM!" after the PNG Supreme Court Decision
Image: @manusFad22 [15/5/16]
May 2016: Political prisoners on Nauru display the faces of their friends who Australia has tortured and killed
Hamid Khazaei inquest continues hearing evidence about deliberate medical neglect - a vital component of Australia's anti-refugee "deterrence" policy [ABC - 1/12/16]:
... Dr Yilanna Dennett was coordinating patient transfers on behalf of International SOS in Sydney.
She told the inquest she was attempting to arrange Mr Khazaei's transfer to Port Moresby, where the medical care would be "a step up from Manus".
But she said it was not the best option.
"The medical care in a Port Moresby is not up to international standards," Dr Dennett said.
"We knew the Prime Minister was reluctant to bring patients to Australia so we knew if we put in a request it would not be approved."
"We knew Port Moresby was not the best option but it was better."
Under cross examination, Dr Dennett was asked if she had any knowledge of cases where appropriate care could not be given at Port Moresby but the department refused transfer.
"Yes I have had cases through International SOS," she said.
"Heart conditions, psychiatric.
"On some occasions we have had approvals eventually, but it sometimes took days or weeks."
The hearing in Brisbane continues.
@theleast [15/5/16]: I made a cartoon illustrating Australia's policy on Refugees/Asylum Seekers. ...
Political prisoners' release, resettlement and compensation case returns to PNG Supreme Court December 5 after more obstruction [The National - 22/11/16]:
The 731 asylum seekers on Manus have filed a fresh application in the Supreme Court seeking orders for their release and the payment of compensation for their illegal detention.
Their earlier application was rejected by a three-man bench on Oct 27 because they had not signed the application submitted by their lawyer Ben Lomai. Lomai signed the application himself.
The new application was signed by each of the 731 asylum seekers and filed on Nov 4.
It named the National Executive Council, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration Rimbink Pato and the State as respondents.
Lomai told the court yesterday presided by Justice Stephen Kassman that the State had rejected the asylum seekers’ Section Five notice on the basis that six months had lapsed since the court had handed its decision on an application filed by former Opposition leader Belden Namah on April 26.
The Section Five notice was served on the State on Nov 4.
Lomai told the court that there were previous cases which had set the stage for the enforcement of constitutional rights in the Supreme Court.
The asylum seekers’ application sought to enforce their constitutional rights in relation to the court’s decision in Namah’s application.
In Namah’s application, a five-man bench declared that the detention centre on Manus was unconstitutional and illegal.
... The matter will return to the Supreme Court on Dec 5 for further directions. [PNG Loop - 23/11/16]
1992: Fences go up around the "boat people" [AP Archive]
... But the routine detention of asylum seekers arriving without visas and the construction of remote detention centres to house them followed the landing of a boat carrying 26 people at Pender Bay near Broome in November 1989.
It was the first boat to carry asylum seekers to Australian territory since 1981 and its arrival marked the beginning of a second wave of boatpeople landing on Australia shores. (The first wave lasted from 1976 to 1981. It was made up of about 2000 refugees arriving in small groups who were fleeing Communism in Indochina after the end of the Vietnam War. They were not detained on arrival.)
There were many Cambodians aboard the Pender Bay boat and subsequent vessels and their arrival came at a sensitive time for the Labor government of Prime Minister Bob Hawke.
Hawke’s high-profile foreign minister Gareth Evans was deeply involved in crafting a peace process for Cambodia, which involved the repatriation of 300,000 Cambodian refugees from camps along the Thai border.
The federal government feared that confidence in the plan could be undermined if Cambodians in Australia were found to be refugees or if their personal stories were allowed to become public.
Hawke was quick to declare categorically that the Cambodians were not ‘political’ but ‘economic’ refugees.
He said he would not allow Cambodian asylum seekers to ‘jump the queue’ of Australia’s orderly migration program .
The label ‘queue jumper’ has been used to denigrate asylum seekers arriving by boat ever since. ... Australia's sledgehammer, Peter Mares [APO - 25/2/2004]
More protests against Australia's bipartisan anti-refugee torture, exile and turnback policy at Parliament House
We are here today to tell the Australian Parliament they are all complicit in the murder, rape, torture and child abuse of refugees.
Blood on ALL their hands ---> Sri Lankan refugees imprisoned after removal from Australia [WSWS - 14/5/16]:
... While Labor initiated the mass deportation of Sri Lankans, it could not have done so without the assistance of the Greens, who kept the minority Labor government in office from 2010 to 2013. ...
Daily Mail [1/12/16]:
Protesters have returned to Parliament House and are standing in the middle of the pond surrounded by Federal Police.
The activists have unfurled a banner from the top of the building in Canberra and had put red dye in the pond fountain to call for better treatment of refugees.
Two people had scaled the front wall on Thursday morning to unfurl the banner, which reads: 'Close the bloody camps now.'
About a dozen people have waded out into a pond in the complex's forecourt, holding placards with slogans like 'Justice for refugees'.
Members of Whistleblowers Activists and Citizens Alliance have also turned the water feature into a bloody pool, representing deaths from turnbacks at sea, with signs reading 'Turnbacks Are Murder' and 'Blood On Your Hands'.
The protesters had on Wednesday shut down question time, and say their latest action is a continuation of the campaign.
'We are here today to tell the Australian Parliament they are all complicit in the murder, rape, torture and child abuse of refugees,' WACA spokesperson Kat Moore said.
'This is a state of emergency and a humanitarian crisis.'
Protester Phil Evans said the group was ramping up their actions.
'We're here because all parliamentarians have become complicit in the torture, rape and abuse of refugees,' he told AAP.
'We're calling for justice for the refugees and we're willing to put ourselves on the line in solidarity with them.'
Another protester Zianna Fuad said Thursday's action had been planned for a while.
'I actually think we've tried all our other avenues of civil debate,' one of the protesters said.
'Turnbacks equal murder and when they say stop the boats this really means "go die somewhere else",' she said. ...
BTW, US citizens HAVE picketed the White House – and it worked ... ---> ... Traditional lobbying and petitioning were a mainstay of NWP members, but these activities were supplemented by other more public actions–including parades, pageants, street speaking, and demonstrations.
The party eventually realized that it needed to escalate its pressure and adopt even more aggressive tactics.
Most important among these was picketing the White House over many months, leading to the arrest and imprisonment of many suffragists. ... Tactics and techniques of the National Womans Party suffrage campaign [Library of Congress]
Obama administration defends indefinite imprisonment of immigrants at US Supreme Court hearing [Alabama Today - 30/11/16]
Federal prosecutors have pursued hundreds of thousands more cases against immigrants in the country illegally under President Barack Obama than they did under the previous two White House administrations combined.. ... [Miami Herald - 30/11/16]
@avilarenata [30/11/16]: If @JLMelenchon is elected next year in #France, #Assange and @Snowden will become French nationals.
Julian Assange pleads to be 'set free' after UN panel ruling [BT - 30/11/16]:
Julian Assange has renewed his plea to be "set free" after a United Nations panel confirmed its view that the WikiLeaks founder is a victim of arbitrary detention.
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention rejected a request by the UK Government to review the case. ...
UN Victory in Assange Case: Decision has big implications for refugees and whistleblowers - but Australia's establishment international law and refugee rights experts ignored the majority decision, and inexplicably focussed on the minority dissenting opinion [Center for Constitutional Rights - 5/2/16]
The CIA and the press: When the Washington Post ran the CIA’s Propaganda Network [Counterpunch - 30/11/16]
The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda. ... [Guardian - 18/3/11]
1 December 2016