Judges have agreed that Italy’s unlawful detention of Tunisian migrants in degrading conditions on the island of Lampedusa pending collective expulsion breached human rights laws. ... [Council of Europe - 1/9/15]
... Chutima had good relationships with a number of Thai navy officers, who worked on the large naval base on the island.
From them she heard about the large number of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar arriving on Thailand's Andaman coast, north of Phuket.
Officers mentioned that there had been a change of policy.
Instead of being detained and looked after, they were being held on offshore islands.
The navy did not want to take her there. Instead they gave her photographs, showing dozens of emaciated-looking men being made to lie down on a beach. ... [Thai Phuketwan journalists acquitted of defaming navy - BBC - 1/9/15]
Australia continues torturing refugees in its Pacific Guantanamos
A hoffman knife has a curved blade and is used to cut down asylum seekers who've tried to hang themselves. ...
Image: @liamfoxpng - ABC journalist [21/3/14]
Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [1/9/15]:
A 25 year-old Burmese asylum seeker attempted suicide at Manus Island yesterday afternoon, Monday 31 August.
The emergency unfolded over almost four hours as the man climbed onto the roof of Delta Compound around 3pm and made attempts to hang himself using bed sheets and electrical cable, before making a final attempt to jump just before 7pm.
More than 50 Transfield and IHMS medical personnel were mobilised during the emergency.
The man tied electrical cables to the sheets to try to prevent staff from using Hoffman knives to cut him down.
He had the bed sheet tied around his neck as he was caught on the roof at about 6.45pm.
He was handcuffed and shackled before being taken off the roof to the new high security area next to the medical centre.
On the eve of the renewal of the Transfield’s multi-billion dollar contract to manage offshore detention centres, Transfield’s chief executive Graeme Hunt suggested that investors in Transfield could get ‘tours’ of the detention centres.
“Now might be a good time for Transfield to open Manus Island, to the media, as well as fund managers,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “so the stark reality of detention on Manus Island can be revealed.
The truth is that Transfield Services’s profit is based on blood money from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
“The Senate report has also lifted the lid on Transfield’s complicity with abuse of woman and children on Nauru.”
Meanwhile, there is still no confirmation of the fate of the third Iranian asylum seeker who was scheduled to be removed from PNG last week.
The Supreme Court has extended the injunction against removals until 7 September, the date of the next directions hearing in the Supreme Court constitutional challenge to the Manus Island detention centre.
Threats of deportation have now been made against asylum seekers on Manus Island, who have refused to make applications for asylum in PNG.
There are around 200 people who have refused to make protection applications in PNG because they were forcibly taken to PNG after seeking protection in Australia.
The Supreme Court action in PNG will test the lawfulness of their transfer to and detention on, Manus Island.
"We were surrounded by very desperate men ... some in there since last July ... some almost crying."
"They were saying 'help me, help me' and 'give us freedom'"
ABC journalist Liam Fox describing his visit to Manus Island with PNG Judge Cannings' Inquiry on Radio Australia 'Pacific Beat' [21/3/14]
As part of an inquiry into the human rights of asylum seekers, a handful of journalists including the ABC's Liam Fox were allowed to join Justice David Cannings on his second visit to the detention centre. ... [ABC - 21/3/14]
Image: @SBSNews [21/3/14]
Delta compound was the worst. Like a slum. Men crammed into rusting shipping containers. Even the view to the ocean was covered with mesh.
"tweeted" by @liamfoxpng - ABC journalist [21/3/14]
Researchers draw parallels between Guantanamo Bay and Australian detention centres [AUDIO - ABC - 31/8/15]
Rape victim father linked to Manus bus hijack [SBS - 1/9/15]:
A bus from the Manus Island detention centre was hijacked by the family of a woman allegedly raped by centre guards, PNG police have confirmed.
The father of a Manus Island woman allegedly raped by three Australian immigration detention centre guards seized a bus belonging to the centre operator, a local MP says.
Papua New Guinea MP Ron Knight told AAP the man and his supporters took action because they were angry the guards had not faced justice.
Manus Island provincial police commander Alex N'Drasal confirmed a "relative" of the alleged victim hijacked the 25-seater bus on Monday as it was travelling back from the airport.
The bus was returned to the Manus detention centre operator Transfield Services half an hour later.
Police are investigating the incident and considering laying charges, Mr N'Drasal told AAP.
Mr Knight said the group had machetes but no one was harmed.
He said they planned to withhold the bus, as well as a three-tonne truck, from the centre until police questioned the guards.
The guards, who were stood down and sent back to Australia following the alleged incident in mid-July, could have faced a death sentence if convicted in PNG.
Mr Knight said the community was considering putting up a road block to stop detention centre vehicles accessing the airport.
"Everything has been pushed under the carpet," he said.
"If it was my daughter I'd be burning villages by now."
Mr Knight said the alleged rape had destroyed community goodwill towards the centre.
"The feeling on the ground is `everyone can piss off back to Australia'."
Port Moresby officially took over the police investigation into the alleged rape after Manus Island police threatened to storm the centre to arrest managers for perverting the course of justice unless the trio was returned.
Comment has been sought from Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Transfield Services.
It was, at the very least, a case of suspicious timing. On July 27, the United States agency regulating immigration shut down a program allowing visitors to an Alabama immigration detention center not long after a complaint was filed alleging that the center’s officers were intimidating and physically abusing detainees.
The complaint had been brought by the Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC), which ran the visitation program. This is not the first instance of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) shutting down a CIVIC-run program. There was the one in San Diego, shut down after CIVIC reported sexual abuse of detainees.
Another in Broward County, Florida was also shuttered after the program’s coordinator testified about detention abuses during a congressional field hearing.
The facility this time was the Etowah County Detention Center, which holds about 700 people in total, 270 of them immigration detainees. According to Detention Watch Network, the facility is one of the 10 worst in the country. ... Silencing US immigration detainees [Human Rights Watch - 31/8/15]
PNG Law Society: Money laundering inquiry continues
The National [1/9/15]:
The PNG Law Society says there has been significant progress in inquiries and subsequent deliberations into allegations of money laundering made by lawyers Greg Sheppard and Harvey Maladina carried by the SBS Dateline programme recently.
Society president Peter Kuman said that in a statement yesterday.
“We are doing everything we can within the time frame we have and I wish to assure the country that the society has taken the matter very seriously,” Kuman said.
“Since the airing of the programme and its potentially damaging implications on the legal profession and country, the council has taken the deliberate move to request the two implicated principal partners of Young and Williams Lawyers, Greg Sheppard and Harvey Maladina, to provide their respective explanations to the council which both have done.
“The Lawyers’ Statutory Committee met on Tuesday last week and deliberated on the content of their responses and an outcome will be revealed shortly by committee chairman, Vincent Mirupasi.” Kuman said invitations were sent to five accounting firms to investigate the trust accounts of the law firm in question.”
Kuman added: “The processes take time, and due process is being observed at all times, so that all persons concerned are given every opportunity to be heard.”
PNG: People of Sinasina-Yongomulg district face water, food shortages
The National [1/9/15]:
More than 40,000 people of the Sinasina-Yongomulg district east of Chimbu are faced with critical water and food shortages, a district official said.
District rural development officer Eric Gore said it was a matter of days before people succumbed to starvation and related illnesses.
Gore told The National that most of the water sources had dried out and people were drinking whatever water they could find, including from the Waghi River.
“Apart from the drought, there was a big frost that covered parts of the district from the Aug 10-12,” Gore said.
“The frost covered parts of Gapakure, Koge and Nintul in the Suwai and Tabare LLGs.
“I did a preliminary assessment and found that 114 households were affected and 1500 people had food gardens destroyed.”
Gore said he had received reports from the Kere-Tabare Junction at Unil that frost had destroyed foodcrops. “The frost has completely wiped out the kaukau (sweet potatoes), the people’s staple food,” Gore said.
“I am afraid we might be heading for a situation similar to the Potato Blight disease that killed millions of people in Ireland in 1845.”
Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA) agricultural officer Dom Kaupa, who assisted Gore with the assessment, said the situation needed urgent attention as people’s lives were at risk.
Kaupa said they had presented a preliminary report to the provincial administration but the administration said they needed funds to provide emergency relief assistance to the people.
Walare Okerry, of Nibal village in Ward Six of Tabare LLG, said the situation had not improved and people were surviving on whatever they could find.
“In 1997 there was a drought for seven months, this year it is only five months but people are already feeling the pinch of the situation,” Okerry said.
“Normally, we survive on bananas and cassava during the dry season but this time the cassava and bananas have also died out.”
He said about 1300 people in the ward needed urgent help.
Motorists in the National Capital District are facing a critical shortage of petrol this week as supplier Puma Energy and the Government continue to wrangle over a K1.4 billion crude oil import tax bill. ... [The National - 1/9/15]
21 dead and 50,000 in shelters as monsoon floods swamp northeast India [Global News - 1/9/15]
President Obama on Tuesday will propose speeding the acquisition and building of new Coast Guard icebreakers that can operate year-round in the nation’s polar regions, part of an effort to close the gap between the United States and other nations, especially Russia, in a global competition to gain a foothold in the rapidly changing Arctic.
On the second day of a three-day trip to Alaska to highlight the challenge of climate change and call for a worldwide effort to address its root causes, Mr. Obama’s proposals will touch on one of its most profound effects. The retreat of Arctic sea ice has created opportunities for shipping, tourism, mineral exploration and fishing — and with it, a rush of marine traffic that is bringing new difficulties. ... [New York Times - 1/9/15]
Chevron is fast-tracking a radical downsizing of its Australian cost base with plans to cull hundreds of positions in Perth before the end of this year.
It is understood Chevron Australia managing director Roy Krzywosinski told his senior management team about a week ago to come up with savings of up to 20 per cent across the three key divisions — Gorgon and Wheatstone project teams and the corporate office. ... [West Australian - 1/9/15]
Indonesia: Thousands rally at State Palace to demand end to layoffs
Jakarta Globe [1/9/15]:
Thousands of workers rallied in front of the State Palace on Tuesday, calling on the government to boost worker welfare and put a stop to mass layoffs, which companies are resorting to in the face of Indonesia's economic slowdown.
Sr. Comr. M. Iqbal, a spokesman for the Jakarta Police, said there were an estimated 11,000 police officers in Central Jakarta to secure the rally, which had been expected to attract over 50,000 demonstrators, and direct traffic.
There were no immediate estimates on how many workers had joined the rally.
Iqbal said the protest was being held peacefully.
"So far the situation is conducive. The protest is still going on and our officers will stand guard until the protest ends this afternoon," he said.
Police had prepared tactical vehicles equipped with water cannons as well as armored vehicles to prepare for any unrest.
Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri on Monday called on companies operating in Indonesia to not resort to mass layoffs.
“My ministry has been communicating with employers, [asking] them not to make layoffs their first choice in dealing with the crisis, but to make it the option of last resort,” Hanif said in Jakarta on Monday, as quoted by news portal Kompas.com.
Hanif said his ministry estimated that between 26,000 and 30,000 workers were currently being laid off every day in Indonesia.
George Osborne branded arrogant by SNP for new Trident base plan [Express - 31/8/15]
US military deploys drones to Latvia on training mission [Ahram - 31/8/15]
Kiev clashes, grenade explosion injure dozens during protests against constitutional law [RT - 31/8/15]
Sounding the alarm on behalf of relief agencies working to meet
ongoing needs and jump-start critical preparations for winter in strife-riven
eastern Ukraine, the United Nations humanitarian wing has reported that aid
organizations are facing major challenges in getting access to the most
vulnerable of an estimated 5 million people affected by the conflict that began
in the region in April 2014. ... [UN
Media Release - 30/8/15]
U.S. President Barack Obama has stressed the importance of better intelligence cooperation between Washington and Tel Aviv to stop Hizbullah from obtaining more missiles with which to target Israel.
“As much intelligence cooperation and sharing as we’re already doing, we need to do better if we want to stop Hizbullah from continuing to get missiles that can be trained on Tel Aviv,” Obama told The Forward, a newspaper published in New York for a Jewish-American audience, in an interview.
He said Washington should discuss more with Israel on whether “there (are) additional capabilities that Israel may be able to use to prevent Hizbullah, for example, from getting missiles.”
He said Iran has been effective in its destabilizing activities because it has used proxies. ... [Naharnet - 1/9/15]
Israeli forces demolish 25 Bedouin structures north of Jerusalem [Maan - 31/8/15]
Human Rights Watch has called on Israel to drop its ban on migrants recently released from Holot detention center from entering Tel Aviv and Eilat, saying there is “no legal basis” for the policy.
In a statement issued Monday, the New York-based NGO said: “Absent a lawful justification under international law, which it has not cited, the Israeli government should immediately rescind the ban.” ... [Haaretz - 31/8/15]
A car bomb exploded Monday in the Libyan capital, wounding one person and causing damage to the offices of an oil company co-owned by Italy's Eni, a security official said. ... [Naharnet - 31/8/15]
Libya loyalist forces battle IS in Benghazi [Ahram - 31/8/15]
State Department says 150 more Clinton emails have classified information [Reuters – 31/8/15]
Afghanistan: 6 civilians dead, 3 injured in Ghazni roadside bombing [Pajhwok - 1/9/15]
Unknown armed men have gunned down the Chief Military Attorney of northern Baghlan province. ... [Khaama - 1/9/15]
South Sudan's rebel chief on Monday accused the government of breaking a ceasefire, jeopardising a peace agreement aimed to end the country's 20-month civil war. ... [Ahram - 31/8/15]
Al Shabaab militants attacked an African Union (AU) base in southern Somalia early on Tuesday, the Islamist group and residents said, with unconfirmed reports that dozens of AU soldiers were killed.
The al Qaeda-aligned militants said one of their fighters rammed a car bomb into the base and then gunmen poured inside the facility run by the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, AMISOM.
Al Shabaab said 50 African peacekeepers were killed in the attack on Janale base, about 90 km (55 miles) south of the capital, Mogadishu. ... [Ahram - 1/9/15]
More than 850,000 people face acute food insecurity in Somalia, UN food assessment shows [Media Release - 31/8/15]
Yemen: ‘worrying outbreak’ of dengue fever prompts UN health agency appeal for safe humanitarian corridor [Media Release - 31/8/15]
Hungary has closed Budapest's main railway station as hundreds of migrants queued up to board trains to other EU countries.
The closure comes after a record number of migrants arrived in
Austria on Monday by train from Hungary. [ITV
20,000 march to welcome refugees in Vienna, Austria [Yahoo - 31/8/15]
At least six civilians have been killed and dozens of others injured in separate mortar attacks launched by foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants against residential areas in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib as well as the capital, Damascus.
Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said six civilians, including a child, lost their lives and 20 others sustained injuries when a barrage of mortar shells fired by the militants struck the villages of Fuaa and Kafraya in Idlib Province on Monday, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported. ... [Press TV - 31/8/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [31/8/15]:
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, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Fighter aircraft conducted an airstrike near Hawl in Syria and destroyed an ISIL excavator.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter, fighter-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 11 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with the Iraqi government:
-- Near Baghdadi, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL explosives cache and an ISIL resupply boat.
-- Near Beiji, an airstrike struck an ISIL large tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL vehicles and an ISIL barge.
-- Near Kisik, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL bombs and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Ramadi, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL mortar system.
-- Near Sinjar, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL light machine gun and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL heavy machine guns and an ISIL excavator.
-- Near Tal Afar, one airstrike struck an ISIL heavy machine gun firing position.
-- Near Tuz, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [31/8/15]:
Anbar: An entire family was wounded -including a girl whose leg was amputated-when the government's army and Hashd militias targeted the civilians in Julan neighbourhood in Fallujah....
Anbar: The government's army and Hashd militias have shelled by heavy artillery the neighbourhoods which are located near the railway station in Fallujah,further details unknown...............
Anbar: One of prayers was killed and another wounded as the warplanes targeted Al-Fallujah Al-Kabeer Masjid on Isha'a Salat(evening prayers)..................
Baghdad: News agencies: 10 persons were either killed or wounded as a roadside bomb exploded near the iron factories in Siba'a area in the middle of Baghdad..................
Baghdad: News agencies: 7 persons were either killed or wounded as a roadside bomb exploded in saidiya area southwest of Baghdad.........
Baghdad: News agencies: 5 policemen were either killed or wounded as a roadside bomb exploded targeting their patrol in Yusfiya nahiya south of Baghdad.........
@MSF_Sea [31/8/15]: Of the 119 people rescued today, 40 are women. They're totally exhausted and resting on the deck of the #DignityI
@MSF_Sea [31/8/15]: ... The #DignityI has just rescued 119 people from an inflatable boat
@ItalianNavy [31/8/15] #SAR #UltimOra Nave Fulgosi #MarinaMilitare sta soccorrendo un gommone con numerosi #migranti a bordo
The United States subverts the UN Refugee Convention in the Caribbean and on the Mexico border. Australia does the same in South East Asia. Will Europe retain what remains of its humanity?
244 "undocumented immigrants" arrested across Southern California in 4-day Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid [ABC 7 - 31/8/15]
The US coast guard said on Sunday 38 migrants from Cuba who had been stuck in a legal limbo aboard a coast guard ship have been sent home to Cuba.
Coast guard petty officer Mark Barney said the group was repatriated on Sunday morning, ending weeks of waiting. ... [Guardian - 18/5/15]
LA Times [16/11/1991]:
The number of Haitian refugees interdicted at sea in the past few weeks climbed past 1,000 Friday as Bush Administration officials scrambled to work out a resettlement plan with three Central American nations that have agreed to accept some of the boat people.
Venezuela, Belize and Honduras have each agreed to take in a few of the refugees, some of whom have been held aboard U.S. Coast Guard cutters idling near the Windward Passage for more than two weeks.
Refugee advocates contend the number of people fleeing Haiti poses no threat to the United States.
"The State Department has manufacturered a sense of urgency that does not exist and has held these people in political limbo," charged Arthur C. Helton, director of the refugee project of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights in New York.
"Political leaders see that this is a bankrupt approach that does not correspond to social needs. And the numbers which other countries have decided to accept indicates they are skeptical."
In the past 10 years, almost 24,000 Haitians have been interdicted at sea. Of those, only 28 have been allowed into the United States.
... Accepting refugees is the least that Europe can do to alleviate the suffering of these people. Especially since powerful nations – including EU states – bear much responsibility for the injustices behind the present crisis.
Offering refuge does not end wars, nor does it solve the underlying problems of the world’s troubled regions. However, it can save lives.
As with the present exodus to Europe from north Africa and elsewhere, the fate of those fleeing Ireland in the so-called “coffin ships” was often horrific. For example, of the 257 steerage passengers on The Ceylon, 117 died and 115 had fever on arrival; in nine months nearly 10,000 Irish emigrants to Canada alone had perished from fever.
The success of the Irish diaspora is testimony not only to the courage and fortitude of the Irish but also to the hospitality and tolerance (albeit laced with resistance betimes) of welcoming nations. ... Seeking refuge in Europe [Letters to the Editor - Irish Times - 1/9/15]
Merkel urges EU states to accept fairer share of refugees
[Irish Times - 31/8/15]
'Treated like dogs': Australian Border Force raids Maribyrnong Detention Centre [The Age – 1/9/15]:
... According to one source, a team of up to 70 officers from the ABF, its dog squad and Serco Emergency Response Team swooped on the centre at 2.30am.
They are believed to have woken the detainees, handcuffed them and put them on buses bound for chartered flights.
The men, some of whom are asylum seekers, were then taken to an undisclosed location.
Fairfax Media understands they were en route to Yongah Hill Detention Centre, north-east of Perth, and Christmas Island Detention Centre.
The ABF officers and Serco ERT team then continued to search each of the remaining 90 detainees –including 10 women – and their rooms until 5.30pm on Friday.
The source, who did not want to be named, said there were "distressing scenes" at the centre, with the men "screaming" while being forcibly removed.
The detainees were "terrified" of being taken to Christmas Island as they would be cut off from their friends and family, he said.
"There is an atmosphere of fear and intimidation at the centre now," he said.
"One of the detainees said 'we are treated like dogs'."
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre detention rights advocate Pamela Curr said the families and friends of the detainees had been unable to find out where the men were taken.
"We have got people contacting us now, asking us to find their loved ones who have been moved effectively to a secret prison," Ms Curr said.
"We have gone from secret on-board matters to secret in-detention centre matters where people are being moved from detention centre to detention centre in the middle of the night and their family members are not allowed to know where they are going."
She believed the government removed the detainees in a bid to "make room" ahead of the cancelled Operation Fortitude, she said.
"This was the day they announced the visa inspection program in Melbourne," Ms Curr said. "What they would have been doing is clearing out the Maribyrnong Detention Centre with hopes that they could pick up visa anomalies and whack them into detention.
"We don't know that [for sure] but it is the most logical explanation."
Second reading of this bill resumes in the Senate next week ----> Licence to Kill: Australia’s Maintaining the Good Order in Immigration Detention Facilities Bill 2015 [Border Criminologies - 12/5/15]
Time to close detention centre on Nauru and invest in safe pathways to protection within region
Human Rights Law Centre Media Release [1/9/15]:
Australia’s regional processing centre in Nauru is not a safe or appropriate environment for asylum seekers, according to a damning Senate Committee report released today.
The Senate Committee tasked with inquiring into circumstances and conditions at the Nauru Regional Processing Centre found that, despite a price tag of $1.3 million per day, basic human rights standards are not being met in the centre.
The violations outlined in the report include physical and sexual assault, child abuse, high levels of physical and mental health problems and unacceptable living conditions.
The Human Rights Law Centre’s Director of Advocacy, Rachel Ball, said the findings were alarming but not surprising.
“Australia’s policies and the manner of their implementation create an environment where serious harm is inevitable. As long as the indefinite detention of a large number of vulnerable people, including children, in harsh conditions continues, so will the abuse and mistreatment,”said Ms Ball.
Several hours before the release of the Senate Committee’s report, Transfield Services announced that it is the preferred tenderer for the contract to provide welfare and garrison support services at Australia’s offshore detention centres.
“The Senate Committee’s report shows that offshore detention is inherently harmful. By re-contracting with the Australian Government, Transfield Services is signing up for five more years of complicity in serious human rights abuses, with all the legal, financial and reputational risk that entails,” said Ms Ball.
The Human Rights Law Centre made a joint submission to the inquiry with UNICEF Australia calling on the Australian Government to close the NRPC and allow asylum seekers’ protection claims to be assessed in Australia.
“It’s unacceptable that when people come to Australia seeking safety, we detain them in a place proven to be unsafe. These types of punitive policies will only continue to inflict harm on vulnerable men, women and children. It’s time for Australia to invest in providing safe alternative pathways to protection within our region,” said Ms Ball.
Evidently the Australian political, media and human rights establishment's goal is to ensure the ongoing detention, torture and invisibilising of South East Asia's refugees?
Why isn't the Australian Human Rights Commissioner calling for the immediate closure of refugee detention centres - particularly those offshore? Does she agree with anti refugee "deterrence" ideology? [Canberra Times - 1/9/15]:
... Professor Triggs, a distinguished and respected lawyer, said the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's decision to name Transfield Services as its preferred tenderer to continue running the camps at Nauru and Manus Island, on a contract worth a speculated $2.7 billion, reflects the secrecy and lack of transparency pervading detention centres.
"We are deeply concerned, it's extremely troubling," she said, adding Transfield Services, who has been paid billion of dollars to run the camps, had been forced to dismiss scores of staff members for poor conduct.
She said the decision should be examined by "an objective independent reviewer".
Professor Triggs said a royal commission into detention centres should be held and the system should become more transparent to allow allegations to be confirmed. ...
Myanmar's president signs off on another law targeting Muslims, Australia sucks gas, continues ignoring human rights atrocities and subverting the UN Refugee Convention [Yahoo - 31/8/15]:
... President Thein Sein signed the Monogamy Bill after it was passed by parliament on August 21, Zaw Htay, a senior official at the president's office, told Reuters. The law was briefly sent back to parliament for review before being signed.
The bill sets punishments for people who have more than one spouse or live with an unmarried partner other than the spouse.
Border Guard Police assaulted three Rohingya men in Gora Hali of Maungdaw South on Saturday. ... [Burma Times - 1/9/15]
Parliamentarian Shwe Maung has arrived in Akyab city for appealing against the government ban on his candidacy in the upcoming general elections.
Shwe Maung was informed he was not fit to stand for elections as his parents were not Burmese citizens during the country’s independence in 1948.
The prominent Rohingya leader disputes this claim and says he has the documents to prove it. He is currently in Akyab with these documents that lays validity to his claims that his parents were Burmese citizens in 1948. ... [Burma Times - 1/9/15]
Military personal are firing at cows owned by Rohingya Muslims in Ang Dhang, Maungdaw South. ... [Burma Times - 1/9/15]
Antiquated colonial ‘loitering’ charge lands hundreds in jail [The Irrawaddy - 31/8/15]
*UPDATE* @AbbottKingsley [1/9/15]: 0945 Both Phuketwan accused acquitted on all counts ...
The Phuket provincial court will deliver its verdict on Tuesday on a case against two Phuket-based journalists accused of defaming the Royal Thai Navy.
Australian editor Alan Morison, 67, and Thai reporter Chutima Sidasathein, 34, run a news website called Phuketwan, based in the Thai resort island of Phuket.
They are being sued under the defamation law and Computer Crimes Act by the Royal Thai Navy, for republishing a Pulitzer Prize-winning article by Reuters in 2013, which examined Thailand’s role in the trafficking of Rohingya migrants [refugees]. ... [Channel News Asia - 1/9/15]
Why good journalism matters for Thailand and all strong democracies, David Harrison [Phuketwan – 1/9/15]
Buddhist and Muslim relations underlie South East Asia's refugee crisis [NPR - 31/8/15]:
NPR KUHN: Abdul Sallam says the government is manipulating the Rohingya crisis for its own political ends. That's an argument I heard from both Rohingya and Rakhine people. It suggests that both groups share a distrust of the government. Tin Tun Aung (ph) is president of the Arakan National Network, a Rakhine civic group.
TIN TUN AUNG: (Through interpreter) There were enough border security forces in the Rakhine State to stop the violence in 2012, but they didn't. They only tried to reap political gains from it. ...
South East Asia
Charges dismissed against woman arrested during Sydney terror raids after magistrate finds police acted illegally
Sydney Morning Herald [31/8/15]:
Members of the NSW and Federal police acted unlawfully when they arrested and searched a Muslim-Australian woman during last year's pre-dawn counter terrorism raids, a magistrate has found.
The 24-year-old woman, who cannot be named, was charged with assaulting and intimidating police in the execution of their duties after heavily armed officers ordered her out of bed in the early hours of September 18 last year during the largest counter terrorism raids in Australia's history.
The woman was then taken outside onto the nature strip of her home before police called in a white female police officer to search her as numerous male police looked on.
The female officer, Senior Constable Stacey Gwyn, told Parramatta local court that, as she approached her, the young woman yelled "Don't you touch me, you dogs, you have no right to search me!"
As Senior Constable Gwyn began the search the woman allegedly screamed "you'll be the first one in uniform to have your throat slit".
When the officer tried to take the woman's mobile phone, she allegedly said "you can't have my phone ... don't you touch it, you whore ... you're a Christian, you will burn".
As a male police officer physically restrained the woman so that Senior Constable Gwyn could continue the search, the 24-year-old woman allegedly punched him once in the face.
But when the matter came before Parramatta local court, it emerged that the woman was not named on the search warrant and was not shown paperwork accompanying the warrant as required by law.
While police had the authority to enter the premises, they did not have the authority to arrest, detain or search the woman without reasonable suspicion.
The woman's barrister, Steven Boland, argued that his client had no involvement with terrorism or any other criminal offence and police had no reason to suspect otherwise.
"The degree of her wrongdoing at the time that the police demanded that she withdraw from her bedroom was to be asleep in her bed," Mr Boland told the court.
On Monday, Magistrate Margaret McGlynn found that searching the woman was unlawful and that, thus, at the time of the alleged punch and intimidatory comments, the officers were not acting in the execution of their duties.
She found that, while the woman's comments were "very offensive", "religiously loaded" and "disproportionate" to the illegal actions by the police, the charges against her must be dismissed.
Speaking after the decision, the woman's solicitor, Penelope Purcell, said her client was pleased with the decision.
"I can't understand why they would bring charges at all against this woman in all those circumstances," Ms Purcell said.
Fairfax Media understands that the 24-year-old woman is likely to seek an order that NSW Police pay her legal costs.
Victoria to introduce legislation banning convicted criminals from associating with one another [Nine MSN – 31/8/15]
Assault investigation, North Mackay
QPS Media [31/8/15]
Police are investigating two assaults in the North Mackay area overnight which detectives believe may be linked.
Around 7.50pm, police were called to an address on Daniel Street, North Mackay after a 23-year-old man was located with lacerations to his face.
Further investigations have led police to an address on Harris Street in Beaconsfield where a 27-year-old man was discovered unconscious with head injuries.
Both men have been taken to the Mackay Base Hospital for treatment, and the 27-year-old has been flown to Townsville for surgery.
Police have established a number of crime scenes, and investigations are continuing.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Unlawful wounding, Garbutt
QPS Media [31/8/15]:
Police have charged a woman with unlawful wounding after a man was injured in Garbutt overnight.
At about 11.30pm police were called to a residence in Peel Street where they located a 36-year-old man with non-life threatening injuries.
A 35-year-old Garbutt woman will appear in Townsville Magistrates Court today charged with unlawful wounding.
A man with stab wounds to his chest and back was transported to Townsville hospital.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Shots fired into home, Kuraby
QPS Media [31/8/15]:
Police are appealing for public assistance after a residence on Livingstone Street at Kuraby was shot at today.
Initial investigations indicate two projectiles were fired into the home around 2.50am, causing damage to the garage.
It is believed the person who fired the shots may have then fled the scene in a vehicle.
None of the seven people in the home at the time were injured.
Investigations are continuing with police asking anyone who saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area at the time to contact Crime Stoppers.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Burglary with violence, Helensvale [QPS Media - 1/9/15]
Armed robbery, Maroochydore [QPS Media – 31/8/15]
Attempted armed robbery, Toowoomba [QPS Media - 31/8/15]
Fatal traffic crash, Pittsworth
QPS Media [1/9/15]:
A man has died following a single vehicle traffic crash on the Gore Highway near Pittsworth this morning.
Initial investigations suggests the fuel tanker was about 7km south west of Pittsworth when it left the road and rolled about 4.25am.
The driver and sole occupant of the vehicle, a 62-year-old Goondiwindi man, died at the scene.
The Gore Highway remains closed to traffic at the site of the crash with signed detours and traffic control in place.
The detours are expected to be in place for several hours while the Forensic Crash Unit investigates the crash and emergency services contain a diesel spill that occurred off the road.
Thanks for numbering every box and putting the LNP last!: Deputy Premier responds to constituent Wilmar's concerns about solar farm
Media Release [31/8/15]:
The development of one of the country’s largest solar farms at Clare in the Burdekin Shire has been ‘called in’ to ensure the potential economic and environmental benefits of the project are balanced with community concerns that include possible impacts on important cropping land.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, Jackie Trad, said she had made the decision after considering submissions and a request from the Burdekin Shire Council.
“Council’s original decision to approve this development, which was subject to appeal to the Planning and Environment Court, will be set aside and a new assessment will be made,” Ms Trad said.
“I have notified all stakeholders, including the applicant, the Council and submitters of my decision to ‘call in’ the proposed development.”
FRV, a global solar power company, plans to invest up to $400 million to develop 340 hectares of farmland and states that the large scale solar farm would generate enough renewable energy to power around 65,000 Queensland homes.
The solar farm will also provide 200 jobs during construction, up to five permanent ongoing operations jobs and provide indirect ongoing benefits to local business, contractors and suppliers.
“This project has the ability to diversify Burdekin Shire’s local economy by providing a safe, reliable and affordable alternate energy source,” Ms Trad said.
“As the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, I want to ensure that the economic and environmental interests of this part of the State are promoted and that the impacts on the viability of important agricultural industries are carefully considered."
Due to the complexity of issues to be reassessed and the depth of technical expertise required, the Deputy Premier will be requesting technical advice of other agencies to assist with informing her decision.
The Deputy Premier is required to make a decision by Tuesday, 10 November 2015.
For more information on the Clare Solar Farm development ‘call in’ visit: http://dilgp.qld.gov.au/planning/clare-solar-farm
Acland coal mine approved by Palaszczuk government despite donations scandal [Lock The Gate - 31/8/15]
Gold Coast City Council checks condition of seawall
Gold Coast City Council Media Release [26/8/15]:
City of Gold Coast’s seawall investigation works are in full swing with five locations going under the microscope for condition checks.
Mayor Tom Tate toured one of two Surfers Paradise investigation sites today where the long term performance of almost 1.5 kilometres of seawall is being determined.
“Seawalls are a large piece of our coastline defences armoury, so it’s vital they are up to the job,” he said.
“We’ve prioritised seawall construction as part of our efforts to fast track 30 years’ worth of beach protection work under the City’s Three Point Plan for Coastal Protection.
“That’s why these works are a key action of our $11 million overall investment into beaches this year.”
Mayor Tate said what the seawall peel backs revealed would determine the next steps.
“Depending on the peel back findings, we may reconstruct some sections to bring them back to full strength,” he said.
“We’ve already saved $15 million in reconstruction costs by being able to certify almost four kilometres of seawall along the coast through these investigations.
“We have also completed public seawall peel back investigations at three separate locations at North Burleigh, between Kratzmann Avenue and First Avenue.”
The Surfers Paradise peel back works are located between Laycock and Trickett Streets and at Thornton Street.
The scope of works at both sites involves excavation of the buried seawall and will include restoration of the foreshore and dune areas as required.
The seawall peel backs are scheduled for completion by September 2015.
The City’s seawall upgrades are an important element of the Gold Coast Ocean Beaches Strategy 2013 – 2023.
... Police reported that between 12am and 2am this morning there were three people killed at Gelegele resettlement ward [near Kokopo], the alleged assailant and two victims.
The suspect,, a young man was believed to have been under the influence of drugs and reportedly attacked and killed his sister and three year old niece.
Eye witnesses reported to police that the suspect was seen praying aloud and singing Christian worship songs before he went into an uncontrollable mood and started attacking people with a knife. ... [PNG Loop 31/8/15]
Former Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda goes on trial before the International Criminal Court on Wednesday [Nation - 31/8/15]
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom will lead the high-level U.S. government delegation to the Pacific Islands Forum Post Forum Dialogue (PIF PFD) on September 11 in Port Moresby. Her visit will emphasize the depth and breadth of American engagement with the Pacific Islands.
The U.S. delegation will also include senior officials from the United States Pacific Command, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Their participation demonstrates continued U.S. commitment to the Pacific Islands region and to issues that are of utmost importance to the Pacific Islands, including climate change, oceans, renewable energy, women’s empowerment, sustainable development, and health. ... [US Embassy Port Moresby - 1/9/15]
A 17-year-old girl and her family who sought asylum in Australia expect to be returned to the offshore detention centre on Nauru, despite a psychiatrist’s recommendation against it because of the girl’s severe mental health problems.
The teenager has written to the immigration minister, Peter Dutton, pleading that she and her family not be sent back to the processing centre.
The family’s lawyer, Sayed Kher, told Guardian Australia he was seeking an assurance from the federal government that there at least be a warning before a decision to transfer the family so they could access legal avenues to fight it.
Dutton’s office has not responded to questions. [Guardian - 1/9/15]
Is the Australian media obsequious enough?: ABC asks the protected and unaccountable Immigration Minister Peter Dutton [ABC - 1/9/15]
1 September 2015