Terror attacks continue across Syria and Iraq
US Department of Defense [2/2/16]:
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.
Strikes in Syria
Attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted six strikes in Syria:
-- Near Raqqah, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL excavators.
-- Near Dayr Az Zawr, two strikes struck two ISIL gas and oil separation plant well heads.
-- Near Manbij, two strikes struck an ISIL training facility and destroyed three ISIL buildings.
Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 20 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Albu Hayat, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL staging area.
-- Near Habbaniyah, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL vehicles, three ISIL front end loaders, and an ISIL bomb-making cache.
-- Near Kisik, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL fighting position, and an ISIL mortar system.
-- Near Mosul, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL checkpoint and destroyed an ISIL bomb-making cache.
-- Near Qayyarah, six strikes struck six separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL mortar system, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL bunker, and an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Ramadi, four strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units, destroying four ISIL staging areas, an ISIL vehicle, four ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL weapons cache, and denying ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Sinjar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
Putin to continue friendly dialogue with Kissinger in Moscow — Kremlin [TASS - 3/2/16]
Russia’s newest Sukhoi Su-35S fighters, redeployed to Syria, will be flight-tested in real combat conditions and make a contribution to destroying terrorist targets on the ground, the former chief of the Lipetsk air pilots training center, Major-General Alexander Kharchevsky, has said.
He believes that the Sukhoi Su-35S planes, just as the Sukhoi Su-30SM, dispatched to Syria earlier, "are equally effective in attacking air and surface targets." ... [TASS - 2/2/166]
... “It was past midnight. We were sleeping. We were suddenly wakened by a huge explosion. The house shook. The windows shattered. There was shrapnel in the walls. I ran out and saw my neighbor’s house completely destroyed. He told me, ‘Abu Khalil, I managed to rescue my wife and son but I can’t find my six-month-old baby. Help me!’ I could hear people calling from underneath the rubble. My neighbor’s mother was crying out. She’s 70. I pulled her out, along with a boy and his mother. They were all OK.
“My mother and my aunt both came running to help dig through the rubble. But while we did this, a helicopter — an Apache — came overhead. It fired. They had machineguns with explosive bullets. I was hit. I still have the shrapnel in my body. I fell into the hole made by the airstrike. That was what saved me. The helicopter circled round again and fired a second time. My mother and aunt were killed. The woman and her son I’d rescued were killed. Everyone but me was killed.
“Three powerful rockets were used in the first airstrike. They left a two-meter deep hole in the ground. Anyone could see the hole until the Kurdish militia filled it. They don’t let anyone go near the place or take pictures. Nineteen people died in that one house.
“It was the Americans. For the past year-and-a-half, the only aircraft that fly over our area have been American.” ... [USA Today - 2/2/16]
10 civilians killed, dozens injured in rocket attacks in Daraa and Damascus countryside [SANA - 3/2/16]
Migrants set out on foot along Greek highway to FYROM [Ekathimerini - 2/2/16]
@MSF_Sea [3/2/16]: ... Beautiful weather in #Lesvos means that 7 boats have so far arrived in the north of the island today.
@guardiacostiera [3/2/16]: #CanalediSicilia #NaveFiorillo #GuardiaCostiera salva 117 #migranti a bordo di un gommone al largo della Libia
@EUNAVFORMED_OHQ [3/2/16]: #OpSophia The Spanish aircraft VIGMA D-4 has spotted this rubber boat in distress in IW... Follow us for updates
The BBC has gathered evidence that Israel is sending unwanted African migrants to other countries under secretive deals which may be in breach of international law.
The Israeli government refuses to name the third countries involved in the deals, but the BBC has spoken to people who say they were sent to Rwanda and Uganda. [BBC - 3/2/16]
How many refugee and asylum seeker boats did the Australian "Fuck your mothers ... fuck your family ..." Navy push back and/or abandon today? @ItalianNavy [3/2/16]: #UltimOra #SAR nave Vega @MarinaMilitare inizia soccorso ad un gommone con numerosi #migranti a bordo
By not explicitly stating that the camps must be closed, GetUp's #LetThemStay campaign is another attempt to co-opt and diminish growing calls for an amnesty for ALL imprisoned refugees and asylum seekers.
#LetThemStay is an idiotic plea which validates torture and refoulement - and is ALP PR by default.
... We have some asylum seekers, but that’s pretty much stopped.
We have stopped the boats with our policies, which are regarded as cruel by many people.
But I have to say again, our policy on border protection is harsh, but it has been absolutely demonstrated that it is better than any other alternative. ...
Israel and Australia: A conversation with Turnbull [Jewish Journal - 25/8/15]
On 28 December 2015, The Age said "It's time to set the refugees free". So why aren't they following up on their powerful editorial by directly challenging the lying "deterrence" ideology of LNP and ALP politicians? [The Age - 28/12/15]:
... The Age believes strongly, and we will say this until the policy ends, that the strategy of turning back boats carrying asylum seekers is ignoble. It demonstrates a paucity of imagination. It has been ruthlessly executed, without proper regard for the asylum claims of those people intercepted. And it has brought this nation into disrepute around the world.
The asylum seekers who arrive here have not broken the law. We will say it again: they are not "illegals". They have used the avenues allowed to anyone under international law – under the United Nations covenants to which Australia subscribes – to seek refuge from all forms of persecution.
It is time to call an amnesty, to end the imprisonment of people who came here seeking help and a better life. It is time to recognise that jailing people in detention facilities for years on end, denying them hope or any alternative, and treating them without compassion, is the most inhumane thing that we could do – short of shipping them back to the situation that they fear in their own countries.
No good can possibly be served by detaining people a day longer in camps in Third World nations. No good is served by denying refugees who are living in Australia the right to work. No good comes from demonising refugees, by ostracising them from the mainstream community. ...
That'd be the children YOU imprisoned on Nauru Tanya Plibersek.
Talk about "toxic".
Plibersek: People coming to Australia by boat should not expect to be accepted into our refugee & humanitarian intake ...
"tweeted" by @ABCNews24 [30/9/15]
Response to @RACVictoria’s “Open Letter to the Refugee Movement” by @xBorderOps [2/10/15]:
RAC-Vic recently posted an Open Letter on the renewed push by the Greens and GetUp’s ‘No Business In Abuse’ to remove children from detention.
We share RAC-Vic’s concerns at the reductive call for the removal of only children from detention.
The call for “children out” is a backward step in the campaign to close the detention industry down.
We do not see it as pragmatic but as a recurrent attempt, over the span of more than two decades, by pro-detention groups to obscure their own practical support for and links to the detention industry, and as a means to limit the movements for freedom and against the camps.
Implicit in the call to remove only children from detention is an assumption that children are “innocent” and therefore that adults (without children) deserve to be detained.
There is nothing pragmatic about supporting these racist arguments for detention.
There is nothing “tactical” about peddling racist assumptions while imagining that this might serve to lessen or be a challenge to that racism.
GetUp’s various positions are therefore inexplicable as part of a strategy to close the detention industry down.
If this were indeed the aim, the approach is tactically incompetent, conveys no information about the financial and corporate arrangements in the detention industry, and is so contradictory, ambiguous and without legal significance that any detention industry contractor could, for instance, agree to sign GetUp’s ‘pledge’.
Given the successes of the boycott and divestment campaign, we are particularly concerned with GetUp’s attempts to derail that momentum by aligning it with the reductive call for ‘children out’ and a ‘corporate code of conduct.’
This is merely their latest effort at astro-turfing.
Here are the previous and ongoing boycott and divestment campaigns: DivestFromDetention.com
To be clear, GetUp’s NBIA are in no position to assure companies that divestment and boycott campaigns will cease if those companies engage in the window-dressing that NBIA have offered them.
xBorder has never supported detention – every reason for detention is ultimately an argument for institutionalised racism.
In March 2014 "Academics for Refugees" called for the release of ALL refugees.
Now they are only calling for the release of children.
Why doesn't Bianca Hall tell us what has changed?
Open Letter to Prime Minister – March 2014 [Signed by over 1,500 academics]
Letter to PM dated 23 December 2015 [Signed by over 920 academics]:
... As you and your government know, there are currently 95 children held at the Nauru OPC and 112 children in detention in Australia. We are concerned about the serious deleterious effect this has on the physical and psychological welfare of children, who in effect are being punished in the absence of guilt on their part of any kind and outside the normal legal, child protection and welfare frameworks within which their situation should more properly and appropriately be addressed. ...
... Burke and Parke said they would continue to work for the election of a Shorten-led Labor government at this year’s election. <--- Only a fraud or a fool stays in - and/or supports - a party whose policies they disagree with. [Labor alibi Melissa Parke won't recontest seat - Guardian - 22/1/16]
ABC, AM [16/9/14]:
... CHRIS UHLMANN: Now some of the same people in the left are concerned about your border protection policies. Is there any likelihood you'll abandon your commitment to offshore processing?
BILL SHORTEN: No.
CHRIS UHLMANN: That's a firm rolled gold commitment; you're not going to abandon it?
BILL SHORTEN: No.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Will it be changed in any way?
BILL SHORTEN: No, we support regional resettlement. And we support the offshore processing.
The Saturday Paper [27/9/14]:
... [Melissa] Parke plays a different role, as Labor navigates an awkward environment in which its options for criticising the government are circumscribed by its desire to be part of Team Australia.
She provides an alibi for Labor to avoid a loss of votes to the Greens as it joins the government in backing tougher terror laws and military action in the Middle East and continues to offer bipartisan support for offshore processing of asylum seekers. Some Coalition MPs argue Bernardi plays a similar role in placating those Liberal supporters who were disappointed that Abbott abandoned the 18C changes.
As Labor leader Bill Shorten stresses that he is “working very well together” with Abbott on national security, it doesn’t hurt to have at least one opposition MP putting an alternative view. It’s a fine line, though, as left-wing Labor senator Sue Lines discovered late last month when Shorten rebuked her for accusing the government of using the threat of terrorism to deflect attention from the budget.
Back in May when Parke and Burke first raised their intention to pursue a caucus motion on ending offshore detention, there was frustration among Labor MPs at the timing, distracting as it did from the backlash to the budget. The motion was destined to fail.
Some also feared that, by reopening the debate, Parke was risking exposing Labor to attack over whether it was strong enough to manage the electorally sensitive issue.
But Parke is not a loose cannon and her recent statements have been carefully worded. Even dissent in modern Labor is often tightly scripted.
Although Dastyari’s remarks on refugee policy earlier this year were reported as pitting him against Shorten, his speech had in fact been vetted by the party’s leadership.
Out of sight, out of mind: By stopping people from seeking protection, Australia is exacerbating a regional crisis.
1,000s have died, and 1,000s more will die.
... After five days at sea, their boat reached Australian waters, but the engine failed as they struggled to make their way closer to Christmas island. The Rohingya desperately waved to the crew of a passing Australian Navy vessel, which Mr Abdul said did not respond. ...
[The Straits Times - 1/2/16]
The Straits Times [1/2/16]:
... The UNHCR had 153,850 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with it in Malaysia at the end of September 2015, with the overwhelming majority - 142,630 - from Myanmar and the rest from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Palestine and other nations. The Rohingya are the biggest by number of migrants in the region. ...
Thai authorities "rescue" 29 Myanmar migrants from traffickers [Burma Times - 2/2/16]
Border Guard of Bangladesh has detained 32 Rohingyas along with 1 Bangladeshi boat captain while trying to enter Bangladesh territory by an engine boat through Bodormukam point of Shaforidip, Teknaf on 28th of Jan, 2016 at deep night.
According to Lt Cornel, Mohamed Abuzar Al Zahid of Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB) 02, they were caught by a patrol group of BGB led by Company Commander, Gulam Rabbani from Naf-river, while entering Bangladesh land.
Among the detained passengers, 12 children, 6 women and 8 men, and the rest 6 Rohingyas were boat staffs.
The Rohingyas hailed from Sittwe Township of Arakan state of Burma.
Mohamed Ismail 25 s/o Karim Ullah of Shaforidip as well as 5 Rohingya boat staffs was handed over to the Teknaf police station.
Teknf police station (OC) Officer in Charge, Ataur Rahman Khondokar said, “BGB being plaintiff a case has been filed against the 6 Rohingya boat employees including the Bangladeshi boat captain with Foreign National Act and in connection with the human trafficker with the Teknaf police station”.
Lt Cornel, Mohamed Abuzar Al Zahid further said, “The arrested 26 Rohingya passengers will be pushed back to Burma any time”. [Burma Times - 31/1/16]
Important lecture about seeking asylum - and how Australia is trashing the UN Refugee Convention ----> Professor Alison Mountz, of Harvard University, Wilfrid Laurier University and the Balsillie School of International Affairs, responds to and challenges the crisis narratives unfolding in the media as she discusses political struggles over the erosion of asylum taking place globally. This talk explores shifting geographies of migration and border enforcement in major transit sites where migrants and asylum seekers seek entry and protection. The talk dwells in islands and enforcement archipelagos, offshore sites where struggles over entry and exclusion transpire and where the infrastructure of border enforcement and detention are growing. ... [VIDEO - Centre for International Governance Innovation - 12/11/15]
Mountz: image showing #Australia's onshore and offshore #detention sites ...
Image: @AudraLMitchell [12/11/15]
Refugees and people smuggling: What the Australian media refuse to challenge, Marilyn Shepherd [Independent Australia - 26/10/14]:
... In November 2000, the UN drafted and approved a Smuggling of Migrants protocol, which excluded the movement of refugees from the criminal elements of crossing borders without papers and stating clearly that people must not be punished simply for being smuggled.
[See the legal opinion by Professor Ben Saul, an international law expert, here.]
There have been two Senate inquiries into the stories of people smugglers, after children as young as 13 were found to be gaoled in adult prisons in Western Australia.
Not one expert agreed with the Government position that seeking asylum had anything to do with people smuggling, because it is legal to cross borders without papers for the purposes of seeking asylum, even under Australian law.
Even after those two investigations, children being gaoled in adult prisons, other children being kidnapped by Australia and their families in Indonesia forced to think they had died at sea, we continue to have a media that refuses to ever concede it is not people smuggling to seek asylum in any other country but here. ...
Fucking pointless human rights chatterati continue pleading with Turnbull and Dutton for mercy and moral courage, as refugees rot in Australian concentration camps established under bipartisan policy: ALP helps Abbott lock in offshore detention [ABC - 24/6/15]
As Australia makes it impossible for refugees to reach the South East, it is only logical that we are pushing them back to the North West
Why are refugees coming to Europe? [BBC - 12/8/15]
The Migration Amendment (Complementary Protection and Other Measures) Bill 2015 i.e. "Another exceptionalist, isolation measure to stop people from seeking protection in Australia" bill has passed the House of Representatives.
Senate Standing Committees on Legal and Constitutional Affairs:
3.21 Associate Professor Jane McAdam had this to say:
This provision seems intended to ‘close the floodgates’. It has no legal rationale, since international human rights law is not premised on exceptionality of treatment but proscribes any treatment that contravenes human rights treaty provisions. Indeed, a key purpose of human rights law is to improve national standards and not only the situation of the most disadvantaged in a society.
At its most extreme, it could be argued that this provision would permit return even where a whole country were at risk of genocide, starvation or indiscriminate violence, which would run contrary to the fundamental aims and principles of human rights law. ...
House of Representatives Hansard [2/2/16]:
Mr CIOBO (Moncrieff—Minister for International Development and the Pacific) (17:52): I am very pleased to thank members for their contributions to this important debate on the Migration Amendment (Complementary Protection and Other Measures) Bill 2015. This bill is a continuation of the government's protection reform agenda to deliver a more effective and efficient onshore protection status determination process.
Following the passage of the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Act 2014—the legacy act—in December 2014 and the Migration Amendment (Protection and Other Measures) Act 2015 in March last year, this bill amends the statutory framework in the Migration Act relating to the determination process for a person seeking protection on complementary protection grounds. 'Complementary protection' is the term used to describe a category of protection for people who are not refugees but who also cannot be returned to their country of origin because there is a real risk that they would suffer a certain type of harm that would engage Australia's international nonrefoulement obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Specifically, the bill will amend the Migration Act to clarify the interpretation of various concepts used to determine whether a person will face a real risk of significant harm so as to give rise to a nonrefoulement obligation under the ICCPR or under the CAT. These amendments will provide that a real risk of significant harm to the person must relate to all areas of the receiving country. It will: clarify that a person must face a personal risk of significant harm in the receiving country rather than a risk that is purely indiscriminate; clarify that a person will not face a real risk of significant harm if effective protection measures are available to the person through state or non-state actors in the receiving country; and, finally, clarify that a person who can take reasonable steps to modify their behaviour so as to avoid significant harm does not face a real risk of that harm as a necessary and foreseeable consequence of their removal to the receiving country, provided that the behaviour modification would not conflict with their identity or core belief system.
These amendments will more closely align the complementary protection framework in the Migration Act with the current statutory refugee framework, as inserted by the legacy act. Without these amendments, there is an inconsistency between the two frameworks in the Migration Act. In particular, under the current statutory protection visa process, a person may not meet one of the elements of the refugee test used to determine whether a person has a well-founded fear of persecution relating to internal relocation alternatives, effective protection and behaviour modification. However, they may then be found to satisfy the complementary protection test because those same elements used to determine whether a person faces a real risk of significant harm are currently not aligned. The bill addresses this inconsistency. In doing so, it will ensure consistency in decision making and continued public confidence in Australia's capacity to assess protection claims, consistent with our international obligations.
The bill is consistent with Australia's international obligations and will not result in people of genuine need of protection being returned to danger. The government will continue to comply with these obligations. Australia remains bound by them as a matter of international law. The bill will not alter the criterion for a protection visa on complementary protection grounds under paragraph 36 2(aa) of the Migration Act. Furthermore, the bill does not amend the risk threshold for assessing Australia's nonrefoulement obligations under the ICCPR and the CAT. The 'real chance' risk threshold for assessing complementary protection in the Migration Act will remain intact. It currently applies to both the refugee and complementary protection contexts, and is not amended in either context by the bill.
The amendments are necessary as, since the introduction of complementary protection into Australia's protection visa processes in March 2012, various judicial interpretation issues have arisen and resulted in the broadening of Australia's complementary protection obligations. As a result, there have been instances of several persons having been found to meet the complementary protection criterion on a wide variety of grounds, such as selling adult movies and drinking or supplying alcohol in countries which punish those activities, despite the fact that the government, consistent with our international obligations, did not intend for such cases to be covered by the legislation. There have also been several persons who have been found to meet the complementary protection criteria where they have been involved in serious crimes in their home countries, or who have been fleeing their home countries due to their association with criminal gangs. The bill will, therefore, restore the government's intended interpretation of the complementary protection provisions in the Migration Act.
The bill also makes several technical amendments to the statutory framework in the Migration Act relating to protection visas and related matters. These amendments will ensure that the existing provisions in the Migration Act work as originally intended and will not change the substance of the amended provision. I commend the bill to the chamber.
Senator Hanson-Young gives a free kick to Brandis as an ongoing travesty of international human rights is reduced to partisan circus [Senate Hansard - 2/2/16]:
Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (14:14): My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Brandis. Senator, there are 90 children, including 37 babies born in Australia, whose families are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the High Court ruling scheduled to come down tomorrow. If these families lose their case, the government will have to choose whether to send them back to Nauru, the island prison, or to allow them to stay here in Australia. Will the Prime Minister, Mr Turnbull, let these babies, children and families stay here so that they can have their claims assessed legally, fairly and safely?
Senator BRANDIS (Queensland—Attorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:15): Senator Hanson-Young, for reasons that are perhaps too obvious to state, I am not going to speculate on what the High Court might decide tomorrow, what its reasons for any decision that it makes might be and what the implications of any such decision might be. We will have to wait until tomorrow morning when Their Honours deliver their judgement, and the government will consider it carefully.
Senator Hanson-Young, you raised the issue of children in detention. There are fewer than 100 children in detention today. Under the previous government, under policies that you supported, that number peaked at 1,992. There were 1,992 children in detention 2½ years ago, and this government, through its successful border protection policies and the release of those children and their families into the community, has reduced that number from almost 2,000 to fewer than 100. The history of this government's policy in this area has been the history of releasing children from detention, reducing the number from almost 2,000 to fewer than 100.
Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (14:16): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. As stated, there are still 90 children here in Australian detention, and I believe all of their lives matter, actually. Without certainty, these children and their families cannot integrate into our community and begin to thrive and prosper, to rebuild their lives. Will the Prime Minister help protect these children, or will he be putting them on the next plane to the hell of Nauru?
Senator BRANDIS (Queensland—Attorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:17): Senator Hanson-Young, the government's good faith in this regard could not be more obvious from the fact that more than 95 per cent of the children who were left in detention under the previous Labor government have been released by this coalition government. And we are continuing to release children from detention as soon as we can—as soon as we can. How can you possibly sit there, Senator Hanson-Young, with a legacy of almost 2,000 children in detention 2½ years ago and having seen that number reduced by more than 95 per cent, as you acknowledge yourself, to 90 children today and deny that this government is committed to releasing those children from detention? That is precisely what we have done.
Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (14:18): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. I note that my question still has not been answered. We know that some of these women and the children who are here pending the removal to Nauru were brought here because they were sexually assaulted, raped and abused during their time in Nauru. If we won't protect them now, who will?
Senator BRANDIS (Queensland—Attorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:18): Senator Hanson-Young, the best way to protect these people is to ensure the problem is solved, and we have solved it. Let me take you back, Senator Hanson-Young, to where we were 2½ years ago when the coalition government was elected. We had gone through a period during which more than 1,200 lives were lost at sea, in which the number of children in detention peaked at 1,992. And now, as result of the policies of this government, not a single life has been lost at sea, and the number of children in detention has gone from 1,992 to 90. How can you sit there, Senator Hanson-Young, with a straight face and suggest that that is not an extraordinary improvement?
By not explicitly calling for the camps to be closed - and for Australia to start protecting people who are seeking asylum - the human rights establishment are legitimising torture and refoulement.
UNICEF Media Release [3/2/16]:
... UNICEF Australia invites Minister Dutton to use his discretionary powers, as set out in the Migration Act 1958, to allow children and families party to the High Court case to remain in Australia.
The current offshore immigration network is a system in crisis and is creating crisis for affected children and families.
The Australian Government should give urgent consideration to addressing forced displacement in the Asia Pacific region and strengthening regional protection frameworks as a more sustainable approach to meeting our international human rights obligations. <----- Typically weak, weaselly worded cop out that diminishes the rights of ALL refugees who are currently being subjected to human rights atrocities under a BIPARTISAN policy.
"Get Up" are one of the ALP's PR arms.
Dutton is not threatened by unoriginal, reductionist pleas and talking points like "let them stay" and "what about the babies?"
The latest High Court case was about ALL refugees.
It is bipartisan cruelty that must continue to be fought - not just Turnbull, Dutton and Morrison, but also Shorten, Marles, Bowen and Burke etc.
High Court of Australia: Detention of refugees and asylum seekers in offshore concentration camps not unlawful [3/2/16]
... In 1996 in the northern Sri Lankan city of Jaffna, she was arrested by military officers who suspected her of links to the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Durga was 22 and had undergone, as almost all teenagers had, basic training with the LTTE. But she told Guardian Australia: “I was never a fighter, I was only involved in political activities.”
Durga says she was beaten and tortured, despite being pregnant, and gave birth to her son while in military custody. She was held for two years without charge or trial, before escaping to Colombo. Her husband disappeared while she was detained and has not been seen since. He is presumed dead, one of the tens of thousands “disappeared” during Sri Lanka’s civil war.
In Colombo, having been visited by friends from Jaffna, Durga was arrested again by military intelligence, interrogated and tortured. Even after being released, Durga says, she was almost routinely raped by the state’s security personnel.
“The military officers would come to my house. Every time they would come two or three men, they would grab me and force me to have sex with them. They expected me to cooperate, but I never did. I would resist. So they would tear my clothes from me, they would tie my hands and they would push clothes in my mouth so I could not scream. Then they would rape me,” she said.
“After they left, I would sit with my child and cry. They came back many times.”
Friends helped Durga escape to India in 2007 where she lived in a quasi-legal camp in Tamil Nadu, but further harassment by authorities caused her to board a boat, with her son, bound for Australia in 2014.
Durga was one of 157 Tamil asylum seekers on board a boat that was intercepted by an Australian customs vessel in July 2014. They were held on board the Australian ship for a month while the Australian government tried to return the people to India.
India refused to accept them, because they were not Indian citizens, and Australia was forced to bring the people to the Australian mainland, from where they were transferred to Nauru.
On Nauru, Durga says she never felt safe.
“In the tents, there were no locks, there could come into my tent at any time, and guards would threaten me and grab me. I was scared all the time,” she said.
“I was taking sleeping tablets because with my injuries from Sri Lanka, and my fear of being assaulted, I could not sleep. In the morning I woke up and my clothes were taken off me and things in my room had been moved. I felt like I had been raped.
“I was raped while I was taking the sleeping tablets I had been provided. I told the mental health nurse, who took my complaint seriously, and I was moved to Australia.”
Durga has been in detention in Australia with her son, now 19, since January 2015. She says she could not face being returned to Nauru.
The Australian media are still protecting politicians and their lying "stop the boats", "deterrence" ideology ---> Interview: Peter Dutton, Immigration Minister [ABC - Lateline - 2/2/16]
US border patrol deports DACA-recipient, mom, from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport [#NOT1MORE - 2/2/16]
3 February 2016