Bombs continue raining down upon Syria and Iraq
US Department of Defense [3/3/16]:
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 eight strikes in Syria:
-- Near Hasakah, four strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, three ISIL buildings, an ISIL vehicle bomb, and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
-- Near Mar’a, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and three ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Palmyra, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed six ISIL vehicles and three ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Tal Abyad, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed ISIL communication equipment.
Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter, ground-attack, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 21 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Baghdadi, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Huwayjah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and two ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Habbaniyah, a strike destroyed an ISIL anti-air artillery piece.
-- Near Kisik, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed 27 ISIL rocket rails.
-- Near Mosul, seven strikes struck four ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL vehicles, 12 ISIL assembly areas, and 25 ISIL bed-down locations, and suppressed an ISIL heavy machine gun position.
-- Near Ramadi, three strikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL front-end loader, an ISIL bed down location, and an ISIL petroleum, oil and lubricant truck.
-- Near Samarra, two strikes struck two separate large ISIL tactical units and destroyed 9 ISIL vehicles, three ISIL VBIEDs, an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL supply cache, and three ISIL fuel trucks.
-- Near Sinjar, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL assembly area, an ISIL mortar position, and suppressed an ISIL mortar fire position.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
Senate Hansard [3/3/16]:
Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia—Co-Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens) (14:13): My question is to the Attorney-General in his capacity representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I refer to the negotiated cessation of hostilities in the Syrian civil war that has opened space for a resumption of substantive peace talks, now scheduled to recommence on 9 March.
My question is: what is the Australian government doing to support the cessation of hostilities in this conflict? Can the Attorney provide any details of diplomatic support, personnel, resources or anything that the minister cares to name that indicate that Australia is playing a role in de-escalating this conflict?
Senator BRANDIS (Queensland—Attorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:14): Thank you, Senator Ludlum, and thank you for the courtesy of giving some advance notice to my office of this question.
Opposition senators interjecting—
Senator BRANDIS: It is a serious matter. I wonder if I might be heard in silence?
Opposition senators interjecting—
The PRESIDENT: Order on my left! Would senators on my left come to order?
Honourable senators interjecting—
The PRESIDENT: Thank you on my left and on my right.
Senator BRANDIS: I am surprised that the notion of senatorial courtesy evinces mockery from the opposition.
I have obtained some information from the Foreign Minister's office so that I can respond to your question. As you know, it is vital that political negotiations between the Syrian regime and Syrian opposition resume on 9 March, as announced by envoy Staffan de Mistura yesterday. The two-day delay from the earlier proposed date—that is, 7 March—allows the cessation of hostilities take hold.
Australia's position has been to call on all sides to engage constructively in the negotiations process. Countries with influence in the Syrian conflict should bring pressure to bear on the parties they support to negotiate in good faith. It is important that a transnational governing body with full executive powers, as agreed by the international community in Geneva Communique and United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254, be established. That is the Australian government's position. That is the position we have advocated, and that is the position we have advocated to the parties.
Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia—Co-Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens) (14:17): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. I just draw the Attorney's attention to my question around resourcing personnel, if he cares to address that. Can the minister outline Australia's long-term strategy, if it has one, in ensuring a peaceful settlement to the Syrian conflict and the demilitarisation of the region more broadly?
Senator BRANDIS (Queensland—Attorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:17): Yes, I can. Ultimately, the only solution to the Syria crisis is, of course, to end the conflict. The cessation of hostilities agreed between the United States and Russia appears to be largely holding for now. Of course, Australia supports that ceasefire, although there have been a number of reports of violations. We call on all parties to comply with the terms of the cessation of hostilities on the ground, and we call on all countries with influence in Syria to maintain pressure on combatants to ensure compliance.
It is the Australian government's position that all parties need to focus their efforts on defeating Daesh and other terrorist groups in both Syria and Iraq. The Australian government welcomes the implementation of the International Syria Support Group's decisions to facilitate the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid to besieged areas. We understand that food, medical supplies, water and sanitation kits have reached several besieged towns in Syria. I can elaborate further on that in response to your next question. (Time expired)
Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia—Co-Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens) (14:18): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Attorney, I again draw your attention to this: the questions go directly to Australian resourcing commitments rather than simply position. Given that other parties to the conflict are finally working towards demilitarising the region, will the Australian government withdraw the Royal Australian Air Force from this conflict and instead prioritise support for the peace process and expedite the processing of refugees fleeing the war, as the government of Canada has done?
Senator BRANDIS (Queensland—Attorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:19): There are a number of issues there. Let me deal with the last one first. As you know, Australia—I believe with support from your party, along with other parties in this chamber—agreed last September to accept 12,000 humanitarian refugees fleeing from the Syrian conflict. We are processing those refugees in a careful and methodical way; we have begun that. The first of those refugees have arrived, as you know. We are identifying suitable candidates and subjecting them to appropriate tests, including security tests.
Senator Ludlam: Mr President, I rise on a point of order. I recognise that it was a multipart question. I draw the Attorney's attention to the substance of the question: what is Australia specifically doing to resource the peace process, and can the minister confirm that only 26 refugees have in fact been settled since September?
The PRESIDENT: You have then added more to your question, which we cannot allow. Attorney-General, have you finished your answer?
Senator BRANDIS: No, I have not. I want to deal with one another aspect of the question, if I may. Senator Ludlam, you assert that the Royal Australian Air Force is engaged in the Syrian civil war. The Royal Australian Air Force is engaged as part of the international coalition to defeat and degrade ISIL. It is not engaged in the Syrian civil war.
@MSF_Sea [3/3/16]: Peaceful protests on the train line at #Idomeni continue. People really just want to continue their journey.
@MSF_Sea [3/3/166]: The "Barber of #Aleppo" is bringing dignity back to men trapped in the chaos/mess of #Idomeni with a quality shave.
@guardiacostiera [3/3/16]: #Egeo motovedetta CP322 #GuardiaCostiera italiana salva 12 #migranti su un gommone a #Samos. Tra loro anche una donna incinta
@moas_eu [3/3/16]: Ongoing post-rescue care following successful embarkation on #Responder. #refugeecrisis #solidarity #MOASAegean
@moas_eu [2/3/16]: The #Responder crew received a visit from the Swedish Sea Rescue Society #SSRS today. #SolidarityatSea #SavingLives
Our staff and students show their support for #LetThemStay
Image: @MurdochUni [3/3/16]
Accused abandons bail application and remains in high security prison after Border Force threatens immigration concentration camp [Brisbane Times - 3/3/16]:
The lawyer for a man accused of the one-punch death of young Brisbane water polo player Cole Miller said his client's high security jail would be preferable to immigration detention.
Daniel Maxwell, a New Zealand national, abandoned his second bid for freedom in Queensland's Supreme Court on Monday, after an unexpected email to his lawyer Michael Bosscher 45 minutes before the scheduled hearing from Australian Border Force.
The alleged instigator of a fatal attack on 18-year-old water polo player Cole Miller in Fortitude Valley had allegedly tried to assault other people during the night. Nine News
The email informed Mr Bosscher that, if Mr Maxwell's application was successful, he would be released from Wacol's high security Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre and taken immediately into immigration custody.
Prior to speaking with his client in the wake of the surprise revelation on Thursday, Mr Bosscher said prison would be preferable.
"Having access to him is much more difficult in immigration custody, they could put him anywhere in Australia ... so it may be the case, subject to what he instructs me to do, that he prefers to remain at Arthur Gorrie, where he continues to have access to some members of his family," he said.
The 21-year-old apprentice barber has been living in Australia since 2012 on a special category visa, a temporary visa that allows New Zealanders to live and work in Australia indefinitely.
AFP obtains arrest warrant for Australian teenager stranded in Syria after his lawyer appeals passport cancellation [Brisbane Times - 3/3/16]
Queensland teenager Oliver Bridgeman has denied any links to an al-Qaida affiliated militia in Syria, claiming he crossed into the war-ravaged country to “do what I can to help people”.
Speaking to Guardian Australia from an undisclosed location in Syria, the 18-year-old, who left Toowoomba in March, said he hoped to return to Australia one day, maintaining “I haven’t done anything wrong”.
Bridgeman deferred university in March to work for a Balinese charity, where he spent a month before departing for Turkey.
In April, he was smuggled over the Syrian border.
The UK-born teenager, who converted to Islam two years ago, told the Guardian he was motivated by the plight of Syrian civilians.
“Islam teaches us to help the needy, so this is my Islamic obligation. I must help these people, we need to do something,” he said.
The border where he crossed was packed with displaced Syrians leaving the country. He said he was alone, with no one waiting on the other side.
Wow! Take that Dutton ... Zinger! Pow!!!! -----> Marles' contribution on second reading of the Migration Amendment (Character Cancellation Consequential Provisions) Bill 2016 House of Representatives Hansard [3/3/16]:
... Labor supports these amendments. They are technical in nature, but they are a faithful set of amendments which provide consistency, consequential to the bill, that Labor supported when it went through this parliament in 2014. Having said that, it is becoming clear that the government is utilising ministerial discretion to cancel visas on character grounds to a greater extent than was the case under the former Labor government. The cancellation of a person's visa on character grounds is, clearly, a sensitive issue. It has to be done on a case-by-case basis, because we are talking about a different story in respect of each individual. So, I think that, all that can be said from the point of view of Labor in respect of the use of ministerial discretion in this regard, is that we will maintain a close regard, in terms of how the minister is using his discretionary powers but, that, if, in fact, what we are seeing is a toughening up of the system in relation to this, that it is very important for that to be explained to the Australian people by the government. As always, transparency is the key to ensuring that the Australian people understand exactly how discretion is being used and how the laws that pass through this parliament are being used. ...
Cambodia bids farewell to champagne diplomat who presided over sleazy refugee exile deal [Phnom Penh Post - 3/3/16]:
Australia yesterday named senior Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officer Angela Corcoran the country’s new ambassador to Cambodia.
A statement from Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said Corcoran was expected to take up the position in April.
She replaces Alison Burrows, who moved to the Phnom Penh embassy in 2013.
The statement highlighted that Australia and Cambodia worked closely on [people smuggling] transnational crime, [child sex offences], had two-way trade worth $170 million in 2014-15 and that education ties between the two countries were strengthening.
Not mentioned in the statement was the controversial [sleazy] A$55 million refugee deal over which Burrows presided, [and the UNCHR called a "worrying departure from international norms".]
The deal has so far resulted in five refugees relocating [being exiled] to Cambodia from the tiny island nation of Nauru.
Four now remain.
“I thank outgoing Ambassador Alison Burrows for her strong contribution since 2013 in advancing Australia’s interests in Cambodia,” Bishop said in the statement.
Corcoran will be the seventh woman in a row to hold the position since Louise Hand replaced Malcolm Leader in 2000.
Australia's multi million dollar refugee exile deal with Cambodia is no joke [BBC – 18/9/15]:
... When the first four refugees arrived in June, they were swiftly taken to a gated villa on a quiet street in southern Phnom Penh, where they have been sequestered ever since.
They have had limited contact with outsiders, including other people living in the neighbourhood.
Officials at the International Organization for Migration who are assisting the refugees will not be drawn on their daily activities, citing privacy concerns.
Sister Denise Coghlan, who heads up the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Cambodia, has extensive experience in welcoming refugees to the country, as well as assisting them in settling in to life here.
But she says by email: "We offered to welcome them and take them out, but received no response."
One Rohingya refugee in Phnom Penh says the refugee experience could be lonely, frightening and stressful, but that he and two other Rohingya there wanted to meet the new arrival to dissuade him from going back.
When he first arrived, he took refuge in a mosque. His own application for asylum took more than three years to process and he has lived, for the past five years, in a dank room in an underground alleyway.
During Cambodia's months-long rainy season, the room floods frequently.
"If I went back home, the government would kill me," says one Rohingya refugee, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he fears for the safety of his family in Myanmar.
"A few months ago, one of my uncles was killed in Rakhine state, but I didn't share this with anyone, because I want to keep my privacy.
"Cambodia is very, very hard to survive. We don't have any proper documentation.
"Rohingya are not educated persons. For them, finding a job in Cambodian society is very, very hard.
"For restaurant work, you earn less than $5 a day. How can you survive?"
He says Cambodians often yell "Indian, Indian" at him in a manner he feels is derogatory. "They don't like me - they hate us," he says.
He has also been forced out of the small space where he used to set up his roti cart.
A second Rohingya refugee, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, says he was unable to register the birth of his new daughter, because a village chief was demanding a $50 (£32) bribe to sign certain documents.
The refugees simply don't have that kind of money.
@PonniahKevin [25/9/14]: Scott Morrison just inked #Cambodia deal with champagne and did not answer a single press question ...
Fate of Rohingya refugee exiled by Australia and IOM from Nauru to Cambodia now in hands of Myanmar government [Phnom Penh Post - 8/9/15]
...The International Organization for Migration (IOM), which is providing initial accommodation for the refugees and some services, yesterday suggested that media access to the refugees would not be forthcoming.
“Media exposure could potentially jeopardise protection needs of refugees and carries high level of risk to their families at home,” an IOM spokesman said.
“While IOM can speak in general terms about what services will be available to refugees, IOM will not disclose any specific details about a refugee’s particular assistance.”
The group said last week that it had “villa-style” accommodation in Phnom Penh readied for the arrival of the four. ... [Phnom Penh Post - 28/5/15]
Voyage of the St. Louis [United States Holocaust Memorial Museum]
Turner Classic Movies:
Based on a chilling real-life incident from the early days of World War II, Voyage of the Damned (1976) told the dramatic story of a shipload of European Jews expelled from Hitler's Germany who sailed across the Atlantic in 1939 in a quest to gain asylum in Havana, Cuba, and eventually the United States.
What they found when they arrived was a shocking and ultimately deadly slap-in-the-face that still reverberates today, nearly seventy years later.
The ship was the SS St. Louis, out of Hamburg, and the voyage was actually a Nazi-crafted ruse straight from the warped mind of propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.
The Nazis knew that the U.S. would be reluctant to offer sanctuary to the passengers, therefore the Nazi policy of persecution would be validated and the world would accept their heinous treatment of Germany's Jewish citizens. ...
Rohingya continue their attempts to flee displaced persons ghettos despite being criminalised, attacked and imprisoned by authorities [Myanmar Times - 3/3/16]:
... In August, nine Muslim children and the mother of one of the teenagers were arrested en route to Yangon. All 10 had agreed to pay K1 million (US$780) each to a broker who promised to arrange them jobs in Yangon.
Ali, a 55-year-old resident of Baw Du Pha camp, said the Rohingya IDPs are not allowed to go anywhere without permission. Many of the camps are surrounded by policed checkpoints. He added that they have no identity cards, except for those who hold temporary “white cards”, masking them essentially stateless. To go fishing or even to go to the hospital in an emergency requires permission from authorities, a process that can be both costly and time-consuming.
“As we do not have any identity, we become illegal when we go outside our camp,” he said.
A Hmawbi police officer involved in the arrest of the nine children and the mother last August said the smugglers planned to hide the group in a house until arrangements could be made for a flight.
“We could not open a case for human trafficking so far because we are still investigating the smuggler,” said Police Major Min Naing from the Anti-Human Trafficking Police Unit.
“Currently, those [smuggled] people have been charged under the immigration law and sentenced to imprisonment for breaking this law.”
El Salvador and the United States entered into a classified 2010 agreement where the Central American country got paid by the federal government to track and receive thousands of deported Salvadoran immigrants from the U.S.
According to local reports from El Salvador, compensation had reached around $1 million per year.
These findings were the result of a Freedom of Information request made by El Salvador’s El Diario de Hoy to the Department of Homeland Security, which declassified the document to the objections of the Salvadoran government, according to reports. ... [Latino USA - 1/3/16]
The Khmer Rouge tribunal on Wednesday began a new phase of hearings in Case 002/02 focusing on security centers and internal purges, with a witness telling the court that he saw the remains of what he believed to be more than 100 murdered Jarai people at the Au Kanseng Security Center in Ratanakkiri province in 1977. ... [Cambodia Daily - 3/3/16]
The government signed a $70 million investment agreement with a Chinese-owned telecommunication infrastructure provider on Wednesday to connect Cambodia to a 25,000-km underwater fiber-optic network spanning three continents.
The new infrastructure, expected to be operational by 2017, will bring faster and cheaper Internet to the country, according to company and government officials. ... [Cambodia Daily - 3/3/16]
India, the United States and Japan will hold naval exercises in waters off the northern Philippines near the South China Sea this year, the U.S. military said on Wednesday, a move likely to further raise tensions with China.
The announcement comes a day after the United States warned China against militarisation of the South China Sea, where Beijing is locked in a territorial dispute with several countries, saying there would be consequences. ... [Channel News Asia - 3/3/16]
High Commissioner to PNG pretends the construction of roads, drains and footpaths surrounding Lorengau Market somehow cancels out Australia's human rights atrocity on Manus Island [PNG Loop - 3/3/16]
PNG constitutional challenge prompts Australian government urgency to disappear refugees imprisoned on Manus Island by the ALP [24th Australia - Papua New Guinea Ministerial Forum - Joint Communique - 3/3/16]:
... 42. Ministers welcomed Papua New Guinea’s passage of its first National Refugee Policy. Ministers noted that seven refugees had been settled under the Papua New Guinea National Refugee Policy and 61 people had left the Regional Processing Centre in preparation for life in Papua New Guinea. Ministers noted that 515 final refugee status determinations had been made by Papua New Guinea, consisting of 480 persons found to be refugees. Ministers welcomed Papua New Guinea’s intention to complete all refugee status determinations before the end of March 2016. Both governments reiterated their commitments under the Regional Resettlement Arrangement.
43. Ministers noted and acknowledged the ongoing importance of development assistance that promotes economic growth and generating employment opportunities in Manus.
44. Ministers noted the ongoing discussions between Australia and Papua New Guinea regarding the extension of the Regional Resettlement Arrangement until 2017 that will enable the two countries to address all related concerns.
Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea
Prime Minister O'Neill says Australia's refugee concentration camp on Manus Island has done more damage to PNG's reputation than anything else
... Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill says hosting the Australian-run immigration detention centre had damaged his country's reputation.
“Yes, it has done a lot more damage to PNG than anything else,” he said during an address to the National Press Club in Canberra.
He said PNG communities have been accused of many things, but noted that Manus Islanders were among the loveliest people in the world.
Mr O’Neill has signalled he hopes to see the closure of the immigration detention centre on Manus Island, but the timing was up to Australia.
“At some stage of course we need to close the centre, these people cannot remain in Manus forever,” he said.
“We need to make a determination where they should go and take a firm decision on it.”
PNG's Supreme Court will hear a constitutional challenge to the detention centre in April in a case that involves 600 asylum seekers.
Mr O'Neill said his government would wait for the legal process to take its course.
"You always plan for a worst possible scenario," he told AAP.
Greens pretend ALP has nothing to do with exiling, incarcerating and torturing refugees [Media Release - 3/3/16]
... I am very suspicious of this deal, of this arrangement.
I am fully aware that Kevin Rudd's brother Greg Rudd has some special relationship with Peter O'Neill ... if there is some deal struck somewhere I am very suspicious of this deal. ...
ABC [VIDEO - 23/7/13]:
Papua New Guinea's opposition leader Belden Namah says he will challenge the deal with Australia to process and resettle asylum seekers in the country's courts.
Mr Namah has told Australia Network's Newsline the deal is in breach of Papua New Guinea's constitution and human rights standards in United Nations conventions.
"I have instructed my lawyers, we are filing next week to challenge the asylum seekers arrangement with Australia," he said.
"I personally believe that I have a very good chance of success because Papua New Guinea's prime minister Peter O'Neill has failed to adhere to the constitution of our country."
Mr Namah says the asylum seekers are looking for protection in Australia and should not be forced against their will to stay in Papua New Guinea.
"We are basically acting against the rights of individuals who are seeking to find asylum in Australia," he said.
"We are pushing these people, who have travelled miles, travelled through stormy waters to reach Australia - they are not coming to look for asylum in Papua New Guinea."
He says the deal is a "political gimmick" and is not needed to boost Papua New Guinea's economy given the country's wealth of natural resources.
"We already have a multi-billion LNG project that's enough money already to be able to buy enough medicine, to be able to buy enough beds for hospitals, rural hospitals in Papua New Guinea."
"We don't need money from asylum seekers - I see it as a total joke."
Mr Namah says Papua New Guinea's high poverty rate is due to the "poor financial management" of successive leaders and governments, rather than a lack of funds.
"It's not because we don't have money," he said.
Tweeted by @SandiHLogan - National Communications Manager, Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Canberra [19/7/13]
Joint media release with Kevin Rudd - Prime Minister, Mark Dreyfus - Attorney General and The Hon Tony Burke MP - Australian Minister for Immigration, Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship [19/7/13]:
As of today asylum seekers who come here by boat without a visa will never be settled in Australia.
Under the new arrangement signed with Papua New Guinea today – the Regional Settlement Arrangement – unauthorised arrivals will be sent to Papua New Guinea for assessment and if found to be a refugee will be settled there.
Arriving in Australia by boat will no longer mean settlement in Australia.
Australians have had enough of seeing people drowning in the waters to our north.
Our country has had enough of people smugglers exploiting asylum seekers and seeing them drown on the high seas.
We are sick of watching our servicemen and women risking their lives in rescues in dangerous conditions on the high seas.
Regional processing arrangements in Papua New Guinea will be significantly expanded and people will be sent to Manus Island as soon as health checks are complete and appropriate accommodation is identified.
PNG officials will assess their claims on Manus Island.
Our governments will expand existing facilities on Manus Island, as well as establishing further facilities in Papua New Guinea.
There is no cap on the number of people who can be transferred to Papua New Guinea.
The Australian Government, in partnership with the PNG Government, will support settlement services for those with refugee status, as safe and appropriate accommodation and services are identified.
We are a compassionate nation and we will continue to deliver a strong humanitarian program.
If the measure announced today and the international meeting on the Convention that has been flagged lead to a significant change in the number of people arriving by boat, then the government stands ready to consider progressively increasing our humanitarian intake towards 27 000 as recommended by the Houston Panel.
There is nothing compassionate about criminal operations which see children and families drowning at sea.
Access to our humanitarian program must be through the international organisations which resettle people around the world, not through criminal operators who have pushed people onto unseaworthy vessels with tragic consequences.
The new arrangements will allow Australia to help more people who are genuinely in need and help prevent people smugglers from abusing our system.
The people smugglers themselves are constantly changing the way they operate and we need to be flexible enough to anticipate and match their actions to avoid the terrible consequences of this trade.
No doubt there will be some people smugglers who now encourage asylum seekers to test our resolve.
Be in no doubt. If people are paying thousands and thousands of dollars to a people smuggler they are buying a ticket to a country other than Australia.
... She was on the first asylum seeker boat to arrive in Australia after Kevin Rudd announced mandatory offshore processing last August.
The boat arrived just hours after the announcement, and had left Indonesia when settlement in Australia was still possible.
Her story starts from the moment she got off the boat and, on the day Guardian Australia releases the letter signed by 15 doctors on Christmas Island that forensically documents shocking allegations of medical malpractice in immigration detention, continues with the revelation of devastating flaws in the medical provision she and Soroush were offered in detention.
“Nobody asked for our permission,” Nazanin said when asked if she knew she was being photographed during that moment.
She says she was moved to a hall where all those on her boat were told they would not be allowed to remain in Australia. And then the cameras rolled.
“Three days after that,” she says, “I just saw my photos in the internet. But nobody [at the time] talk to me about my photos and videos and all that things.”
For Nazanin their publication has exacerbated the suffering. She says they revealed her identity to those she was trying to flee in Iran.
“Unfortunately I saw my picture in every site and again unfortunately in my country every media is showing my picture, and my family, and my relatives and my friends all of them saw my picture and it was really bad for me because of our political issues.
“The intelligence service in our country went to our houses and threatened our family,” she said.
For Soroush [husband], Nazanin says, the news of his family being threatened was a hard blow.
Soroush has epilepsy but, according to Nazanin, had not suffered a seizure for three years before arriving in Australia.
After a month in detention and after hearing of the threats, his seizures began again.
The Immigration Department developed its new, highly restrictive policy on media visits to detention centres with reference to US military arrangements governing media access to the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention centre.
Documents released under freedom of information show the ''deed of agreement'' that Immigration insists journalists and media organisations visiting detention centres must sign was ''informed by … the current US Department of Defence media access policy for its detention facility at Guantanamo Bay''. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 14/3/12]
An Indonesian policeman carries an exhausted young boy following more rescues from the sunken asylum seeker boat of West Java. Photo AFP
[Asylum-seekers 'tortured and raped' by Australia - Independent - 24/7/13]
Refugee Rights Action Network WA [25/7/13]:
link via Kim Asher.
I have sat in Perth coroners court listening to the testimony of Mr Lloyd from AMSA.
They do not consider calls from ships distress calls.
I also sat and listened to all of the 12 or more distress calls from the ship to AMSA.
The calls came in over a period of more then a day.
BEGGING for help.
Over 100 people drowned.
Pop up protest in Elsternwick #FreeTheChildren #LetThemStay
Image: @pushedh [3/3/16]
Shame Australia Shame.
Special Envoy [Philip Ruddock] affirms Aust commitment to HR & reminds states of responsibility to address violations & abuses #HRC31
Image: @AustraliaUN_GVA - Australian Mission to the UN [2/3/16]
A parliamentary committee chaired by veteran Liberal Philip Ruddock has raised concerns about laws cementing the government's offshore processing regime.
The legislation, which puts beyond doubt the government's legal authority on regional processing, passed parliament in June but the human rights committee only finished checking if it breached any rights in a report released on Tuesday.
The committee said the government has not demonstrated conditions on Nauru or Manus Island were compatible with international rights, and that offshore processing carried a major risk of being against human rights.
ALP helps Coalition lock in offshore detention [ABC - 24/6/15]
Labor will be supporting this legislation because it is our policy. "Opposition" Leader, Bill Shorten speaking on the Migration Amendment (Regional Processing Arrangements) Bill 2015 [House of Representatives Hansard - 24/6/15]
Dutton has the power to release this woman but he's NEVER going to do it while he has ALP support.
Who wants to protest with one hand tied behind their back?
Condemn ALL anti-refugee policiticans!
Peter Dutton, the federal immigration minister, has ignored pleas to release a 70-year-old woman from three years of immigration detention, which advocates say shows that the system of discretionary ministerial powers is unjust.
The elderly Iranian, who is the oldest woman in immigration detention, is currently in Darwin’s Wickham Point after she was transferred from Nauru with her two adult children. She has physical and psychological health problems, including “detention fatigue”, according to doctors and her family.
In September last year refugee caseworkers wrote to Dutton, requesting the family be given bridging visas and released into the community. The letter included persecution claims and details of the mother’s medical issues as part of its case for Dutton to use his ministerial discretion.
“The frequency and scope of her health conditions are such that she cannot be properly cared for in detention,” it said.
There has been no response from the minister or his office, which Daniel Webb of the Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) said highlights the problem with the current powers, which do not compel the minister to decide.
“The minister holds the key. He is the only one with the power to release her,” Webb told Guardian Australia.
“Leaving the basic liberty of so many people in the hands of one politician is an absolute recipe for injustice. Decisions about the basic rights of vulnerable people should be made on the basis of principle, not politics”
Why don't Mark Gillespie and Refugee Action Collective Queensland ever organise a protest outside Senator Claire Moore's office?
Great to see @SenClaireMoore join us for this mornings @UNWomenAust fabulous parliamentary #IWD2016 Womens B'fast
Image: @Virginia_Hauss [3/3/16]
Queensland professional refugee advocates' campaign to get ALP elected by default continues [Yahoo - 2/3/16]:
... The group of protesters, many of whom had also maintained a rally outside the hospital in support of the staff's strong stance, gathered outside Mr Dutton's electoral office at Strathpine, north of Brisbane, on Wednesday.
Mark Gillespie, from the Refugee Action Collective, said the group wanted to send a message that the family deserved "a break".
"(Peter Dutton's) comments all the time that they're going back to Nauru is just tormenting people," he told AAP.
"He needs to get off their back."
Mr Gillespie said the advocates were also angry at Mr Dutton's "appalling" inference in parliament and elsewhere that asylum-seekers would consider harming their own children as a means of getting to the Australian mainland. [Dutton LIED - and was defended by Marles - 21 mins in --> Wilkie moves censure of Immigration Minister [VIDEO - 22/2/16]
Supporters shook signs at traffic, including some that read "don't send babies to hell", "let Baby Asha stay" and "close the camps".
In August 2015, a Senate motion to expedite the ratification of OPCAT [Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment] didn't even get to a vote because Queensland ALP Senator Claire Moore objected.
Senate Hansard [11/8/15]:
Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (15:54): I ask that general business notice of motion No. 782 standing in my name for today, relating to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, be taken as a formal motion.
The PRESIDENT: Is there any objection to this motion being taken as formal?
Senator Moore: Yes.
The PRESIDENT: There is an objection.
Senator WRIGHT: I seek leave to make a short statement.
The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.
Senator WRIGHT: I am greatly concerned that the government has chosen to deny me a chance to put this important motion to expedite the ratification of OPCAT, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. This OPCAT was voluntarily signed up to by an Australian government in 2009, and since then both Labor and coalition governments have inexplicably dragged their feet in its ratification. OPCAT would ensure independent monitoring and reporting on places of detention in Australia, all those places where some of the most overlooked marginalised and powerless people are kept detained: prisoners in jails and police lockups, patients in psychiatric facilities, young people in juvenile detention, and asylum seekers. With very recent examples of deaths in custody and cruel and inhumane treatment of people detained, it is very disappointing that I have been prevented from putting this motion today. It is crucial to fully ratify the protocol and set clear time frames to implement. Australia's own good standing is at stake.
Senator FIFIELD (Victoria—Manager of Government Business in the Senate and Assistant Minister for Social Services) (15:55): I seek leave to make a short statement.
The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.
Senator FIFIELD: Just for the sake of accuracy, while the government does not support Senator Wright's motion, it was the opposition that denied formality on this occasion.
Senator MOORE (Queensland) (15:56): I seek leave to make a short statement.
The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.
Senator MOORE: Yes, Senator Wright, we did deny formality to this important motion, because it is our longstanding practice. Where we have an issue such as this which is complex and creates a number of complex situations and also determines significant discussions across all states and territories, we believe it is not appropriate to use the notice of motion process for that, and that is our standard practice.
No matter your view on asylum seekers and offshore detention, a prohibition on torture is something we can all support, writes Greens Senator Penny Wright, who will present a motion to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture to Parliament today. ... [Lawyers Weekly - 11/8/15]
ALP and LNP vote against Greens Senate motion for Australia to provide SAR assistance and to help resettle some of the refugees [Senate Hansard - 24/6/15]:
Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (15:39): I move:
That the Senate—
(a) expresses concern at the disturbing reports aired on the Four Corners television program on 22 June 2015;
(i) that only 412 Rohingyans have been resettled in Australia through Australia's humanitarian program since 2008, and
(ii) the Government's recent refusal to provide assistance or resettlement for Rohingyans currently in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, and stranded at sea off these three countries; and
(c) urges the Government to:
(i) contribute to the search and rescue mission for thousands of migrants, including Rohingyans, currently stranded at sea,
(ii) resettle some of the Rohingyan migrants rescued by Indonesia and Malaysia, and
(iii) resettle an increased number of Rohingyans in the 2015 humanitarian program, increasing the number of the program if necessary.
The PRESIDENT: The question is that the motion be agreed to.
The Senate divided [15:39]
(The President—Senator Parry)
Ayes ...................... 13
Noes ...................... 33
Majority ................. 20
Di Natale, R
Siewert, R (teller)
McEwen, A (teller)
Australia's bipartisan anti refugee policy is creating a regional human rights disaster --> Trapped in Sittwe ghetto or rounded up and imprisoned while registering at a UNHCR office in Malaysia [Myanmar Now - 19/2/16]:
... 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]
Many of the Muslims displaced by inter-communal violence in Myanmar are still prevented from moving freely and often denied access to local hospitals, a senior United Nations humanitarian official said today, calling for an end to such discriminatory practices.
More than 100,000 people remain displaced by the ongoing conflict in Kachin and northern Shan States, while some 120,000 Muslims, mainly Rohingya, and 5,000 ethnic Buddhists remain displaced following the inter-communal violence of 2012 in Rakhine state, said John Ging, Director of Operations for the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as he briefed the media in New York about his recent visit to the southeast Asian country. ... [UN Media Release - 2/3/16]
Israeli Interior Minister plans another concentration camp to "deter" African refugees [Jerusalem Post - 2/3/16]:
Interior Minister Arye Deri intends to ramp up efforts to encourage illegal African migrants to self-deport back to the African continent, and would consider building a facility to jail them if such efforts fail, the minister said on Wednesday.
His comments came during a meeting of the Knesset Interior and Environment Committee held to examine his ministry’s operations and goals.
In January, government officials said that Israel has repatriated some 22,000 illegal African migrants over the last number of years, either to their home countries or third countries, through a combination of positive incentives like one-time stipends and negative incentives like the Holot detention facility in the Negev.
The Artesia Family Residential Center was thrown together in late June 2014 in the dark of night and in the middle of the New Mexico desert.
Before the pro bono attorneys knew who or what was there, the first plane had already flown South, returning refugees who were streamlined through a farce of a legal process, and summarily denied relief.
Once the pro bono lawyers began to arrive at Artesia and fight back on behalf of the women and children, they registered and gave client numbers to the detained families in a shared database – key to an organized flow of legal representation.
When I was in Artesia in August 2014, I met Anna*, Client #0087 for calendar year 2014. ... [American Immigration Lawyers Association - 2/3/16]
3 March 2016