... How need becomes history
how history becomes silence ...
@guardiacostiera [4/6/16]: #SAR #CanalediSicilia #NaveFiorillo #GuardiaCostiera salva circa 400 #migranti da un barcone. Molte donne e bambini.
"We brought him so people would care what happens to us." via @xavieraldekoa [4/6/16]
Day 77 refugee protests, Nauru
I don't wanna cry "enough" ...
Image: @SuchNigel [4/6/16]
@Mums4Refugees [4/6/16]: ... Day 77 protests on Nauru
Why not ask: Given the recent self immolation of refugees on Nauru - in front of UNHCR officials - why is the international community allowing Australia to continue its vicious war of attrition against refugees and asylum seekers (that has created a flowon human rights catastrophe in our region) with impunity?
Australia and the UNHCR's exclusionary and exceptionalist "no resettlement" policy = detention, deportation and death: Refugees arrested while attempting to escape concentration camp in India [Reuters - 3/6/16]:
Refugee activists have called on the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu to ease restrictions on Sri Lankan refugees living in guarded camps after police intercepted a group who had escaped and were attempting to migrate to Australia.
Campaigners said the case showed how desperate Sri Lankan refugees were to flee India where they have been confined to closed camps for years and have no right to work.
"They are desperate people looking for a dignified life," said P Pugalenthi, a lawyer who represents refugees in Chennai.
"They are practically imprisoned in camps with no freedom of movement. They need permission to step out of the camps. They cannot buy property, start a business or even legally have access to a mobile phone."
Over 100,000 Sri Lankans are estimated to have sought refuge in southern India, particularly Tamil Nadu, during the conflict between separatist rebels and the Sri Lankan army which lasted a quarter of a century and ended in 2009.
The Tamil Nadu government runs 109 special camps, housing around 60,000 refugees. They receive an allowance, food and education. Some have been in the camps for two decades and many were born there.
The refugees say if the Indian authorities won't grant them citizenship they should at least be given the right of free movement in the country.
On Thursday, officials intercepted a truck in Tiruvallur near Chennai where they found 33 refugees missing from four government-run camps.
The refugees, including six women and six children, were planning to take a boat to Australia, police said.
"The journey they were going to embark on is very dangerous. They are just being duped by agents, who have been arrested and will be booked under both trafficking laws and the national security act," coastal security group head Sylendra Babu told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Police said there had been four or five similar attempts by refugees to board boats to Australia in the last three years.
There have been reports of several suicides in the camps this year as well as protests over alleged harassment by authorities.
"They don't see a future in India with all the existing restrictions," said V Suresh of the People's Union for Civil Liberties rights organization, a human rights organization.
"Most of them are sitting in camps with no work permits or means to upgrade their skills. Living here has robbed them of their self-respect and they want to escape."
Smugglers charge 100,000 rupees ($1502) for a one-way journey to Australia, according to investigating officials.
India has hosted many refugees from neighboring countries over the years but it has no law to define refugees and the status of the Sri Lankan refugees remains ambiguous.
The U.N. refugee agency, which has a limited mandate in India, does not have access to the camps in Tamil Nadu.
Most refugees have refused to go back to Sri Lanka saying the government there has not come up with a clear plan for their reintegration.
Many lost everything in the war and cannot see how they would restart their lives.
... While six women and 13 men, from the Gummidipoondi, Puzhal, Bhavanisagar and Vellore refugee camps, were sent to Puzhal jail, the juveniles were sent to children's home in Chennai. ... [Times of India - 3/6/16]
Tamil politicians demand military release occupied land in village of Myliddy [Tamil Guardian - 3/6/16]:
Tamil politicians this week stepped up calls on the Sri Lankan military to release occupied land in the fishing village of Myliddy.
Recalling the Sri Lankan president's pledge to release all land held by the military in Valikaamam North during a recent visit to the North-East, the chief minister of the Northern province, C V Wigneswaran said the army's stand that Myliddy would not be released is not acceptable.
"Now with the war coming to an end, is not at all acceptable that the army is still citing past incidents to stall release of the land," Mr Wigneswaran said.
Echoing the chief minister's demands the TNA MP and ITAK leader, Mavai Senathirajah warned "if the army interferes with resettlement of displaced persons, a complaint would be lodged against the Sri Lankan government at the UN with the help of the international community." ...
She lamented that foreign visitors come, “see our plight and assure that help would arrive. We have waited so long but nothing has happened.” ...
Sunday Times [28/2/16]:
... Nestled amidst lush green tobacco and onion fields in Chunnakam, eight kilometres away from this town, are rows of small houses. Rusty zinc sheets form the roof as well as walls.
Some are also made of flattened old tar barrels. For 15 long years this refugee camp has been home for 112 families. Seven toilets are shared by the more than 400 inmates here, one for every 58 people.
“We queue up every morning to use them,” says 30 year-old Jenishwaran Jenita.
The daughter of a well to -do fisherman who once owned a trawler, she epitomises the travails of those in this camp. She has been displaced since she was five years old.
Now living in the camp, abandoned by her husband, she and her two children depend on her brother, a mason, for their livelihood. State assistance in the form of rations was only available until 2000, she said.
Jenita said the displaced were allowed to visit their original homesteads for the first time in December last year.
“President Maithripala Sirisena promised during a visit that our lands will be returned. We hope he will keep to his promise,” she declared.
Also driven to poverty is 60 year-old Thavagnanam Padma. She lived near the Myliddy fisheries pier and her husband led a labour force of 60 persons.
He carried out contract work for fishing vessels.
“Our only source of income now is my 30 year-old daughter who works as a labourer. She earns Rs. 400 a day and eight members in our family eke out a measly existence,” she said.
This, she said, meant having to be frugal on food with no money for any other activity.
She lamented that foreign visitors come, “see our plight and assure that help would arrive. We have waited so long but nothing has happened.” ...
The coalition of North-East civil society groups, Tamil Civil Society Forum, this week called for legal action over the racist attack by Sinhala students against a Tamil student at Eastern University.
"This is the sixth time Tamil students are subjected to racial attacks by the ethnic majority students," the TCSF noted in a statement.
"We are very concerned about universities being used for racial chauvinistic politics," the organisation said, adding "there is no place for violence in universities."
"Initiating legal actions against students indulging in violence should be the first step towards abolishing such campus violence in the future. Therefore we appeal to all concerned to hasten up required action to prevent a recurrence." [Tamil Guardian - 3/6/16]
Australia and the UNHCR tell refugees in South East Asia to fuck off and die [My Republica - 3/6/16]:
Abdul Jalil, 77, has spent almost his whole life in search of a real home where he can live peacefully with his family.
A Rohingya Muslim from western Myanmar, he entered Nepal in 2013.
Starting his journey in 2012, he travelled to Bangladesh, where he was forced to leave the country, and reached Nepal via India.
Later on, in 2014, his family followed him to Nepal. He and his family were not recognized as citizens in Myanmar, nor granted basic civil rights.
Their stay in Nepal has so far been relatively 'luxurious and peaceful.' However, as members of one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, they fear for their future.
“I want to work on my farm, and meet my relatives back home,” Jalil said with a faint smile, adding,“But there is no one to assure our safety and so thinking about returning home is pointless.”
Surrounded by his three grandchildren in a newly constructed zinc roof hut in Lasuntar, 6.7 km from Kathmandu, the septuagenarian said, “Nepal is our home now and I wish to see my children fight for their rights right from here.”
The Rohingya community, along with a dozen urban refugees based in Kathmandu Valley, staged a sit-in protest last October against the decision of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to cut down their monthly allowance.
The refugees were receiving Rs 5,750 ( for each male), Rs 3,330 (female) and Rs 2,700 (child) per month until December 2015.
Since June 2015, UNHCR had cut the allowances by 25 percent.
However, the vulnerable groups--elderly, sick, women, children--still receive some form of support from the agency as a special financial allowance on a specific need basis.
According to Deepesh Das Shretha, external affairs assistant at UNHCR, the organization ensures that all refugees have access to free primary medical care and education up to grade 10.
UNHCR also provides vocational training opportunities and language classes in Nepali for the adults.
“UNHCR Nepal has faced a funding shortage as resources are being diverted to major emergency operations in other parts of the world and the urban refugees struggle to meet their daily needs,” Shrestha said.
Saiyad Hussain, 32, another refugee from Myanmar, has a similar story. He faced homelessness, torture, threats and harassment back home, he said.
"UNHCR has let us down, cutting off the international right of refugees to receive stipends,” said Saiyad Hussain, a 32-year-old father of three.
"We have no work and no source of income and it has become very hard for us to live without the UNHCR support." ...
Australian foreign minister Stephen Smith talks with Myanmar's chief of police Major General Khin Yi on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific conference on people smuggling and the refugee rights of Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya minority in Nusa Dua on the resort island of Bali on April 15, 2009. The two-day ministerial conference was attended by representatives from more than 60 countries. AFP PHOTO/Sonny TUMBELAKA [Getty Images]
... We also told the Australian delegation that since the conference did not formally discuss the Rohingyas - originally slated to be the key point of the conference - that the AHG [Ad Hoc Group] mechanism should be pursued quickly to address this pressing issue.
Bringing Burma to the table was a major accomplishment, we acknowledged; however, we cannot wait for Burma to change its policy before discussing the Rohingya crisis.
This can be discussed without Burma.
Foreign Minister Steven Smith later approached us privately to assure us that Australia would press for the AHG mechanism to "be invoked soon to deal with the Rohingyas."
Australia announced at the conference its contribution of AD300,000 to care for the Rohingyas in Aceh. IOM said the Dutch are promising a similar donation, perhaps conditional upon a U.S. donation. ...
The United States stepped up pressure on China on Saturday to rein in its actions in the South China Sea, with top defense officials underlining Washington's military superiority and vowing to remain the main guarantor of Asian security for decades to come.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the U.S. approach to the Asia-Pacific remained "one of commitment, strength and inclusion", but he also warned China against provocative behavior in the South China Sea.
Any action by China to reclaim land in the Scarborough Shoal, an outcrop in the disputed sea, would have consequences, Carter said. ... [Reuters - 4/6/16]
‘I just wanted to be free’: The radical reverberations of Muhammad Ali [The Nation - 4/6/16]
These men are illegally detained.
Instead of speaking truth to power, the ABC are joining with Murdoch propagandists to incite violence against them.
Day 22 of #Manus protests. 1050 days in prison. Free the #politicalprisoners #BringThemHere
Image: @racvictoria [3/6/16]
Damned lies, News Corp and Australia's political prisoners on Manus Island, Behrouz Boochani [The Saturday Paper - 28/5/16]:
... Have Peter Michael and his fellow journalists ever asked themselves why the Manus prison is operating so confidentially, and why no journalists have been allowed to visit the centres to report directly on conditions?
The answer is crystal clear. The government is engaged in illegal and inhumane policies that they have kept secret from the public.
I emphasise once again that these days, days prior to the election, are vital for refugees, particularly those on Manus Island.
We have been exploited politically for so long, in a brutal and harsh way.
We are really worried, and have been since the Supreme Court decision that ruled our incarceration illegal.
Still, we are kept here.
We are worried about what role the Australian government will make for us in the election and what kind of impact that will have on us.
It feels dangerous because we are powerless.
Why don't you ask Behrouz Boochani what Thomas Albrecht told refugees on Manus Island during his April visit Eric Tlozek? ---> ... Paradoxically, Behrouz Boochani was granted "PNG refugee status" (i.e. exile) he did not want, during a visit by the UNHCR in April. ... Life within the Australian Guantanamo [Lamarea.com - 26/5/16]
Letter from men illegally incarcerated on Manus Island to PNG's Chief Justice (and CC'd to politicians and human rights organisations), requests freedom and GENUINE resettlement [via Lynne Murphy - 18/5/16]
The UNHCR welcomed the Australian government lies about Nauru. Why is the media protecting them? ----> @Mums4Refugees [4/6/16]: If it's a so called 'open camp 'in Nauru why are mobile phones still not allowed? Why not allowed to take pics? ...
As the Australian human rights establishment silently endorse the invisible Richard "offshore processing is the single most important policy that any Australian government has made" Marles ----> @SuchNigel [4/6/16]: "Aussies don't be silent plz" #Nauru #BringThemHere #CloseTheCamps ...
... But it is obvious that regarding to UNHCR, absence of visiting Guantanamo, government of Australia have used the opportunity to cover some of the problems and disasters therefore it is fair for us to doubt on your visitation of Nauru after all these years for another political games. ... Open letter to UNHCR from Nauru refugees questions motive of their April visit, calls for GENUINE resettlement after three years of punishment and torture [OP Voice - 2/5/16]
... Ms Thompson is the first staff member to publicly resign from Manus Island following a recent outbreak of violence [attack on refugees] which left one dead.
She was originally bought in to conduct refugee-assessment interviews and claims she was told to tell inmates their only option was resettlement in Papua New Guinea.
Ms Thompson said she knew their only option was indefinite detention, and so did they.
"I would not go back because there is no process, nothing for me to do, no process to assist people with - it's fake," she said.
"It's not designed as a processing facility, it's designed as an experiment in the active creation of horror to deter people from trying in the first place."
Ms Thompson told Dateline she was given a script to follow while conducting refugee assessments.
"We were informed that we were not to discuss resettlement, we were not to discuss third country options," she said.
"It was made very clear to us every day, sometimes even twice a day, under the threat of being removed from the island, we were not to talk about a third country, we were not to suggest there were any resettlement options, we were not to suggest they would be able to get off PNG," she said.
“We knew that this was ridiculous, but we were lying to people and we were told to keep that message going to keep it clear."
"What's not happening is any clarification on where they are going to end up."
“There is no process, the process doesn’t lead anywhere except indefinite detention." ...
The Australian media have seized on Chasing Asylum because it is disempowering, abandon all hope, anti-refugee propaganda, at a time when WE URGENTLY NEED TRUTH. ... When asked about her views on this new development, Orner was emphatic: “I’m deeply cynical about it, and I hate to say it, but I don’t think it will make any difference in the scheme of things.
“I hope I am wrong. I hope I am surprised. While we were editing the film there was a High Court challenge in Australia about the legality of Nauru, so the government quickly made the Nauru detention centre an open centre, which meant that people weren’t actually detained there.
“I’m surprised that of all the governments, Papua New Guinea is the one that has stood up and said detention is illegal. The Australian government’s response is that nothing will change. They are saying adamantly that no-one will enter Australia, whether they’re genuine refugees or not. So I don’t anticipate that anything will change.” ... [Australian Jewish News - 26/5/16]
... Orner is understandably more cagey about the incredible footage filmed inside the detention centres.
It was filmed secretly and captures something that the tens of thousands of words written about asylum seeker policies can’t: that Australia’s detention centres are hell on earth.
The tents are mouldy, the fences are high, there is no privacy, the bathrooms are filthy and some of the men are housed in a tin second world war shed – in the tropics.
Graffiti on the tents reads, “Kill us.”
Whether she got footage from multiple sources or had one major source at each camp, she won’t say.
So distressing is the film that there is an argument to be made that it feeds into the government’s strategy of deterrence.
After seeing the footage of Nauru and Manus, it’s difficult to imagine any place that’s worse, or that is home to more suffering.
“There is no point in trying to come to Australia now by boat,” says Orner, in an odd echo of the government’s line.
“I don’t think the film can do any damage [to people seeking asylum]. It’s important to expose what’s going on.”
Orner says that part of the shame inherent in the film lies with the Australian people (“people are scared, frightened, xenophobic and racist, and the government uses that to their advantage”), but most of it with the country’s politicians.
“How can you have policy change when the two major parties compete to see who can be the toughest on asylum seekers?” asks Orner.
“The fact that the Labor party supports off-shore detention is a real crisis point for Australian politics.” ... <---- Which is why honesty, and sustained, non-partisan, public pressure are the only way to close these camps, and reclaim Australia's humanity.
Red-handed: Pinning the blame for Dap Chhuon on the CIA [Phnom Penh Post – 3/6/16]
... While we still have oceans
Rivers that still bring us life
Reasons to dance in the moment
To hold onto your time ...
'Spirits', Jamie Woon 
Family detention takes another hit, Victor Nieblas Pradis [American Immigration Lawyers Association - 3/6/16]:
I don’t know about you, but some days it seems like family detention is a battle being fought on multiple fronts – the lawyerly equivalent of air, land, and sea. We have hundreds of pro bono attorneys and volunteers fighting nonstop to help families in the three facilities and helping families once they are released. We have staff in DC fighting to lift up stories with the legislators and pushing back hard at the administration every time a new horrendous policy raises its ugly head.
Partners and supporters in this fight hold protests and vigils and are fighting misinformation pushed out by the federal government by sharing their knowledge with their communities through faith and service organizations. Many different battles are taking place through litigation. We are fighting on every single front with every tool we can use.
I wanted to share a victory that came two days ago in a Texas courtroom. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) was denied the right to license the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, TX, as a childcare facility.
The Travis County judge, Karin Crump, heard Grassroots Leadership’s allegations against the facility, she heard the testimony from medical professionals like Dr. Luis Zayas, and she heard the voices of detained mothers that the CARA Project partners ensured were lifted up in the case. She did not like what she heard.
The licensing was halted because the exceptions that the DFPS had pushed through, including allowing children to sleep in rooms with adult strangers, would allow for “situations for children that are dangerous.”
It is wrong to endanger children and thankfully Judge Crump recognized that reality. ...
Detention of transgender immigrants expanding with Texas facility [American Immigration Council - 3/16/16]
"A school for suicide": How Kalief Browder learned to kill himself during 3 years at Rikers jail [Democracy Now - 3/6/16]:
... AMY GOODMAN: So, that was Kalief soon after he was released from prison. And for people who haven’t followed Kalief’s story, Jennifer Gonnerman—you’ve just done such an amazing job bringing his story to life—explain again how he went to Rikers at the age of 16.
JENNIFER GONNERMAN: Sure. He was walking home from a party late one night in the Bronx, the spring of 2010. He was a sophomore in high school at the time, 16, just about to turn 17. And a police car drives up, and there’s somebody in the backseat who points him out and says—you know, points to him and says that this young man and another person he was with had robbed him prior, you know a week or two prior, and accused him of stealing his backpack. And that set in motion a chain of events. Kalief, you know, insisted that he was innocent. He was taken to the precinct. He says he was told, "Well, don’t worry about it. We’re just going to straighten a few things out, some paperwork. You’ll be going home soon." So he thought it was just a sort of routine matter in which he would, you know, be getting home by the morning.
And instead, it ended up turning into a three-year odyssey. And he was in this sort of perverse catch-22 situation where in order to prove his innocence he had to stay in jail and, as you mentioned, repeatedly refuse the prosecutor’s plea offers, because he said, "I’m not guilty. I’m not going to plead to something that I didn’t do. I want my trial. Where is my right to a trial?" And what he didn’t understand is that trials barely ever happen in the Bronx and across the country. Almost everybody gets out by pleading to something.
But it was his insistence on his innocence, and it’s his insistence on not pleading to something that he said he had not done, that kept him in jail all that time. And in—the Bronx is notorious for a complete lack of sort of speedy trials, and the court delays are outrageous. And that’s—so it’s, you know, dysfunction in the courts, dysfunction in the jail system. He’s going back and forth between two of the most dysfunctional systems in New York City, and that’s what led to him spending so much time locked up. ...
The leader of a violent gang of Zionist extremists was sentenced by a Paris court on Tuesday to a year in prison.
But Joseph Ayache of the Jewish Defense League escaped jail by fleeing to Israel just before the trial.
Ayache was found guilty of leading a series of “extremely violent and coordinated attacks” against pro-Palestine activists in Paris in 2012. ... [Electronic Intifada - 3/6/16]
... The mother of eight ran the Adass Israel girls’ school from 2001 to 2008, until she was fired amid accusations that she molested students.
She fled to Israel some 24 hours after the allegations became public. ...
At least three Palestinians were injured, dozens suffered from tear gas inhalation, and swaths of agricultural land caught fire on Friday when clashes broke out with Israeli forces during weekly protests in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, ahead of 49th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory. ... [Maan - 3/6/16]
Palestinian girl shot dead at checkpoint, northern West Bank [PNN - 2/6/16]
Israeli bulldozers level lands near Gaza Strip refugee camp [Maan - 2/6/16]
Tens of thousands of Yemeni people have once again staged a protest in condemnation of the ongoing Saudi aggression and blockade of their impoverished nation.
The demonstrators staged a rally in the capital of Sana’a on Friday, carrying Yemeni flags and banners condemning the Saudi aggression and the blockade imposed by Riyadh on their country, Yemen's Arabic-language al-Masirah news website reported.
They also vowed to remain steadfast in the face of the aggression and not to surrender to the blockade.
The protesters also denounced the US for backing the Saudi war on Yemen, and chanted slogans against the presence of US troops in their country. ... [Press TV - 3/6/16]
Police in Burundi shot and wounded a student and a taxi-driver on Friday during a protest by schoolchildren against the arrest of their colleagues for defacing President Pierre Nkurunziza's portrait, students and residents said.
The incident took place in Muramvya province, about 50 km (30 miles) east of the capital Bujumbura.
The schoolchildren, aged between 12 and 17 years old, were marching on the highway between Bujumbura and Gitega. ... [Reuters - 3/6/16]
40 New Zealand troops headed for Afghanistan, Iraq [Pajhwok - 3/6/16]:
Forty New Zealand Defence Force personnel are headed for Afghanistan and Iraq, a military commander said on Friday.
A C-130 Hercules would accompany an Australian Defence Force joint task force to transport freight and personnel from June to December, the official added.
According to the Stuff website, Maj. Gen. Tim Gall, joint forces commander, called the push a response to requests from coalition partners, including the US Secretary.
"We work with ADF, the United States and other partners in Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the world. This deployment marks our latest contribution,” Gall said.
Armed group allegedly rapes 18 year-old girl in Balkh [TOLO News - 2/6/16]
Thousands of protestors flocked to the streets of Kabul and Badakhshan provinces on Thursday to express their outrage over the recent killing of several bus passengers by Taliban militants.
The incident occurred on Tuesday on the Kunduz-Baghlan highway. ... [TOLO News - 2/6/16]
"I refuse to serve as an empire chaplain": US Army minister resigns over drone program [Democracy Now - 3/6/16]:
... REV. CHRIS ANTAL: Yeah, what they’re not saying is the numbers.
And the Bureau of Investigative Journalism released just two days ago that there have been 7,142 people killed with U.S. drone strikes, most of those in Pakistan.
Now, my question is: Where is the necessity?
Where is the imminent threat to my family, to our families here in the United States, when we kill people halfway around the world with a drone strike?
... AMY GOODMAN: During a commencement speech on Thursday, President Obama defended his foreign policy, including targeted assassinations and drone warfare.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: As commander-in-chief, I have not hesitated to use force unilaterally where necessary to protect the American people.
Thanks to our military, intelligence and counterterrorism professionals, bin Laden is gone. Anwar Awlaki, a leader of the al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, is gone.
Ahmed Abdi Godane, the al-Qaeda leader in Somalia, he’s gone. Ahmed Abu Khattala, accused in the attacks in Benghazi, captured. Mohammad Mansour, the leader of the Taliban, gone.
Leader after leader in ISIL—Haji Mutazz, their number two; Mohammed Emwazi, who brutally murdered Americans; Abu Nabil, the ISIL leader in Libya—all gone.
Abu Dawud, a leader of their chemical weapons program, captured. The list goes on, because if you target Americans, we will find you, and justice will be done, and we will defend our nation.
4 June 2016