The battles of life will not always favour the strong.
Rather they will end with those who do believe.
Image: @InsurrectNews [5/5/16]
@Mums4Refugees [5/5/16]: Day 47 Peaceful protests on Nauru - Note the cage & wire fence, no open camp. ...
We stand in solidarity with the brave people on Nauru.
They are in their 47th day of protest against the Australian government, who is currently detainining them for seeking asylum. ...
#Narrm #Melbourne vigil outside Dep Imm for #Omid, #Hodan & #Nauru #Manus #Refugee protestors #BringThemHere ...
Image: @approachingcrit [5/5/16]
Taylor Foster [5/5/16]: ... Remembering #Omid who recently died after setting himself on fire, sending love to #Hodan who is fighting for her life in hospital and showing solidarity with #Nauru #Manus #Refugee political prisoners protesting in offshore imprisonment. ...
Sydney RAC and Mums for Refugees has set up an account for donations to Omid’s wife and family.
There is now legal contact with Omid’s wife and we hope to know soon if money is needed for the repatriation of Omid’s body to Iran.
The government has indicated they may be forced to pay $17,000 for this. ... [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 5/5/16]
Reuters omits facts about UNHCR's role assisting the Australian government with its anti-refugee policy of despair [5/5/16]
During the UNHCR visit to Nauru, refugees were told to expect to remain on the island for "another ten years".
Immediately after they conveyed this message to the refugees, Omid Masoumali covered himself in flammable liquid and set himself alight shouting at the delegation "We're sick and exhausted! You've destroyed our lives! Did you come just to gape at our misery? We lead miserable lives! You've been torturing us for three years!"
The UNHCR have NOT called on Australia to close the Nauru and Manus concentration camps, or to respect the refugee convention. The UNHCR are helping Australia with its abandon hope anti-refugee policy, and twisted interpretation of "resettlement".
Two refugees reportedly succumb to exile from Australia's concentration camp on Nauru to Cambodia [Cambodia Daily - 5/5/16]
Why is it acceptable to the international community that Australia refuses to take refugees? Don't look for the answer here ---> Al Jazeera holds refugee to account for being exiled by Australia from Nauru concentration camp to Cambodia [VIDEO - 1/4/16]
Ferrovial trying to work out how much Broadspectrum aka Transfield profits from Australia's refugee concentration camps [Sydney Morning Herald - 5/5/16]:
Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial is still trying to figure out exactly how much money Broadspectrum makes from its detention centre contracts on Nauru and Manus Island as it moves closer to securing full control of the Australian contractor.
Almost 77 per cent of Broadspectrum's shares have been tendered in favour of the takeover bid, which has been recommended by Broadspectrum's board and remains open until May 13, Ferrovial said on Thursday. ...
Political prisoner illegally incarcerated in Australia's concentration camp on Manus Island asks Canada for help [CBC - 28/4/16]
Update from Behrouz Boochani - journalist illegally imprisoned by the Australian government on Nauru [5/5/16]:
Some main information about our court cases:
We will have a court meeting in PNG court on 13 May. it is a hearing with a single judge who will consider the motions from our lawyers regarding joining the Australian government and explicit orders for release , and return to Australia.
The judge will then convene the full bench for a full hearing, hopefully the start of the week of the 16th.
Also we will have a court on Australian high court.the court will sit with one judge to give directions about the hearing of the case on 23 May.
The main purpose of this court is to prevent our transfer from Manus to Nauru
Financial Times still the only establishment voice calling on Australia to close its illegal camps
Financial Times [2/5/16]:
That Papua New Guinea, a country with questionable human rights credentials, is publicly shaming Australia over its offshore detention of refugees and asylum seekers illustrates how far Canberra has deviated from moral and ethical norms on this issue.
Last week, the PNG government asked Australia to close a detention centre run on PNG’s Manus Island that holds about 850 asylum seekers. The request came after the PNG Supreme Court ruled their detention illegal.
It also followed shortly after a 23-year-old refugee living at Australia’s other main offshore detention centre, on the island of Nauru, set himself on fire over his long unresolved detention there. The Iranian man later died of his injuries as a shocking video spread across the internet of his self-immolation in front of visiting UN officials.
His death was the latest tragedy to emerge from a system that has become a serious blot on Australia’s international reputation.
Australia is the only country in the world to enforce mandatory offshore detention of asylum seekers. Canberra’s offshore camps have been decried as cruel and inhumane by the UN, human rights groups and even Australian parliamentary inquiries.
Conditions in the camps, most of which are run at taxpayers’ expense by for-profit private contractors, are abysmal and deteriorating.
The camps and the limbo in which detainees find themselves are calculated to serve as a deterrent to future potential asylum seekers. Critics say this deterrent is particularly targeting migrants from the Middle East and north Africa.
Australia has a poor record on these issues. Discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity was legally sanctioned in Australia until the mid-1970s. Today it is the poorest and most vulnerable refugees from countries torn apart by war who are bearing the brunt.
The string of deaths, attempted suicides and human rights abuses in the offshore detention centres should make clear how untenable the present situation is.
Australia is a signatory to the UN convention relating to the status of refugees: the prolonged detention of refugees runs counter to that convention. The UN Human Rights Committee has found against Australia regarding its detention of asylum seekers on multiple occasions.
Rather than address its disregard for international treaties, Canberra passed legislation last year making it illegal for employees at detention centres to disclose information about the camps to the media. Those who violate this law can be sentenced to two years in prison.
The fact that neither major political bloc in Australian federal politics is willing to take a stand to clearly oppose these policies in the run-up to a general election reflects badly on a nation of immigrants that depends on continued immigration for its economic growth and future prosperity.
It is also an indictment of the Australian media and the wider public discourse that racism and fear-mongering is so popular among a significant portion of the electorate.
The government should act immediately to process rapidly the detainees languishing in the camps.
It should then, as a matter of principle, announce before the election in July its intention to shut down permanently all of its offshore detention centres.
As Europe struggles to respond to a far bigger and more serious influx of asylum seekers from the Middle East, Australia should finally start to set a positive example and exorcise the ghosts of a xenophobic past.
High Commissioner feels the heat in London [Financial Times - 5/5/16]:
I think we are all aware that in an era of unprecedented prosperity the rising tide against governments is at least partly driven by media hysteria drawing on half-truths and rumours.
Your editorial “Australia must act to shut its offshore camps” (May 2), about Australia’s offshore refugee processing centres, is a case in point.
You accuse a country that takes 200,000 migrants a year, including more than 25,000 resettled refugees, of “xenophobia” and claim, without any apparent knowledge of the terms of the 1951 Refugees Convention, that Australia is in breach of international law.
Australia is a country that is proud to uphold the rule of international law.
It was Australia’s sense of humanity that drove it to setting up offshore processing centres in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
When Australians watched scenes on television of people who paid people smugglers being dashed against the rocks of Christmas Island, and when they heard of hundreds being drowned between Indonesia and Australia, they felt they’d had enough.
Nearly all Australians agree: offshore processing is not ideal but it has destroyed the people smugglers’ business model.
We are now able to resettle genuine refugees in their thousands from all over the world, we are able to build our national population in an orderly way, and we have a public that overwhelmingly supports immigration and rejects extremist political parties.
Australia has handled the very difficult issue of irregular migration better than many.
I will avoid the temptation to draw comparisons between our considered and orderly approach and the humanitarian chaos and loss of life elsewhere.
Australian High Commissioner to the UK
You can't support the towback policy and feign concern for those suffering because of it ---> ... FRANK BRENNAN: "And given that the boats have been stopped, the ethical dividend that Australia has to pay is to look after those people who are here and who have reached Australia seeking asylum, inlcuding those who have been taken to Manus Island and Nauru. They deserve to be processed in Australia and if found to be genuine refugees they deserve to be settled in Australia." ... [RNZI - 5/5/16]
The Turnbull Government today signed a contract with Austal Ships Pty Ltd to build and sustain up to 21 steel-hulled vessels to replace the existing fleet of Pacific Patrol Boats as part of Australia’s new Pacific Maritime Security Program.
As part of the $280 million (ex-GST) contract Austal will design and construct the first 19 vessels in Henderson, securing more than 120 jobs for Western Australia. ... [Minister for Defence Media Release - 5/5/16]
In an unusual speech in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday evening, IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen.Yair Golan likened recent developments in Israeli society to processes that unfolded in Europe before the Holocaust.
"If there's something that frightens me about Holocaust remembrance it's the recognition of the revolting processes that occurred in Europe in general, and particularly in Germany, back then – 70, 80 and 90 years ago – and finding signs of them here among us today in 2016." ... [Haaretz - 4/5/16]
... We can no longer see how the WHS will help the humanitarian sector to address the massive needs caused by continuing violence against patients and medical staff in Syria, Yemen and South Sudan; by civilians intent on fleeing being blocked at borders in Jordan, Turkey and Macedonia; by the inhumane treatment of refugees and migrants desperately trying to find safe haven in Greece and Australia; by the serious gaps we faced during the response to the Ebola epidemic, repeated again, albeit on a smaller scale, in the yellow fever epidemic in Angola today; by the serious restrictions placed by some states on humanitarian access, denying people basic services; and by the continuing lack of effective mobilisation to address recurring disease outbreaks in Democratic Republic of Congo.
In all of these situations, the responsibilities of states in their making, and the diminished capacity of the humanitarian system to respond causing yet more suffering and death, will go unaddressed.
For these reasons, and with considerable disappointment, MSF has decided to pull out of the World Humanitarian Summit. [Médecins Sans Frontières - 4/5/16]
Australia stopped accepting refugees in July 2014.
People are dying.
This week's SCOA Settlement and Citizenship in Civil Society conference is astroturfing.
Media and human rights establishment mobilise to protect UNHCR - who conveyed the Australian government's abandon all hope message to refugees on Nauru:
The Settlement Council of Australia invites you to attend its Triennial and International Conference 2016.
For the first time SCOA is engaging beyond Australia’s borders to bring together a breadth of exemplary presenters to contribute to this international conference.
Master of Ceremonies Mr Anton Enus, Presenter, SBS World News
Welcome Ms Helen Kapalos, Chairperson, Victorian Multicultural Commission
Guest Speaker Mr Geoffrey Robertson, QC ...
UNHCR deny conveying Australian government's abandon all hope message to Omid, say they have conducted a number of "monitoring missions" [ABC - 5/5/16]
As their twisted interpretation of "resettlement" is exposed, and refugees cry for their freedom ---> @SBSRadio [5/5/16]: Interview with Thomas Albrecht @UNrefugees #SCOAConference - He told @olgaklep "Refugees are part of the solution"
@MDA_qld [5/5/16]: Thomas Albrecht:Refugees offer genuine opportunities to help build host communities #createwelcome #SCOAConference ...
@OzRefugeeCounc [5/5/16]: Albrecht: Resettlement is not a substitute for right to seek asylum, but plays an important role in refugee protection #SCOAConference
@OzRefugeeCounc [5/5/16]: Volker Turk: "The world needs more generous and welcoming host societies" #SCOAConference <--- Just not in Australia. Indonesian Foreign Minister asks for support to resettle refugees as UNHCR helps Australia shirk its international responsibilities following sham Bali Process meeting [23/3/16]
UNHCR leadership pins hopes on democracy in Myanmar and "repatriation" - calls on Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia to sign refugee convention, while turning a blind eye to Australia's human rights atrocities [23/3/16]
Bali Process affirms Australia's obsession with stopping people from seeking asylum, and criminalising refugees throughout South East Asia [Foreign Minister and Minister for Immigration Media Release - 23/3/16]
Rights groups demand end to indefinite detention of 1,000s of Rohingya refugees in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia [Bangkok Post - 12/3/16]
... Rohingya refugees in Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia told BROUK and Fortify Rights that police routinely used the threat of arrest to extort money and property from them, particularly if they were unable to produce proper documentation or a card demonstrating they were a registered asylum seeker with the UNHCR.
Changes in the UNHCR's registration practices in Malaysia have considerably narrowed access to asylum procedures for Rohingya refugees, the [Everywhere Is Trouble] report said, leaving many without any documents and at risk of serious security abuses, including the possibility of indefinite detention.
Rohingya refugees in Malaysia said the lack of access to UNHCR registration was the single most important issue they faced, followed by a lack of access to affordable healthcare and livelihoods.
"We hoped the international attention on the boat crisis last year would have resulted in durable solutions and greater protections for Rohingya refugees in Southeast Asia, but that's not what we've found," said Tun Khin.
"ASEAN can and should do better. ... [The Nation - 12/3/16]
"Everywhere is Trouble" An update on the situation of Rohingya refugees in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia [March 2016]:
... BROUK [Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK] and Fortify Rights note with concern the disappearance of hundreds of Rohingya refugees from the camps in Aceh.
When Fortify Rights first visited Rohingya refugees in Aceh less than two weeks after fishers rescued them from boats abandoned by human traffickers in May 2015, more than 1,000 Rohingya men, women and children were living in several makeshift camps.
BROUK and Fortify Rights noted that there are now only 300 Rohingya refugees in the camps in Aceh. ...
Bangladeshi and Rohingya refugees sheltering in Aceh progressively deported by the IOM [TRIBUNnews.com - 27/9/15]
Some 100 refugees from Bangladesh being accommodated at Blang Mangat immigration office in Lhokseumawe city, Aceh province, have been repatriated, according to local immigration spokesman Albert Djalius.
"We hope that all the Bangladeshi refugees can be repatriated in mid-August 2015," Djalius stated here on Wednesday.
He remarked that some 100 refugees who were stranded in Aceh in early May, this year, had complete immigration documents, and therefore, they were flown back to their country of origin from Kuala Namu Airport in Medan, North Sumatra, on Tuesday.
However, he noted that 71 other refugees are still being accommodated in shelters, awaiting a clear demographic data from the Embassy of Bangladesh to Indonesia in Jakarta.
According to Djalius, the repatriation was managed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which has been making all the necessary arrangements for providing accommodations. ...
Evidently there is a schism between neocon apologists and humanitarians within the UNHCR ---> ... However, since the Australian government cut its resettlement programs — effectively barring the UN Refugee Agency from submitting any new cases registered in Indonesia since July 2014 — asylum seekers and refugees have found themselves stranded in Indonesia.
Since the cessation of settlement programs in Australia the burden of processing new arrivals in Indonesia, and finding a safe place for them, is straining organizations that were already struggling to deal with the influx.
"We're trying our best to provide the most vulnerable refugees with assistance," Vargas says, "but we unfortunately have a very limited budget given the terrible crisis that we are seeing right now globally, with the refugee situation."
... UNHCR says that Australia's policy of pushing boats back into harm's way, and essentially assisting ruthless smugglers, is unacceptable.
"From UNHCR's point of view any state that intercepts a boat in international waters, or in their own territorial waters, becomes responsible for the safety of the passengers on that boat, including refugees and asylum seekers," country representative Vargas says. ... [Jakarta Globe - 21/3/16]
More on Manus Island political prisoners' High Court challenge [The Conversation - 5/5/16]
"The result of this policy will be nothing but to disgrace Australia"
Behrouz Boochani [25/4/16]
Behrouz Boochani [4/5/16]:
To Peter Dutton:
This letter is being written form Manus, the Guantanamo of Australia.
In the recent days, you have blamed the advocates who are the main supporters of the tormented humans at Nauru and Manus prisons for encouraging people to do self-harm and self immolation.
I would tell you openly, the one who deserves blame is you, yourself, no one else.
As a person who has been lived under this dictatorial system for years, I would tell you that this language and this type of targeting the civil society, media and human rights activist, is the language of dictatorial system and dictators.
Mr Minister, if it is supposed to put somebody in the position of culprit and ask him to respond, that person is only you, no one else.
Because you are the one who has designed the horrendous prisons on the remote islands and stuck people under a systematic torture.
You are the one who has imprisoned women and children, you are the one who has officially taken 2000 people as hostage and even don’t allow them to leave the islands and move to the other countries that are happy to host them.
You are the one, who is happy for producing violence and exquisite agony, happy for advertising and exporting it to the world, Mr Minister.
You are the person that has spent 5,000,0000,000 dollars for shaping prisons and incarcerating innocent women and children.
Surely you know better than others that Reza, Omid, Hamid, Fazel, Hodan and many others are the victims of your cruel and inhuman policy controlling your prisons.
Your efforts and your propagandas for suppressing the voice of aware humane people is useless and the result of this policy will be nothing but to disgrace Australia.
Mr Minister, only and only the history will judge your words and your accusations targeting the civil society.
I should also mention that when the offshore processing policy ends; your political era will also end.
Australia, exceptional in its brutality, Behrouz Boochani [25/4/16]:
... The law of 19 July 2013 relies on such violence and is executed every day, despite the fact that it is contrary to the democratic and liberal concepts and principles Australia professes.
It is against all of the principles and standards of human rights and human achievements in the course of history and its violent domination is growing day by day.
The nature and essence of this violence in the system is displayed prominently and obviously in front of the Australian political stage.
To clarify, the immigration minister occasionally appears as a political figure with the gesture of a dictator, or as a populist representation in the form of a demon, and afterward, he disappears. ...
Australia's refugee detention centres are concentration camps and must be closed, Stephen Charles, QC, former judge of the Victorian Court of Appeal [The Age - 4/5/16]:
... The camps in Manus Island and Nauru have long since ceased to be mere detention centres. They are now concentration camps.
Labor's immigration spokesman Richard Marles has called offshore processing "the single most important policy that any Australian government has made".
The Prime Minister recently described those who oppose the government's policy towards asylum seekers as "misty-eyed".
A week ago, representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees visited Nauru and told detainees that none of them would escape from the camps within 10 years.
In the past week, two have set themselves on fire. It is the only way to end their suffering. Are those cowards and hypocrites in the Australian Parliament going to tell us that this is merely another attention-attracting device?
To think that Australia was among the creators and first signatories of the Refugee Convention. Misty-eyed? That was the last straw for many Australians.
No, Prime Minister, we are not misty-eyed, we are blazingly angry at the contemptible policy and disgraceful treatment that successive Australian governments have meted out in our name to asylum seekers, and which so degradingly defame us in the eyes of the rest of the world.
Prime Minister, it is high time for you and the rest of them to man up, dismantle those concentration camps, fulfil the obligations Australia undertook under international treaties, acknowledge the basic moral and ethical standards on which these treaties are based, and resettle the detainees in Australia.
5 May 2016