Why is there no discussion of Leibler's views on Palestinian first nations in the context of his appointment to the Constitutional Recognition Referendum Council?
Image: @clayton_dixon [14/12/14]
The prominent Indigenous leader Patrick Dodson and the tax lawyer Mark Leibler will oversee efforts to secure a successful referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia’s constitution. ... [Guardian - 7/12/15]
Constitutional Recognition Survey [Conducted by IndigenousX]
'Recognising' The Artful Con That Is The Constitutional Reform Debate, Amy McQuire [New Matilda - 12/12/14]:
The great academic Noam Chomsky once wrote: “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum”.
This quote perfectly encapsulates the current debate around constitutional reform – where there is a bipartisanship backed by reams of PR spin as a “positive”, while in reality it demonstrates one of the most insidious developments in black policy today – a dangerous “Canberra consensus”, as described by Indigenous policy expert Jon Altman.
How can two white leaders agreeing on the best way to shortchange blackfellas, at the expense of Aboriginal opinion, be a good thing?
The debate around ‘Recognise’ is made worse by the fact even the Greens are snuggly in the fold, leaving the opposition to a growing chorus of disenchanted and disenfranchised Aboriginal people, who are vilified for their justifiable and commendable cynicism.
should be proud of the fact that our Prime Minister and Foreign Minister have
consistently supported a genuine, negotiated two-state resolution to the
This is why Australia wisely voted against the admission of Palestine to UNESCO and why Australia should vote against Palestinian ''statehood'' if and when it comes to the United Nations General Assembly. ... Mark Leibler [Sydney Morning Herald - 17/11/11]
Child Abuse Royal Commission: Cardinal George Pell told priest that Gerald Ridsdale was 'rooting boys again' [ABC - 7/12/15]
Brisbane Anglican Diocese to refund school fees to confirmed abuse victims [Brisbane Times - 7/12/15]
Detectives from Smithfield Criminal Investigation Branch have charged a man following investigations into historical sexual and other serious offences, dating back as far as seven years.
On Friday December 4 a 40-year-old man was charged with a further 10 offences, including two counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault and five counts of entering a dwelling with intent at night.
The man had been previously charged in August with 42 offences, including one count of obstruct, 37 counts of possession of digital recordings, one count of sexual assault, one count of assault with intent to rape, two counts if enter dwelling.
Police will allege the offences occurred in Earlville and Kewarra Beach.
The man is currently in custody and will appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court on December 14.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day. [QPS Media - 7/12/15]
Two young boys were injured when their mother allegedly fatally stabbed their 33-year-old father in their Leda house early yesterday.
Major Crime Squad detectives have charged a 36-year-old woman.
She was charged with murder and two counts of attempting to unlawfully kill another (two of the man's children) and is due to appear in the Perth Magistrates Court today. ... [West Australian - 7/12/15]
Charges laid over the death of Queensland gem dealer David Hanson [ABC - 7/12/15]
Mick Isles search: Family offers $50k reward for information about policeman's disappearance [ABC - 7/12/15]
A Tasmanian man who fled the state after breaking his partner's jaw has been sentenced to three years in jail.
Matthew Allen Parker was extradited from Queensland in June this year after he skipped bail while awaiting trial for the 2011 attack.
He dragged his then partner through their unit by her hair, strangled her and kicked her so hard in the face that he broke her jaw.
The attack happened in front of the woman's three-year-old daughter. ... [ABC - 7/12/15]
Three teenagers charged with a number of assaults on Brisbane’s northside [QPS Media - 7/12/15]
Wounding, Pioneer (Mount Isa) [QPS Media - 7/12/15]
Robbery with violence, Woodridge [QPS Media - 7/12/15]
Shooting incident, Bundall [QPS Media - 6/12/15]
Nelani Koefer inquest: Mother recalls moment 4yo was swept to her death after dam wall burst [ABC- 7/12/15]
Mackay police, with the assistance of officers from State Crime Command’s Drug and Serious Crime Group, have conducted a series of drug raids targeting methylamphetamine (Ice) dealers operating in the Mackay area.
The operation, which was conducted over the past few days, included the execution of 33 search warrants throughout Mackay and nearby areas.
Over 40 police officers from the Mackay District and the Drug and Serious Crime Group were involved in the operation.
A total of 24 people were charged with 56 offences including of possession of dangerous drugs, possession of weapons and property related offences. ... [QPS Media - 7/12/15]
Police from the Brisbane District, both plain clothes and uniformed officers, as well as drug detection dogs, conducted patrols at yesterday’s Stereosonic concert with police charging 14 people inside the Bowen Hills venue with various drug related offences. ... [QPS Media - 7/12/15]
On Friday December 4, Detectives from the Gold Coast Child Protection and Investigation Unit and the Major and Organised Crime Squad executed a search warrant at a Surfers Paradise holiday unit locating eight adults and a quantity of drugs.
Detectives located a large quantity of pills believed to be ecstacy, along with cannabis, utensils and a small quantity of fireworks. All of the persons involved were interstate visitors from New South Wales travelling together and sharing the accommodation.
Each of the persons, varying in age between 18 and 20, were charged with offences including possession of a dangerous drug including schedule 1 and 2 drugs, possession of utensils and possession of things used in connection with a crime.
One of the eight was further charged with possessing explosives (fireworks). All will appear in the Southport Magistrates Court on Friday January 15, 2016.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day. [QPS Media - 7/12/15]
Fatal traffic crash, Coominya [QPS Media - 7/12/15]
Man hit by truck while changing tyre near Ipswich [Brisbane Times - 7/12/15]
Police have charged a man following a traffic crash investigation at Sunnybank today.
It will be alleged that at about 3.15pm a vehicle was travelling east on Lister Street Sunnybank when the driver has lost control of the vehicle and it hit a street sign.
The vehicle has come to a stop when it hit a house on the corner of Feltwell Street causing extensive structural damage to the house.
A 17-year-old Sunnybank man has been charged with one count each of dangerous driving and unlicensed driving and will appear at Holland Park Magistrates Court on December 18.
No one was injured as a result of the crash. [QPS Media - 6/12/15]
A train has been derailed after hitting an abandoned fishing boat in north Queensland.
The cane train came unstuck when it collided with a boat abandoned on tracks at Packers Camp south of Cairns on Monday afternoon.
Police believe a car may have been towing the boat across the tracks when it became stuck.
No injuries were reported. [Yahoo - 7/12/15]
An elderly fisherman has been taken to hospital after being pierced in the arm by a stingray barb on the Gold Coast this morning.
Emergency services rushed to Muriel Henchman Drive at Main Beach just after 11.50am after receiving reports a man had been stung.
The 72-year-old was pierced on the wrist by the stingray, with paramedics working to stop the heavy bleeding at the scene.
He has been transported to the Allamanda Private Hospital in a stable condition. [MYGC - 7/12/15]
Glencore cuts 180 jobs at Collinsville coal mine in north Queensland [ABC - 7/12/15]
Judge dismisses bid for Clive Palmer-owned Queensland Nickel to be paid royalties by Chinese partner CITIC [ABC - 7/12/15]
In a reflection of its confidence in the cattle industry, Hewitt Cattle Australia (HCA) has announced it has received Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval for the purchase of an three cattle properties from Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG).
The sale attracted FIRB scrutiny because HCA is partially owned by Canadian Public Sector Pension Investment Board, one of the largest pension investment managers in Canada. ... [ABC - 7/12/15]
Lifelong passion for native plants may not save iconic Yuruga nursery [ABC - 7/12/15]
An order banning the Australian Federal Police (AFP) from examining documents seized from the Queensland branch of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has been extended until next year. ... [ABC - 7/12/15]
Both Marine and Marion-Marechal Le Pen achieved record scores in the first round of the regional elections and are now major players in France's shifting political landscape.
One is a pragmatist: a 47-year-old lawyer by training who has steered France's far-right National Front (FN) from pariah status to mainstream.
The other is an ideologue: her 25-year-old niece, a Roman Catholic traditionalist whose easy smile and blonde hair belie a stance on abortion, homosexuality and Islam that critics say is dangerous or sectarian. ... [The Local - 7/12/15]
Athens: Anarchists clash with riot police on anniversary of murder of teenage boy Griogoropoulos [Keep Talking Greece - 6/12/15]
Venezuela’s President accepts assembly loss, calls for peace [teleSUR - 6/12/15]
Ecuador's Correa celebrates 'historic' constitutional changes [teleSUR- 4/12/15]:
... Thursday's changes to the constitution came after a year-long process where the contents of the amendments were shared in 162 public meetings throughout the country.
The most controversial amendment eliminated term limits for political office.
However, it included a provisional measure that made it so the change only takes place after May 24, 2017, effectively preventing the incumbent Correa from being able to immediately seek a third term. ...
Afghanistan: At least 12 injured in Nangarhar explosion [TOLO News - 7/12/15]
... Governor Salim Khan Kunduzi told Pajhwok Afghan News 22 people, including seven police personnel, had been wounded and several shops, a mosque and the police headquarters damaged.
He said the bomb attack involved a Hino truck. Most of the civilians injured in the incident were local shopkeepers and residents, he added. ... [Pajhwok - 7/12/15]
Israel launches airstrikes on northern Gaza Strip [Maan - 7/11/15]
A Palestinian man was shot dead after he allegedly injured two Israelis in a stabbing attack in central Jerusalem on Saturday night, Israeli police said. ... [Maan - 6/11/15]
Police conscript killed, 4 injured by explosive device in North Sinai [Ahram - 6/12/15]
A son of late dictator Moamer Gaddafi appeared in a Libyan court Sunday over the murder of a football coach in 2005 and alleged repression in the uprising that toppled his father.
Saadi Gaddafi, 42, sat alone in a caged dock of the courtroom located in the same complex as the Al-Hadba prison where he is being held in Tripoli.
Dressed in a prison-issued blue uniform, the one-time playboy looked straight ahead and showed no emotions as the hearing got underway.
The judge said more time was needed to complete the investigation into the charges levelled against Saadi, and adjourned the trial until February 1. ... [Ahram - 6/12/15]
Yemen's Aden governor killed in blast claimed by ISIL [Al Jazeera - 7/12/15]
At least nine people have been killed and nearly three dozen others injured in separate bomb and shooting attacks in and around the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad, security and medical sources say. ... [Press TV - 7/12/15]
Turkey said on Sunday it would halt further transfers of troops to an area near the Islamic State-controlled Iraqi city of Mosul after Baghdad threatened to appeal to the United Nations to force Turkey to withdraw its soldiers. ... [Reuters - 6/12/15]
Italy rules out joining Syria air strikes, says another strategy needed [Reuters - 7/12/15]
... Translated from Arabic language Alrai Media (thanks to the reliable Fort Russ Russian news site), the senior Syrian officer at the operations room is quoted as saying: “Soon Syria will announce that any country using the airspace without coordinating with Damascus will be viewed as hostile and [we] will shoot the jet down without warning.
Those willing to fight terrorism and coordinate with the military leadership will be granted safe corridors.” ... [Sputnik News - 6/12/15]
US-led coalition bombs Syrian army camp in Deir Ezzor: 1 Soldier Killed [Al-Masdar - 6/12/15]:
... The Syrian Arab Army’s 137th Brigade has been protecting the civilians in the village of ‘Ayyash from the swarming ISIS fighters that are attempting to break into the provincial capital of the Deir Ezzor Governorate from the northern flank; this airstrike only boosted ISIS’ positions inside this village and the nearby broadcast tower. ...
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [6/12/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Strikes in Syria
Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 12 strikes in Syria:
-- Near Mar’a, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL vehicles and an ISIL building.
-- Near Ayn Isa, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL excavator, an ISIL tactical vehicle, and an ISIL building.
-- Near Dayr Az Zawr, five strikes destroyed five ISIL oil wellheads.
-- Near Raqqah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and wounded an ISIL fighter.
Strikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber and fighter aircraft conducted 17 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Huwayjah, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL vehicles and an ISIL tunnel.
-- Near Albu Hayat, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and suppressed an ISIL rocket rail.
-- Near Mosul, four strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL mortar tube, an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL command and control node, an ISIL excavator, an ISIL heavy machine gun, and suppressed a separate ISIL heavy machine gun position.
-- Near Ramadi, six strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL sniper position, an ISIL vehicle bomb facility, four ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun, three ISIL buildings, four ISIL command and control nodes, three ISIL staging areas, two ISIL weapons caches, damaged an ISIL fighting position, and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Sinjar, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions and two ISIL heavy machine guns.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL heavy machine gun, and an ISIL vehicle.
Pope symbolically lights Assisi Christmas tree for migrants
Papa Francesco accende le luci del presepe di #Assisi. Comandante nave #MarinaMilitare porterà la sua testimonianza
Image: @ItalianNavy [6/12/15]
The Exponent Telegram [6/12/15]:
Pope Francis has lit a candle to symbolize hope for migrants at the same moment a Christmas tree was illuminated in front of St. Francis' Basilica in Assisi.
The pope called himself Francis at his 2013 election to honor the Assisi saint and to stress the saint's dedication to the poor.
On Sunday evening at the Vatican, Pope Francis lit an oil candle to symbolically represent lighting the tall tree in Assisi.
At the foot of the tree is a wooden fishing boat used by North African migrants to sail to Lampedusa, Sicily, in 2014.
Refugees were invited to attend the Assisi tree ceremony.
In a video hookup, the pope told the migrants their hearts may be pained but their heads are "high in the hope of the Lord."
4,600 migrants rescued off Libyan coast in three days [Yahoo - 7/12/15]
Merry Christmas Malcolm Turnbull from all of us here on Manus Island [Guardian - 7/12/15]
Event: Vice Admiral Tim Barrett AO CSC RAN [Frank Lowy Institute - 7/12/15]:
In an address to the Lowy Institute, the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett AO CSC RAN, will discuss the interconnected nature of naval power in the twenty first century, and how that provides greater military weight and agility to the Australian government in meeting the demands of national security.
He will set out the thinking behind the role of the fleet in dealing with potential aggressors, supporting Australia’s alliances with other liberal democracies and partners and upholding the rule of international maritime law in this region through increasing naval interdependence. ...
... Around 6,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees live at different places in Jammu city.
There is no drinking water, no electricity, no toilets and no healthcare facilities for them and yet the refugees thank God because they believe their lives are ‘safe’.
“I crossed into Bangladesh from Burma (Myanmar) when persecution of Muslims became unbearable. From Calcutta I shifted with my family to Delhi where I begged for food to keep myself and my family alive,” Yunus told IANS as he narrated his story. ... [Burma Times - 7/12/15]
Fairness of ‘Myamar Muslim Army’ trial questioned, torture alleged [Mizzima - 7/12/15]
Sembcorp subsidiary to build S$420m gas-fired power plant in Myanmar [Channel News Asia - 7/12/15]
West, Gulf complicity in oil-fuelled genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingya [Middle East Eye - 11/11/15]
Myanmar's former military ruler sees erstwhile foe Aung San Suu Kyi as the country's "future leader" and has pledged support for her in a secret meeting, the general's grandson said
Details of Friday's meeting between the two was revealed by General Than Shwe's grandson, who acted as intermediary. ... [BBC - 6/12/15]
Lawyer for Kiribati deportee to lodge UN complaint [RNZI - 7/12/15]:
The lawyer for a Kiribati man who lost his bid to be regarded as a climate change refugee hopes to have his case looked at by the United Nations in the new year.
Ioane Teitiota was deported from New Zealand in September after overstaying his visa.
Lawyer Michael Kidd says Mr Teitiota, his wife and three New Zealand born children, are struggling to settle and want to look at moving to Timor-Leste.
He says Mr Teitiota, his wife and three New Zealand born children, are living with his brother-in law in Kiribati.
Mr Kidd says the children have been struggling to adapt to life there, and Mr Teitiota's son has been in particularly bad health.
"His immune system is having difficulty coping with the fact that most of the fresh water comes from reservoirs that are invaded by salt and that are contaminated by human waste. I mean, if he was to become seriously ill I don't think it would make the New Zealand government look very good, would it?"
Mr Kidd says he will be laying a complaint with the UN Human Rights Council and hopes to improve the treatment of those affected by climate change.
"There's a lot of awareness, at least in the European Union, that this needs to be looked at very seriously. The New Zealand government seems to be dragging its feet on providing refuge for people being displaced by climate change. The Fiji government has done a lot."
Fiji sold 20 square kilometres of land for Kiribati to cultivate in a measure to heighten food security.
The prime minister Frank Bainimarama also told the Kiribati president his people should not fear being climate change refugees, and Fiji's doors are open.
"Spectacular fiasco": Queensland Supreme Court on ALP's Health Payroll outsourcing
Happy Birthday IBM! ----> Supreme Court Justice Glenn Martin has spiked the Queensland government’s attempt to sue IT contractor IBM over its role in the $1.25 billion failure of its health payroll replacement project.
Justice Martin today sided with the IT giant, agreeing that a 2010 waiver of liability signed by both parties was ‘properly constructed’ and the state’s latest attempt to drag IBM through the courts was therefore legally invalid. ... [IT News - 7/12/15]
IBM Australia Pty Ltd v State of Queensland  QSC 342 (15/1729) Martin J 07/12/2015
IBM given 'dry run' in payroll system bid [Sydney Morning Herald - 12/4/13]
Another disaster looms because Queensland politicians were never held to account for the last one [Yahoo - 3/9/15]:
... Health Minister Cameron Dick has unveiled a plan to allow patients to be monitored electronically and have their file notes digitally stored in state hospitals.
The first hospital to go digital will be Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital in November, if it is clinically safe to do so.
Mr Dick says Labor envisages a network of "digital hospitals", sharing information with each other, across the state.
It's all part of the government's 20-year health strategy.
"It's about delivering better patient care, but (also) more effective hospital operations for clinicians, so clinicians can focus on the patients not on the paperwork," he said.
The minister promised the government would tread carefully after previous government bungles involving technology in health sector.
He was particularly contrite about the Bligh Labor government's failed health payroll system, which was rolled out in 2011.
The debacle ultimately cost taxpayers $1.2 billion to fix and was described by Richard Chesterman QC, who headed an inquiry into it, as one of the nation's worst failures of public administration.
"The payroll system roll out in Queensland Health hit many, many people and it hit them hard," Mr Dick said.
"They should not have been subjected to this.
That is why today I apologise to them for what happened."
Qld Health Payroll Commission of Inquiry Report, July 2013 [PDF]:
In 2002 the then Queensland Government established the “Shared Services Initiative” (SS Initiative, or the Initiative), the purpose of which was to amalgamate and rationalise government services across a number of departments and agencies.
The Initiative was based on the Shared Services Model, an organisational approach which had been embraced by large corporations in the United States of America in the 1980s and had apparently been applied to the public sector with some success.
The Initiative promised to deliver high quality and cost effective corporate functions across the whole-of government.
It was considered by the Service Delivery and Performance Commission to be “the largest organisational reform undertaken within the State Government”
Arena Organisational Consultants (Arena) in its Strategic Review of the Initiative described it as “one of the most significant projects of its type undertaken in the southern hemisphere”.
The Initiative was intended to produce a higher standard of corporate service functions at a lower cost to government in providing them. A centralised agency was to take on services such as collecting monies and paying debts, purchasing goods and services, recording those financial transactions and managing and paying public servants from individual departments and agencies covered by the SS Initiative.
By centralising the workforce the number of employees engaged in those activities could be reduced or redeployed, and by developing and implementing a uniform set of business rules a common set of computer technology and programs could be deployed for all the agencies and departments thereby reducing acquisition and licensing costs, bringing about simplification in systems and applications.
Such, at least, was the theory, which was not unique to Queensland. It was essayed in other States at about the same time. In June 2011 the Economic Regulation Authority of Western Australia brought down its fifthand final report into “ ... the Benefits and Costs Associated with the Provision of Shared Corporate Services in the public sector”.
The report noted the Western Australian Initiative had incurred costs of $401M “and achieved minimal benefit in terms of savings ... ”
It concluded that:
The history of shared corporate services projects in the public sector in Australia shows that it is a complex process with uncertain and distant returns. While there is some evidence of successes in the corporate sector, there has not been one fully successful implementation in the public sector of any Australian jurisdiction.
It recommended the dismantling of the Shared Services experiment in Western Australia. With the benefit of that State’s experience the Economic Regulation Authority explained:
[A]ttempting to service multiple agencies with differing needs by using a single system is very costly, fraught with challenges, and potentially unachievable. Servicing agencies with a system that is modified to meet all needs results in a system that is expensive, costly to maintain and prone to error, while the alternative of servicing agencies with a standardised product results in large integration costs being imposed on agencies.
Ferrovial launches hostile bid for operators of Australia's offshore refugee concentration camps, Broadspectrum aka Transfield [Australian Financial Review - 7/12/15]
Afghan girl makes a paper boat to capture the moment she was rescued from drowning.
Image: @UNICEF [6/12/15]
It is wrong for Australian human rights organisations - who are silent about the government's torture of refugees and denial of protection to those seeking asylum - to be soliciting Christmas donations for refugees ---> @UNrefugees - Australia for UNHCR [7/12/15]: One Christmas message = $1 @OMA_Australia donation for refugees! Spread good cheer http://omachristmas.com/
Australian government must be held accountable [Amnesty - 11/11/15]:
Our elected officials should not be able to brush off evidence of abuse.
We call on the Prime Minister to do the right thing, and end the secrecy.
The time has come for a Royal Commission into Operation Sovereign Borders.
Only a Royal Commission, with the power to assess all the evidence, will uncover all the facts.
This public statement has been signed by the following media personalities, advocates and sector organisations:
Rosie Batty, Founder and Director - Luke Batty Foundation, Australian of the Year 2015
Who was Australia's representative? The People Smuggling Ambassador? Why is the UNHCR's Australian branch silent about this ----> ... "They focused on an information campaign, that's all. Not about helping people at sea and not about humanitarian assistance," a U.N. official, who declined to be named, told Reuters. ... Thai migrant crisis meeting ends without any solution on offer [Reuters - 4/12/15]
Bay of Bengal boat movements manageable with weasel words, a racist, victim blaming media and the ability to ignore the elephant in the room i.e. the regional pariah's example setting human rights atrocities against refugees and asylum seekers [UNHCR Media Release - 4/12/15]
... To the Government of Australia: Reverse policy on non-resettlement of refugees who registered with UNHCR-Indonesia after 1 July 2014 ...
Which country on this map of South East Asia is a supposedly a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention?
Southeast Asia: Deadly Journeys - The Refugee and Trafficking Crisis in Southeast Asia [Amnesty International – 20/10/15]:
In May 2015 three boats carrying 1,800 women, men and children landed in Aceh, Indonesia. Most of the passengers were Muslim Rohingya, a persecuted religious and ethnic minority from Myanmar. All those who arrived had endured weeks or months at sea, in overcrowded boats controlled by ruthless traffickers or abusive people-smugglers.
The report includes testimonies from the Rohingya on the shocking conditions and human rights abuses they suffered on the boats for weeks or sometimes months on end, including killings and beatings while they were held hostage for ransom.
Southeast Asia’s sailing season began as this report was being finalized in October 2015, after the monsoon ended. Traffickers and smugglers will undoubtedly resume their trade and grave human rights abuses will again be perpetrated on the seas of Southeast Asia.
Amnesty International is calling for urgent action to address Southeast Asia’s refugee and trafficking crisis. Governments in the region – in particular Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand – must cooperate to put in place effective measures to combat human trafficking and protect people from human rights abuses by traffickers and smugglers.
And while states must investigate and bring to justice in fair trials those involved in trafficking, governments must also ensure that law enforcement measures do not endanger lives at sea, or trap people in Myanmar and Bangladesh without any means of escape.
An essential component of any law enforcement effort against those involved in human trafficking in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea must be the implementation of coordinated search and rescueoperations, coupled with safe and predictable disembarkation procedures.
It is imperative that states in Southeast Asia learn from the May 2015 crisis in order to avert another human rights disaster at sea.
The international community must provide technical assistance with maritime search and rescue, as well as funding to ensure the humane reception of recently disembarked people and to help refugees and host populations meet their basic needs.
One Rohingya in Aceh told Amnesty International that his boat was turned away by a government ship.
A 17-year old boy said that in May 2015 his boat was intercepted by the Indonesian navy, who gave them food and towed them towards Malaysia, but they were then apprehended by the Malaysian navy, which towed them back towards Indonesia.
He was likely on a boat carrying 800-900 passengers that UNHCR reports as following an identical trajectory: interception by Indonesia, provision of food and water, being towed towards Malaysia, and then turned away by Malaysian authorities.
This boat eventually reached Aceh on 15 May 2015, where local fishermen rescued its 820 passengers.
Available information about the search and rescue operations that took place in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea in May and June 2015 suggests that these were inadequate, although the scarcity of publicly available information makes a full and independent assessment challenging.
UNHCR reports that the Bangladesh and Myanmar navies rescued hundreds of passengers on the 12, 21 and 29 of May.
The US conducted joint aerial surveillance missions over the Andaman Sea with Malaysia (between 25 May and 13 June) and Thailand (between 30 May and 11 June).
Other countries provided assistance; for instance a Turkish ship joined search and rescue efforts.
However, UNHCR does not record any rescues at sea by the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
The Rohingya who spoke with Amnesty International were not rescued by a government ship but rather by Acehnese fishermen.
In the long term, Amnesty International has concerns about the situation of the Rohingya in Aceh.
The central government has not yet confirmed whether the Rohingya arrivals from May 2015 will be permitted to stay past the anticipated departure date of May 2016, even though the determination of their asylum claims and resettlement applications will likely take years.
Under the principle of nonrefoulement, the dire situation in Myanmar may require Indonesia to offer longer term protection to the Rohingya.
Furthermore, the accommodation of the Rohingya in Aceh is still being conceptualized as a reactive, emergency response. In August 2015, local officials said that they found it challenging to make plans for the Rohingya population because the central government had not yet informed them of the timeframe.
Furthermore, although there is a multi-stakeholder taskforce in the area, one highly placed official told Amnesty International on condition of anonymity that there is very little coordination of roles and responsibilities.
This lack of clarity may be partly due to the absence of a clear and operational legal framework for refugees and asylum-seekers in Indonesia.
The country’s constitution recognizes the right to claim asylum, and since 2011, authorities have been developing a Presidential Regulation on asylum seekers
Reputable sources who have read the most recent draft, from April 2015, say that it is positive.
In the meantime, however, all those who work with refugees in the country are operating under a 2010 Directive, in which all refugees and asylum-seekers are presumptively treated as “illegal migrants” and subject to an initial period of mandatory detention.
The capacity of UNHCR, which determines the pace of resettlement and refugee status determination (RSD), is another cause for concern. In Indonesia, which has not ratified the Refugee Convention, UNHCR is entirely responsible for RSD; this is a country with a population of 250 million spread out over thousands of islands, and which is currently host to 13,170 “persons of concern”160 to UNHCR.
The agency must do so with a budget of 4.2 million USD (for 2015), and a staff of 68 people.
The average time for the completion of an RSD procedure in 2012 was calculated at 34-47 months.
There is no publicly available data on the average time between a positive RSD decision and departure for a resettlement country, but UNHCR reported that 898 people left Indonesia for resettlement in 2013, and 838 departed in 2014.
Watch Australia's protected and unaccountable Ambassador for "People Smuggling" Andrew Goledzinowski defend Australia's human rights atrocities against asylum seekers @ 1 hr 13 mins in ---> [Australia - 23rd Session of Universal Periodic Review - VIDEO - UN - 9/11/15].
Because Australia has stopped people from seeking asylum, Indonesia is now looking to eradicate 1,000s of refugees. Goledzinowski was Australia's representative at a recent manifestation of this ongoing regional "Wannsee". [Jakarta Post - 10/11/15]:
Indonesia will soon cohost the Jakarta Meeting, gathering government representatives from 14 countries to address the root causes of irregular migration, an official said on Tuesday.
“We should find the reason why these migrants are willing to sacrifice their wealth and take dangerous paths to countries that can’t promise they can stay,” said the Foreign Ministry’s director general for multilateral affairs, Hasan Kleib.
Scheduled for Nov. 27 to 28, the senior officials’ meeting will involve 14 countries that are significantly affected by the asylum seeker issue, including countries of origin such as Iran, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Afghanistan; transit countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore; and destination countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
Irregular migrants have become a major humanitarian issue.
A high flow of asylum seekers from conflict-affected countries has raised the numbers of migrants crossing the borders of both transit and destination countries.
Hasan said that if the situation continued, Indonesia — currently a transit country for asylum seekers hoping to reach Australia or New Zealand — could become a destination country.
However, creating solutions for only the countries experiencing a high flow of asylum seekers will not tackle underlying problems which, according to Hasan, lie in the domestic situations of asylum seekers’ countries of origin
.“Whether it’s development, economic, political, or social issues, we should really address this problem by discussing it with countries of origin,” Hasan told thejakartapost.com.
Meanwhile, Hasan asserted that as such domestic issues were typically sensitive, countries of origin would be assisted through capacity building and campaigns on the dangers of irregular migration.
“We expect concrete actions to be achieved in the meeting. However, addressing the root causes is of great importance because this irregular migration issue has affected us all,” Hasan said.
... A/S RICHARD: Well thank you for your question. I did meet with Australian colleagues at the May 29th meeting in Bangkok including the Ambassador for People Smuggling -- or Against People Smuggling, I guess. The United States takes a different approach off our shores to people coming toward us in boats.
You know our Coast Guard intercepts the boats and then conducts interviews on its decks to find out if the people, if the boat people in the Caribbean have a credible fear of persecution or not.
And if it is judged that they are economic migrants they’re returned to places from which they’ve come.
But if it’s judged that they may have a case for asylum then they are not returned and that they get follow-on interviews and they may end up being moved as refugees to a new country. So the numbers we’re talking about in the Caribbean are quite small, but this, with this approach of ensuring that people get a chance to express their case is a part of what the US is doing that I think is needed throughout the region. I think that’s mostly on that issue. ...
... At the end of 2014, 4270 refugees and 6916 asylum seekers were registered with the Jakarta office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, an organisation whose resources have been stretched, worldwide, by the largest number of people in refugee-like situations since relevant data started being collected. UNHCR’s Jakarta office is chronically underfunded and Australia’s policy changes have added to the pressure by reducing the exit options for refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia either by boat or via resettlement. According to the UNHCR, the waiting period between initial registration as an asylum seeker and a first-round interview ranges from eight to eighteen months. Further interviews are usually required to determine refugee status. For people found to be refugees, the wait then continues until a country willing to offer resettlement is found. The longest wait-time we are aware of is eleven years in total. ... Out Of Sight, Out of Mind [Inside Story - 14/4/15]
Australia stopped accepting UNHCR refugees in October 2014.
Important lecture about seeking asylum - and how Australia is trashing the UN Refugee Convention ----> Professor Alison Mountz, of Harvard University, Wilfrid Laurier University and the Balsillie School of International Affairs, responds to and challenges the crisis narratives unfolding in the media as she discusses political struggles over the erosion of asylum taking place globally. This talk explores shifting geographies of migration and border enforcement in major transit sites where migrants and asylum seekers seek entry and protection. The talk dwells in islands and enforcement archipelagos, offshore sites where struggles over entry and exclusion transpire and where the infrastructure of border enforcement and detention are growing. ... [VIDEO - Centre for International Governance Innovation - 12/11/15]
RAPBS – Human Rights Week – Call to Account:
Sydney: 12 noon December 10 (Thursday) Mrs Macquarie’s Chair
Perth: 12 noon December 13 (Sunday) Round House Fremantle
Melbourne: 6.30 pm December 10 (Thursday) City Square
RAPBS in collaboration with our friends from RRAN and RAC will stage a series of readings in Human Rights Week.
People from all walks of life will read from a list of charges calling the Australian state to account for its failures to uphold international human rights conventions and treaties such as the Rights of the Child, the Convention against Torture and the Refugee Convention.
Participants and contributors include Tess Allas, Iqbal Barkat, Tony Birch, Melissa Lucashenko, Michelle De Kretser, Amala Groom, John Highfield, Al Poulet, Baden Offord, Kim Scott, David Whish-Wilson, Arnold Zable, Uncle Jack Charles.
The readings will be combined into a short film for international circulation, produced by Steve Thomas.
We invite all members of the public to participate in the film.
Please wear black clothing on the day.
Save Mohammad Albederee [7/12/15]:
Confirming that Mohammad is still refusing fluid.
This will be day 5. He has lost all hope
Mohammad has been told he will never return to Manus Island from Pr Moresby hospital and can't use a phone so he is refusing fluid and medication since Thursday.
He has said goodbye. He wants to die. He's too tired. He can't keep going.
He is heavily jaundiced and said he has infection in liver and stomach. He could barely speak and is in extreme pain.
He can't cope with being sick and alone and denied communication with loved ones any more.
We have learned nothing from the senseless death of Hamid, but at least now we know beyond a doubt that our government is capable of murdering asylum seekers slowly and systematically
... Trainer Ian Mannix from the ABC encouraged journalists not to be afraid but to approach responsible government agencies and offer assistance in the dissemination of information. ... [PNG Loop - 5/12/15]
Will the Queensland media ever be accountable for the damage that they do?
Gassing Operations [US Holocaust Memorial Museum]
... "The average Australian doesn't know about the horrors of the pig industry," he said.
"Our purpose was to draw attention to the horrific animal abuse that happens inside gas chambers. ... Animal rights activists chain themselves to pig slaughterhouse 'gas chamber' in Laverton [The Age - 7/12/15]
A Christmas letter from Manus via Julian Burnside QC [30/11/15]
“They keep us in detention because we are found to be innocent,” he said.
“They don’t want to say, ‘We were wrong’. They think, ‘We should keep them in detention to avoid embarrassment.’”
Politicians, human rights groups and opinionating class say nothing about what is happening to human beings in our name, then accuse the Australian public of being apathetic. ----> UN called for Sayed Abdellatif's release 6 months ago. [Guardian - 7/12/15]
Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [26/2/14]:
Sayed Abdellatif, the Egyptian asylum seeker who was at the centre of a political storm last year after being wrongly accused of murder, is still waiting for Minister Scott Morrison to allow him and his family to apply for protection.
“A submission regarding Sayed has been sent by the Immigration Department to the Minister, but the Minister has not made a decision. Meanwhile Sayed and his family remain in limbo with detention taking a terrible toll on the mental health of the whole family,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
Sayed, his wife and children have been in detention since they arrived at Christmas Island in May 2012.
Sayed has been cruelly separated from his wife and family since they were sent from Inverbrackie to Villawood in April 2013 – over 11 months ago.
It is very clear that Egypt is not safe. The military has killed and arbitrarily arrested hundreds of those considered to be political enemies.
The current military regime recently arrested Al Jazeera journalists, including an Australian, Peter Greste.
The trumped-up charges against Greste and the other journalists – including being in possession of publications of the Muslim Brotherhood, now declared to be a terrorist organisation – are strikingly similar to those levelled against Sayed.
“The military has a history of use using false Interpol Red Notices and fabricating charges against people considered to be political opponents. There is more than enough evidence to show that the charges against Sayed were fabricated by the military prosecutors under the Mubarak regime. It’s nine months since the problems of the Egyptian Red Notice were revealed and the murder and terrorist charges were dropped from the notice.
“There is no justifiable reason for separating the family, keeping them in detention at all or delaying a decision to allow them to apply for protection. The Minister has the department’s submission. Sayed and his family need a decision now,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
Sayed is not the only person in detention suffering inexcusable delays. There are at least three other cases of people waiting over a year for Ministerial decisions.
Evidence used to convict asylum seeker Sayed Abdellatif in an Egyptian military court – the basis for his indefinite detention in Australia – was obtained by torture, court documents state. ... [Guardian - 16/2/15]
A Queensland man who fought against Islamic State in Syria has arrived back in Australia and is understood to have been released without charge after police interviewed him at Melbourne airport.
Ashley Dyball, 23, was deported from Germany on Saturday night and arrived in Melbourne on Sunday night. He was met by Australian federal police officers, who took him for questioning for several hours.
His lawyer Jessie Smith said he was “interviewed, released without charge pending further enquiry”, the ABC reported.
Dyball left Brisbane in May to fight with Kurdish forces against Isis in northern Syria.
He was arrested in Germany earlier this week.
Photos on his Facebook page showed him being reunited with his parents early on Monday morning. ... [Guardian - 7/12/15]
7 December 2015