This Mother's Day
A film by People Like Us and Mums 4 Refugees [May 2015]
National day of prayer to be held for mothers of Australia's political prisoners [ACRT - 4/5/16]:
The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce is calling a National Day of Prayer for every mother who has a son or daughter in one of Australia’s offshore detention centres, to coincide with Mother’s Day on May 8th.
The Very Reverend Dr Peter Catt of St. John’s Anglican Cathedral in Brisbane, and Chairperson of the Taskforce says “As we cherish and hold in prayer our own mothers this Sunday, we must also be challenged to acknowledge and pray for the mothers who are the victims of our border politics”.
“Mothers of refugees are very significant in the biblical narrative, including the mother of Moses and the mother of Jesus.”
“They are the all-too-forgotten victims of detention policies, who must live with the daily uncertainty about their children’s freedom, safety and health.”
The day of prayer was called following the announcement that the Supreme Court of PNG has determined the offshore processing centre Manus Island to be illegal.
The future of the young men who have been languishing on Manus is uncertain.
Advocates across the country, using the hashtag #BringThemHere, say the men should have been brought to Australia long ago. ...
Mothers who risked everything to flee horrific violence in their home countries, only to be held in immigration detention, gathered alongside advocates in front of the White House earlier this week in honor of Mother’s Day.
The event, “Let Hope Bloom,” called on mothers in the administration to immediately visit immigration detention centers run by private prison corporations and to join the call to end family detention. ... [Americian Immigration Council - 6/5/16]
Two people died in immigration detention this week [American Immigration Council - 4/5/16]
A day of action against HEATHROW DETENTION CENTRES (Colnbrook & Harmondsworth) and MITIE, the private security company managing these two Category B prisons. This is part of a national day in solidarity with people detained and protest against detention centres. ... [7/5/16]
@WomenStrike [7/5/16]: We hear from @AgainstRape about the women in detention. Imprisoned for being raped #ShutThemDown
@WomenStrike [7/5/16]: Bombing Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq - and then then they won't let refugees come over #KingsCross #ShutThemDown
@NadineElEnany [7/5/16]: #CloseTheCamps #BringThemHere #ShutThemDown #Manus #Nauru #Yarlswood
@DrAlakbarov [7/5/16]: Message from Scotland. #ShutDungavel
Report that two more refugees had succumbed to exile from Australia's concentration camp on Nauru to Cambodia was bullshit [Phnom Penh Post - 6/5/16]
CLOSE THE ILLEGAL CAMPS!
FREE THE POLITICAL PRISONERS!
Day 49, refugee protests on Nauru
via @InsurrectNews [7/5/16]
Happening now - Day 49 of continual Peaceful protests on Nauru - #BringThemHere #CloseTheCamps
Image: @Mums4Refugees [7/5/16]
... The decision to flee, and the associated practice of seeking asylum seems very significant to me, and it suggests a certain number of essential implications for contemporary thought, specifically for our conception of an ethic of belonging, commitment and territoriality.
Of course it is always possible to say that the significance of fleeing is self-evident: Assange and Snowden were simply trying to avoid repression. And no doubt such an interpretation is not completely wrong. But at the same time, we should not dwell on these overly evident interpretations.
The practice of demanding asylum, and its way of linking political action, expatriation and the demand for protection, raises important political problems. There is a game at play here that questions the idea of membership that we too often spontaneously associate with national structures ...
Image: @lucyham [8/3/16]
UN Victory in Assange Case: Decision has big implications for refugees and whistleblowers [Center for Constitutional Rights - 5/2/16]
... 35. It is internationally recognized—in numerous WGAD and EctHR cases, and by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees—that detention includes circumstances in which the only alternative to confinement is to renounce the possibility of claiming asylum. Mr. Assange’s continued residence at the Ecuadorian Embassy cannot be described as ‘volitional’. If he leaves its perimeters – even to obtain fresh air or emergency medical treatment – he will be arrested and extradited – without assurances – to Sweden, and thereby subjected to the very risk (refoulement to the United States), which the asylum was afforded to him as a protection against. 
36. This risk extends to a likely prospect that Mr. Assange would be subjected to prolonged incommunicado detention,which falls foul of the prohibition on cruel and inhumane treatment. 
37. Forcing an individual to be indefinitely deprived of liberty, as a condition for seeking or enjoying asylum, violates the very principle behind ICCPR Article 9's protection of both liberty and security of the person.  States are subjected to particularly intense scrutiny in relation to whether they have fulfilled their obligation to secure both rights in relation to their treatment of human rights defenders, including journalists and publishers in this field, such as Mr. Assange. 
38. The UNHCR has long agreed with the principle that forcing one to choose between confinement or sacrificing a fundamental right to seek or enjoy asylum constitutes detention. It has long held that detention is:
“confinement within a narrowly bounded or restricted location, including prisons, closed camps, detention facilities or airport transit zones, where freedom of movement is substantially curtailed, and where the only opportunity to leave this limited area is to leave the territory.”  ...
PNG tells UN Universal Periodic Review it accepts the Supreme Court ruling that Australia's refugee concentration camp on Manus Island is illegal. Political prisoners still not free. [Guardian - 7/5/16]:
... PNG’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Fred Sarufa, told the UPR hearing that PNG accepted the current detention regime was illegal and would be ended.
“Indeed, the PNG supreme court has made a ruling on that centre in Manus where asylum seekers are processed. We are working with the government of Australia on appropriate arrangements in recognition of the decisions of the supreme court of PNG.”
Fiji, which has previously criticised offshore detention as Australia “using its economic muscle” to bully smaller countries in the region into shouldering its responsibilities, said the Supreme Court had ruled the men held on Manus “must be released”.
“Fiji recommends that the decision be implemented without undue delay and in accordance with the primacy of the human rights of those detained.”
Sweden said PNG must “end indefinite mandatory detention of asylum seekers”.
And Mexico recommended that PNG should revise all of its laws around detaining migrants and asylum seekers in order to safeguard their human rights. ...
Supporting Behrouz Boochani at #PressFreedom dinner #vote4pressfreedom @withMEAA
Image: @strom_m [6/5/16]
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. ...
… In Tuesday’s ruling the majority judgment found that “the undisputed facts clearly reveal that the asylum seekers had no intention of entering and remaining in PNG.
Their destination was and continues to be Australia.
They did not enter PNG and do not remain in PNG on their own accord.
“It was the joint efforts of the Australian and PNG governments that has seen the asylum seekers brought into PNG and kept at the Manus Island Processing Centre against their will. These arrangements were outside the constitutional and legal framework in PNG … the forceful bringing into and detention of the asylum seekers on MIPC is unconstitutional and is therefore illegal.”
The ruling was written by Justices Kandakasi and Higgins, and agreed to by all other members of the bench.
Stateless Rohingyan refugee Imran Mohammad Fazal Hoque told the Guardian from Oscar compound that he was feeling “very positive” about the court’s ruling.
“I am very happy because there are a lot of happy faces that have been covered with sadness for the last three years.”
However, the 22-year-old said his excitement at the judgment was tempered by a mistrust that the authorities might change the detention regime again, in an effort to circumvent the court’s ruling.
“It overwhelms me at times. I think it’s a turning point. However, it’s hard to believe politics.
“I have been persecuted and deprived of my basic human rights since I was born right up until now. I have never known safety or peace, and I have never known citizenship or a right to call any country my own. My eyes have no more tears as they have dried out and my body doesn’t feel pain any more.”
Iranian refugee Behrouz Bouchani, who has volubly protested his detention and refused to make his refugee claim to the PNG government, said the court’s ruling was “incredibly good news”.
“Today is a historical day in our life. The people in detention cannot believe that news because they have heard a lot of positive news rumours. They are very happy but scared to show it. I am really happy that eventually we have great news, and can feel freedom.”
Bouchani said the Australian government must now “close its Guantanamo”. ...
The only way to #Vote4PressFreedom - and not endorse a fascist cartel - is to #VOTEINFORMAL ---> The Immigration Department developed its new, highly restrictive policy on media visits to detention centres with reference to US military arrangements governing media access to the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention centre.
Documents released under freedom of information show the ''deed of agreement'' that Immigration insists journalists and media organisations visiting detention centres must sign was ''informed by … the current US Department of Defence media access policy for its detention facility at Guantanamo Bay''.
The department also justified extremely tight media control and censorship to the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, as ''the right balance'' in circumstances that included ''the current climate associated with media ethics, media 'phone hacking' [in Britain]''. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 14/3/12]
After a landmark legal ruling, will CIA torture victims finally have their day in court? [Democracy Now - 6/5/16]:
... DROR LADIN [ACLU lawyer]: What you have there is an admission that all they were doing was trying—you know, for all the scientific language it was all dressed up in, with learned helplessness and experiments that go back decades, really all it was was about inflicting an enormous amount of pain on people, with the idea that if you abuse them enough and you broke them down enough, they’d do whatever you wanted.
And, you know, whether you’re talking about a bad cop in a Chicago PD basement or whether you’re talking about a secret black site, that’s what this was.
It was hurting people so much that they would do whatever you told them to do.
You know between that and—I don’t think it exonerates, you know, Mitchell’s program in any way to say that drone strikes are also bad.
Drone strikes are—you know, that kill innocent people, are—of course they’re bad. But that doesn’t make torture good. ...
7 May 2016