Forced Removal – how it was done

Back to the Future - Refugees on the Tampa (2001)

by Pamela Curr


FORCED REMOVAL– how it was done

-Lest we forget

“…it is not their violence, it is ours, which turns back on itself and rends them; and the first action of these oppressed creatures is to bury deep down that hidden anger which their and our moralities condemn and which is however only the last refuge of their humanity.”

—John Paul Sartre in the preface to
“The Wretched of the Earth”
by Frantz Fanon

In 2001 when the Australian ship Manoora sailed to Nauru with its cargo of asylum seekers, it was anticipated that the Iraqis on board would resist embarkation.

These people knew only too well that while they were on the ship, they were Australia’s responsibility. Once off the boat they had no idea what lay in store.

‘The Chili technique’ used on refugee childrens’ rice

The Australian Navy laced the food with chili and limited water for 3 days prior to arrival in Nauru.  Iraqi Mothers told me later that they begged the Navy to at least not put the chili through the childrens’ rice.  The Mothers told me that their children were so hungry that they cried as they tried to eat the rice through cracked lips.

We have never discovered from where this clever plan originated. http://www.rac-vic.org/html/01Tampa.htm

http://www.abc.net.au/am/stories/s380379.htm

More weasel words here- it was only years later that we found out about the Chili technique.

There were Afghan asylum seekers on the same boat. They did not discover each other until the end of the journey because the Afghan men, women and children were held below deck next to the engine room for the entire trip.  They spent their time shuffling between the toilet, water and food queues in an atmosphere of smoke, noise and heat. The Navy judged that their conditions were so appalling that they would want to get off as soon as possible.

http://www.aph.gov.au/SEnate/committee/legcon_ctte/completed_inquiries/2004-07/migration/submissions/sub229.pdf

During Operation Relex on the Warramunga the Navy forced men and women apart by taking the children onto another boat. In one instance witnesses report a baby being thrown from the ship into the hold of a boat. When the women and children were taken on to the other boat, the men were forced down into the hold of the ship where they were crammed sitting under armed guard for days. They were only lifted out when they fainted. http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/scorning-those-in-need/2006/06/26/1151174130006.html

Australian governments have form on using force on asylum seekers. The Indonesian government do not have the stomach for this sort of harsh response so far.

We ask the media to watch carefully and alert Australians to any similar brutality. We are forewarned this time. We know the tricks. This is the only protection these people have. http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/s531993.htm

— Pamela Curr Campaign Coordinator Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) 12 Batman Street Melbourne 3003 Tel 03 93266066/ fax 0393265199/mob 0417517075

www.asrc.org.au

30 responses to “Forced Removal – how it was done

  1. Afghani Civilian deaths in 2009: most since invasion, U.N. says

    Australian politicians do not understand why the boats keep coming- Maybe if they read a few reports of life in Afghanistan, they could be alittle less intolerant….

    Considering the information garnered from interrogations by AFP and ASIO on Christmas Island and the numbers pouring out of regions like Ghazni it is hard to understand why they do not know the reasons people are fleeing.

    Civilian deaths in 2009: most since invasion, U.N. says.

    A report by the human rights division of the United Nations mission in Afghanistan has illustrated the extraordinary dangers faced by Afghan civilians in their daily lives.

    The overall toll represented a 14% increase in war-related civilian fatalities from 2008.

    In cities, towns and villages across the country, the pace of suicide attacks and roadside bombings has accelerated steadily, and ordinary activities such as driving to work or shopping in a street market have become increasingly perilous.

    http://unama.unmissions.org/Default.aspx?tabid=1741&ctl=Details&mid=1882&ItemID=7260

    So Australia is sending 3 people to the Phillipines “to be processed”- this borders on the rediculous [These 3 are from the 78 Sri Lankan refugees involved in the lengthy standoff aboard the Australian Customs vessel Oceanic Viking. They are 3 from 16 refugees still in Indonesia who were expected to fly today to a UNHCR facility in Manila where 13 will be processed for final acceptance by New Zealand and three more for Australia.].

    We must watch Romania to see how long people are stored there. [The US is taking 28, Canada 13 and Norway three. All 44 of those men and women are now in a UNHCR processing facility in Romania.]

    Reference — NZ about-face on accepting Viking Tamil refugees by Brendan Nicholson
    From: The Australian January 20, 2010 12:00AM

    Pamela Curr

    Like

  2. Hi Folks
    Here is a link to a definitive article on that old chestut about
    refugees and asylum seekers getting more money, houses and general
    largesse from the Government than old age pensioners et al.
    It even provides the origion to the great lie. Just proves that people
    will believe what fits their prejudices even in the face of utter lack
    of facts.
    It was commissioned to assist pollies who are deluged with complaints
    from their constituents whinging about government generosity to the
    wrong people. Read on

    http://www.aph.gov.au/Library/pubs/BN/sp/AustGovAssist_Refugees.pdf

    Regards
    Pamela

    Like

  3. Disturbing stats from the UK

    The situation of refugees and asylum seekers is becoming ever more critical as countries seek to avoid living up to promises made in the Convention on Refugees.

    Memories are fading on the reasons why the world said NEVER AGAIN and sought to live up to this promise with the Convention on Refugees.

    The right of refugees to seek asylum is being repeatedly denied. People are being demonised and dehumanised to allow governments to deny them the rights which we all agreed post war are the birthright of all humans.

    Have we forgotten how 6 million Jews were denied the right to live? It starts when politicians undermine the belief in our common humanity. There are always those in any community quick to hate. Good governance keeps this evil under control. Opportunistic politicians fan the flames of hate and incompetent politicians stand silent while they do it.
    Look at the figures from the UK below. How many of the people deported to Afghanistan, Iraq, DRC, Nigeria and Kosova are still alive? And who cares?

    If the UK can do this how long before Australia starts? Look at our politicians- when has anyone of them stood up and said out loud and unequivocally that refugees have a right to seek asylum in Australia?

    When have they said out loud on commercial tv, shock jock radio or the tabloid newspapers- Refugees have the right to seek asylum- in boats if that is the only way they can get here.

    The silence is deafening.

    This site is well worth visiting —Medical Justice

    Pamela

    House of Commons / 14 Jan 2010 : Column 1092W
    Clare Short: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many charter flights removing persons with no right to stay in the UK there have been in 2009; what the destination was of each such flight; how many individuals were removed on such flights; and what the cost to the public purse of such flights was. [307036]

    Mr. Woolas: The following figures show the total number of charter flights conducted by the UK Border Agency for the purpose of removing those with no right to remain in the United Kingdom, and the total number of individuals removed on those flights, from l January to 8December 2009.

    Number of flights – 64
    Number of persons removed – 1,973

    These figures do not constitute part of National Statistics as they are based on internal management information. The information has not been quality assured under National Statistics protocols and should be treated as provisional and subject to change.

    In 2009 (to 8 December), charter flights were conducted to the following destination countries:

    Afghanistan
    Albania
    Democratic Republic of Congo
    Iraq
    Jamaica
    Kosovo
    Nigeria

    However, the UK Border Agency is unable to disclose the number of flights to each destination country, as this information is confidential for operational reasons.

    The UK Border Agency keeps records of the overall annual costs of charter flights by financial year. Figures for the financial year 2009-10 are not yet available, as they are subject to audit and may therefore change; however, for the financial year 2008-09, the cost of charter flights was £8,227,553.38.

    The Home Office also publishes statistics on the number of persons who were removed or departed voluntarily from the UK on a quarterly and annual basis. Annual statistics for 2008 and the latest statistics for Q3 2009 are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate website

    Like

  4. *Sharon's real legacy - keeping the Arabs out of sight*

    *By Aluf Benn*

    Let’s assume the optimistic forecast by special U.S. envoy George
    Mitchell comes true and in two years the establishment of an independent
    Palestine is declared at a ceremony. The event will be broadcast on
    prime time, but most Israelis will opt to view “Big Brother 6,”
    “Survivor 7” or whatever the next television hit is. Viewers will behave
    this way not because they oppose a Palestinian state but because they
    are indifferent. Palestine-shmalestine simply does not interest them.

    Most Israelis today are cut off from the conflict with the Palestinians
    and do not interact with them. From their point of view, the
    Palestinians are blurry figures during TV newscasts: Mahmoud Abbas and
    Ismail Haniyeh speak, women covered from head to toe mourn in a tent,
    men run with a stretcher after an ambulance, men concealing their faces
    fire Qassam rockets. Israelis have no interest in knowing anything
    further. Nablus and Ramallah are about 40 minutes by car from Tel Aviv,
    but in the eyes of Tel Avivians they are on a different planet. New
    York, London and Thailand are much closer.

    The settlers beyond the separation fence are the only Israelis who see
    Palestinians, mostly through car windows on the roads they share. The
    settlers, like the Palestinians, are disconnected from the residents of
    the Tel Aviv region, Haifa or Be’er Sheva, who hardly ever cross the
    fence. They have no business in Elon Moreh, Yitzhar or Psagot. The big
    settlements like Ma’aleh Adumim and Ariel can be reached almost without
    having to see Palestinians.

    The policy of isolation is the real legacy of Ariel Sharon, who built
    the fence in the West Bank, left the Gaza Strip and pushed the
    Palestinians out of the Israeli labor force. Sharon did not believe in
    peace and was not interested in links with the “Arabs.” All he wanted
    was to protect the Jews from attacks by their “bloodthirsty” neighbors.
    Keeping them out of sight lets Israelis live as if there were no
    conflict, with only settlers on the periphery and soldiers on the firing
    line.

    The “demographic problem” also is not frightening when it is locked up
    behind walls and fences.

    In the past Israel’s economy relied on Palestinian workers, but only
    older Israelis remember them at restaurants, construction sites and gas
    stations. Here and there one can still find friendships; waiters at
    Restaurant 206 in Kiryat Shaul sometimes gather their tips for a
    Palestinian friend who once waited tables and is now besieged in the
    Gaza Strip. Stories like this are almost part of folklore. The Israeli
    economy is geared toward Wall Street, not Shuhada Street. The stock
    market is hardly affected by routine security issues, and real estate
    prices are flying high as if this were Hong Kong, not a country under
    threat on a constant war alert.

    The Israel Defense Forces, who sent generations of Israelis to the
    territories, has minimized the exposure of its soldiers to the
    Palestinians. Fewer and fewer people do reserve duty, and even fewer in
    the West Bank. The regular army has minimized the activities of its
    units in the territories and transferred much of the policing duties in
    the West Bank to the Kfir Brigade. Air force crews, who carry the burden
    of the fighting in the Gaza Strip, see the Palestinians as silent spots
    on their screens fed from drone footage.

    Entertainment intensifies the gap in the way Israelis have come to
    regard their country, and the way it is seen in the world. The local
    media describes Israel as a Western high-tech superpower, an annex of
    Manhattan and Hollywood. The foreign media covers the conflict:
    terrorist attacks and assassinations, settlements and peace talks. When
    the Israelis who have never visited a settlement see themselves on CNN
    they are offended: We are not like that. This is anti-Semitic propaganda.

    Foreigners visiting Israel are amazed to discover the degree to which
    reality here is disconnected from what they heard at home. They expect a
    violent apartheid state, and are surprised that the toilets and buses
    are not separate for Jews and Arabs. They imagine a conservative,
    buttoned-up society and are shocked by Tel Aviv’s nightlife. They walk
    in the street and realize that in London or Paris they see a lot more
    Arabs than in most Israeli cities.

    Because of the entertainment and indifference, the government doesn’t
    face public pressure to pull out of the territories and establish a
    Palestinian state, and the opposition to the American peace initiative
    is being led by the extremists on the right. Most Israelis simply don’t
    care; they gave up on the territories a long time ago. If Mitchell
    succeeds in his mission, they will hear about it and change the channel.

    Like

  5. I dont know what to say here.. I been circulating around blogs trying to find an answer to my predicament. I need to file a class action suit against my corporation. ? Anybody can guide me how it works in India ?

    Like

    • This may be spam?

      It has a small busniess address.

      The question does not say much that is relevant to the articles above.

      Apologies to the author if i am wrong.

      Like

    • 'Class Actions in India'

      Hello Makayla,

      I do not know much of the Indian Justice System but I assume that it is based on the British system. There is a class action of cancer sufferers who were exposed to nuclear tests at Maralinga, Soutrh Australia. For details of the case see “Maralinga vets join British class action”

      Ian Curr
      December 2009

      Like

  6. Research and reality

    On Monday morning an overseas researcher was interviewed about violence towards women in Afghanistan. Once again we saw how the Australian media divorce the issue of the asylum seekers on our doorstep from these academic reports of violence and human rights abuses in their home countries.

    It is remarkable that the reports on asylum seekers so seldom link to
    our local world in the eyes of the media. Right now a teenage boy sits
    in an Indonesian prison as the flow on effect of violence against women.
    His family have been separated and devastated as a result of a loving
    father’s decision not to hand over his 15 year old daughter in marriage
    as demanded by a local 57 year old Pashtun mullah. As a result the
    father was slaughtered, his wife and two daughters and six sons sent
    running. An Australian relative said- to the Americans this man is a
    Commander, to us he is a Talib who demands any woman he pleases. The
    village elders advised them not to complain but to run to save their
    lives. Five sons are missing, the mother and her daughters travelled on
    foot and by donkey over the mountains into Pakistan where they hide out
    in fear. The youngest boy wound up in Indonesia.

    On Christmas Island a father arrived with his 13 year old daughter. He
    and his wife made this decision after the teenage girl was marked by an
    elderly mullah for marriage. Instead of handing her over the family
    sacrificed everything and ran. With only enough money for two passages,
    the father took his daughter on a dangerous boat journey as the child
    most at risk.

    These are just two of the many stories behind the flight of people whom
    our government condemns for daring to knock on Australia’s door and seek
    help. Violence and fear beget flight- there is no other way to survive.
    These people then spend months on Christmas Island being grilled and
    challenged and having to justify why they have left their families and
    homes to come our way. The media discusses in the abstract the appalling
    conditions of far away countries but never links the reports to the
    asylum seekers in our midst. Partly this is a result of the refugee
    determination process which demands secrecy but it also is easily
    accepted by some sections of the media.


    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
    12 Batman Street Melbourne 3003
    Tel 03 93266066/ fax 0393265199/mob 0417517075
    http://www.asrc.org.au

    “…refugees must routinely rely upon smugglers and even traffickers in order to escape their own country because no state grants refugees legal authorization to travel for the purpose of seeking asylum. The practical imperative to ensure that protection is not denied to refugees who arrive without authorization is formally recognized in Article 31 of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention), which denies States Parties the right to penalize refugees for illegal entry or presence. Yet this binding guarantee is of little practical value when migration control efforts are implemented in an indiscriminate way, precisely the approach required by the antitrafficking and antismuggling treaties.”

    Hathaway, James C. (2008). The Human Rights Quagmire of Human Trafficking. Virginia Journal of International Law

    Like

  7. Fears for Tamil Asylum Seekers

    *Media Release: Fears for Tamil Asylum Seekers – One disappears in Sri
    Lanka and Indonesian Navy Threatens Imminent Removal at Merak

    *Media Release
    Refugee Action Collective
    Ian Rintoul
    mobile 0417 275 713

    *Fears for Tamil Asylum Seekers – One disappears in Sri Lanka, and
    Indonesian Navy Threatens Imminent Removal at Merak

    *Refugee advocates are calling on the Australian government and the
    International Organisation of Migration to urgently intervene to
    guarantee the safety of the Tamil asylum seekers on the boat at Merak.

    *Large numbers of Indonesian Navy personnel* have surrounded the refugee
    boat at Merak. It seems that the navy is preparing to forcibly board the
    refugee boat.

    “The Indonesian Navy is either preparing to remove people from the boat
    or is intimidating very vulnerable people. The Tamils are Australia’s
    responsibility. They are only in Indonesia because of Kevin Rudd’s phone
    call,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

    “Kevin Rudd must guarantee their safety. They must be treated the same
    as the Tamils on the Oceanic Viking and promised re-settlement in
    Australia.”

    In the early hours of this morning (Thursday), a number of Indonesian
    inflatable craft carrying armed and camouflaged navy personnel
    threateningly approached the boat at Merak.

    One of the dinghies attempted to up the Merak boat and one person
    carrying a heavy bag attempted to board. People on board the boat untied
    the rope and prevented the person form boarding.

    Once photographs and video camera began recording the boarding attempt,
    the navy boats withdrew to the mother ship anchored about 500 metres
    away from the Merak boat.

    Latest report from Merak says that there are 7 dinghies and another
    large boat are again surrounding the Merak boat.

    “We are extremely worried. The large boats is big enough to hold a large
    number of people if they physically remove us,” the Refugee Action
    Coalition was told from the boat at midday. “This is the second time the
    navy boats have threatened us.”

    */TAMIL REFUGEE DISAPPEARS AT COLOMBO AIRPORT

    /*Meanwhile grave fears are held for one of the eight Tamils who left
    the Merak boat about three weeks ago. After being held in detention in
    Jakarta, he has disappeared after returning to Sri Lanka. Gunasekaram
    Sujendran aged 25, returned to Sri Lanka after getting word that his
    mother was seriously ill.

    He was meant to arrive at Colombo on 26 November but he didn’t come out
    of the airport. His family is convinced that he has been arrested and
    are extremely concerned for his welfare. Enquiries by his family have
    drawn a blank, with authorities claiming they have no knowledge of
    Gunasekaram.

    For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713
    .


    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
    12 Batman Street Melbourne 3003
    Tel 03 93266066/ fax 0393265199/mob 0417517075
    http://www.asrc.org.au

    Like

    • 'The Road from Jafna'

      “The Oceanic Viking”

      See ASIO’s assessments can destroy lives by Pamela Curr published in the Melbourne Age on 10 Jan 2010.

      ASIO’s long history of denial of democratic rights

      Australian Security Intelligence Organisation [ASIO] has a documented history of claiming that Australian citizens are security risks when they are simply exercising their democratic rights.

      In 1977, I protested against Uranium being exported by the Bjelke-Petersen government in Queensland.

      With over 2,000 other Queenslanders who were arrested during that period, I automatically acquired a Special Branch and ASIO file.

      I have never been convicted of any offence except for minor street march charges like ‘taking part in an unlawful procession’, ‘speaking to attract a crowd’ and ‘disobey (police) direction’.

      Fortuneately my life was not destroyed, but the same cannot be said for others.


      Questions

      In the light of known bad habits of ASIO, I would like to know the answers to the following questions:

      1. On what basis are the Tamils regarded as a security threat?

      2. Did ASIO perform security checks on all 78 refugees on the Oceanic Viking, or did they target specific individuals i.e. leaders of the protest?

      3. Why were the majority of the refugees (44) on the Oceanic Viking sent to Romania and only 10 taken to Christmas Island?

      4. Why is Tony Abbott and the mainstream media beating up the story of such a few refugees accepted into Australia?

      For those interested in the history of the Tamil struggle in Sri Lanka the Gallery of Modern Art GOMA in Brisbane is showing films on the civil war in Feburary 2010 The Road to Jafna

      Ahasin Wetei (Between Two Worlds) 2009
      Between Two Worlds
      Sulanga Enu Pinisa (The Forsaken Land) 2005
      The Forsaken Land

      Ian Curr,
      Jan 2010

      References
      On Democratic Rights and the Work Ethic – Former PM, Malcolm Fraser, reveals all.

      Like

  8. The Mad Monk on Refugees, Global Warming...

    “Let them eat cake” — phrase erronelously attributed to Marie Antoinette.

    ABC Radio National Breakfast – 2 December 2009

    Fran Kelly: Do you have strong views on where you would like to take the Opposition’s policy on border protection?

    Tony Abbott: I think that the changes that Malcolm Turnbulll announced a couple of weeks ago are good changes. I think we should insist upon having a special category of visa so that people who get here in an unauthorised way can’t expect that they can stay forever, can’t expect that if they get here, well, then there’s a whole chain of migration resulting from that. We just have to say to the people smugglers that the great prize of permanent residency in Australia is not semi-automatically available to their customers once they get to Xmas Island or once they get onto an Australian boat.

    The pairing of Abbott and Costello in the Liberal Party is no more. Yesterday Costello’s seat of Higgins went up for auction (election, sic). The Liberal Party (60%, two party preferred) easily retained the inner-east seat in Melbourne against the Greens (39%) and other assorted candidates (One Nation, Sex Party, DLP). Labor did not run. Both Abbott and Costello have strong anti-union views. Like the American comedians of the same name their pairing was often comic particularly when, according to Bob Ellis, both were nearly seduced into joining the Labor Party when they were at Uni.

    “The person he most resembles, I’ve just decided, is Scott Fitzgerald. The classic good looks, big flashing smile, easy Irish eloquence, angelic writing style, self-doubt, Catholic guilt, hot temper, Gatsby-like yearnings for past relationships long gone and luminous in remembrance, fondness for football and self-flagellation and his need for a son, all bespeak a literary genius drawn by Life and lesser pursuits into spiritual shallows and drunken remorse like Scott, poor Scott. We have lost thereby good books he might have written, and gained – what? – a cheery, self-mocking buffoon? Or the Tories’ last, best hope of power?”

    — Bob Ellis [“Abbott bounces from the sublime to Bob Ellis” by Annabel Crabb ABC ]

    WBT: Is Abbott for the chopping block for his views on global warming? The cartoon below may be wishful thinking. Ironically right-wing politicians like Abbott and Howard tend to do better with the working class vote than rich buggers like Turnbull (deposed Liberal leader) and the wealthy Rudd (current Labor leader).

    This demonstrates in part how the Left has focussed on issues like refugees and environment but has failed to address the concerns of workers. Better working class organisation is needed.

    Thanks to Don Wilson for the cartoon
    Cartoon by Don Wilson
    “Let them eat cake” — Tony Abbott, phrase previously and erronelously attributed to Marie Antoinette.

    With views like these, Abbott may do better with the Australian electorate than Malcolm (in-the-middle) Turnbull…time will tell.

    READ MORE … Tony Abbott: the new opposition leader speaks with Fran Kelly

    Like

  9. Ciaron O'Reilly: "It's Obama's war now!"

    Today, Wed Dec 2nd.,Obama will announce a deployment of 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan while giving a speech to cadets at West Point. Rudd visits White House and announces deployment of Australian Federal Police to Afghanistan, there are now 1550 Australian troops in Afghanistan.

    Wed Dec 2nd., we will hold our weekly anti-war vigil outside Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera, Brisbane 4pm-6pm (corner of Lloyd and Wadell Sts.)
    Contact Ciaron 0411 516 434

    Here are some recent critical essays from the Counterpunch site on the state of play in the Af/Pak War

    “It’s Obama’s War Now”
    A Necessary war for a Gas Pipeline
    by Gary Leupp
    http://www.counterpunch.org/leupp11302009.html

    “Pakistan and the War on Terror”
    Interview with Tariq Ali
    http://www.counterpunch.org/ahmed11302009.html

    Ciaron O’Reilly

    Ciaron O’Reilly
    Blog http://ciaron.wordpress.com/

    “The poor tell us who we are,
    The prophets tell us who we could be,
    So we hide the poor,
    And kill the prophets.”
    Phil Berrigan

    Like

  10. Indonesia, the new Pacific solution?

    Refugee rights and social justice in the Asia Pacific
    Indonesia, the new Pacific solution?

    *Tuesday 8th Dec 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm
    Cussonia Court-Room 2 – Ground floor Old Quad
    The University of Melbourne*

    A discussion forum with Pamela Curr and Setyo Budi presented by
    /Indonesia Solidarity Forum/ and the University of Melbourne Indonesian
    program

    Speakers:
    *Pamela Curr*
    Long term refugee rights activist and the Campaign Coordinator at the
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
    Australia: externalising borders and aping the Gaddafi/ Berlusconi
    agreement. Human rights trampled by political skulduggery. Has Australia
    lost the plot? What can we do?

    *Setyo Budi *
    Indonesia solidarity activist and presenter on the /Asia Pacific
    Currents/ show on Radio 3CR.
    Indonesian attitudes towards their government’s refugee policy. What is
    happening inside Indonesia? Linking with the Indonesian refugee rights
    campaign.

    The Australian Government, the Liberal Party and the corporate media
    claim people arriving in Australian waters by boat are “unauthorised”
    and “trafficked” people, while the Indonesian government has agreed to
    do Australia’s dirty work by locking up Tamils and others inside
    Indonesia which prevents them from presenting their case in the
    Australian legal system. Australian aid money to Indonesia presently
    paying for locking up Tamils and others destined for Australia, should
    be used to improve the lives of Indonesia’s poor majority, not for
    jailing refugees.

    Over 100 000 Tamils are incarcerated in camps controlled by the Sri
    Lankan military away from international media. According to an October
    28 /Age/ report “Surveillance cameras funded by the Australian
    Government at Colombo airport have been linked with a spate of
    extra-judicial arrests” encouraging Tamils seeking refuge in Australia
    to leave by boat. Tamils who have done this and are now detained in
    Indonesia have been courageously fighting for their rights and stand
    almost alone in the Australian media. Other voices inside Indonesia and
    Australia supporting their claims have been effectively silenced. This
    forum aims to increase the links between organisations in Indonesia and
    Australia that are campaigning for justice for refugees in our region,
    to raise the voice of refugee rights and as the first step in building a
    united movement.

    Indonesia, the new Pacific solution?

    is being advertised as a facebook event. See:
    http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=182785942707&ref=mf

    Please invite your friends.
    */Indonesia Solidarity Forum/* aims to establish an ongoing Australian
    organisation supporting justice and democracy in Indonesia.
    *–
    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
    12 Batman Street Melbourne 3003
    Tel 03 93266066/ fax 0393265199/mob 0417517075
    http://www.asrc.org.au

    Like

  11. Indonesian doing Australias dirty work- deporting families

    Please find link below where you can see video footage illustrating
    another stage of the Indonesian Solution in action- Afghan families
    deported without any consideration of their claims. If they had made it
    to Christmas Island they could not be refused becasue of the strength of
    their claims however if they are stopped in Indonesia – they can be
    deported without any chance to have their claims pprocessed.

    *Dozens of Afghans Deported*

    Puluhan Imigran Gelap Afghanistan Dideportasi”, 25/11/09 metrotvnews.com

    Tangerang – 26 Afghans were deported by Banten Immigration on Tuesday
    (24/11). Before, they were captured when crossed Sunda Strait in journey
    to Australia.

    All of the immigrants comprised of 14 adults and 12 children, were
    deported through Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
    12 Batman Street Melbourne 3003
    Tel 03 93266066/ fax 0393265199/mob 0417517075
    http://www.asrc.org.au

    “…refugees must routinely rely upon smugglers and even traffickers in order to escape their own country because no state grants refugees legal authorization to travel for the purpose of seeking asylum. The practical imperative to ensure that protection is not denied to refugees who arrive without authorization is formally recognized in Article 31 of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention), which denies States Parties the right to penalize refugees for illegal entry or presence. Yet this binding guarantee is of little practical value when migration control efforts are implemented in an indiscriminate way, precisely the approach required by the antitrafficking and antismuggling treaties.”

    Hathaway, James C. (2008). The Human Rights Quagmire of Human Trafficking. Virginia Journal of International Law

    Like

  12. Shameful breach by Australia

    boat people
    While the leadership battle and ETS engaged the Australian media , some
    very dirty deals were being implemented. Agreements (with bucketloads of
    financial encouragement) are now in place to ensure that people fleeing
    persecution in Sri Lanka are captured by their persecutors and arrested
    so that Australia will not have the inconvenience of boat arrivals.
    See Below. As yet we do not know what the SriLanka government is doing
    to the captured Tamils.

    This is a shameful breach of the International human rights conventions
    but then again – who cares?

    *Sri Lankans attempted to intrude Australia arrested.*
    [ Wednesday, 25 November 2009, 03:48.28 AM GMT +05:30 ]
    Four illegal boats which boarded migrants yesterday night in the
    southern sea area in Sri lanka were captured by the Sri Lankan navy
    personnel. All of them were in the intention of travelling to Australia
    was according to information.

    *Reports states, the boat people were obstructed by the Sri Lankan navy,
    and were arrested and had been taken along with their boats to Galle
    Harbour and presently they are under investigation. So far, the boats
    which were illegally intruding to Australia from Sri Lanka were not
    intercepted by the Sri Lankan navy personnel.

    But recently visited Australian Foreign Affairs Minister decided to sign
    an agreement with Sri Lanka, to construct observation centers in the sea
    region. On this basis, the illegal migrants were arrested yesterday
    night is according to reports. Another illegal boat captured in Australia. *

    *
    21. Sri Lanka seizes Australia-bound boats
    ===============================

    ABC Online News
    Posted Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:00pm AEDT

    Sri Lanka’s navy says it has intercepted two fishing trawlers carrying 60
    asylum seekers heading for Australia.

    The two boats were detected off the island’s southern coast while they were
    moving eastward in the direction of Australia, navy spokesman Athula
    Senarath said.

    “The people on board had paid large sums of money to people smugglers to
    take them abroad,” he said.

    “The men and the two boats were handed over to the local police at the port
    of Galle for further investigations.”

    There has been an increase in the number of Sri Lankans trying to enter
    Australia and New Zealand illegally in recent months. Many claim political
    asylum when detected by Australian authorities.

    Boats take up to three weeks to reach Australia.

    However, some travel by air to Indonesia and then take wooden boats from
    there to the Australian coast.

    Last week, dozens of Sri Lankan asylum seekers left an Australian Customs
    ship in Indonesia, ending a month-long protest over their claims for
    refugee status.

    The Oceanic Viking Customs ship had rescued them when their boat capsized.

    The stand-off fuelled an intense refugee debate in Australia and piled
    pressure on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to stem the rising flow of asylum
    seekers through Indonesia.

    – AFP

    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
    12 Batman Street Melbourne 3003
    Tel 03 93266066/ fax 0393265199/mob 0417517075
    http://www.asrc.org.au

    “…refugees must routinely rely upon smugglers and even traffickers in order to escape their own country because no state grants refugees legal authorization to travel for the purpose of seeking asylum. The practical imperative to ensure that protection is not denied to refugees who arrive without authorization is formally recognized in Article 31 of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention), which denies States Parties the right to penalize refugees for illegal entry or presence. Yet this binding guarantee is of little practical value when migration control efforts are implemented in an indiscriminate way, precisely the approach required by the antitrafficking and antismuggling treaties.”

    — Hathaway, James C. (2008). The Human Rights Quagmire of Human Trafficking. Virginia Journal of International Law

    Like

  13. Refugee Bashed in Melbourne bus by driver and his friends

    On Monday night, 4 days after this horrific attack “Abdul” went to board the bus only to find that his attacker was still sitting in the driver’s seat.

    He did not get on the bus but went to the Sunshine police station
    to ask what was happening and then had to pay for a taxi.

    *When I rang and asked the police whether they would advise this young
    man to use the bus service with his attacker still driving , I was told

    “Well that’s up to him”.

    Sita Buslines were contacted on Friday and asked whether the driver
    would be suspended pending investigation. Clearly they have decided that
    having adriver who attacks a passenger then locks the doors on that
    passenger while he calls for friends to join in the attack is not
    asuspendable offence.

    Please advise any African friends to be very careful when boarding Sita
    Buslines. Also remind them that 000 can be rung from any mobile phone
    even if they are out of credit and that they should do so if they fear
    attack.

    This incident illustrates why the Indian students had to resort to
    sitting -in at Flinders Street to get attention and protection from
    violent assaults.

    Driver locked bus and joined in bashing, says refugee— ANDRA JACKSON, November 25, 2009

    A 31-YEAR-OLD West African man was attacked by a bus driver and eight
    other men after the driver locked him in a parked bus, police were told.

    The driver summoned the men on his mobile phone.

    They arrived shortly after in two cars, boarded the bus and kicked and
    punched the man, he said in a statement to police.

    Senior Constable Renee Hulls from Sunshine police has confirmed police
    are investigating an attack on a man on a bus at Sunshine station on
    Thursday night.

    Musu Morris, 24, a care aid worker from Sunshine who witnessed the
    attack, said eight men were involved: ”One was a huge fat boy, and he
    hit him a blow and another blow. I felt very bad. I couldn’t do
    anything. I tried to hold one. They just shoved me off,” she said. READ MORE @ http://www.theage.com.au/national/driver-locked-bus-and-joined-in-bashing-says-refugee-20091124-jhd4.html

    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
    12 Batman Street Melbourne 3003
    Tel 03 93266066/ fax 0393265199/mob 0417517075
    http://www.asrc.org.au

    “…refugees must routinely rely upon smugglers and even traffickers in order to escape their own country because no state grants refugees legal authorization to travel for the purpose of seeking asylum. The practical imperative to ensure that protection is not denied to refugees who arrive without authorization is formally recognized in Article 31 of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention), which denies States Parties the right to penalize refugees for illegal entry or presence. Yet this binding guarantee is of little practical value when migration control efforts are implemented in an indiscriminate way, precisely the approach required by the antitrafficking and antismuggling treaties.”

    Hathaway, James C. (2008). The Human Rights Quagmire of Human Trafficking. Virginia Journal of International Law

    Like

  14. Indonesian solution endgame - SHOOTING ASYLUM SEEKERS

    Yesterday two Afghan asylum seekers were shot by Indonesian forces as their boat was stopped. It is being reported that they were shot whilst trying to escape. They were on the high seas in international waters at the time. Escape – where?

    Today all phones in the Macassar Immigration prison are responding “disconnected”. Even phones which are never turned off and whose owners were not on the boat.

    However a text message from a 17 year old Afghan boy who was on the boat tells us what happened.

    SMS 8PM Saturday “My Name is Axxxx son of Mxxxx 17years. This not my mistake to get on boat- its unhcr who make me- Y (Why) they announce my refugee status they promised that the complete process wont take more than six months but now its one year-i got no result- i cant tolerate anymore in detention centre.

    Then finally i came with 61 people on boat after 5 nites we got on international water -they intercepted us- then they request 4 bribe -we gave them 50,000$ – after some minutes another boat came to stop us – we didnt-then they start shoting- after one hour conflict two of us got bollet injury – right now they r n hospital- dont know wether they r alive or no”

    The Indonesia police and miliatry have not previously resorted to force against asylum seekers. The shooting of two asylum seekers is a dangerous and frightening escalation. It comes on the back of increased pressure from the Australian government to stop the boats. The Howard government used cannon fire over the bows of boats to frighten asylum seekers. The Australian navy broadsided boats and fired repeated vollies over their bows but did not actually shoot at them.

    The Indonesian solution is imploding. It has been in place for over 8 years now through two Australian governments. There is now a grave risk that people will die as the Indonesian military feel increasing pressure from their political masters in Jakarta and Canberra to stop the boats.

    Last year Australia resettled 35 people from Indonesia.

    Currently there are 560 Card Carrying refugees, assessed by UNHCR who have no place to call home. They are sitting and waiting for Australia to open the door. Most have family members here waiting to welcome them and embrace them back into their family.

    There are a further nearly 1400 people registered with UNHCR whose claims are not being processed becasue there is nowhere for them to go. These people have fled horrific violence, seen family members killed and some are unaccompanied children.

    Next week consultations begin on resettlement intake for next year. We urgently need 2000 places allocated to the refugees being warehoused in Indonesia. This will stop the boats more decently and surely than shooting them. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

    http://www.skynews.com.au/topstories/article.aspx?id=394016


    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
    12 Batman Street Melbourne 3003
    Tel 03 93266066/ fax 0393265199/mob 0417517075
    http://www.asrc.org.au

    Like

  15. French Media on Australia and Afghan refugees

    Hi Folks,

    Very interesting interview – read what the French media are reporting about Afghan Refugees and Australia.

    See http://www.france24.com/en/20090819-afghanistan-refugees-asylum-seekers-indonesia-immigration-australia-violence-islam#comment-form

    Did you know that 1 out of every 4 refugees in the world today is an Afghan?

    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
    12 Batman Street Melbourne 3003
    Tel 03 93266066/ fax 0393265199/mob 0417517075
    http://www.asrc.org.au

    Like

    • Obama may crack?

      Hello Pam,

      If you look closely at the material coming out of the White House, Obama appears to be on the point of cracking.

      Firstly, Obama has to deal with the racism of the US military (that racism cracked Major Nadal Hassan at Fort Hood).

      Then Obama must deal with the intransigence of his secretary of state, Hilary Clinton.

      Clinton wants 30,000 more US troops be sent to Afghanistan – in her desire to transplant to Afghanistan the work of her husband in places like Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan

      Given a chance, Clinton may become the US pariah in Asia that Kissinger was in Indo-China.

      As we are slowly finding out from facts on the ground, the great white hope has made such a good job in all these places.

      I think not.

      All we can do is support the people on the ground who resist the oppression coming from our own ‘first world’ countries.

      As with Vietnam, it is not us who will change the developing countries, it is the people who stay and resist.

      Ian

      Like

  16. Dr Palitha Kohuna in denial

    by Pamela Curr
    There is a war of words coming out of Sri Lanka to deny that Tamils are persecuted and at risk there. This interview on Lateline saw Dr Palitha Kohuna, Sri Lanka’s permanent representative on the UN claim that the Tamils coming to Australia are just economic refugees. He made claims that they could go to India 22 miles away but forgot to mention that the Sri Lankan Navy patrols those 22 miles strenuously, turning back and shooting down boats attempting to cross. He forgot to mention the 100 police posts in Tamil nadu to turn back any refugees attempting to enter. He also forgot to mention that there are an estimated 300,000 SriLankan Tamils living in camps in Tamil Nadu. Imagine Australian hysteria if we had similar numbers. Look at the money being spent to stop a few hundred.
    http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?209427

    Sources in Colombo point out that more than 4,000 people are waiting at Mannar on the northern coast of Sri Lanka to cross into India’s territorial waters. But there are far too few boats to ferry them across. Even those who attempt the journey across the Palk Straits are dissuaded by Indian navy’s patrol boats. In the inability of the thousands of people to make the passage lies the new political game being played by New Delhi, Colombo, Chennai and Jaffna.

    The influx of Lankan Tamil refugees shows a sharp spurt whenever the battle hots up in Jaffna. But this time around the influx is surprisingly way below normal. Till now, only 114 people have managed to cross the Straits, with the coast guard and navy having strengthened their vigil.

    As we well know there is truth and then there is this brand of communication called “poli speak” which has little relation to truth.

    Palitha Kohona also forgot to mention that he holds dual citizenship – Australian and SriLankan and that he was a career bureaucrat in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT). Not a sin but reason to question the links and deals between Canberra and Colombo. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/sri-lankas-war-on-the-tragic-truth/story-e6frg6zo-1225771253408
    He is not everyones cup of tea – see UK refuse visa http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=30206

    Dr Kohuna spoke of the many businesses run by Tamils in Colombo but he forgot to mention that under the PTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) they are ordered to register, that their houses are being checked in house to house surveillance by police. http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=30584

    Pamela Curr


    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
    12 Batman Street Melbourne 3003
    Tel 03 93266066/ fax 0393265199/mob 0417517075
    http://www.asrc.org.au

    Like

    • “Have a Heart” group calls for compassion

      Politicians keep telling us that they make no apologies for taking a
      hard line with Asylum Seekers.

      We, the “Have a Heart” group make no apologies in stating that we are
      asking for compassion.

      Human suffering demands flexibility in response. A harsh approach
      diminishes our own humanity while denying the humanity of those pleading
      for a secure home.

      These views are shared by many Australians. We feel it is time to demand
      a solution to the plight of those on board the Oceanic Viking. The
      people who are designated refugees should be brought to Australia for
      resettlement immediately and those whose claims are not yet decided
      should have their claims processed immediately.

      We, the “Have a Heart” group will hold a silent rally on the lawns of

      St Paul’s Cathedral facing Swanston Street from 12 to 2pm tomorrow.
      Friday the 13th November.

      Should you feel the same,come and join us.

      _*For further information ring Kate 93868906 / 0409701073 or Val 94282236*_

      Like

  17. [Refugees] Latest on conditions for Tamil Community

    Household checking by police in Colombo reimposed
    http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=30584
    [TamilNet, Tuesday, 10 November 2009, 10:10 GMT]

    The new Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mahinda Balasooriya, on his assumption of duty has reimposed checking of house holds of Tamil residents in Colombo. In a repetition as in the LTTE war period, police personnel have been instructed to question any visitor lodged in a residence not registered with the respective police station in the area and to take any person living in a household unregistered into police custody, sources in Colombo said.

    Meanwhile, police personnel attached to stations in Colombo complain that they have to perform duties of civic police after fulfilling their normal 12-hour duty,

    The renewed rounds of checking have drained police personnel attached to other branches due to renewed checking of households after the new IGP assumed office.

    According to police sources there are 10-member units of civic police in a police station and these personnel function under an officer who is in charge of a given street.

    The civic police functions under a DIG.

    http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=30409

    Tension grips Tamil business community in Colombo.


    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
    12 Batman Street Melbourne 3003
    Tel 03 93266066/ fax 0393265199/mob 0417517075
    http://www.asrc.org.au

    Like

  18. For Refugees, Australia Should Rethink the ‘Indonesia Solution’

    by Elaine Pearson [deputy director of the Asia Division at Human
    Rights Watch.
    This article also appears at The Interpreter]

    In January, Australians saw shocking photos of young, emaciated men
    washing up on the shores of Sumatra. Australian television showed these
    Rohingyas, members of a Muslim ethnic minority systematically mistreated
    by Burma’s military regime, describing how Thai authorities beat them
    and pushed them back out to sea. Video footage captured the Thai navy
    appearing to tow the men out to sea in their rickety boats. The world
    was horrified.

    Fast forward to last week, when boat people were once again on our TV
    screens. On Oct. 18, an Australian naval vessel rescued a boatload of
    Sri Lankans in international waters (though Indonesia’s search and
    rescue area) and transferred them to a customs boat, which is now trying
    to set them ashore in Indonesia.

    What happened to the Rohingya earlier this year should make Australians
    think twice about the “Indonesian Solution.” Australia’s policy toward
    asylum seekers should be based on humane treatment and protecting the
    vulnerable, not politically expedient efforts to airbrush asylum seekers
    from television screens by herding them into remote camps.

    In January and February almost 400 Rohingya and Bangladeshis landed on
    Indonesia’s shores. Despite the decades of discrimination and abuse
    faced by Rohingya in Burma, the Indonesian government initially claimed
    they were all “economic migrants” and threatened to deport them. It even
    blocked access to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
    Refugees.

    It took until April for a team that included the UN refugee agency to
    begin to process their claims. In May, the team reported to journalists
    that most were Rohingyas who had legitimate asylum claims. Up until now,
    they have been detained in squalid makeshift camps. In one, where
    reports emerged of guards beating camp residents, many have escaped and
    disappeared. The others remain in limbo, but no longer in the media
    spotlight. Ten months later they are largely forgotten.

    When the Rohingya stories hit the headlines earlier this year, regional
    leaders held emergency discussions on the fringes of the Association of
    Southeast Asian Nations Summit. At the time, Human Rights Watch called
    for a regional solution to address refugees. Lip service was paid to
    this goal, but instead the Rohingya were relegated to the Bali Process,
    a regional scheme driven by Australia and Indonesia with the main goal
    of preventing people smuggling, human trafficking and other
    transnational crime.

    On Feb. 20 Australia’s foreign minister, Stephen Smith, in a joint news
    conference with the Indonesian foreign minister in Sydney, welcomed
    “very much that the Bali Process will deal with the Rohingyas issue.”
    But by treating the Rohingya as smuggled migrants instead of asylum
    seekers, Australia and others fail to address the human rights abuses
    from which the Rohingya flee in Burma and the need for refugee
    protection in host countries.

    The same issues are arising with the Sri Lankan boat people.

    Sri Lanka has just come out of a brutal armed conflict, where war crimes
    were committed by both government forces and the separatist Liberation
    Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Ethnic Tamils bore the brunt of the abuses from
    both sides. Since the war ended in May, a quarter of a million Tamil
    civilians have been unlawfully locked up in camps.

    Some media reports allege the 78 Sri Lankans were recognized as refugees
    years ago in Indonesia and were awaiting resettlement. If that’s true,
    this is further evidence that Australia and Indonesia should treat the
    asylum seekers as people with rights, and not merely as the smugglers’
    cargo.

    If Australia is to exert pressure on Jakarta, it should do so with the
    aim of persuading Indonesia to sign the 1951 Refugee Convention —
    something Indonesia has pledged to do since 2004.

    In the meantime, Indonesia offers no long-term solution for refugees.
    While Australia does resettle a good proportion of refugees from
    Indonesia, the process is slow and the numbers are very small — only 448
    have been admitted since 2001.

    Australia did the right thing in rescuing the 78 Sri Lankans. The Rudd
    government should now do the next right thing in processing their asylum
    claims, rather than shunting them around as a symbol to show the
    Australian public that this government can be as tough as its predecessor.

    /Elaine Pearson is the deputy director of the Asia Division at Human
    Rights Watch. This article also appears at The Interprete r at
    http://www.lowyinterpreter.org./


    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
    12 Batman Street Melbourne 3003
    Tel 03 93266066/ fax 0393265199/mob 0417517075
    http://www.asrc.org.au

    Like

    • Australian refugee policy follows global trend...

      ‘Why don’t these boat people accept their fate instead of crossing the sea to land themselves in countries that don’t want them and can’t cope with them?’

      http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/59828

      This is a must read article as it demonstrates how Australian refugee policy is following a global trend. We can thank God that our near neighbour is Indonesia and not Libya but the Italian/ Libyan solution is sickeningly akin to the Australian / Indonesia solution.


      Pamela Curr
      Campaign Coordinator
      Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
      12 Batman Street Melbourne 3003
      Tel 03 93266066/ fax 0393265199/mob 0417517075
      http://www.asrc.org.au

      Like

  19. 'Oceanic Viking' - the Finale

    As the wishes of the refugees on the Oceanic Viking collide with those of the Indonesian and Australian governments, values of respect for human rights will be sorely tested.

    Despite the communication blackout which has allowed only a one way message in a bottle form of communication, we know that at least 35 of these people are recognised refugees.

    We also know that they have been warehoused in Indonesia since Howard’s time under a cruel policy of deter and deny, in an effort to force them to give up and go home.

    Events in Sri Lanka for Tamils have made this impossible. No way forward- no way back – just fed and watered like cattle by IOM at Australia’s cost with no future.

    These people have been our responsibility long before they were rescued and taken on board the Australian Customs vessel. We have paid to warehouse them for the past few years.

    We do not have the exact data becasuse the Australian government has denied access. We have this information becasue of the ingenuity of the refugees who have been messaging the world in bottles.

    Now it is time for Mr Rudd to demonstrate his respect for the actions of Bonhoeffer by acting with generous compassion to these refugeees. By his actions in defeat we will know him.

    We can assist in this difficult decision making by emailing the Prime Minister and asking him to Bring the refugees to Christmas Island where their claims can be processed now.

    See http://www.pm.gov.au/PM_Connect/Email_your_PM for a range of communication options- no bottles.


    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
    12 Batman Street Melbourne 3003
    Tel 03 93266066/ fax 0393265199/mob 0417517075
    http://www.asrc.org.au

    Like

  20. No accusations or allegations just questions.

    1. Why did the Taiwanese Fishing boat FV KUAMG which arrived on the scene
    at 4.11pm not take the passengers off the Sri Lankan boat which was in distress and taking water?

    2. Was the KUAMG too small to take 40 people? Or did the Captain of the vessel not wish to waste time with passengers-maybe he thought that the Australian government would refuse to take them and he would get stuck with them ?

    3. So no one rescued the people until 11.15pm when it was dark and the boat had sunk?

    4. The distress call was received on Sunday at 7.10am – The RAAF Orion Patrol plane was dispatched on Monday at 1.30pm – 30 hours later.

    5. This boat was in our Search and rescue zone – when was the boat first sighted?

    7. Why are asylum seekers left on failing boats instead of being transferred onto safe boats? This has happened before and is a cause of death.

    8. Why are asylum seekers rescued at the last possible moment? It would not happen to millionaire Yachties.

    In the Meditteranean refugee boats are regularly ignored even in extreme distress.

    It would be a moral tragedy if this approach was adopted off Australian shores.

    We need answers.


    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
    12 Batman Street Melbourne 3003
    Tel 03 93266066/ fax 0393265199/mob 0417517075
    http://www.asrc.org.au

    Like

  21. ‘Behind Australian Doors: Examining the Conditions of Detention of Asylum Seekers in Indonesia’

    MEDIA RELEASE EMBARGO: 12.01AM TUESDAY 3 NOVEMBER 2009

    Behind Australian Doors: Examining the Conditions of Detention of Asylum Seekers in Indonesia.

    A Report by Jessie Taylor BA(Hons) LLB(Hons) MSc(HA) (see attached)
    3 November 2009

    Contact: Jessie Taylor +64 22 638 6076 (until 12 November)
    +61 432 589 488 (from 12 November)

    A new empirical report released today describes poor conditions across many Indonesian
    immigration detention facilities. The report, produced by lawyer and refugee advocate Jessie Taylor, highlights cramped conditions, grossly inadequate hygiene and sanitation, rodent infestations, inadequate and inappropriate food, polluted water, and a lack of medical care available to asylum seekers.

    ‘Behind Australian Doors: Examining the Conditions of Detention of Asylum Seekers in Indonesia’ is based on Taylor’s examination of detention facilities throughout July 2009,
    during which she met with over 250 asylum seekers in 11 places of detention and
    accommodation across the Indonesian archipelago. Along with Taylor, film-maker David
    Schmidt obtained many hours of footage of conditions inside detention centres, and
    interviews with detainees, including children.

    “Conditions in asylum seekers’ accommodation ranges from acceptable to appalling”, said
    Taylor. “In the worst places, we saw babies and children behind bars, with filthy drinking
    water, deprived of basic education, malnourished and very, very frightened”.


    “Particularly confronting were conversations with unaccompanied minors, many of whom are housed in immigration jails with adult male populations”, Taylor said
    .

    According to the report, families are generally housed in more appropriate accommodation, when there are women and babies. However, there are many 13 to 17 year old children in adult jails, slipping through the cracks because they are alone and do not have parents or siblings to look out for them. The report observes that many are orphans with no family at all, while some have families who sent them away from home after older siblings were killed.

    Taylor expressed her surprise at the hesitance of asylum seekers to get on a boat. “On one thing, the Australian government and the asylum seekers agree completely: that it is a terrible idea to attempt the boat journey to Australia. Asylum seekers are horrified at the prospect, and are driven to make an attempt only after they are convinced at the hopelessness of their situation. At the moment, there is just no viable prospect of a safe, formal resettlement into Australia”.

    Department of Immigration and Citizenship figures indicate that in 2008-2009 there was
    resettlement of 35 people from Indonesia. According to Taylor, “these figures display the
    gross inadequacy of Australia’s resettlement program in dealing with the ‘queue’ in Indonesia.

    It must come as no surprise that, given the apparent impossibility of resettlement, asylum seekers make the frightening decision to attempt the boat journey, channeling profit to people smugglers”.

    The report recommends that in order to stop boats from coming, the Australian Government needs to install a controlled, robust and fair assessment and resettlement process from Indonesia to Australia, wiping out the demand for people smugglers. It must also increase its resettlement intake slightly to accommodate those found to be genuine refugees, in accordance with international obligations.

    “Given that there is no sign of a decrease in global refugee numbers, it is in the best interests of all parties (except people smugglers) that Australia should increase its resettlement intake and bolster the processing capabilities and efficiencies of the UNHCR, taking a leadership role in the Asia-Pacific region, and satisfying its obligations under international law”, Taylor said.

    Taylor and Schmidt hope to produce a documentary with the footage they have obtained,
    and are in the process of seeking funding to do so.

    Contact: Jessie Taylor
    +64 22 638 6076 (New Zealand – until 12 November)
    +61 432 589 488 (from 12 November)

    Like

  22. The Facts by Pamela Curr
    *Two boats- *
    “Merak”* is anchored off the Indonesian port of Merak and has 255 people on board including “Alex”- (see Senator Fielding Comments below- can’t even get his boats straight in this article in The Australian). These people came recently from Sri Lanka- we are trying to get exact numbers but we believe that over 90% have come out of the camps including Menik Farm.
    They are deeply traumatised and fear being returned to camps if they hand themselves over to the Indonesian government. 3 people from this boat have been hospitalised and 5 people with little children have left the boat because of the children.
    Last week water was restricted and no medical care given for conjunctivitis which was sweeping through the boat. Over 30 cases reported on Friday.
    The good news is that on Saturday Doctors arrived and provided treatment and the water restrictions were lifted. IOM and Indonesian officers are pressuring the people to disembark. However after living in camps in SL these people are not ready to commit to camps in Indonesia.
    This boat has dropped out of the media gaze- please watch carefully as they need us to ensure that their rights are respected. * the people on the boat are calling it the “Merak”
    “Ocean Viking” has 78 people on board. 37 of these people hold UNHCR refugee cards and most have been in Indonesia for years waiting for a place to call home.
    They are recognised as refugees but this is no guarantee of resettlement. Refugees have been warehoused in Indonesia since 2001 by first the Howard and then the Rudd Government. Eventually people realise that they must help themselves as no one else will help them.
    This is why the boats will continue to come from Indonesia where there are currently 2,107 people registered with UNHCR who are going nowhere.
    There are 50 people in Christmas island detention centres who hold UNHCR refugee cards.
    *RESETTLEMENT FACTS
    Australian resettlement from Indonesia
    2008-2009: 35 people
    2007-2008: 89 people
    2006-2007: 32 people*
    Total resettlement 2001 – 2009 was 460 people an average of 50 per year.

    You do not need to be a mathematical genius to work out the odds of resettlement.
    Life is Indonesia means no work, noschool even for primary school children and no future. People are fed and waterd and sheltered by IOM at Australia’s expense. However people are not cattle and need more in life than this which is why they take matters into their own hands- wouldn’t we?

    Senator Fielding said today it was the first he’d heard of the development but questioned whether the group, whose spokesman is a man called Alex, really were legitimate asylum-seekers.

    “I remember the first phone call we took from, I think Alex, his English wasn’t so good,” he told Network Ten. “Within two weeks his English is better than mine, so I’m not so sure how genuine some of these people are.”

    NOTE Alex explained that he had worked in India in a call centre and had “Accent Training”.

    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
    12 Batman Street Melbourne 3003
    Tel 03 93266066/ fax 0393265199/mob 0417517075
    http://www.asrc.org.au

    Like

  23. Iraqis pushed into exile

    ‘Refugee PULL FACTORS’
    by Pamela Curr

    Below are the first details of a PUSH factor. Over a million Iraqis in Syria who may soon be looking for new countries. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR] has called on the 26 resettlement countries (of which Australia is one) to increase their quota of refugees to accommodate some of this caseload.

    No doubt what will happen is a zero response and then these people, faced with no official offer of a future, will realise that they have to make their own future. And so the boats with Iraqis will begin again.

    Sharman Stone and the coalition will scream PULL factor because of Labor policy but the evidence is there for intelligent people to see.

    The Iraqis will not arrive in boats because of something they read in Hansard but rather because they cannot go home, the Syrians no longer want them, they may have family in Australia AND most of all they want a decent life and future for their children.

    UNHCR Struggling With Iraqi Refugees
    Published on October 29, 2009
    /by EU News Network/
    (EUNewsNet.com and OfficialWire)

    DAMASCUS, SYRIA

    Strict visa requirements, low incomes and a risky return home are forcing Iraqi refugee living in Syria to look abroad for a new home, U.N. officials say.

    Damascus reports as many as 1.1 million Iraqis crossing into the country since 2007. More are expected in the wake of the Aug. 19 and Oct. 25 attacks in Baghdad, the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, said.


    Andrej Mahecic, spokesman for UNHCR, told a delegation in Geneva earlier this month that the United Nations recommended the resettlement of more than 80,000 Iraqi refugees to other countries.

    Few Iraqis, meanwhile, have taken advantage of a U.N. repatriation program, though U.N. officials point to a growing number of refugees returning home.

    “Resettlement is only offered to a small percentage of refugees — less than 10 percent of the overall number (of those who apply for resettlement) are submitted, and from this 10 percent, a much smaller number actually get to go,” said Farah Dakhlallah, a UNHCR spokesperson in Damascus.

    U.N. officials have called on potential host countries, meanwhile, to expedite their assistance for the settlement of Iraqi refugees, the U.N.’s humanitarian news agency reports.

    “The UNHCR continues to encourage countries to take vulnerable Iraqis and we think potential host countries could enlarge their quotas,” said Dakhlallah. “There is a need and resettlement is a major issue for us.”


    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
    12 Batman Street Melbourne 3003
    Tel 03 93266066/ fax 0393265199/mob 0417517075
    http://www.asrc.org.au

    Like

Please keep comments brief (moderated for spam only)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.