Refugee Harsh facts from Darwin

I am passing on the Dassan news because it is a salutary lesson of what is coming our way. This is what our friends in NT are dealing with.

Dear friends,

In the middle of the night last week the Government removed around 40 men, women and children from the Wickham Point detention centre to Nauru.

They did it by force (with handcuffs and dogs)
They did it by stealth (at 2am)
They did it despite legitimate concerns for the health and safety of the people they transferred.
We will keep fighting for safety and justice for those who have come here asking for protection. You can support our advocacy work here.
Today the secrecy provision in the Border Force Act becomes law – under this legislation it is a criminal offence, punishable by up to two years imprisonment, for anyone who has previously or currently worked in immigration detention to “make a record of or disclose” information regarding their employment. Read the powerful testimony of two of the Save the Children staff, fired because of a false intelligence report about their conduct, speaking publicly for the first time; testimony that may well be illegal after today; “People’s mental health violently disintegrating, children becoming institutionalised and becoming very, very mentally unwell or physically unwell. We know that we’re causing unbelievable harm to people and yet we continue to do it for a political goal.“.

In the last week a bill was passed with the support of the ALP which ensures there is no mandatory reporting of child abuse on Nauru. And despite the passing of rushed legislation, the high court challenge to the Australian government’s offshore processing regime is going ahead. In Andrew Wilkie’s words ( the only member of the House of Representatives to vote against the bill : “ we are a fortunate and a clever country. We are a signatory to any number of international agreements…When someone comes to our shores and claims to be fleeing for their life, we are ethically and legally bound to give that person protection, to hear their claim, and to give them permanent refuge if their claim is found to be accurate… the fact is that most people who come to our shores claiming to flee for their life are found to be fleeing for their life. The regime that has been in place now for a number of years by a number of governments… downright wrong. We should get rid of it. And when that is a difficult decision to make, we should be strong. And when it’s controversial in the community we should be leaders, and we should explain to the community what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. We shouldn’t be playing to the faultlines in the community — we shouldn’t be playing to racism and xenophobia and the other weaknesses in an otherwise great country.”

Full news wrap up here

Read on for events coming up, ways to get involved and how to take action


  • The next DASSAN meeting is on Monday July 6th at 6pm at The Nightcliff Uniting Church – all welcome!
  • All welcome to stand witness with us at our weekly vigils outside the Department of Immigration , Thursdays 12 -1, and at Wickham point Sundays 430pm. dassan2011

    Together we can create change.

    The DASSAN Team

    Letter writing program co-ordinator We receive letters for people in detention from all over Australia. Are you interested in helping coordinate this program? More info – email dassan2011
    Market Stall – help needed! The stall is the DASSAN shop front where people can come and ask questions and get the truth rather than misinformation. It’s where lots do come to offer support and where others come with an opposing view that we can at least engage with. It’s where public opinion can begin to change. We work in 3 shifts, between 730am and 2pm. Support and a friendly welcome offered to all. Please contact Meri dassan2011
    Clown volunteers needed! Humanitarian clowns will be visiting Wickham Point Detention Centre on Thursday 25th June at 10am. If you are interested in getting involved, please email humanitarianclownsnt

    Events Coming Up

    NEXT DASSAN MEETING MONDAY July 6th Nightcliff Uniting Church, Cummins St, Rapid Creek , 6pm Come along to our next meeting for an update on latest events DASSAN meets on the first Monday of every month ( unless there is a public holiday ) with guest speakers, information updates and sharing and campaign planning. This is also the place to find out latest news, share information and help plan DASSAN activities, such as our visitor and support program, and our advocacy work. All welcome! Contact us for more information
    National Freedom Forum to call for West Papuan Independence July 4-6
    Darwin will host a three day Freedom Forum July 4-6 with interstate and international guests discussing the brutal Indonesian military occupation of West Papua and developments towards a free and independent nation. The conference program will feature Australian Indigenous and West Papuan cultural and political exchanges on experiences of grassroots organising against colonial occupation. The forum invites the broader Darwin community to discuss opportunities to work together towards independence for our West Papaun neighbours.
    More information
    DASSAN VISITOR SOCIAL NIGHT Monday July 20th Trailer Boat Club 5- 630 pm
    Now more than ever we need friendly visitors – come along to the visitor social night to get together with others who are friendly visitors, to share stories and experiences, and provide support to each other and generally have a laugh. Every third Monday of the Month. At: Darwin Trailer Boat Club, 5-6.30pm New and current visitors welcome. Drop in anytime for a drink or light meal together. Bistro specials begin at 6pm. We’ll be there from 5 pm – if the group wants to stay later of course that is welcomed. Bring yourself, family, partner, friends all welcome.
    We always have many people on our list very keen for a friendly visit so if this is something you’ve been thinking about now is a great time to take the plunge. Contact us for more information.

Department of Immigration, 40 Cavenagh St, Darwin, 12 – 1 pm
    SUNDAY at Wickham Point between 430 and 6pm
    Richard is now back and welcomes others to join him in standing witness.
    Please contact us for more information

    Asylum Seeker Education Workshops for Schools Educational workshops are now being offered to schools through the Asylum Seeker Legal Education Project run by Multicultural Youth NT (MyNT) in collaboration with DASSAN. This project delivers educational workshops to school students with the aim of increasing understanding, empathy and compassion towards asylum seekers. Workshops are delivered to schools free of charge. If you’re interested in having a session run at your school please contactworkshops.mynt. This project is supported by the Northern Territory Law Society-Public Purposes Trust.
    Take Action

    Helping with people at risk of return to Nauru and Manus Island – what you can do
    1) Write to politicians – The Minister for Immigration, the Opposition spokesperson on Immigration, our local senators Warren Snowden and Nigel Sculliion, our local member Natasha Griggs and ALP candidate Luke Gosling. Tell them you do not support sending vulnerable people including babies who are only months old to Nauru, nor single men being returned to the guards in Manus who caused the injuries for which they were brought for treatment in Darwin

    2) If you haven’t already joined our visitor program, you can visit people in detention at risk of removal. This ensures they know they are supported. It also means that we can keep track of what is happening for them. Contact dassanadvocacy

    3) We are currently updating our database which tracks information about all the asylum seekers we have contact with to ensure we can respond as quickly as possible to any threats of removal or other needs. We need help with transferring and entering data. If you have an hour or two contactdassanadvocacy

    4) Consider donating to our advocacy fund – we need financial resources to support high court actions working to stop these transfers. Donations to DASSAN, Bendigo Bank, BSB: 633-000, Account Number :143875664 – please write ‘advocacy major appeal’ in donation details

    5) Write to newspapers, comment in the media, talk to friends – help balance the fear and misinformation with facts.

    Helping our advocacy work Here in Darwin the DASSAN advocacy team is working every day, including trying to prevent vulnerable people being retuned to Nauru and Manus Island. Thank you to the many generous supporters who enable us to do this work. To support our advocacy work you can donate to the advocacy fund by direct deposit to DASSAN, Bendigo Bank, BSB: 633-000, Account Number :143875664 – please write ‘advocacy major appeal’ in donation details

    Market Stall – help needed! The stall is the DASSAN shop front where people can come and ask questions and get the truth rather than misinformation. It’s where lots do come to offer support and where others come with an opposing view that we can at least engage with. It’s where public opinion can begin to change. We work in 3 shifts, between 730am and 2pm. Support and a friendly welcome offered to all. Please email Meri. dassan2011 .

    Support the call for a moratorium on offshore transfers
    DASSAN works to support asylum seekers and work for change and justice, including calling for a moratorium on offshore transfer with more than 120 organisations across Australia – add your support here.

    Join the HESTA divestment campaign One thing that we can all do in order to continue to build political pressure to change policies is engage in the divestment campaign, withdrawing our money from the companies that profit from mandatory detention. If you haven’t yet seen it make sure you check out the newly launched #HESTADivest website and facebook page.

    Sign and share this petitioncalling for media access to Nauru and Manus Island

    Help with grant writing and submission writing Do you have skills in grant applications or writing submissions to Government Inquiries? If so we would love your help! Please contactdassan2011

    Visiting in detention We still have many people in detention who would like a visitor from the community. If you are interested in joining group or individual visits please contactdassanvisits

    Writing to people in detention You can send letters to someone in detention c/- DASSAN atdassanletters more information here.

    A Place to Call Home – a simple way to support asylum seekers living in our community Asylum seekers on bridging visas receive the equivalent of 89% of Centrelink entitlements. Many are not permitted to work. Most arrive in the community with very little and need to set up a household from scratch. You can help them to feel at home as they begin their new lives in Darwin. Join the ‘A Place to Call Home – Darwin’ Facebook page

    Know or heard about something in detention others should be aware of? If you work or are locked up in a detention centre, or have heard about something occurring inside detention that the media or Australian public may be interested in please contact DASSAN. DASSAN has experience working with a number of people who work inside, visit or are detained inside detention centres and your correspondence with DASSAN will remain confidential. DASSAN does not release the names of asylum seekers or its sources to the media and has good contacts with sympathetic journalists where a matter is particularly sensitive.

    we acknowledge the Larrakia people, traditional owners and custodians of the country on which we live and work

    until we are all free, none of us are free

    Pamela Curr
    Refugee and Detention Rights Advocate
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

    Please note our new address details:

    214 – 218 Nicholson St
    Footscray Vic 3011
    T: 03 9326 6066
    M: 0417 517 075
    F: 03 9689 1063
    E: pamela.c
    ASRC is on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation

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