- AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
- MEDIA RELEASE
- 28 October 2015
Read full media release here
Read full media release here
by Professor Louise Newman
Professor Louise Newman is the Director of the Centre for Women’s Mental Health at the Royal Women’s Hospital and Professor of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Convenor of the Alliance of Health Professions for Asylum Seekers and Vice-President of Doctors for Refugees.
Reporter – Ginny Stein
ABC’s Lateline – Transcript and Video – 21 October 2015
Nazanin remains in a hospital in Australia, her brother and mother remain in Australia’s black site on Nauru.
DR HELEN DRISCOLL: “One of the profound treatment needs when somebody is traumatised is to reverse what occurred during the trauma. That is, there needs to be safety, there needs to be not isolation, there needs to be connectedness, warmth and – and dignity. And so it’s UTTERLY IMPERATIVE THAT THE FAMILY BE TOGETHER.”
ABC’s Lateline – Transcript and Video – 21 October 2015
Dr Helen Driscoll is the consultant adolescent psychiatrist to juvenile justice centres in Victoria. Her particular interest is in the area of developmental adversity, and the long- term impact of childhood trauma. Previously, Helen as been the senior lecturer in Child Psychiatry at the Royal Children’s Hospital and University of Melbourne.
Her experience working as a medical doctor in a Cambodian Refugee camp following the Pol Pot regime was influential in her subsequent interest in trauma, both on the individual and systemic responses.
More than 50 Faith leaders hold urgent meeting to call on politicians to restore the human dignity of refugees and asylum seekers.
October 15 2015
For further information – John Rochester 0417 627 904.
According to lawyer Greg Barns and MP Andrew Wilkie, this coming week will see Australian Immigration minister Peter Dutton MP subject to a request re. Australia’s offshore asylum-seeker policy by International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors (see also Update, below).
This may be a good time to reprise all four submissions to the ICC – including the latest from RAC (Vic), which is provided in full in this article.
Read full article here
Ian Bremmer is President at Eurasia Group*, Foreign Affairs Columnist & Editor-at-Large at TIME and Global Research Professor at New York University
* Eurasia Group provides analysis and expertise on how political developments and national security dynamics move markets and shape investments across the globe. As the firm’s president and most active public voice, Bremmer advises leading executives, money managers, diplomats, and heads of state.
SMH – 11 October 2015
Doctors at the Royal Children’s Hospital are refusing to send back asylum seeker children to detention centres amid a showdown with the Immigration Department.
News Corp is reporting the doctors are concerned about the welfare of their dozens of patients and say it would be unethical to discharge them to unsafe conditions that could compromise their health.
Defying new federal laws threatening two years’ jail for health workers who speak out against immigration detention centre conditions, more than 400 of the hospital’s doctors stood together on Friday demanding children be released from detention.
“We see a whole range of physical, mental, emotional and social disturbances that are really severe and we have no hope of improving these things when we have to discharge our patients back into detention,” one paediatrician told News Corp.
Read more: here
by Jane Ryan
ABC News – 10 October 2015
Tasmania has become the second state in Australia to join the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) program, which allows processed refugees to be trained for work and access services.
The visa allows refugees to work, enrol in Medicare, receive some social security payments for up to 18 months and receive a Government school education if they are of age.
Read full article here
The future of Australia’s offshore detention regime has come under the spotlight in the High Court of Australia in Canberra.
Lawyers for a Bangladeshi woman argued it was illegal for the Australian Government to operate and pay for offshore detention in a third country.
If the court agrees, the whole offshore detention regime could be invalid.
Nauru announced on Monday it would end detention and process refugee applicationsfor the remaining 600 asylum seekers by the end of the week.
But the Australian and Nauruan governments deny the move had anything to do with the imminent High Court hearing.
Human Rights Law Centre’s director of legal advocacy Daniel Webb said the changes to the detention arrangements on Nauru were “one of the issues before the court”.
“Irrespective of these changes, there remain important and untested constitutional questions about the power of the Australian Government to pay and to control the detention of innocent people in other countries,” he said.
“Allowing people the freedom to go for a walk does not address the fundamental injustice inherent in leaving them languishing indefinitely on a tiny pacific island.”
Mr Webb said the case was being run on behalf of the Bangladeshi woman who was brought to Australia due to a serious deterioration in her health during the late stages of pregnancy and “who was now facing imminent return to Nauru with her 10-month-old baby”.
“This is the lead case linked to a series of challenges being run on behalf of more than 200 people in similar situations who have been brought to Australia from Nauru and Manus,” he said.
“They include men subjected to serious violence on Manus, women who’ve been sexually assaulted on Nauru and over 50 children, including 23 babies.”
The High Court heard the argument that the woman’s return and continued detention at Nauru would be illegal because Australian laws set up to support the offshore program were unconstitutional.
The case centres around whether the Government has the power to spend on large programs without parliamentary approval.
In June the Government passed changes to the Migration Act with the support of the Opposition to close a loophole it feared would see the High Court declare the entire system illegal.
The issue of parliamentary approval for funds for major policies was brought to light by the earlier school chaplains case where the High Court ruled large sums could not be allocated to programs without parliamentary approval.
Lawyers for the woman said they had challenged the new law as part of their case.
The court heard there was no constitutional power supporting the arrangement where the Government can send people offshore to be detained in a third country.
But the Government said the law was supported by several parts of the constitution, including the aliens power and the external affairs power.
On Wednesday, lawyers for the Commonwealth asked the High Court to throw out the challenge, saying the recent announcement by the Nauruan Government would give asylum seekers at the site more freedom.
They argued this meant there was nothing left in the case.
“Our primary submission is there’s now nothing left in this case where the court could give relief in respect to the future because of those facts,” Solicitor General Justin Gleeson said.
“The question has fallen away.
“Knowing that the facts now are radically different we would submit the court would not even entertain an injunction or prohibition.”
Solicitor General Gleeson said for the court to make a ruling on whether the Commonwealth lacked authority in this matter had “no relevant foreseeable consequence for the plaintiff”.
The hearing will continue on Thursday.
The Human Rights Law Centre said it had commenced legal action for more than 200 people who have been brought to Australia for medical treatment but were now facing forcible removal to Nauru.
While the legal issues are being contested, the Federal Government has promised not to return any of them without notice.
The Australian – 8 October 2015
EXCLUSIVE: THE Federal Government is in final negotiations to send refugees from Manus Island to the Philippines, in a deal worth around $150 million.
It is understood be part of a far broader Strategic Partnership Agreement now under discussion with the 100 million-strong Philippines, south-east Asia’s fifth largest economy, which would
also cover trade issues and a deeper security alliance.
The agreement is the fruits of months of diplomatic door knocking by Australian officials in the region, who have been desperate to find a solution to the increasingly politically problematic detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.
Both camps have gained notoriety for poor living conditions, with the killing of asylum seeker Reza Berati on Manus and accusations of rape and child abuse on Nauru.
News Corp understands that Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was given a verbal assurance by her Filipino counterpart Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert Del Rosario that the refugee deal would go ahead, at a meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week.
In comments to News Corp, Ms Bishop confirmed that she had held talks on refugee issues with Mr Del Rosario in New York but declined to reveal details of any agreements.
“The governments of Australia and the Philippines have long cooperated on irregular migration, people smuggling and human trafficking,” Ms Bishop said. “These issues are important to both countries, and to the region.”
Talks with the Philippines began in mid August, according to a senior official in the international refugee aid sector, and three meetings were held in the capital Manila in the lead up to the meeting of the foreign ministers last week.
Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues Andrew Goledzinowski, a former ambassador to the United Nations and adviser for foreign ministers Gareth Evans and Alexander Downer, has been leading the talks on the Australian side.
It is understood the deal has been backed by Mr Del Rosario and his Cabinet colleagues Justice Secretary Leila Del Lima and Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin — who preside over the Philippines inter-agency group on refugees.
The deal is now awaiting final sign-off of from Philippines President Begnino Aquino who faces significant opposition from sections of the country’s bureaucracy and aid agencies, including concerns that such an agreement would put the country on the radar of people smugglers as well as helping Australia dodge its legal obligations under the 1951 UN refugee treaty.
President Aquino said on September 8 that the Philippines was open to taking in refugees, with some reservations.
“The culture is there, but we want to make sure that we manage it properly, that we don’t take more than we can handle,” he said.
In initial talks Australia is understood to have offered the Philippines $30 million per year over five years, a total of $150 million but the final figure remains unclear.
There are also concerns in the Philippines that resettled refugees may attempt once more to use boats to try to reach wealthier nations such as Australia.
Mr Aquino previously turned down a direct request from former prime minister Julia Gillard in 2012 as she was seeking regional assistance for refugee processing, eventually announcing the aborted deal with Malaysia to process refugees, the aid agency source said.
The Philippines has always been a prime target for Australian officials when exploring refugee solutions, a former senior Immigration Department official said. Along with Cambodia, Papua
New Guinea and Nauru it is one of only four nations in the Asia Pacific, besides Australia and New Zealand, to have signed the UN treaty.
Unlike the other countries, the Philippines has had a long history of accepting and resettling refugees including people from Vietnam, Russia and East Timor. In May it offered to take ethnic Rohingya refugees from Myanmar after it emerged than more than 100,000 people had fled northern Myanmar and neighbouring Bangladesh.
News of a new deal comes only days after the government of Nauru, with behind the scenes prompting from Australia “opened” the Australian funded and managed detention camp there two days before a High Court case about the legality of the camp there was due to begin.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton denied the camp’s changed status — its inmates are now allowed to come and go as they please — was linked to the court hearing.
The United Nations High Commissioner for refugees declined to comment, referring News Corp to the Philippines government.
A spokesman for Mr Del Rosario said he “would look into it.”
Originally published as Manus refugees set for Philippines