Amnesty report on Nauru

Amnesty report shows Australia has turned Nauru into an open-air prison

October 2016

A new report from Amnesty International has condemned Australia for turning Nauru into an open-air prison, where refugees and people seeking asylum face a cruel and elaborate system of abuse.

The report, Island of Despair: Australia’s ‘processing of refugees’, is a disturbing and comprehensive expose of our government’s deliberate and systematic regime of neglect and cruelty. Based on months of research, including visits to the island and its detention centre, the report contains significant testimony about the systematic punishment of people who sought asylum in Australia.


Report on Christmas Island

Report on Christmas Island


In August 2016 Pamela Curr, from ASRC, and Sr Brigid Arthur, from the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project, travelled to Christmas Island to visit the men seeking asylum, who are currently held in the detention centre, more than 2600 kilometres from the nearest capital city, Perth

Read the full report here

Australian Bishops endorse “Bring Them Here” campaign


Statement in support of offshore detainees By Archbishop Denis Hart, President, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 13 October 2016

The Australian Bishops have endorsed the “Bring Them Here” campaign to return offshore detainees to Australia from Manus Island and Nauru, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said in a statement yesterday.

The President of the ACBC, Archbishop Denis Hart, said: “The Australian Catholic Bishops deplore the detention of our brothers and sisters on Nauru and Manus Island. While recognising the effort of the Government to find a solution, we say that enough is enough. We call on the Government to bring offshore detainees to Australia while awaiting further decisions on their future.

“We pledge the help of our Catholic communities and institutions to welcome and support these refugees when they arrive, including Catholic health, education and social services.”

Full Story:

How many migrants come to Australia each year?

How many migrants come to Australia each year?

by Henry Sherrell & Peter Mares

Inside Story – 14 October 2016

Attitudes towards a more generous refugee resettlement program are influenced by beliefs about how many migrants arrive each year. But making the calculation isn’t straightforward

Towards the end of ABC TV’s special “Sovereign Borders“ edition of Q&A came an intriguing but frustrating back-and-forth about the number of migrants Australia welcomes each year.

The key protagonists were Shen Narayanasamy, GetUp!’s human rights campaign director, and retired general Jim Molan, co-author of the Coalition’s refugee and asylum policy and Tony Abbot’s former special envoy for Operation Sovereign Borders.

[Shen Narayanasamy’s] laudable aim of encouraging Australians to support a much higher intake of humanitarian migrants needs to be based on firmer foundations than the flawed assertion that Australia already accepts 800,000 migrants every year (not least because for many people this high figure might be reason to slam the entry gate shut rather than open it wider).

There is no doubt we could do much more. History, and migration numbers, tell us as much. In 1980–81 under Coalition prime minister Malcolm Fraser, Australia had a population of just below fifteen million people and resettled 22,545 humanitarian migrants. We have never reached that number again. If we resettled an equivalent number of refugees proportionally to our population today, then our current annual humanitarian intake would exceed 33,000 people. This is 75 per cent above the increased intake of 19,000 people promised by Malcolm Turnbull at the recent refugee summit in New York, and significantly beyond Labour’s election promise to increase Australia’s humanitarian intake to 27,000 by 2025. Yet we are a much richer country today than we were in 1981.

Read the full article here

What the appointment of Antonio Guterres as UN secretary-general means for the refugee crisis

What the appointment of Antonio Guterres as UN secretary-general means for the refugee crisis

by  , Professor of Law, University of Essex

The Conversation – October 14, 2016

When António Guterres starts his role as the next secretary-general of the United Nations (UN) in January 2017, he may feel that not much has changed since he stood down a year earlier as the head of its refugee agency, the UNHCR.

Given that there are currently over 65m persons displaced who are of concern to UNHCR, plus around another 15 to 20m people displaced by disasters and climate change, the need for joined-up thinking across the UN to respond to this global crisis has never been greater. The new secretary-general’s previous experience can help galvanise the whole organisation as it seeks to lead the international community’s response to the world’s displacement crisis.

Read the full article here


Pamela Curr: Impending Retirement

Impending retirement of well-known refugee advocate


Pamela at our recent National RAR Conference in Bendigo

Pamela Curr Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Melbourne 4 October 2016

Dear Friends

I am retiring at the end of October.” It’s Time” as they say.

Luckily for our people in detention, an experienced, knowledgeable, feisty advocate is stepping into the ASRC Detention’ Advocate role. Natasha Blucher who was the coordinator of DASSAN the Darwin project for people seeking asylum has agreed to take up the ASRC detention advocate position.

Tash will work with our wonderful legal team fighting for rights for our folks in detention and just released from detention. Tash knows the system and its pitfalls well from her experience on Nauru and in Darwin. She comes onboard at a hard time when conditions in detention are daily more prisonlike and punitive but she is more than capable of taking on the struggle.

So not goodbye yet – just an alert.

Pamela Curr