Asylum Seekers On Nauru Protest For Fourth Day, After 1000 Days In Detention
Huffington Post – Josh Butler. 24 March 2016
Asylum seekers on Nauru have been protesting for four days, as some of them prepare to mark 1000 days detained in Australian immigration detention on the island nation.
Good Friday will be the 1000th day in detention for some asylum seekers. That’s more than two years and nine months.
While a number of asylum seekers have been determined to be genuine refugees and been officially resettled on Nauru — with freedom of movement around the island, an ability to get jobs and start a proper life — many are in limbo, awaiting processing and the determination of their refugee status, and mostly confined to the detention centre on the island. That’s what Ian Rintoul, of advocacy group Refugee Action Coalition, told The Huffington Post Australia.
He said “hundreds” of asylum seekers — men, women and children — who haven’t had their refugee status determined have been protesting at the gates of the facility for four days, since March 20. Chanting, brandishing hand-painted signs and partially blocking the main gate into their camp, the asylum seekers are calling for faster processing of their refugee applications.
WASHINGTON, DC – If the only refugee crisis that the world faced today were in Syria, it would be challenging and heartbreaking enough. But the tragic truth is that the Syrian crisis is the tip of an enormous – and expanding – iceberg. Many other refugee crises around the world never make it into the international headlines. Indeed, a staggering 86% of the world’s refugees live in developing countries, most of which draw very little media attention.
Chad is one such country. With roughly 13 million people, Chad is situated at the center of immense regional turmoil, conflict, and instability. As a result, it hosts more than 372,000 refugees. These are people who have fled violence in Sudan’s Darfur region to the east of Chad, a shattering civil war in the Central African Republic to its south, and the escalating terror of Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighboring countries to the west.
Julia Gillard Pens Piece On “Heartbreaking” Refugee Situation: Someone Should Send It To 2012
By Max Chalmerson
New Matilda – The Insiders Blog
Fate – and perhaps in some cases, guilt – do funny things to politicians in retirement.
Phillip Ruddock, who has done more than most to put Australia’s refugee policies profoundly at odds with international human rights obligations, is now the nation’s ‘special envoy’ for human rights.
Joe Hockey, who railed against entitlement while proving thoroughly inadequate in his own job as Treasurer, has been rewarded with the prime position of US Ambassador.
And now it seems that Julia Gillard – who excised the entire Australian mainland so that refugees who arrived by boat would not be afforded the same rights as others under Australian law; sent men, women and children to offshore detention; and effectively suspended the processing of thousands of claims for asylum – has decided retirement is the perfect time to become a refugee advocate.
In a piece published recently on opinion portal Project Syndicate, the former Australian Prime Minister turned Board Chair for the Global Partnership for Education, notes that the organisation she now works for recently provided a $7 million grant to Chad. The goal was to assist in providing education services to the hundreds of thousands of refugees forced into the country by surrounding instability. In explaining the move, Gillard appealed to readers to think of the children.
Freemantle City speaks out for Refugees – 18 March 2016
The City of Fremantle reaffirms its commitment to RCOA Refugee Welcome Zone
… and …
The City of Fremantle reviews its policy to incorporate the four principles of the No Business in Abuse (NBIA) pledge, thereby excluding from future contracts, tenders or business dealings any companies involved in Australia’s offshore and onshore immigration processing system that fail to meet the NBIA pledge requirements from any future contracts, tenders or other business dealings.
Overwhelming evidence indicates severe and systemic abuse of asylum seekers’ human rights is occurring within Australia’s immigration processing system. There has been the surge of concern about the conditions in Australia’s offshore detention centres in particular as a result of the impending deportation 267 asylum seekers, focussed especially around the the fate of “Baby Asha” who doctors at the Lady Cilento Hospital in Brisbane only agreed to release on the condition that she would not be returned to Nauru.
The immigration detention system is administered in contravention of the obligations upon all business enterprises to respect fundamental human rights as set out within the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The preamble to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights calls on “every individual and every organ of society” to promote and respect human rights. This council is an important institution in our community, and takes this responsibility seriously – to lead by example in encouraging responsible business practices and the adherence to human rights standards.
Council resolves to:
a. Reaffirm its membership of the Refugee Council of Australia’s group of “Refugee Welcome Zone” local governments.
b. Congratulate State Premiers and Territory First Ministers for their leadership in calling for Australia to allow the 267 children and their families who are seeking asylum and are due to be returned to offshore detention camps on Nauru and Manus Islands to remain in Australia.
c. Write to Premier Barnett asking him to follow the example of his interstate counterparts and to offer to welcome these children and their families to Fremantle if they are allowed to stay in Australia; and offer to support them in their settlement process through liaison with local community services to develop a strategy of how these people could be supported within the Fremantle community.
d. Write to the Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull urging him to allow the 267 people seeking asylum who face return to offshore detention camps on Nauru and Manus Islands to remain in Australia and urge his government to end the cruel and inhumane system of offshore detention by closing down these centres, bringing all asylum seekers and refugees who have been released to Australiaand immediately ceasing the practice of boat “turnbacks”.
e. Promote the “Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees” at St George’s Cathedral on Sunday 20 March and participate through the organising of a Fremantle contingent in cooperation with local refugee rights supporters.
2. It is incumbent on the City of Fremantle to consider its business relationships with companies who hold contracts in Australia’s system of mandatory detention, and the impact these companies’ activities are having on asylum seekers and refugees. In light of the recent publication of a No Business in Abuse report detailing the complicity of Broadspectrum (formerly Transfield Services) and its security sub-contractor Wilson Security in gross human rights abuses occurring within Australia’s offshore detention regime, it is particularly incumbent on the City of Fremantle to better understand its business relationships with Broadspectrum and its associated entities.
By adopting this resolution, the City of Fremantle therefore:
A. Agrees, in principle, to only support and/or contract companies, institutions and organisations that refuse to support or profit from the system of offshore detention and practices which abuse the fundamental human rights of asylum seekers. A company that is not abusive is one which:
i. Has zero tolerance for child abuse, in policy and practice;
ii. Respects people’s fundamental rights to freedom from arbitrary and indefinite detention;
iii. Does not treat people in a cruel, inhumane or degrading manner;
iv. Commits to transparency and independent monitoring to ensure these principles are upheld.
B. Commission a report mapping the City of Fremantle’s exposure to Broadspectrum and its associated entities. The report shall include:
i. A list of all current contracts and investments with Broadspectrum and Wilson Security;
ii. The possibility of future contracts and investments with Broadspectrum and Wilson Security;
iii. The possibility and legality of the City excluding Broadspectrum and Wilson Security
iv. Recommendations to council for appropriate action in relation to the above.
C. The City of Fremantle review its procurement policy to incorporate the four principles of the No Business in Abuse (NBIA) pledge, thereby excluding from future contracts, tenders or business dealings any companies involved in Australia’s offshore and onshore immigration processing system that fail to meet the NBIA pledge requirements from any future contracts, tenders or other business dealings.
ANALYSIS OF REFUGEE RECOGNITION RATES FOR BOAT ARRIVALS, 1976-2015
Refugee Council of Australia: March 2016
For many years, Australian politicians and other public figures have debated whether or not asylum seekers reaching Australia by boat have serious claims for refugee protection or are merely “economic migrants”. To answer this question, the Refugee Council of Australia has analysed Australian Government statistics about visa outcomes for boat arrivals from 1976 to 30 June 2015
CONCLUSION Refugee recognition rate for Australia’s boat arrivals to June 2015: 81% From the above statistics sourced from the Immigration Department and the Australian Parliament, we conclude that 37,491 asylum seekers who reached Australia by boat between January 1976 and June 2015 have had some decision about their refugee status. Of these, we estimate that 81.1% (30,400 people) have been given permanent or temporary protection in Australia or elsewhere.
n 2003, I wrote a short book entitled Mr Ruddock Goes to Geneva. The book was not as superficial as its title might have suggested. It was in fact a serious study of Australia’s vexed relationship with the UN Human Rights Treaty System. My argument was that the Howard Government should have given the recommendations from UN Human Rights Treaty bodies about ways in which Australia could improve its observance of human rights more thoughtful consideration.
Instead, the Government had adopted the habit of rejecting any criticism of its human rights record out of hand. This came at the cost potentially of retarding the interests and well-being of many disadvantaged Australian citizens, not least those of the nation’s indigenous peoples and those seeking asylum in the country.
The book’s title, however, had meaning. It referred to a now legendary performance by then Minister for Immigration, Philip Ruddock, before the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in its 2002 periodic review of Australia’s compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Mr Ruddock’s appearance took place against the background of a considerable change in the Government’s attitudes and actions in relation to human rights. The Government had wound back native title. It had steadfastly refused to apologise to or compensate the stolen generations. Aboriginal reconciliation had ground to an acrimonious halt. In response to a surge in people seeking political asylum, the Government had hardened the policy of mandatory detention, and built far flung detention centres in which asylum seekers were detained behind barbed wire fences.
Mr Ruddock’s performance before the UN Committee was, by any account, a dismal failure. His demeanour was arrogant and condescending. His arguments served only to harden the Committee’s opinion that Australia, a nation whose human rights record had been admired, had joined the ranks of countries known routinely to violate the freedoms and entitlements of their citizens.