dreamer_easy: (refugees)
Vigils will be held nationwide on Wednesday 19 July 2017 to demand the detainees on Manus and Nauru be safely evacuated to Australia. The United Nations has called for the immediate evacuation of both camps.

The illegal detention centre on Manus Island will close on 31 October. Services are being closed down in an effort to force refugees out, including food and the gym, which is critical to detainees' mental health. The refugees are being told to go to the Lorengau Transit Centre, where they fear attack from Papua New Guinean locals - with plenty of good reason, given four violent robberies of refugees in the last month. Some refugees are in danger of refoulement. Essentially, the men are being punished for having been illegally imprisoned.

Doctors for Refugees tell the story of a maintenance worker at the Manus Island detention centre who saved a refugee's life by defying the government's gag order.

"The Australian Border Force admitted internally that it failed to respond appropriately to allegations of sexual assault and abuse on Nauru but did not disclose these findings to a parliamentary inquiry."

Despite being recognised as a refugee, Pari, the partner of Omid Masoumali, has been indefinitely detained in isolation in Australia since Omid's terrible death in April 2016. "He was ambitious, intelligent, invincible. But after three years, even Omid was broken." As many as fifty similar suicide attempts and threats of suicide followed his death.

In an excerpt from a compilation of Nauru detainees' stories, They Cannot Take the Sky, Benjamin describes the three years since his arrival with his family at age eighteen. "I wasted all of the best time in my entire life, the time that I was about to make my future happen, the time that I promised myself I would study hard and become the best." He also describes Omid's suicide attempt, which he witnessed.

A severe outbreak of dengue fever on Nauru affected at least one in ten refugees.

The savage damage done to the mind of a five year old refugee girl imprisoned with her family on Nauru has resulted in an out of court settlement. Her family is currently in community detention in Brisbane. Another five year old girl was compensated for similar damage done on Christmas Island.

Meanwhile, a refugee family have been split by detention for three years, with father and son left on Nauru while mother and daughter receive medical treatment in Australia

dreamer_easy: (refugees)
Child asylum seeker wins government payout over Christmas Island detention trauma (GA, 26 April 2017). The girl, "suffered recurrent dental abscesses and recurrent allergic reactions while in detention on Christmas Island and was also diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression with anxiety, separation anxiety, stuttering and bed-wetting." | Children are being damaged in detention – Australia's day of reckoning will come (GA, 27 April 2017)

Catching up on links.

At What Cost? The Human, Economic and Strategic Cost of Australia's Asylum Seeker Policies and the Alternatives. Report from Save the Children and UNICEF, September 2016.

Detention abuse inquiry did not interview children so as to not 'traumatise them further' (GA, 6 March 2017) IIUC the report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is due at the end of this year.

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Report on Christmas Island (August 2016). From the introduction: "The Christmas Island detention centre holds around 30 men seeking asylum mixed in with about 200 men exiting prisons from across Australia after serving sentences of varying length for crimes of varying severity. This places the men seeking asylum at significant risk of harm due to the simmering resentment of some of the ex-prisoner population. The effects of the extreme isolation, fear of violence, uncertain future, and lack of adequate mental health care has had a deeply dehumanising effect on these men. The detention centre on Christmas Island is run as a high security military camp where control is based on fear and punishment and the extensive internal use of extrajudicial punishment by force and isolation is evident." | 'I do not deserve this,' pleads asylum seeker detained with violent criminals on Christmas Island (SMH, 27 September 2016) | Australia's forgotten detention centre: the peculiar torture of Christmas Island's asylum seekers locked up with hardened criminals (SMH, 17 September 2016)


This is the most recent news I can find on the boat that sank off Christmas Island: Siev 221 tragedy: class action adjourned as asylum seeker boat survivors seek documents (GA, 28 September 2016)

Going even further back in time: Christmas Island detention centres to close as part of immigration savings (GA, 12 May 2016) They won't be mourned (the shire president describes them as having been "a disaster" for the community.)

End Immigration Detention of Children is a worldwide organisation; their Australian branch is the End Child Detention Coalition.

dreamer_easy: (refugees)
Sending Children To Hell Without An Exit Strategy (Huffington Post Australia, 19 February 2016). Senator Sarah Hanson-Young: "... the government wants people to believe that there are only two options; either treat people seeking asylum cruelly or let them risk their lives on the open ocean. I'm here to explain that there is a third way... The Australian Greens want to put a fair and efficient process in place that would see people's claims for protection assessed in the region, before they are forced into taking a dangerous boat journey. For that to work, Australia needs to lead a huge effort in our region; establishing reception facilities in Indonesia and Malaysia, operating them so that people have access to healthcare and education, funding the UNHCR so that they can assess people's claims quickly, and then bringing those that need protection here safely. And let's be honest, if the government genuinely cared about dangerous boat journeys they wouldn't tow them back out to sea, they'd fund proper search and rescue operations."

Holy shit, somebody said it: Psychiatrist likens immigration detention to Nazis and gulags (SMH, 16 February 2016). "'Public numbing and indifference' towards state abuses in Nazi Germany resembles that enabling Australia's immigration detention centres, a prominent psychiatrist says, also likening public complicity in the detention regime to the White Australia policy."

Australian doctors should boycott working in detention centres (SMH, 18 February 2016), argues a former Australian immigration detention doctor.

Refugee left homeless in Papua New Guinea after being resettled from Australian-run detention (GA, 19 February 2016)

Catching up on links:

Key witness in Reza Barati murder trial fears he will be killed on Manus Island (GA, 16 January 2016)

How Australia's immigration detention regime crushed Fazel Chegeni (GA, 21 December 2015)

Manus Island: asylum seeker who lost eye in riot has claim against government, G4S settled (SMH, 18 December 2015)
dreamer_easy: (refugees)
Innocents suffered 'unconscionable abuse' after Christmas Island riots, advocate says (SMH, 13 November 2015): "Detainees who had nothing to do with the riot on Christmas Island were kept in cages, denied food and water and forced to urinate on the ground for more than 24 hours after police regained control of the facility."

'Fazel is free now, God gave him a visa' (SMH 14 November 2015)

Fazel Chegeni: Who was the man whose death in detention sparked a riot on Christmas Island? (ABC, 14 November 2015)

Christmas Island riot: Detainees stripped of their mobile phones (SMH, 12 November 2015)

Christmas Island detention: why is Australia deporting so many people? (GA, 14 November 2015). Helpful backgrounder on Section 501 of the Migration Act, the 600% jump in the number of "501s" being detained, why so many people are stuck in detention, and the actual crimes committed - ranging from serious violent crimes to "multiple driving offences" and... nothing.

People smuggler payment scandal: Captain asked Australian official for 'help' (SMH, 13 November 2015). The people returned to Indonesia thanks to the bribe made to the people smuggler taking them to New Zealand have appealed to that nation for help, with no response.

Cash-for-visas could 'help people smugglers and hurt the economy' (GA, 13 November 2015)
dreamer_easy: (refugees)
Secrecy over Christmas Island death 'blatant nonsense', says former Administrator of the Australian Indian Ocean Territories (GA, 11 November 2015). "Jon Stanhope says Coalition should be open about Fazel Chegeni's death, not use coroner's involvement as reason to not elaborate."

Kiwi inmates on Christmas Island 'beating weaker detainees' (The Australian, 10 November 2015): "... in the last month I've seen more than 25 bashings. They bash people for anything. They say, 'Give me your phone'. You say, 'I'm not going to give you my phone'. And they bash you. They take your phone."

Christmas Island riot: Seven detainees moved to 'correctional facility' in WA as vision emerges of damage (ABC, 11 November 2015).
dreamer_easy: (refugees)
Christmas Island unrest: Five injured as security forces take control of detention centre (SMH 10 November 2015)

Police backup flown in to Christmas Island as detention centre unrest continues (SMH 10 November 2015)

Riot breaks out at Christmas Island detention centre after detainee death: reports (SMH 8 November 2015)

Christmas Island detention centre: Peter Dutton blames riot on 'core group of criminals' as extra police sent to restore order (ABC 10 November 2015)

I was puzzled at first as to why Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was keen to remind us that Christmas Island now houses many criminals due for deportation on character grounds, but that serves two purposes: one, it shifts the spotlight away from asylum seekers, refugees, visa over-stayers, and non-violent criminals in the centre; two, if anyone had got killed, it would've make the authorities' actions seem more reasonable.
dreamer_easy: (refugees)
Christmas Island: Peter Dutton says people in 'stand-off' with authorities following detainee's death (ABC 9 November 2015)

Christmas Island detainees describe burning, ransacking of buildings following death of escapee (ABC 9 November 2015)

Christmas Island detainees fear retribution following unrest over death of escapee (GA 9 November 2015)

Christmas Island unrest: 'When the ninja turtles began bashing the man it just went off from there' (SMH 9 November 2015) ""We heard [Fazel Chegeni] screaming. I think they were chasing him through the jungle. Then the screams just stopped." "Amid escalating tensions, a friend of the Iranian Kurd began verbally abusing guards and claiming they had killed his friend. The riot broke out after the 'ninja turtles' - the nickname given to the riot squad officers by the inmates - began bashing the man."

Refugee found dead after escaping Christmas Island detention centre (GA 8 November 2015)
dreamer_easy: (refugees)
Doctors call for asylum seeker on Nauru to be brought to Australia to give birth (SMH 6 October 2015). The mother is diabetic and her child will require intensive neonatal care.

Asylum seeker dies after escaping Christmas Island detention centre (ABC 8 November 2015)

Cost of offshore detention centres on Nauru, Manus Island blows out by $100 million: Immigration Department annual report (ABC 7 November 2015). To make just one comparison, Australia's audio, radio, and TV archive could be saved for one-tenth of that. Offshore detention bill hits $280m for three months, Senate hearing told (SMH 19 October 2015). To make another comparison, the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children has been allocated $119.5 million over four years.

But this glorious article makes all other comparisons irrelevant: Stop the boats – it's cheaper to fly.

If you're eating as you read this, I apologise. Human teeth found in meal served to asylum seekers on Manus Island (GA 3 November 2015). Transfield (now Broadspectrum) denies this, as well as the outbreak of food poisoning - although its own staff back up the reports. Oh well, could be worse than teeth in your tucker: another UXB turned up in the family camp on Nauru.

Leading health agencies call for Australian detention centres to be independently monitored (ABC 16 October 2015)

A Civil Society complaint is to be filed by Refugee Action Collective Victoria at the International Criminal Court (Press release 19 October 2015) I don't know what chance this might have of succeeding, but if we can't haul the pollies into court, I hope it at least adds to their continuing international embarrassment.

Asylum seeker Government sent back to Syria injured in shelling, father killed (ABC 21 October 2015)

Not muzzled: Red Cross denies it paid Immigration multimillion-dollar bond (SMH 4 November 2015)

UN's Nauru verdict: A poor, isolated island ravaged by phosphate mining (SMH 2 November 2015).

NT Senator Nova Peris denied access to Christmas Island detention centre in her electorate (GA 19 October 2015)
dreamer_easy: (refugees)
Nauru's move to open its detention centre makes it "more dangerous" for asylum seekers (SMH, 8 October 2015): "Some of the new accommodations outside the centre are unguarded and remote and there are reports of break-ins and regular sexual taunts and threats. Young men report being bashed, or having rocks thrown at them while riding motorbikes. And in no instance has the Nauruan police charged locals for wrongdoing." (This article contains a harrowing account of the life of the Somali refugee woman who was allegedly raped in August.)

Peter Dutton says Australia will move pregnant rape victim from Nauru if advised by doctors (ABC, 10 October 2015)

Asylum seekers say they are under attack as violence erupts in detention centres (GA, 1 October 2015): "An influx of '501s' – non-citizens about to be removed from Australia because of a criminal conviction – into detention centres at Christmas Island and Yongah Hill has sparked an outbreak of violence, with regular reports of beatings, criminal damage, theft and intimidation."
dreamer_easy: (refugees)
A few different things.

Nine refugees, plus six asylum seekers, landed on Christmas Island in March, but were sent back to Indonesia.

The Migration Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2015 "would give the federal government - and private contractors managing the centres - a level of immunity for personal injury claims that is not even available in relation to the actions of police officers." Essentially it would make lawful the lawlessness already present in detention centres when it comes to the treatment of asylum seekers.

The government is negotiating with Iran in hopes of getting them to accept Iranian asylum seekers unsuccessful in their bid for refugee status.

Transfield Services, who run the detention centres on Manus and Nauru, "has warned staff they can be fired as a result of who their friends are on Facebook or who follows them on Twitter and has forbidden them from joining political parties or churches that oppose offshore processing. It has also cautioned them not to 'embarrass' the company or the government or reveal how asylum seekers are treated." Too late: we know.

Federal Government to spend $4 million on TV drama to deter would-be asylum seekers. Why don't they just put together a tape of news items?

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has admitted that boats continue to leave Indonesia for Australia, but that only his government can keep them "largely stopped" because "any other government, I suspect, would quickly succumb to the cries of the human rights lawyers". Shadow Minister for Immigration Richard Marles remarked that "It is astonishing that human rights has become an enemy of this government." (Until the ALP changes its policies, of course, human rights are also its enemy.)

A review into Morrison's immigration excesses: "Scott Morrison's determination to cement his reputation as the hard man of the Abbott Government led him to repeatedly ignore due process and seize on unverified information coming out of Nauru and Manus Island."

What Australia, and the Liberal Party, used to be like: The Vietnamese refugee with so much to thank former prime minister Malcolm Fraser for

Criminals awaiting deportation at Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre have threatened and assaulted asylum seekers. An inquiry into brutality at the centre was announced in February.
dreamer_easy: (refugees)
194 people, including 94 children, have been transferred from detention on Christmas Island to the Bladin Point detention facility in Darwin.

Despite the promise to remove all children from mainland detention, more than 20 pregnant women and their babies will be sent to Nauru. (Happily 31 babies and their families will be able to remain in Australia.)

Former Immigration Minister Scott Morrison was been promoted to Minister for Social Services in the recent cabinet reshuffle. Julian Burnside sees him off with some pointed remarks: "... the 2013 federal election took us somewhere new: both major parties tried to attract political support by promising cruelty to boat people. It is easy to imagine that if they had promised cruelty to animals, it would not have worked so well." MP Peter Dutton takes Morrison's place as Immigration Minister.

Reza Barati's father blames Immigration Minister Scott Morrison for son's death on Manus Island. The families of two local men blame the presence of the detention centre, and the notoriously violent police mobile squad imported to guard it, for the men's deaths.

Welcome to Manus, the island that has been changed forever by Australian asylum-seeker policy

An asylum seeker who requires medication for his burn scars is suing the government for negligence after those medications were confiscated on Christmas Island and he was denied medical treatment for eleven months. He is bringing a class action on behalf of all asylum seekers detained on the island who were denied adequate medical care, supplied with inadequate water and rotting food, and who suffered psychological damage. (ETA: This must be the same class action I blogged about in September.)

After returning from Afghanistan, Australia's asylum seeker regime makes no sense to me: "The Taliban had targeted the kid with a remote-controlled bomb as he delivered water to an Afghan army check post. The shrapnel shredded him; his donkey collapsed dead beneath him. The boy’s little sister... was killed in a second blast. The kids... were orphans. The boy had taken the work to support their extended family. I share this story because we have put children who have escaped these circumstances into detention."

Asylum seekers on the doorstep of United Nations office in Jakarta with nowhere to turn

There are about 62,000 visa overstayers living illegally in Australia.

Belatedly (November 5): Australia needs long term policy to handle immigration, says major new report; (October 27): Scott Morrison took no notice when told refusing permanent visas for refugees was illegal; (October 22): Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate whether the government has committed crimes against asylum seekers; (October 19): Refugees who arrived as unaccompanied minors denied visas to reunite family

Available online: the chapter "'A modern-day concentration camp': using history to make sense of Australian immigration detention centres", from the book Does History Matter? Making and debating citizenship, immigration and refugee policy in Australia and New Zealand.

For comparison purposes, from the US debate over undocumented migrants: Why 'illegal immigrant' is a slur, which explains that, as in Australia, immigration is a civil and not a criminal matter, and quotes a journalist who points out the use of "illegal" as "a code word for racial and ethnic hatred".
dreamer_easy: (refugees)
At the last minute, the Migration and Maritime Powers Bill passed the Senate last week. It gives Immigration Minister Scott Morrison "unprecedented, unchallengeable, and secret powers to control the lives of asylum seekers".


  • Asylum seekers arriving by boat will no longer have access to the Refugee Review Tribunal.
  • All references to the Refugee Convention have been removed from Australian law.
  • So has our non-refoulement obligation (ie the requirement not to send people back to be persecuted or tortured).
  • Three-year Temporary Protection Visas have returned.
  • A Special Humanitarian Enterprise Visa will be introduced to encourage refugees to work in rural areas with labour shortages.

Not included in the Bill, but used as bribes or blackmail to get the necessary votes to pass it, are promises to:


  • increase the overall humanitarian intake to nearly 18,750 (it was originally decreased to 13,750 from 20,000)
  • to release by Christmas all children from detention, including the 108 on Christmas Island
  • except for 44 children including 25 Australian-born babies, due to be sent to Nauru. (The Minister has given an undertaking this won't happen before 30 January. The group includes baby Ferouz.)
  • give 25,000 people currently on bridging visas the right to work.

The SMH's Sunday Explainer goes over the unprecedented immigration powers awarded to Scott Morrison.

I'm still trying to nail down all the facts and figures and details from numerous news reports, so if there are any errors in or additions to the above, I'll note them below.

ETA: New law gives Morrison unprecedented control over asylum seekers explains some of the Minister's new personal powers.

Almost no silver lining in new TPV cloud
: more details on the TPV and SHEV.

ETA: In its November report, United Nations Committee Against Torture said "the Australian Government should guarantee that all asylum claims were thoroughly examined and that asylum seekers had access to independent, qualified and free legal assistance throughout the entire asylum procedure." So much for that idea.

Also from November, robust and detailed critique of the Bill by former PM Malcolm Fraser and former Minister Barry Jones.
dreamer_easy: (refugees)
Lawyers have begun a class action against the government on behalf of Christmas Island detainees who have suffered mental and physical harm.

An Iranian asylum seeker alleges that a Serco employee sexually harassed him at the detention centre in Perth. The employee has been stood down, and the asylum seeker is being sent to Christmas Island. He commented, "[My case manager] told me that they are not trying to cover it up. But I think they do because they already fired the guy and transferring me to offshore - problem solved."

Vietnamese asylum seekers have been the targets of threats and attacks from other detainees on Christmas Island, including sexual assault, possibly because they arrived before the cut-off date for asylum applications. Apparently little or nothing is being done to protect them.

The Forgotten Isle: Life on Christmas Island describes the impact of the detention centre on the island's residents.
dreamer_easy: (refugees)
Govt to release asylum seeker children

Asylum seeker children held in residential detention to be released into community

Scott Morrison announces release of 150 children before facing detention inquiry

Asylum-seeker children to be released from detention

IIUC some of the children and families will be released from mainland immigration detention, and some from community detention facilities. The kids and their families will be in the community on bridging visas and with improved support. Only children under 10 who arrived before 19 July 2013 are eligible.

No children will be released from Nauru or Christmas Island, where about 300 children in total are held, and some of the worst conditions and harm have been reported. (Immigration Minister Scott Morrison faces the inquiry into children in detention this Friday.)
dreamer_easy: (refugees)
Sign the J'Accuse open letter to the government.

Life intervened once again to delay this update. I'll try to keep it as concise as possible.

As of 21 July no suspects in the killing of Reza Barati had been interviewed by Papua New Guinean police, although witnesses are not allowed to voluntarily return to the countries they have fled (unless they withdraw their statements, apparently). No-one has been sent to Manus since the killing, and there is speculation the centre will be closed.

The 157 Tamil asylum seekers held at sea for a month are now on Nauru. During their captivity they were taught to operate orange lifeboats, as the Australian govenment hoped to return them directly to India. The group's lawyers continue to push for the legality of their detention at sea to be tested in the High Court.

The group includes 50 children, who face a two-month wait to see counsellors. Humanitarian workers on Nauru have described the savage conditions which children and families face in the camp: shit, sickness, and verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. (A sixteen year old boy told he would be returned to Nauru slashed his arms.)

Parents of six year old girl suffering apparent PTSD from her detention on Christmas Island are suing the Australian government. An asylum seeker detained on Manus Island attempted suicide. On Christmas Island sick asylum seekers are being treated via video conference in lieu of doctors' examinations. On Christmas Island, adults' and children's glasses, hearing aids, and medications are removed on arrival, with the obvious consequences for (for example) an epileptic three year old. Permission was withdrawn for a paediatric specialist to examine detained babies after her arrival on Christmas Island.

The psychiatrist formerly in charge of mental health in immigration detention has compared the treatment of asylum seekers to torture. He also stated that the Immigration Department attempted to cover up evidence of extensive psychological damage done to child detainees. He reported that as of July there had been 123 incidents of children self-harming over 15 months, not including Nauru. 659 children are currently in detention. Church leaders have described their treatment as "state-sponsored child abuse" and have called for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to no longer be the child detainees' legal guardian.

Australia will reserve 4,400 places in offshore refugee intake for Iraqis and Syrians endangered by Islamic State (aka ISIS). Last year our total intake was reduced from 20,000 to 13,750. Asylum seekers who reach Australia by themselves are counted against that quota, reducing it further.
dreamer_easy: (refugees)
O frabjous day! Sort of. The 157 asylum seekers held at sea for four weeks will now be transferred to the Curtin detention centre in Western Australia, where medical and legal assistance will be scarce.

Unlike the previous boat's passengers, these asylum seekers will not be sent to Sri Lanka. India has offered to take back its nationals and possibly take back Sri Lankans who were living in India; the asylum seekers will remain in Australia while Indian officials interview them. (IIUC correctly, this is to avoid having Australian officials interview them, which could activate our legal obligation to process their refugee applications.) However, there are legal doubts about whether the asylum seekers can be sent back to India.

This may prevent the full bench of the High Court from hearing the challenge to the legality of the government's detaining them at sea in the first place. My assumption is that the government knew it would lose that challenge, and therefore lose yet another weapon to use against refugees, as happened in the case of the cap on permanent protection visas.

In other news, the inquiry into child detainees on Christmas Island continues to reveal the suffering of mothers and children, including the serious psychological problems caused by detaining children. Eyewitness accounts confirm that the "minor self-harm incidents" described by the government were in fact suicide attempts by mothers. You know, I can't believe I'm sitting here in front of a heater, drinking coffee and typing these words. OK, also, witnesses to the violence on Manus Island claim that they have been tortured and threatened in an attempt to make them withdraw their statements. Meanwhile the government and private security contractors are squabbling over who should pay the millions in compensation to the injured detainees and the PNG police still haven't interviewed any suspects in Reza Berati's murder.

I end in a desperate attempt to stay sane with parodies of the new Border Force logo.
dreamer_easy: (refugees)
The ABC explains:The stories of the 41 asylum seekers returned to Sri Lanka include violent political persecution and terrorisation by criminal gangs. The boat's passengers describe a mixture of good treatment and mistreatment by Australian authorities, including being punched , manhandled, and denied medical treatment. One passenger described the "enhanced screening" process: "I could not understand the language and the line was also very bad. I never had an opportunity to tell them what I wanted."

Reports of attempted suicides by ten women on Christmas Island have been dismissed by the government, with Senator Eric Abetz stating that only as "minor self-harm incidents" Trying to figure out what's really going behind the secrecy blanket is difficult, especially since "self harm" and "suicide attempt" are sometimes the same thing. The Shire President confirms that one woman jumped from a roof; she had been returned to the island against the advice of mental health professionals. He states that nine mothers, each of whom have a baby under one year of age and in some cases other children as well, have expressed their intention to take their own lives: "Each of the nine women are saying that they will do away with themselves because they see that the only way that their children can have a future is to be free in Australia and the only way that is possible is they take their own lives." OTOH, lawyers acting for some of the asylum seekers on Christmas Island state that "We have heard from our clients there that in the last day several women have attempted suicide or harmed themselves. They are in a state of utter despair. They are concerned about the health of their children."

Fourteen women, mostly mothers, are under continuous suicide watch by male guards. Four months ago pregnant asylum seekers on Christmas Island pleaded with visiting medical experts to have their children adopted. Babies on the island were suffering from skin infections and weeping sores.

Four families comprising fourteen asylum seekers, including a six-week old Australian-born baby, have been moved from the Inverbrackie detention centre in Adelaide to Christmas Island. This makes a total of 71 babies on the island.

Although far more adult than child asylum seekers are being held in detention, 23% of children are being detained while 18% of adults are.

Twelve asylum seekers, including five teenagers, have gone into hiding after two of their friends were returned to detention. Woodville High School students are campaigning for the release of the two Vietnamese teenagers.

The destruction of a victim of the Manus Island violence continues.

Last word goes to Gosford Anglican Church:

1404734030444.jpg-620x349[1]
dreamer_easy: (refugees)
One more posting and I should have caught up with the news. Then back to my usual fairly regular schedule.

This morning, the High Court will rule whether the use of Papua New Guinea as a "regional processing country" is legal under the Constitution. If not, the Manus Island facility will have to be shut down. ETA: Alas, the court found it was legal. (Also today, the Greens will move that the code of conduct for asylum seekers living in the community be withdrawn.)

Babies 'secretly moved' to Christmas Island detention centre: At least five two-month-old babies and their families were moved at 3 am, with no warning and no legal advice. "Jacob Varghese, who is representing 26 Australian-born asylum-seeker babies, said the families were living in fear they would be 'shipped off' to Christmas Island. [...] 'Christmas Island is the worst place to put these people, because it's very remote and a long way from any first-class medical services.'"

Babies born in detention are currently classed as "unauthorised maritime arrivals", but this is being challenged by the Baby Ferouz case, which will be heard by a Federal judge.UNICEF Australia has called for independent monitoring of the treatment of children in detention.

(At the other end of the spectrum, the oldest person in detention is 99.)

Leo Seemanpillai's family have been denied visas to attend his funeral.

Spin costs Immigration Minister Scott Morrison $8m a year. He has axed the Refugee Council's annual funding of $140,000 because taxpayers' money should not be spent on advocacy.

Disappointingly, the Opposition has voted to continue its support for offshore processing, though it has also voted to support improved detention conditions and faster processing. (As usual, as far as I can tell, there was no vote on actually preventing refugees from getting on boats in the first place by bringing them here from Indonesia ourselves.) Meanwhile, the incumbent government plans to force asylum seekers whose rejected applications are under appeal to prepare to return home or face a return to detention. Clearing the large backlog of unprocessed applications will not start until the Senate changeover at the start of July.

With Iraq torn by violence, the Greens have called for a moratorium on the repatriation of Iraqi asylum seekers.

Asylum seekers denied rights, lawyers say: "For good reason, criminal law contains strict procedures and safeguards. You can't just ignore them because an accused person happens to be an asylum seeker." If only because charges and convictions are endangered by such "institutional recklessness".

Border protection deny running 'prison ship' for asylum seekers. (Was your first thought, "Which probably means they are?")

Survivors of the 2010 sinking of an asylum boat off Christmas island have brought a lawsuit against the government for its alleged failure to provide adequate surveillance and seaworthy rescue vessels, breaching its duty of care.

Columnist Richard Ackland compares and contrasts Australia's and Europe's handling of asylum seekers. Michael West examines the billions in profits made by the companies running detention centres.

On a personal note, I've been reading The Old Testament: A Very Short Introduction, which repeatedly mentions the requirement of rulers to protect vulnerable members of the community, with immigrants consistently listed amongst the groups specifically requiring protection (Exodus 23:9, Leviticus 19:34). It's to their credit that Australia's churches (probably with Matthew 25 in mind) have consistently stood up to the government on behalf of asylum seekers.
dreamer_easy: (refugees)
Doing this in a bit of a rush - hope it's not too difficult to follow.

One of the three asylum seekers whose hands were allegedly burned by naval personnel has given a detailed account of the event. The ABC's 7.30 Report also spoke to two eye-witnesses. Both the Immigration Minister and the head of Customs and Border Protection have once again rejected the claims without investigation. (ETA: The Greens say there is video of the incident and are trying to obtain it.)

Reza Berati was struck, fell from stairs and was hit over head till he died, say inmates; Three Manus Island detainees try to take their own lives; Asylum seekers on Manus Island launch new legal bid for freedom; Papua New Guinea aims to stop Manus Island inquiry as new legal bid begins ; Scott Morrison defends move by PNG to call halt to Manus Island detention centre inquiry; Future of Manus Island asylum seekers unclear as PNG PM Peter O'Neill says most are not 'genuine refugees' (even though no claims actually have been processed); Damage from riots visible during media's tour of detention centre.

The UN will next month investigate arbitrary detention on Nauru

Asylum seeker children describe Christmas Island detention centre as 'hell', Human Rights Commission says; Children neglected on Christmas Island, human rights inquiry finds

People smugglers offering discounts, multi-buys to combat Federal Government asylum seeker policies

ALP powerbroker Sam Dastyari lashes party's asylum seeker policy. (Drop him a quick line to let him know what you think.)

Cost of Abbott government's orange lifeboats to tow back asylum seeker trebles to $7.5 million

Julie Bishop stalls on UN call for Sri Lanka war crimes inquiry

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