Monthly Archives: December 2012

UPCOMING RISE FUNDRAISER: Local Implications of Global Conflicts

Key note address by members of RISE: Refugees, Survivors & Ex-Detainees

Performances by Liza Garza (USA – Spoken Word Poet) and Nour Abouzeid (Spoken Word Poet)

6pm, Monday 17 December 2012: Yasuko Hiraoka Myer Room, Sidney Myer Asia Centre, 761 Swanston Street, Parkville

$15 entry (all proceeds to RISE’s work with the Refugee and Asylum Seeker communities of Victoria)

For more information and bookings please contact Eugenia Flynn on (03) 9639 8623 or via email

Proudly supported by the Islamic Council of Victoria.


RISE Festival Presents: Short Films & Panel discussion

Short Films – Theatre – Panel Discussion on Diversity

RISE delighted to invite you to *Diversity on Stage and Screen*

*A short film and theatre presentation followed by a panel discussion about diversity on the theatre stage and film and television screens 
6.30pm, Fri 14 December 2012 at ACMI, Federation Sq, Melbourne

Tickets can be purchased from ACMI: $12 Adult, $10 Concession

  • FIGHTING FOR AIR (2011) Directed by Fatima Mawas
  • AUNTY MAGGIE AND THE WOMBA WAKGUN (2009) Directed by Leah Purcell

Performance Readings by: 

  • Tania Canas
  • Dominic Golding

Discussion Panel: 
*Christina Radburn, Producer of ‘Fighting for Air’
*Tania Canas, Theatre Maker
*Dominic Golding, Theatre Maker  & more to be announced…

For more information contact Eugenia Flynn on (03) 9639 8623 or via email

The 2012 RISE Festival acknowledges the assistance of Black Screen, an initiative of the National Film & Sound Archive

The 2012 RISE Festival is proudly supported by ANZ Trustees and the Refugee and Asylum Seeker Communities of Victoria
Join our event facebook page here

RISE Letter to the UN Human rights commissioner : Omid-Nauru Asylum seeker left in tent after 46 day Hunger Strike

Alert:Omid-Nauru Asylum seeker left in tent after 46 day Hunger Strike

Dear Ms. Navaneetham Pillay,

I am emailing on behalf of RISE (Refugees, Survivors and Ex-detainees) a not-for-profit incorporated organisation founded and overseen by refugees, asylum seekers and ex-detainees with members from over 30 immigrant communities. RISE exists to enable refugees to build new lives by providing advice, engaging in community development, enhancing opportunity and campaigning for refugee rights.

Our community is distressed at the news that an asylum seeker in Nauru called Omid is being left in a tent without proper care or treatment after going on a 46 day hunger strike and is now at an extreme stage of internal bleeding. He has not drunk any water for 4 days and we ask that urgent action be taken to save his life.

In addition to this disturbing news our community is shocked and concerned by the increased attack on rights of refugees and asylum seekers by the Australian government in the last 3 weeks and continued calls by Australian politicians on both sides of parliament for policies that cause these violations.

For example:

1. As self-harm and suicides increase in Nauru and asylum seekers in Nauru are still sleeping in tents, the Australian government shamelessly made the announcement last week that they are now opening the detention centre in Manus Island a detention centre with one of the worst track-records in Australia’s shameful history of off-shore processing. This increases the numbers of asylum seekers arriving in Australia who will be cut off from seeking asylum in Australia as well as the Australian judicial system and sent to other countries for processing.

2. Mass deportations in just 2-3 months of asylum seekers from Sri Lanka arriving by boat and detained in Christmas Island and other detention centres in Australia, not being allowed to apply for asylum and have access to any legal representation. So far over 400 Sri Lankan asylum seekers have been deported in this way. There are news reports of asylum seekers deported in this way being arrested on return to Sri Lanka.

3. The announcement last week that the Australian government would stop giving work-rights to asylum seekers and refugees released into the community and would place a bar on applying for a permanent visa for 5 years even if someone has been accepted as a refugee by the Australian government.

4. The continued use of mandatory and indefinite detention of refugees and asylum seekers who have arrived in Australia on-shore and offshore.

5. Increased investment by the Australian government into expanding onshore and offshore immigration detention networks run by private subcontractors that are below minimum prison standards in violation of the UN human rights charter and UN refugee convention- taking priority over a transparent, humane and just refugee/ humanitarian programs.

As Angela Davies has said: Immigration detention is the civil rights issue of our time ( and we ask the UN human rights commission to take decisive action and address the escalating crisis of attacks with impunity on the human rights of asylum seekers and refugees and people of colour by the governments of Australia and other industrialised countries who are also looking to follow Australia’s lead.

Lives of asylum seekers such as Omid have to be saved so they have a chance to seek the protection they are asking for at the very least.

Yours Sincerely,

RISE URGENT DEPORTATION ALERT – 50 or more Sri Lankan asylum seekers from Christmas Island and possibly Darwin will be deported by the Australian government TODAY (23.11.2012)

Please circulate this alert widely amongst your networks! 

These asylum seekers are detained in the remote island of Christmas Island and have been denied access to legal representation or any other independent support groups. This isolation makes it easier for the Australian government to refoul them ie deport them directly into the hands of their persecutors. 

The context that these asylum seekers will be sent back to is dangerous and life-threatening. Three years after the Sri Lankan government declared that the war is over, the UN Working Group on Disappearances has identified Sri Lanka as having the second largest number of disappearance cases in the world, while the UN Committee Against Torture in an open session on Sri Lanka held in November 2011, quoting human rights organisations has said that secret detention centres are in existence in Sri Lanka. The International Committee of the Red cross in their 2012 Annual report has also stated that they have been trying to trace over 15,000 people missing in Sri Lanka.


To find out what you can do, read the full alert by clicking here.

Volunteering Opportunity, 3rd Annual Music & Arts Festival

RISE is currently recruiting volunteers for the its 3rd Annual Music and Arts Festival 2012 taking place on December 15th at Federation Square, Melbourne.  Volunteers are a central part of RISE and their assistance is essential for the success of the Festival. Volunteering at RISE Music and Arts Festival is an incredible opportunity to participate in a celebration of Melbourne’s diverse communities and volunteers will also have the unique experience to work with many international artists as well with local, emerging artists.

To volunteer, you must apply via email to Eugenia Flynn at, including the details below. Please note that all volunteers must be over the age of 18. Volunteers are asked to contribute 10 hours of service during or after the event.

Required Details – All prospective volunteers must provide the following:

  • Full Name:
  • Date of Birth:
  • Do you have a current and valid Working With Children Check? (Y/N): If you do not have a current Working With Children Check, you can apply for one through RISE but must do so by at least Friday 30 November.
  • Relevant skills/past event volunteer experience:

RISE is looking for volunteers that are committed to positively representing the RISE Music and Arts Festival Team. Be respectful, friendly, thoughtful, helpful and honest with the public, the performers and fellow volunteers. The RISE Music and Arts Festival is an alcohol free event so consume NO alcohol before or during a Festival shift or while wearing a crew shirt or volunteer ID. Failure to do so will result in being asked to leave the Festival grounds.

Festival Induction session: TBA.

Facebook Event Page 

Who is making money out of human misery

Say NO to The Detention Industry and making money out of human misery. RISE is aware of a number of members from the refugee and immigrant community as well as the wider community being approached by detention service providers such as SERCO, AMES, IHMS and DIAC itself to apply for jobs with attractive salaries and benefits in offshore processing centres in Nauru and Manus Island, to “service clients” in these centres as well as immigration detention centres within Australia.

It is important to be aware that these centres cause a serious breach of the Universal declaration of Human rights and for people to make a concious choice not to become part of this. Read RISE’s submission to the inquiry into Australia’s Immigration Detention Network, management, resourcing, potential expansion, possible alternative solutions, the Government’s detention values, and the effect of detention on detainees (August 2011) here:

Urgent Call for Intervention-Rohingyas death toll 10 000

Australia’s refugee community includes Rohingya individuals from Myanmar. As reported by the UNHCR, the Rohingya in Myanmar are one of the most oppressed communities in the world. With the refugee issue being a global issue, RISE (Refugees, Survivors, Ex-detainees) believes that it is important that the push factors  that cause people to be forced to flee from their homes and seek refuge in other countries be addressed in a just, transparent and humane way.

Click here to read more. 

RISE Statement in Solidarity with Hunger Strikers in Nauru


RISE: Refugees, Survivors & Ex-Detainees, the first refugee and asylum seeker support and advocacy organisation in Australia to by run by people of asylum seeker and refugee background, offers its full support and solidarity with those being held in immigration detention in Nauru as they undertake hunger strikes in protest of their treatment by the Australian state.

The Gillard government’s Pacific Solution Mark 2, is not a policy of deterrence but one of punishment. On the advice of the sham Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, those who have endured unimaginable hardships, crossing many borders and open, dangerous seas are now being sent to isolated detention camps in Nauru and soon, Manus Island, held indefinitely while their claims have not even begun to be processed.

RISE is deeply alarmed by the conditions for detainees in Nauru with reports of living quarters being flooded, limited access to medical care, extreme heat, rampant mental health issues and suicide attempts. Detainees have also been denied the ability to leave the camp, keeping them confined to a crowded tent city hemmed in by jungle and a garbage dump.

In the past, inadequate numbers of medical personnel onsite at Nauru led to poor treatment of health issues, particularly in the case of mental health. Sleeping pills and anti-psychotic drugs were administered as quick fixes regularly – unethical attempts to pacify and silence the camp’s detainees. Those who had sought medical assistance were given improper and overdue medical care. As a result, detainees would often struggle with long term and debilitating health problems such as diabetes, blindness and depression.

Our fears that these stories from the past will reappear have been confirmed. The hunger strike undertaken by the almost 400 detainees on Nauru is a testament to just how harsh conditions are on the island for those imprisoned in the camp.

We call on the Australian government to end offshore processing immediately and begin processing the claims of those detained in Nauru. We also continue our ongoing demand to Australia to end its inhumane program of mandatory and indefinite immigration detention.

Further information and context on the struggle in Nauru

Statement by the Asylum Seekers on Nauru on their mass hunger strike begun on 26.10.2012

Click here to read Refugee Action Collective – Sydney’s 28.10.2012 media release alerting the public of another suicide attempt in Nauru and that detainees have had their internet access further limited after their attempts to contact the international media.

Click here to read RISE’s report on offshore processing which includes our recommendations to the Australian government.

Professional Anti-Racism Training

Starting in January 2013, RISE: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-Detainees will be running  professional anti-racism training for the staff and/or volunteers of organisations that regularly interact with individuals who experience racism.

We aim to provide participants with techniques to identify and combat racism within institutional and organisation settings. Workshops will be delivered in the Melbourne CBD with limited opportunity to deliver sessions onsite at your organisation.

If your organisation is interested in our training, please read our flyer, fill out the  feedback sheet and email us back at

The RISE Cypher Project Media Release


RISE (Refugees, Survivors and Ex-detainees) is excited to announce launch of a community based recording studio in November as part of the RISE Cypher Project.

The RISE music studio will give opportunities to aspiring young artists to positively express themselves and develop industry skills in a safe and supportive environment.

With the assistance of our talented and professional staff, we hope to provide training, artistic mentoring, sound engineering and production facilities for young people to professionally record, market and distribute their music.

“Through this project we seek to give young people a voice and a place to be creative so that they can publicly express themselves and be leaders on issues that affect them in the community” says Ramesh Fernandez, RISE CEO.

The need for this project arose from RISE’s consultations with migrant and refugee communities. One of the most common needs identified by young people is for their voice to be heard, recognised and acknowledged in addressing the various challenges they face.

As such this program is aimed at empowering participants with the knowledge, skills and tools to positively express their own identities within the context of their environment. The recording space will establish a positive relationship between participants & instructors, thereby enabling positive social skills and artistic mentorship to grow.

“What sets this program apart is that it goes back to the roots of conscience hip-hop and its culture which promoted creative expression as form of self empowerment to address social and political barriers.” says Waleed Mussa, RISE Director

Interested parties must register their interest at by the 31st of October, places are limited!!!!

Media contact: RISE Director, Waleed Mussa @ (03) 9639 8623

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