Monthly Archives: October 2012

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

RISE Refugees announces its 3rd annual music and art festival

RISE Refugees is excited to announce its 3rd annual Music and Arts Festival, celebrating the creative talent of our refugee and asylum seeker members.

Date: 15 December 2012
Time: 1pm to 7pm
Location: Main Stage, Federation Square

Hosted by award-winning comedy duo Fear Of A Brown Planet, this year RISE is excited to announce an incredible line-up of gifted refugee and supportive performers:

·         Liza Garza
·         Pataphysics
·         Lady Lash and The Band of Gypsies
·         Dexter feat Grrilla Step Krumpers
·         Hip Hop Massive Choir
·         Angels Voice Band
·         African Theatre Group
·         Mahindra Bali Gamelan
·         Robert Champion
·         Ras Jahknow Band
·         DJ Mz Rizk
·         DJ Sadge
·         Indian Dance Academy and more to be confirmed.

This year’s Festival will be expanded to include food stalls, a market place, theatre performance and activities for children and families.

The RISE Festival is an integral part of RISE’s music and arts projects, with the aim of reducing social isolation within the refugee and asylum seeker communities and helping marginalised youth re-engage into wider society through various forms of artistic expression.

Ramesh Fernandez, CEO and Founder of RISE Refugee says “The Festival, however, is not only a platform for refugee artists to showcase their talents. The fundamental aim of all of our projects is to create a society in which refugees and asylum seekers are welcome, respected, safe and in which they can flourish and achieve their full potential.”

The Festival, like RISE’s other music and arts projects, acts as a medium for RISE to engage with the wider community through events and festivals to showcase the various talents and cultural assets that refugees and asylum seekers possess.

The Festival will be an empowering mechanism through which our members will effectively voice their opinions and experiences through original and diverse rhythms, beats and dance.

Media Contact: – Eugenia Flynn, 2012 RISE Festival Director , 0411 899 183

OPEN LETTER ON THE IMPLICATIONS OF Plaintiff M47/2012 v Director General of Security [2012] HCA 46

RISE’s open letter to the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship on the implications for our community of last week’s High Court decision – Plaintiff M47/2012 v Director General of Security [2012] HCA 46.

We encourage all concerned organisations and individuals to:

– Call on the Australian Government to reassess its definition of ‘security risk’ to one that is normatively and politically coherent; and

– Join us in calling for the immediate release, into the community, of those refugees who are currently held in detention facilities with adverse security clearances.

Click here to read the letter.


RISE’s tutoring program for refugees and asylum seekers fills a gap in the community – it is a free pre-intermediate program, run by volunteers and qualified teachers, targeting students with some English language skills so that they will be able to improve to the level required to interact effectively with the wider Australian society and either obtain employment or further their studies. Currently in its early stages of the program, we urgently need funds to purchase books and materials to accommodate the increasing demand for interactive, one-on-one English tuition.

If you’d like to show your support, please click here to make a tax deductible donation. Thanks to those who have already made donations.

If you have any questions about the tutoring program or would like to get involved, please don’t hesitate to email at