Monthly Archives: April 2014

Message of Thanks from Asylum seekers in Australia’s offshore detention camps : 17/04/2014

A message of thanks from asylum seekers in Australia’s offshore detention camps in response to the coverage their letter and poem from Manus Island (http://riserefugee.org/post/82338911881/letter-and-poem-from-manus-island-detention-camp-with) received at the Palm Sunday Rallies and the media (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cartoon/2014/apr/14/postcard-from-manus-island

WE ARE THE ASYLUM SEEKERS OF MANUS ISLAND, NAURU AND CHRISTMAS ISLAND AND APPRECIATE THE KIND PEOPLE OF AUSTRALIA FOR THEIR SUPPORT.  WE STILL NEED THEIR HELP AND SUPPORT.  GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU AND BE YOUR GUARDIAN.

Letter and poem from Manus Island Detention Camp with request that it be included in Palm Sunday Rallies this Weekend – 11/04/2014

I am writing from Manus Island Detention Camp.

We left our homes because of a variety of reasons. We found Australia thinking this would be a place of shelter. We had different reasons for stepping into this very dangerous and so suffering journey. But all of us suffered from a common pain, which was lack of freedom.
We didn’t come to Australia to take from you.

Australia didn’t confirm us and banished us to a so far island in the middle of the ocean. After about 9 months traveling on land, by car, plane, boat, and ship we have been banished and faced being wildly attacked. This led to the killing of one man, Reza Barati, and the injuring of more than 150 asylum seekers. Some of them even lost parts of their bodies.

We have borne many kinds of disrespect. We are in a very bad mentally sick and physical health situation now. The fungus illness is epidemic here in camp and many of us are suffering from that. We are stuck in limbo in here. This experience is unexplainable through words. We can not go back and we cannot go on. Now, after about 9 months, everything in us has become dull and everything is meaningless.

Now we watch the broken pieces of our heart and souls on the ground. We don’t know if these broken pieces are all we will ever see. We don’t know whether these terrible days and nights will come to the end or not?

WE THE ASYLUM SEEKERS OF MANUS AND NAURU AND CHRISTMAS ISLAND ASK FOR HELP FROM THE KIND PEOPLE OF AUSTRALIA.

WE ALSO ASK FOR THE HELP OF AUSTRALIAN POLITICIANS TO ASK THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT TO SEND US TO OTHER COUNTRIES IF THE GOVERNMENT DOESN’T WANT TO ACCEPT US AS REFUGEES.

IT IS VERY HARD TO LIVE IN THIS HARD SITUATION. WE ALL WANT YOU PLEASE TO THINK THAT WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS AND WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE FREE. – Thank you.

GREEN HELL

We can’t go back
We can’t go on

(Here is Green Hell)

We can’t stay
We can’t run away

(Here is green hell)

We’re left in the middle
Without a chance to settle

(Here is green hell)

What was our fault?
Why did you banish us?

(Here is green hell)

Kindness is scarce
Love has vanished

(Here is green hell)

This is not fiction
This is a true story

(Here is green hell)

Please help us
Please help us

(Here is green hell)

RISE Media Release (4 April 2014): The forced transfer of asylum seekers in Sydney’s Villawood detention centre to the remote desert camp of Curtin and Yongah Hill in Western Australia

RISE condemns the acts of violence yesterday, against asylum seekers in Villawood detention centre in Sydney, Australia by SERCO security guards under instructions from the Australian department of immigration and border protection. A few days ago, asylum seekers were handed a letter noting that they will be moved to the remote desert camp of Curtin or Yongah Hill in Western Australia.  When asylum seekers asked the purpose behind the transfer they were simply told it was an “operational matter”.  Lawyers attempted a last-minute legal bid to prevent the transfer but it was unsuccessful.  

Yesterday morning security guards forcibly moved about 40 asylum seekers from Villawood to Curtin detention centre and many more are expected to be transferred soon to remote locations. When Villawood asylum seekers refused to be removed they were cuffed and forcibly escorted to the bus. One man is reported to have slashed his wrists but he was immediately bandaged, handcuffed and forced onto the bus.  This atrocity carried out in a suburb of Sydney reminds us how Australia has gone beyond accepted human rights norms and perpetuates an oppressive regime against victims of torture, trauma and persecution, seeking asylum in this country.

It is important to remember these asylum seekers have been obtaining legal assistance from lawyers in Sydney and their sudden move to remote locations will further hinder an already flawed asylum claim process.  It is a method which RISE ex-detainee members have witnessed being used for over a decade.  A method that is used to silence and punish asylum seekers through cruel and degrading treatment until they reach breaking point and decide to self-deport to the countries they are seeking protection from.

When the notorious Curtin immigration detention centre was reopened by the previous Rudd Labor government in 2010, RISE included the following quotes in a media release condemning this move:-

A former Curtin detainee from Iran said, “While we were in Curtin detention our freedom was violated and limited by the authorities who treated us like animals. Even in the Australian zoo, animals have some level of privilege and are given special treatment by workers and veterinary nurses.”

An Afghan ex-detainee from Curtin said, “We saw the same sky and the same people every day surrounded by no love and it numbed our feelings.  The isolation of people in this red desert is not a solution for stopping people smugglers profiting from innocent victims of trauma”

Another Afghan ex-detainee from Curtin said, “When I remember Curtin detention center, my whole body starts shaking and I’m still scared of talking about what happened to me while I was there.  I saw my friends getting deported over night without any sort of expectations or warning

alarm……. I saw the bad side of Australian treatment for detainees, but I’m not a citizen yet and I would like to bring my family to Australia so I’m not going to give my name publicly”

Curtin is one of the worst remote immigration detention centres in Australia and many RISE members have experienced first-hand what it is like to be detained there. This “facility” shattered people’s lives and the isolated surroundings intimidated people into volunteering to go back to the countries where their lives were jeopardised in the first place. When people spoke out against injustices they were experiencing they were placed in isolation or solitary confinement with no proper oversight or accountability. Ex-detainees who were imprisoned in Curtin by the previous governments of Australia are still struggling daily to forget the trauma they experienced in this camp. Now the Minister of Immigration Scott Morrison and Prime Minister Tony Abbott condemned the Villawood asylum seekers to the same terrible fate.

Media Release, 2 April 2014 : Melbournians Call for Release of the 77 Papuan and Malukan Political Prisoners held in Indonesian Prisons.

Wednesday April 2nd is an international day of actionto demand the freedom of Papuan andMalukans political prisoners.Actions will be held in Melbourne,London, The Hague, Auckland, Wellington, Edinburgh and West Papua calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the political Papuan and Malukan prisoners.

Indigenous Papuans and Malukans continue to be arrested for peaceful activities such as raising the Papuan Morning Star flag or attending demonstrations and public events that express dissent.

“The international community needs to be aware that the people of West Papua have experienced the silencing of democracy, their right to freedom of expression in politics, social rights, economy and culture,” says Edison Waromi, current political prisoner and Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of West Papua.

Organisers are seeking to ensure thatcitizens of West Papua and Malukuare able to express their political beliefs freely and without fear of retribution.

Ian Okoka, a Papuan independence activist, residing in Melbourne says: “Papuans are loosing their right to freely express themselves and many have fled to the jungle for fear of being put in jail. Papuans who are seeking independence for Papua through peaceful means are facing threats of arrest and violent intimidation by security forces.”

The demonstration will show the people of Melbourne the 77 Papuan political prisoners who are currently detained in Indonesia.

According to data from Papuans Behind Bars, the number of political arrests in Papua Province more than doubled in 2013, as compared with the previous year. Reports of torture and ill-treatment of political detainees have also increased.

“The trend in arrests points to a significant deterioration in the environment for freedom of expression in West Papua. Often those arrested, are charged with treason or incitement which can carry lengthy prison sentences,” said Mr Okoka.

“A new pattern is now emerging where peaceful activists are charged with criminal violence, backed by fabricated evidence and unreliable testimony,” Mr Okoka said.

While many Malukan and Papuan political prisoners are in jail as a result of their peaceful political activities, others are targeted arbitrarily. Journalists and lawyers face coercion, intimidation and violence from Indonesian security forces who enjoy wide impunity.

West Papua still remains largely closed to foreign journalists, NGOs and international organisations, making it difficult to accurately report on violations as they take place.

When: Wednesday 2 April 2014 from 5.00 pm – 5:45pm. Speakers 5.30pm

Where: State Library of Victoria, Swanston Street, Melbourne

Speakers: Ian Okoka (Papuan independence activist)  

Sixta Mambor, (daughter of late John Mambor, former political prisoner)

Graham Dent (Lawyer, active in Social Justice and Human Rights issues) 

A Message from Prime Minister Edison Waromi being held in an Indonesian prison in Abepura:

1. I fully support the campaign to liberate West Papua political prisoners in all regions of the Republic of Indonesia and for their release to be unconditional.


2. I urge the United Nations to prioritise West Papua on its agenda and mediate the political status of West Papua between Indonesia and West Papua. The Honorable Prime Minister of Vanuatu Mr. Moana Carcasses Kalosil addressed this matter recently in a speech at the UN Human Rights Council on March 4, 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.

3. I appeal to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and TAPOL to conduct investigations into human rights violations in West Papua.

4. I urge the Republic of Indonesia to conduct talks and negotiations with the Federal Republic of West Papua mediated by the UN in 2014.

5. I outrightly reject the so-called Autonomy Plus and other policies imposed upon the people and the land of Papua.

6. I request international solidarity and intervention over the humanitarian crisis, not just sympathy but real action to end the Republic of Indonesia’s   colonial occupation of West Papua.

Edison Waromi, Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of West Papua (26 March 2014)

Further Comment:Ian Okoka 0403 588 796 Ronny Kareni 0411 287 822