Monthly Archives: December 2014

Open letter from mother of Australian born baby-who is to be deported to Nauru – 18/12/2014

25 detained babies born in Australia-and their families (Making up 44 children) are to be deported to the Nauru camp as per the recent passing of the Migration Bill by the Australian Senate.

OPEN LETTER:

What is our crime?

What have we done to be punished like this?

We know we came by “illegal” way’ but then we didn’t’t have any choice. If I could have stayed in my country I would never have left my family. I left my country for safety and thought I could make my family safe later.

I came by boat but my child did not. She was born in this country and every child deserves to be protected by the country she or he is born in.

I want to be able to go back but I cannot take my child to that terrible life.

Some people say to me that it is luck that has meant some people were able to stay on Christmas Island and we sent to Nauru. I don’t believe in luck. I just believe in justice.

We are human beings and we deserve a safe life like other human beings.

When I came to this country immigration sent me and others to Nauru. But now I am in this country because there is no medical care for people in Nauru. The Minister said that people who came after the 19th of July will never come to Australia but I am here and my baby was born here.

Why do we have to suffer like this?

Sometimes death is better than life.

I only live for this child here.

What do we have to pay for this painful life we live every day, not knowing what will happen to us and our children?

This country has made me more afraid even than the sea. Every minute I am scared. Believe me, I have never been scared like this even in the sea. If I only had a country to go back to I would have gone.

When they knocked on my door at Christmas Island at 5am and threw a garbage bag in and told me to pack I asked them, ‘where are you taking me?’ No-one would answer me. Then when we were all put in the one room and searched and waiting until 6pm that day finally they said ‘you are going to Nauru’. I said: ‘why are you taking me to Nauru? I am pregnant.’ No-one answered me. When they forced us in the bus to go to the airport we had to walk into the airport between 2 lines of security officers both sides of us. Did they think we would escape? Where would we run?

What was our crime?

It was 9 hour flight to Nauru, most of us did not eat for 2 days. There was 2 of us asylum seekers and 1 security guard in each of the rows of 3 seats.

I didn’t’t cry in the sea but I cried when they took me to Nauru.

When we reached there, you can’t imagine the heat. You can’t imagine the tents. I was sick all the time. I was dizzy all the time. Many people were sick. You can’t imagine the heat. You can’t imagine not having enough water. You can’t imagine that when you need a nappy or some food for your child or anything at all you have to ask an officer, you have to line up, it is so hot. We can’t do anything for ourselves. Not shower, not wash the babies clothes.

You can’t imagine.

I grew up in a Refugee Camp but I have never seen it like that one.

Now each night I am waiting for them to knock on my door and throw in the bag to pack.

I am so scared.

What is our crime?

‘L’.

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RISE Exclusive media release-Migration Bill/TPVs – 05/12/2014

RISE : Refugees, Survivors and Ex-detainees, condemns the passing of the Australian Liberal/National coalition government’s migration and maritime powers legislation amendment bill (resolving the asylum legacy caseload) 2014 against refugees arriving by boat, passed by the Senate yesterday.

Not only does it concern us that the bill gives the Immigration Minister Scott Morrison more powers than any other Australian minister in government, but we are also concerned about the excessive secrecy and non-transparency of these discretionary powers over one of the most oppressed and persecuted communities.

Even before the current bill was introduced, a number of refugee boats have gone missing or been pushed backed by the government and involuntary mass deportations to danger have occurred.  The new legislative powers are an open invitation to Scott Morrison by the Australian Senate to treat asylum seekers coming by boats even more inhumanely.  The xenophobic, anti-humanitarian legacy, of John Howard who said, ”We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come” is perfected in this bill.

Ramesh Fernandez, CEO and founder of RISE, ex-detainee and former Temporary protection visa (TPV) holder said:

“After I was released from indefinite, administrative detention, I was on TPVs for three years, constantly under surveillance, unable to do further study, not allowed to travel and see my family, and uncertain of my future. This was added trauma inflicted on my life and the lives of other asylum seekers by the government, and many of us have still not healed from this process yet.

When the TPV was ceased I was again required to go through the ordeal of another interview to apply for permanent residence. It felt like undergoing torture once again or I will call it the ‘cycle of oppression’, forcing me to go back to square one, where I left off.

Now, I can see that even greater trauma and uncertainty will be inflicted on my community, with the current bill not just re-introducing TPVs but actually removing legal protection from deportation to danger”

There are 50 million displaced refugees around the world.  Many are languishing without proper protection in interim camps. Australia’s discriminatory, human rights violating “offshore” processing system for asylum seekers who arrive by boat adds tally to the interim camps and keeps refugees in isolation.  Deterrence measures may lower the number of asylum seekers in Australia, but it is not a just and humanitarian solution for people trying to cross borders by boat, or any other form of transport, desperately seeking a place where they can be safe.

We urgently request the public to resist Australia’s xenophobic government policies by demanding greater transparency, fairness and humanity in the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees who are human beings seeking protection from persecution and harm – not “cases” or “caseloads” to be “processed”.

To lobby for international action, please email your concerns :

  1. UNHCR Genevahttp://www.unhcr.org/pages/4a324fcc6.html
  1. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: infoDesk@ohchr.org, nationalinstitutions@ohchr.org
  1. UN New Yorkhttp://www.un.org/en/contactus/

For our international supporters – please contact the Australian embassy

RISE : End of the year Appeal – ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’

Dear Friends,

RISE prides itself on being a registered, not-for-profit organization, working tirelessly to improve non-government and government policies in relation to refugees/asylum seekers and to generate a positive social change for our community. RISE is managed, developed and run by people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds. Those who have first-hand experience of settling in Australia are giving back to the community by working to support new arrivals as well as people who have been struggling in the community for some time. Our member base has grown from 280 in October 2012, to over 2000 members at the start of November 2014. The significant growth in our membership is partly due to the changes to Bridging Visas, whereby people falling within this category were stripped of their right to work or study. Many face poverty due to the lack of support services. Many are forced to live below the poverty line, being left with a mere $7 a day to cover transport, food and clothing costs. Those ineligible to access services are “left behind”, hindering their social development and adversely impacting their health and self-esteem. As a result of this increase there has been greater demand from people on Bridging Visas requesting our Support Services; including

  • Advocacy support services
  • Settlement support services
  • Job seeker support services
  • A daily drop-in service operating from 9.30am to 7pm
  • Driving lessons to attain ‘L’ and ‘P’ plates
  • ESL classes and Educational programs
  • Emergency material aid
  • Computer programs
  • Food bank
  • RISE resource library
  • Free Internet access
  • Music and arts projects for youth
  • Recreational activities and Events

In order to be able to assist members with any of the above services, we need to increase our resource capacity in these areas. We are appealing for your support to help us raise $50000 to cover the costs required to increase our resource capacity. The extra funds will allow us to help the new members coming to us who are in desperate need of assistance.

How to Donate to RISE:
RISE is a tax-deductible organization and your financial support will enable us to assist refugees and asylum seekers in building their new lives in Australia. Your donation will assist our dedicated volunteers to provide services directly to children, adults and entire families in the refugee and asylum seeker communities.

Your donation will go directly towards supporting the following services currently provided by RISE: We urge you to lend us your support by making a tax-deductible donation. With your help, we can build a better and stronger future for all.

To donate, please click here : http://www.givenow.com.au/riserefugee

Read more: “For the community, by the community – what does this mean for RISE and our members?”  http://riserefugee.org/post/49329027310/for-the-community-by-the-community-what-does-this

– See more at: http://riserefugee.org/donate/#sthash.LBGeOvfr.dpuf

Press release: West Papua ‘19 days of freedom’ : 30/11/2014

On the 1st December 1961 the New Guinea Raad Council – West Papuan parliament under Dutch colonial rule – raised the Morning Star flag for the first time, signalling the recognition by the Dutch of West Papua’s national symbols and statehood. By the 19th of December, Indonesian security forces had begun their invasion of the region and have controlled the territory with brutality ever since. On 1 December every year flag-raisings and protests against Indonesian rule take place in West Papua and around the world.

This December 1st Papuans and friends in Melbourne will celebrate the 53rd anniversary at Melbourne’s Federation Square with a creative offering of documentaries, music videos and animations telling stories about and from West Papua with ’19 Days of Freedom’, as a community media and screen project beginning on 1st December 2014.

The Victoria West Papua Association, secretary, Ronny Kareni embraces the continued level of community engagement with Federation Square. In mid 2014 the West Papuan community were a key part of the Light in Winter festival.

“Showcasing these films (at Fed Square) helps to highlight our stories and enriches us with hope and strength in the pursuit of our self-determination struggle, Mr Kareni said.

As most Papuans in Melbourne came as refugees and are far from home, community and culture are vitally important to maintain.

“We value the opportunity to contribute to the diverse community in Melbourne that has welcomed us here and to keep our stories and culture alive by sharing in this most public of community spaces.

“We aim to amplify our voice, for freedom, human rights and for our cultural stories and connection to Melbourne, our current home,” he added.

The West Papuan Community in Melbourne is hopeful that this community initiative will be a two-year project with screenings of more film content next year in December.

Event:

1st December, Monday: 53rd Anniversary Celebration and screening of ISOLATED film, 11:30am til – 1pm, FED SQUARE – BIG SCREEN!

19th December, Friday: Special screening of award winning feature documentary, STRANGE BIRDS IN PARADISE – A West Papuan Story. At 7pm, The ATRIUM, FED SQUARE. Special musical appearance by Black Orchid Stringband – on the night!

1st -19th: 30 minutes package compilation of music videos, animations and shorts, FED SQUARE – BIG SCREEN!

For interviews and media enquiries:

Ronny Kareni – 0401 222 177 ronnykareni@gmail.com