Monthly Archives: March 2016

RISE Statement : The Refugee Trade must Stop! – 24/3/2016

Stand with us and oppose the refugee trade between the Australian government and Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia.

RISE is extremely concerned about the discussion of the refugee trade deal that is basically human trafficking between the Australian government and non-OECD countries like Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia with thousands of stateless and forcibly displaced people within their own borders.

Why do other countries have to bear the cost of Australia’s anti-refugee policies when Australia is a  signatory to the refugee convention and has spent billions on offshore detention centres, border security as well as indefinite detention of asylum seekers and refugees on the mainland itself? Australia is also part of the military invasion of countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the largest refugee source countries in the world.

Australia has psychologically and physically damaged so many refugees and asylum seekers by holding them hostage indefinitely in offshore and onshore detention centres and framing the issue of forced migration of refugees as a “problem”. If Australia calls it a “problem” why not take the responsibility for being part of the problem and resolve it in a fair and humane way?

The Refugee Trade is further evidence of Australia’s shocking abuse of people fleeing from war and persecution. Sending asylum seekers and refugees to countries like Malaysia, Indonesia or Philippines will only serve to make Australia’s notorious immigration detention system even less transparent due to geographic and bureaucratic isolation from Australia itself.

Despite there being the largest number of refugees since world war II, Australian politicians are espousing rhetoric about asylum seeker issues that is callous: Temporary protection visas, Pacific and other offshore solutions, mandatory and indefinite detention, Boat-turnbacks, and now, a continuous Refugee and Asylum seeker trade.

This is not the first time we have anti-refugee solutions proposed by various Australian governments.  The former Australian Labor government proposed the “Malaysian solution” and continues to peddle it.  Before that we had the “Indonesian Solution” under Kevin Rudd and then before that John Howard’s “Pacific Solution”.  For those who haven’t managed to keep up-we are now up to the “Pacific Solution: Mark II” with the reopening of Nauru and Manus island asylum seeker internment camps.  What does Australia and other mostly European OECD countries have in store for our community? The Final solution?

The Refugee Trade must stop! The Australian government should immediately bring on shore, all asylum seekers and refugees detained in offshore camps, release them into the community and give them access to a just and humanitarian asylum claim process rather than handballing them to less wealthy countries.  We also call out to all refugee and human rights organisations in Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines to stand firmly with our community in opposing this deal and condemning Australia’s cruel and degrading treatment of refugees coming by boat to seek asylum.

Note : Treating refugees as the problem or political pawns is the REAL problem.


Message for Ex-detainees, detainees and RISE members – 19/03/2016

As ex-detainees and detainees, firstly we should remember we are one of the most vulnerable people in Australia who have experienced physical and psychological trauma as well as ongoing discrimination and deaths in mandatory detention in Australia.  We also need to be really careful of those who are exploiting us, trying to promote their causes by using our stories.

In recent times I have witnessed there are so many non- refugees collecting and publishing our stories to “humanise” our struggles. There are some underlying issues about many story telling platforms created by non-refugees and mostly white people.  One should question and thoroughly examine these issues and question those who control and transmit our stories.

As an ex-detainee I highly recommend:

Firstly: we as ex-detainees should not participate in any platform that is established by non- refugees. Any platform should be determined by us and run by us.

Secondly: we should not share our personal stories with those who are behind the oppression.

Thirdly: we should have a strong strategy to protect those ex-detainees who are seeking asylum not to jeopardise their protection status in Australia because our families are still back in the country facing persecution and also those who haven’t been granted permanent visas are at greater risk of deportation.


Finally – fellow ex-detainees and detainees, it is not only the governments; the refugee sector has polarised us and damaged us.   It is about their interest rather than our lives–what have we achieved last 20 years in Australia? NOTHING- because the refugee sector is headed by non-refugees last two decades.  Stop letting others to dominate our lives and tell us ‘how we should live and what we should do’. We ex-detainees and detainees should build strong solidarity within us and create our own movements and decolonise our mind.

Ex-detainee and RISE member