Monthly Archives: September 2017

RISE Exclusive media Release: Ex-detainees Launch #sanctionAustralia Campaign: 16/09/2017

#sanctionAustralia Campaign

Today RISE: Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees launches the Sanction Australia Campaign. Initiated and driven by a group of ex-detainees, Sanction Australia calls for international human rights bodies and the United Nations to sanction Australia for its inhumane mandatory detention policies and explicit refugee boat push back policies and to exclude Australia from participation in international humanitarian and human rights decision making processes until mandatory detention and refoulement of asylum seekers and refugees by Australia is abolished.

For the past 26 years, Australia has been progressively implementing punitive and cruel policies against people seeking asylum by boat. These policies have been maintained by successive Australian governments resulting in systemic torture and abuse of refugee/asylum seeker adults and children, and deaths in custody. Since RISE was launched in 2010, we are aware of at least 36 people who have died in Australian detention centres and many RISE ex-detainee members have witnessed deaths in detention well before this time period. “How long,” asks Abdul Baig, RISE director and ex-detainee, “do we have to continue to face such cruelty in front of Australia’s eyes? Where is the justice?”

Depression, suicide, and other mental illnesses are pervasive within Australian detention centres, and are often a direct result of the experience of detention itself. Recent Australian immigration department records reveal that over a period of just one year there were 188 incidents of self-harm involving asylum seekers on Nauru (roughly one every two days) and 55 incidents of self harm on Manus Island. The treatment of detainees within these camps, along with the indefinite detention they experience meets the definition of Torture under International law.

Further, he added “We believe that Australia’s anti-refugee policies are not going to end unless there are international sanctions against the Australian government. We therefore urge international human rights activists and the UN to actively sanction Australia for such cruel acts.”

US president Donald Trump has been widely criticised for his anti-refugee policies yet even he says that Australia’s policies are “worse” than the USA. Australia is the resource centre for anti-immigration policies in affluent liberal democracies around the world. Sanction Australia campaign coordinator and ex-detainee (unnamed) said “We should sanction Australia on human rights to send a strong message to others who are intent on following Australia’s lead on this. Australia is the place to start on human rights sanction among industrialised countries. How many more from our community will be killed to serve Australian political interests? We don’t need any more inquiries or reports, we need action NOW. We are calling for a human rights sanction on Australia.

There have been many inquiries and many reports of deaths and sexual abuse within these camps yet nothing has changed because not a single Immigration minister or administrator in the Australian government has been held accountable. People who support human rights everywhere should stand up and join the call to Sanction Australia. We should not wait until one more refugee is murdered, tortured or refouled by Australia.”

Read more about the #sanctionAustralia campaign here and take action against Australian refugee rights violations! http://riserefugee.org/sanctionaustralia

Media contacts – Abdul Baig 03 9639 8623 or admin@riserefugee.org

RISE OPEN LETTER TO RIGHTS GROUPS

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN,

Immediate action has to be taken on this, as Australia has become infamous as a resource centre for many other countries to shape anti-refugee policies.

On behalf of our members and governing staff from over 30 refugee and ex-detainee communities in Australia, Ex-detainees from RISE urge international human rights groups such as yours to sanction Australia and exclude Australia from participation in all international humanitarian and human rights decision making processes until mandatory detention and refoulement of Asylum seekers and Refugees is abolished in Australia.

Australia’s current offshore and onshore detention and boat turn back policies is not an overnight strategy. These are discriminatory policies systematically designed to murder, torture and exclude refugees who come to seek asylum by boat to Australia. When is this going to end? We question how Australia can be part of the UN human rights bodies or other global peace movements while continuing to commit crimes against humanity? We cannot ignore the fact that Australia has been arbitrarily detaining refugees who are seeking protection by boats.

There are over 65 million displaced refugees around the world. Many are languishing without proper protection in interim camps. Urgent action has to be taken on this, as Australia has become the resource centre for other countries to shape anti-refugee policies. Australia has been left off the hook and not held accountable for implementing laws that violate the human rights of our community members. These laws have been passed through parliament with bipartisan support by Australian politicians who continue to be elected by the Australian people.

Australia’s discriminatory, human rights-violating “offshore” processing system for asylum seekers who arrive by boat adds tally to 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.

Lack of transparency and accountability in Australian run detention centres is something that has been widely reported and acknowledged by International human rights groups including the UN. There have been many inquiries and many reports of deaths and sexual abuse within these camps yet nothing has changed because the Australian government is not being held accountable.

Refugee cases have been mishandled, unfairly dismissed and processed without proper adherence to refugee rights protocol and this should stop immediately.

We should not wait until one more refugee is murdered, tortured or refouled by Australia.

We demand the permanent closure of all detention centres, the release of all refugee/asylum seeker detention survivors to the community for resettlement in Australia with proper support services and an end to refugee/asylum seeker refoulement.

RISE EX-DETAINEES’ TEAM
RISE : Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees

YOUR SCRIPT TO THE RIGHTS GROUPS

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

“I ….. (name)….. from …(location)… urge ………. (insert human rights group) to sanction Australia and exclude Australia from participation in all international humanitarian and human rights decision making processes.

Australia has been committing crimes for over 26 years against refugees who are seeking protection by boats. Lack of transparency and accountability in Australian run detention centres is something that has been widely reported and acknowledged by International human rights groups including the UN. There have been many inquiries and many reports of deaths and sexual abuse within these camps yet nothing has changed because the Australian government is not being held accountable. Refugee cases have been mishandled, unfairly dismissed and processed without proper adherence to refugee rights protocol and this should stop immediately.

There have been 36 deaths in Australian detention centres since 2010. There have been multiple incidents of abuse and sexual violence against asylum seeker/refugee adults and children. People who are fleeing harm in their country of origin, experience a compounding of their trauma under Australian government policies that are designed to punish people who are exercising their human right to seek asylum in Australia. Depression, suicide ideation and other mental illness is pervasive and often a direct result of the experience of detention itself. The Australian government’s own detention records in just a year to July 2015, indicate that there were 188 incidents of self-harm involving asylum seekers at Nauru (about one every two days) and about recorded 55 incidents of self-harm at Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island. The detainees’ treatment within the camps, along with the indefinite detention they experience meets the definition of torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment under International law.

We should not wait until one more refugee is murdered, sexually abused, tortured, or refouled by Australia.

Seeking asylum is not a crime and it is a universal human right.

Please take immediate action and sanction Australia until mandatory detention and refoulement of Asylum seekers and Refugees is abolished in Australia.

Regards,

……………………
(name)

WHY AUSTRALIA NEEDS TO BE SANCTIONED?

We, detainees and ex-detainees, have endured many hardships. We have survived wars, terror and violence, crossed borders and reached perilous open seas. Where we have hoped to find sanctuary, we have instead been greeted with hostility and state sanctioned violence in the form of mandatory, indefinite detention. For more than two decades our communities have been languishing inside Australia’s detention centres and have been left waiting in-limbo in impoverished conditions in community detention. Where we have hoped to find freedom, we instead have been imprisoned, punished and used as political fodder for the self-interested prerogatives of politicians and the media.

When we ex-detainees speak up, our voices are marginalised, used as add-ons and props whenever it suits: Nothing About Us Without Us

It is evident to us that Australia is succeeding at enacting, or at providing the world with a blueprint for contemporary modes of border imperialism. Australia’s unrelenting devotion to its politics of deterrence, built on the foundations of racism, punishment and imprisonment demonstrates to us that this country is one that not only allows but applauds its on-going mistreatment of asylum seekers and refugees. Despite the extraordinary lack of transparency, detention centres here and across the world, have become well established as sites of institutionalised torture and inhumane operations. Our suffering is not happenstance but is in fact the direct manifestation and primary objective of consecutive governments’ “tough on boats” policies.

Regardless of our age, gender or body, immigration detention centres have a detrimental effect on all of us. Inside Australia’s detention centres we endure more abuse, torture and suffering. Our ongoing persecution by the Australian government violates our basic human rights and contravenes multiple international conventions, law and covenants. There have been many inquiries and many reports of deaths and sexual abuse within these camps yet nothing has changed because the Australian government is not being held accountable. Refugee cases have been mishandled, unfairly dismissed and processed without proper adherence to refugee rights protocol and this should stop immediately.

We come to Australia as survivors of institutionalised torture, political persecution, sexual abuse, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of discriminatory and violent treatment. Trauma features as a constant in our lives and when we are detained indefinitely and treated with abject hostility, this compounds the debilitating effects of trauma and further robs us of our dignity. Upon leaving the detention centre we continue to carry those physical and mental scars with us. Permanent psychological trauma overwhelms our lives and this is the same for every detained and ex-detained person around the world. It is worrying that after the trauma of fleeing one’s homeland, the trauma of indefinite and prolonged administrative detention and the trauma of settling into an unfamiliar environment, people are expected to deal with such overt anti-refugee sentiments every single day. Such sentiments serve as a reminder to us that in Australia, we do not belong and that our existence, if eventually welcomed, will always be marginal.

We, detainees and ex-detainees, completely oppose all forms of detention, whether this is for one year, for thirty days or even for one minute. Mandatory detention, from its very inception, is premised on the assumption that asylum seekers and refugees are “risky” and “dangerous” people who require differential treatment and containment. Such assumptions are based on malice and directly feed into negative images and discourses about us. Such assumptions have a severe, deleterious and prolonged impact on us. They criminalise us and suggest that no matter what we say or what we do, our communities will always be and already are being considered as deviant, marginal and criminal.

We, detainees and ex-detainees, object to forcibly restricting the movement of asylum seekers to a specified location and the requirement of regular reporting in community detention. Although not confined to a physical building, community detention continues to be oppressive on the individual liberty of a person. This de-facto institutional detention is tantamount to arbitrary and indefinite detention, which for many of us is experienced as highly debilitating and degrading. The situation is further exacerbated by the deportation of refugees back to countries where it is certain we will face further persecution for the very issues from which we seek refuge, and for some of us, we will face imprisonment for the very act of fleeing the country.

We ex-detainees, who have sought protection and freedom in Australia, acknowledge that we live on colonised land where Indigenous peoples are the traditional and on-going owners and where sovereignty has never been ceded. We recognise that the racism that pervades this country’s institutions and public spheres – the racism that we have been subjected to in Australia’s mandatory, indefinite detention system – has its foundations in the systemic and structural violence that Indigenous peoples of this country continue to experience to this day. When we call for an end to the vilification of asylum seekers and refugees, and an end to border imperialism, we call for solutions which centre justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – justice as called on by them, on their terms and nothing else.

Note: Respect the intellectual property and hard work of ex-detainees in creating this document and do not plagiarise.

EX-DETAINEES’ REQUEST FOR HUMAN RIGHTS SANCTION ON AUSTRALIA

TAKE ACTION AGAINST AUSTRALIAN REFUGEE RIGHTS VIOLATIONS!

We ex-detainees from RISE: Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees urge international human rights groups and the UN to sanction Australia and exclude Australia from participation in all international humanitarian and human rights decision making processes until mandatory detention and refoulement of Asylum seekers and Refugees is abolished in Australia.

International human rights agencies focus on human rights violations in less affluent countries and paint them in a bad light. What about similar human rights violations committed by some of the most affluent countries in the world such as Australia? Where are the global initiatives to end violations by these countries who are quite often responsible for the forced displacement of the very people they seek to exclude from their borders? How many more from our community will be killed to serve Australian political interests? We don’t need any more inquiries or reports, we need action NOW.

As Australia aims for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, Australia has been committing crimes for over 26 years against refugees who are seeking protection by boats. Furthermore, former Australian Immigration minister Philip Ruddock, a master of deporting and detaining refugees under the Howard government, is now Australia’s Special Human Rights Envoy to the UN. The result of such complacency has been a recurring scenario of deaths and systematic torture in custody. How long do we have to continue to face such cruelty in front of your eyes? Where is the justice? Australia has been left off the hook and not held accountable for implementing human rights violating laws against our community. These laws have been passed through parliament with bipartisan support by Australian politicians who continue to be elected by the Australian people.

Australia’s current offshore and onshore detention and boat turn back policies is not an overnight strategy. These are discriminatory policies systematically designed to murder, torture and exclude refugees who come to seek asylum by boat to Australia. When is this going to end? We question how Australia can be part of UN human rights bodies or other global peace movements while continuing to commit crimes against humanity?

The recent death of Hamed in Australia’s Manus Island refugee detention camp and the most recent decision by the High court of Australia that offshore detention of Asylum seekers is legal is another added trauma for the detainee and ex-detainee refugee community in Australia. Not only do we have to deal with mental and physical cruelty inflicted on us directly by the government but also the trauma every single day of continuing to witness ongoing atrocities against others in detention. We believe that Australia’s anti-refugee policies are not going to end unless there are international sanctions against the Australian government. We therefore urge international human rights activists and the UN to actively sanction Australia for such cruel acts.

Urgent action has to be taken on this, as Australia has become the resource centre for other countries to shape anti-refugee policies. Even Donald Trump, the current US president who has been widely condemned by the International community for his draconian immigration policies, has said the Prime Minister of Australia is “worse than I am” with regard to such matters. Lack of transparency and accountability in Australian run detention centres is something that has been widely reported and acknowledged by International human rights groups including the UN. There have been many inquiries and many reports of deaths and sexual abuse within these camps yet nothing has changed because the Australian government is not being held accountable. Refugee cases have been mishandled, unfairly dismissed and processed without proper adherence to refugee rights protocol and this should stop immediately.

We should not wait until one more refugee is murdered, tortured or refouled by Australia.

We demand the permanent closure of all detention centres, the release of all refugee/asylum seeker detention survivors to the community for resettlement in Australia with proper support services and an end to refugee/asylum seeker refoulement.

To lobby for international action, click on the following links and raise your concern: Also contact any rights groups you know and raise your opinions:

UN New York http://www.un.org/en/contactus/
UNHCR Geneva http://www.unhcr.org/pages/4a324fcc6.html
Human Rights Watch https://www.hrw.org/contact-us hrwpress@hrw.org , http://www.hrw.org/contact/new-york , hrwnyc@hrw.org
High Commissioner for Human Rights nationalinstitutions@ohchr.org, infoDesk@ohchr.org
Tele: +41229179220
Amnesty International https://www.amnesty.org/en/about-us/contact/
World Health Organization info@who.int