Author Archives: riserefugee

Message to Refugee supporters: Don’t be fooled by PM Scott Morrison and his party members – cover up of white supremacist refugee policy 19/03/2019

We eX-detainees, asylum seekers and refugees at RISE would like to alert the public that since the Christchurch incident in New Zealand, Australian PM Scott Morrison and his party members are covering themselves in sheep’s clothing for political advantage and exploiting the victims and survivors of the incident. There is a possibility that a cunning politician like Scott Morrison may call an election during this time to regain and advance his position.

At this time we should not forget that the Liberal-National coalition government blocks refugees of all genders and ages coming on boats and in Australia’s offshore torture camps from protection and resettlement in Australia. Who can ignore such white supremacist tactics affecting mostly Muslim refugees, such as as indefinite detention, refusal to let offshore refugees come to the mainland to access proper medical treatment, locking up pregnant refugees, queer refugees, elderly refugees etc and using the immigration department’s paramilitary group Australian Border Force, to fill floating orange capsules with our community members and push them back into the open sea.  A reminder to all, that the Australian Border Force is the brainchild of none other than Australia’s current Prime Minister-Scott Morrison.

Scott Morrison going around talking to Muslim community groups and people of colour communities does not absolve him from the fact that he and his Liberal and National party colleagues have the blood of our communities on their hands.  Please remember that the main reason Australian politicians get away with continuously torturing and vilifying our refugee community and making racist refugee policies is because we are one of the most disadvantaged communities. Therefore, our voices need to be heard.  We have suffered over 26 years because of Australian politicians using the torture of our community members as political currency. Since the last five to ten years refugees (particularly Afghan, stateless Rohingya and Kurdish Refugees) with permanent protection are waiting indefinitely for their citizenship; family reunions are blocked and refugees who came by boat are now being forced into regional areas as indentured labour with little hope for permanent protection. This is happening because of Scott Morrison’s party’s support for extreme cruelty against those of us asking for asylum and permanent protection – to “protect Australia’s borders”.

For decades, Australian politicians have been stoking racism by misleading the public for political gain. Asylum seekers arriving by boat have been painted as ‘queue jumpers’ and unscrupulous illegal entrants without morals. The targeting of refugee boats reached a new low with the ‘Children Overboard’ misinformation campaign during the time of ex-prime minister, John Howard (a mentor of Scott Morrison from the same Liberal party) successfully winning him the 2001 election. This exploitative use of refugee boats as a key wedge strategy to attract votes during the Howard era continues to this day. As we witness Scott Morrison and his crew frantically attempting to reengineer the Liberal party’s political strategy, claiming not to be racist and buying off our community leaders with promises of increased funding and picture opportunities, behind the scenes his party members are fiercely committed to keeping Australia as the last remaining outpost of the british colonial empire.

Furthermore, we cannot escape the fact that Australia has succeeded in enacting and 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 the White Australia policy and the theft of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land and maritime resources, demonstrates to us that this country is one that not only allows refugees to be used for political leverage but also applauds its on-going mistreatment of asylum seekers and refugees.

Scott Morrison and his party MUST stop using us as political pawns and stop dumping Australia’s refugee responsibilities to less wealthy countries such as the pacific nations of PNG and Nauru. The recent announcement of the reopening of Christmas Island Detention Centre is evidence that Australia continues its oppressive detention system.

We would also like to make it clear that the Australian Labor Opposition Party, founder of Australia’s mandatory immigration detention regime, and the reopener of Australia’s Manus and Nauru refugee detention camps is no better.  We cannot avoid the fact that the Australian Labor Party hits the same anti-refugee beats as Scott Morrison’s Liberal-National Coalition.

Enough is enough, we don’t need more inquiries and reports, we want all detention centres to be shut down permanently and restore sanctuary and support to all detained refugees in the community. Your pressure on the Australian government and all Australian politicians to end Australia’s cruelty to Refugees is an act of solidarity and an act of justice.

Respect the intellectual property and hard work of Refugees in creating this document and do not plagiarise.


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STUDENT WALKOUT 6th March 2019 – 1pm State Library of Victoria – Melbourne

The Australian Government recently announced the reopening of Christmas Island Detention Centre, which proves their hostility and brutality against asylum seekers coming by boats, and is a continuation of using refugees and asylum seekers as political pawns for their personal gain. This has been happening for nearly 30 years. RISE eX-detainees call for a Students Walkout in solidarity with detainees in Australian-run detention centres both offshore and onshore, on the 6th March 2019.

RISE eX-detainees, calling for students across Australia to take actions against the Australian Government for its inhumane treatment of refugees in Australian-run detention centres both offshore and onshore. The main event is based in Melbourne CBD, 6th March 2019 at 1pm, State Library of Victoria. We eX-detainees request students to walk out of their classrooms and campuses at 1pm  (AEST) wherever you are, hold banners that read #EndDetention and pay 2 minutes silence for those who survived and those who have lost their lives in Australian-run detention centres. We ask teachers and associates to join this action to show your solidarity. To bring national and international wide attention, we request you to post your images on different social media channels.

Australia MUST stops using us as political pawns and stop dumping its refugee responsibilities to less wealthy countries such as PNG and Nauru. The recent announcement of reopening of Christmas Island Detention Centre is evidence that Australia continues its oppressive detention system. 

Further, it is evident to us that Australia has succeeded in enacting and 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 White Australia policy and the theft of Aboriginal land, demonstrates to us that this country is one that not only allows refugees to be used for political leverage, but also applauds its own on-going mistreatment of asylum seekers and refugees.

There have been many inquiries and many reports of rape, sexual abuse and torture in Australia’s refugee detention camps since they were opened more than 2 decades, yet these abuses continue because not a single Immigration Minister or administrator in the Australian government has been held accountable. Depression, suicide, and other mental illnesses are pervasive within Australian detention centres, and are often a direct result of the experience of detention itself and we should not stay silent when it matters. 

Enough is enough, we don’t need more inquiries and reports, we want all detention centres to be shut down permanently and restore sanctuary to all detained refugees in the community. Your pressure to the Australian government is an act of solidarity and an act of justice.

Download Student Walkout poster here

While you take action in this matter, get involved in eX-detainees’ led campaigns

  1. #SanctionAustralia
  2. Calls On Universities And Health Services To Divest from The Detention Industry.

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

*This event will take place on stolen Kulin Nations Land. As eX-detainees, in Australia, we acknowledge that the land we seek protection on is the land of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples whose sovereignty was never ceded. ‘Always was, always will be Aboriginal land’

RISE eX-detainee Members.

RISE : Refugee Survivors and eX-detainees Invasion Day Solidarity Statement – 2019

RISE: Refugees, Survivors and eX-detainees – the FIRST self-determined advocacy and welfare organisation in Australia run by Refugees for Refugees – makes a public call for a boycott of “Australia Day”, for the seventh year in a row.

We eX-detainees, Asylum Seekers and Refugees from RISE condemn any group or individual who claims to be pro-refugee but celebrates “Australia Day” on the 26th of January 2019. Instead, RISE encourages all Refugees, eX-detainees, Asylum Seekers and allies to support First Nations peoples in their actions against “Australia Day”.

RISE represents over 30 refugee community groups in Australia and is the first (and one of the few) self-determined, registered, non-profit refugee organisations in Australia governed and managed by eX-detainees, Asylum Seekers and Refugees. As eX-detainees, Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Australia, we acknowledge that the land we seek protection on is the land of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples whose sovereignty was never ceded. ‘Always was, always will be Aboriginal land’.

We believe the systemic abuse of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is a result of over 200 years of discrimination as part of the white colonial genocide strategy that continues to this day and this template is now being used against our own refugee communities. How can we dismantle the white Australian government’s refugee torture camps built within and outside its colonial borders without addressing the root cause of this criminal abuse?

RISE fully supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ sovereignty and self-determination and stands in solidarity with them every day in our commitment to fighting for justice on this land on their terms.

Nationwide actions are being organised by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Activists. Below are the list of actions happening around Australia:

Donate / Amplify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples-led movements and organisations

The above list was given to us by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members who support/work with RISE. If you would like to add any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples-led organisations to this list please email

Finally, we thank the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia who have been supporting refugee self-determination and standing in solidarity with our community groups every day.

Read our Invasion Day 2016 translations in Arabic, Burmese, Oromo, Tamil and Vietnamese here

With Solidarity
RISE : Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees

Detainees are on hunger strike at MITA detention centre in Melbourne : 11/01/2019

Recently the Australian government decided to “close down” Maribyrnong detention centre and forcefully moved detainees to MITA (Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation), located in the Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows. The detainees are on hunger strike over the last few days due to the nature of a newly upgraded detention compound into prison style.

MITA has a long history of human rights violations and forceful deportation of hundreds of refugees. This newly made compound is built as prison style, meaning that there is absolutely no privacy for detainees, including no door within detainees’ sleeping areas as well as open toilets. The sink is on top of the toilet and is made out of steel. Those who need to shave and brush their teeth will be forced to sit on top of the toilet bowl to be able to reach the sink.  All recreational activities are minimised and are made to be as inaccessible to detainees as possible.

Recently, I obtained distressing video footage from MITA detainees which indicates that SERCO guards are forcefully removing and restraining detainees inhumanely. These types of manhandling have been happening for over 20 years in Australian-run detention centres. We should not forget that the current MITA hunger strike is caused by unlawful long term detention, as well as the deteriorating mental health of detainees caused by the detention system.

Australian governments both past and present have blood on their hands detaining refugees in detention indefinitely.  Next time when we say “Australia/Victoria is an inclusive country/state”, just speak to an eX-detainee and they will spell it out really well.  We don’t need any upgrades! We don’t need human rights investigations! We don’t need “humane conditions” in MITA! We want it to be closed down permanently and freedom for all survivors of torture and abuse.

MITA eX-detainee, X

Donate to RISE : Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees

Refugee Detention, Torture and Abuse by Australia doesn’t STOP for holidays, New Year celebrations, Christmas Carols or Sporting events – #SanctionAustralia

While you are celebrating your end of year events, our community is being tortured, abused and murdered in Australian run detention centers in front of your eyes every single day. Have you forgotten?

This is a call by RISE eX-detainees to the Australian public and the International community to join our #SanctionAustralia Campaign and stand AGAINST Refugee/Asylum seeker Detention, Torture and Refoulement committed by the Australian government, during end of year events across Australia and Overseas.

What you are witnessing RIGHT NOW against Refugees in Manus or Nauru or any other Australian run detention camp is not something new. The systemic abuse against refugees coming on boats to seek asylum has been going on for over 26 years now. Australia needs to stop using us as political pawns and


Furthermore, Australia’s state sanctioned refugee trafficking, detention, torture and abuse has been the laboratory for the world. It has given a green light to many across the globe who claim to “support” refugees including the European Union who recently made a major deal with Libya to intercept refugee boats.

RISE eX-detainees call for immediate pressure to be placed on Australia in the way of global sanctions that address their deliberate and inhumane mandatory detention process and refugee boat push back policies. Specifically, Australia should be excluded in participating in international humanitarian and human rights forums until mandatory detention and refoulement of asylum seekers is abolished in Australia.

We eX-detainees request all supporters of eX-detainees and current detainees held hostage by Australia to take a stand during end of year holiday events and bring to the forefront the forgotten people in our community being tortured, refouled and abused by this government while mainstream Australia celebrates this “festive” season.

What can you do?
Download our posters and display them at public places and send a strongmessage that you are no longer going to stand by idly while the trafficking inhuman misery is leveraged for political gain.

Hand out our sanction Australia brochures

For more details about the #SanctionAustralia campaign initiated and run by eX-detainees visit the main page: #SanctionAustralia

We ask that you please make efforts to research the background of this campaign and take relevant

We should not wait until one more refugee is murdered, tortured or refouled by Australia.
RISE eX-detainee Team

#SaveHakeem Urgent Action Call: STOP deportation to Bahrain of Australian refugee Hakeem Al Araibi in Thailand

Hakeem Al-Araibi has been recognised as a refugee and granted permanent protection by the Australian government. Last week, while he was in Thailand, he was taken by the Thai authorities to an immigration detention centre and told he will not be sent back to Australia.

The Thai authorities informed him that due to an Interpol red notice, he would be deported to Bahrain instead.  Today there are reports in the media that the Interpol red notice has been lifted, yet there is no clear sign of guaranteed safety and protection for Hakeem Al-Araibi by Australian and Thai state authorities or International authorities in the UN or ICRC with a  protection mandate.

“I’m a refugee in Australia, I’m scared of the Bahraini government … They will kill me. I don’t know what’s going to happen there. My life will end if I go to Bahrain.” Hakeem Al Araibi who has been detained in Thailand.   

This is a critical case as it sets a further precedent of abuse and torture across the world, and makes us refugees more insecure about travelling outside Australia.  It violates our right to freedom of movement, life, safety and protection. RISE has emailed UNHCR Thailand, UN-CAT, The Asia Pacific refugee rights network and our team has contacted UNHCR in Thailand by phone.

We urgently request our supporters to contact Thai and Australian authorities and International agencies listed below and ask them to intervene and stop the deportation of Hakeem Al-Araibi to danger and provide him with proper support and safeguards for safe travel back to Australia.

1. Contact Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs – Marise Payne
Electorate office: (02) 9687 8755
Foreign Affairs:

2. Australian Ambassador to Thailand. Paul Stephens 
Phone : 02 344 6300 (Thailand) or 1300 555 135 (Aus)

*[Also contact your local Australian embassies]

3. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) head office in Canberra
Contact numbers
Switchboard: +61 2 6261 1111
Fax: +61 2 6261 3111

4. UNHCR Australia
Phone: 1300 361 288 (within Australia)
+61 (0)2 9262 5377 (overseas).

5. OHCHR | Convention against Torture

6. UNHCR Thailand
Phone : +66 2288 2180
Email :
Facsimile: +66 2280 0555

We should stop refugees from being deported to any country where they are likely to face harm and persecution.


RISE Calls On Universities And Health Services To Divest from The Detention Industry.

A Breakdown of the health and education institutions currently financially tied to security companies complicit in ongoing detention torture. There have been countless reports and inquiries regarding the deaths, torture and sexual abuse faced by refugees who have been incarcerated within Australia’s mandatory detention centres. These detention centres are allowed to exist with impunity because they are directly orchestrated by the Australian government for profit.

RISE encourages employees, students and clients of these institutions – as well as general supporters – to use the contact points linked below, maintain a physical presence at these establishments and demand they divest from the detention industry immediately and sever ties with these security companies.

*We will regularly update this list as we receive more information.

What else you can do?

Be part of eX-detainee led and controlled campaign. The #SanctionAustralia campaign is unique in that it is initiated, controlled and directed by eX-detainees and launched in September 2017.  The Sanction Australia campaign primary aims is to sanction Australia from participating in international refugee humanitarian decision-making and human rights forums until The END of Mandatory Detention, The END of Refoulement and The END of Refugee Boat Turn back policies.

RISE eX-detainees’ objections to Colour Code & Democracy in Colour’s Victorian Election Scorecards 2018

Yet again, Refugee eX-detainees are thrown under the bus by so-called “progressive” political campaigners during the Victorian State election – According to the election scorecard formulated by Colour Code, an outfit that is run under the umbrella of GetUp and claims to independently represent people of colour, the Australian Labor state government and the Greens are given a positive score for “Commitment to multiculturalism, equality and inclusion” and saying “no to attacks to communities because of race, religion or language”.

Here are questions we have for GetUp and Colour Code on the above points in their Victorian state election score-card:

  1. How does this match with racial profiling and abuse of our people by Victoria Police under Daniel Andrew’s Labor government?
  2. How does this match with the Andrews State Labor government, maintaining an MOU with Victoria Police and Peter Dutton’s Australian Border Force. The Australian Border Force is a paramilitary wing of the Department of Immigration, originally formed by the current Australian Prime Minister and member for Cronulla, Scott Morrison. What have the Greens or Labor done to cancel this MOU?
  3.  Are you giving the Australian Labor Party a positive score on these points for starting mandatory detention, resulting in death, torture and rape of detainees and ex-detainees or giving Greens and the Australian Labor Party a positive score for supporting mandatory detention?
  4. Are you saying that the Australian Labor Parties’ support for the policy of pushing refugees arriving by boat back into the ocean is not an attack on “communities because of race, religion or language” and proves a “Commitment to multiculturalism, equality and inclusion”?

We would also like to note that a similar organisation called Democracy in Colour has given the Australian Labor Party and the Greens in Victoria a positive tick for “Leadership in stamping out racism in politics” and we put forward the same questions to them.

These questions are by no means comprehensive and we are appalled that groups such as yours that claim to independently represent people of colour is helping perpetuate white supremacist policies that determine “who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come”.

Our community groups are getting raided in homes, workplaces, schools and hospitals and we are forcibly taken to detention centres if the police stop us and find we do not have the requisite paperwork. They throw us into detention centres for deportation to danger. Where does white supremacy start or end in Australia if even those who claim to represent the interests of people of colour throw us refugee ex-detainees and detainees under the bus?

RISE eX-detainees



The Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing Cohort) Bill 2016the ‘Lifetime Ban’ Bill – was introduced and passed in the House of Representatives in November 2016. It has been before the Senate since that time;

  • The Bill would affect 3127 people including:
    • 626 people remaining in Papua New Guinea;
    • 652 people remaining in Nauru;
    • 460 people in Australia, transferred for emergency medical treatment;
    • 831 people returned to their country of origin through forced or voluntary removal.
  • The Bill would prevent resettlement in Australia for the people who have been assessed as refugees in PNG (583 people) or Nauru (821 people)
  • The Bill would prevent refugee assessment in Australia for people transferred to Australia for medical purposes, many of whom have never been afforded a refugee assessment in PNG or Nauru
  • The Bill would enforce family separation in a number of ways, including:

1.Preventing people in PNG or Nauru from being sponsored for a visa by citizen or permanent resident family members already in Australia;
2. Children born in Australia to people from Nauru or PNG would be unable to sponsor their parents for visas in the future;
3. People transferred from Nauru or PNG for medical purposes, most of whom are in ‘community detention’ or on Bridging visas, unable to be sponsored by Australian partners or other family members.

  • Finally, the Bill would make invalid pending visa applications by people from Nauru and PNG – including Partner and Humanitarian visa applications made for reunification with family in Australia


  • The ‘NZ Deal’ refers to a series of public offers made by representatives of the New Zealand government to resettle in New Zealand some people transferred to PNG and Nauru by Australia
  • There are no formal details of the NZ Deal
  • In 2013 former NZ Prime Minister John Key offered to resettle 300 refugees over 2 years from Nauru and Manus Island, accepting 150 refugees per year within NZ’s existing humanitarian migration intake.
  • Current NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has discussed a similar offer with different details: 150 refugees only, with preference given to family units on Nauru

Ban Goes Beyond New Zealand Deal

  • There is no direct legal or other link between the Lifetime Ban Bill and the NZ Deal
  • The effects of the Lifetime Ban Bill are not confined to people resettled in NZ, or any country other than Australia—it is drafted with reference to all 3,127 people transferred to Manus or Nauru by Australia after July 2013
  • Despite this, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office has briefed Fairfax that Cabinet would be “inclined” to accept a variant of the NZ Deal on condition the Lifetime Ban Bill is passed.
‘Say No To The Life Ban Of Refugees’ and #BlockTheBill – What can you do?

#BlockTheBill Media Release 19/10/2018

On behalf of our members and governing staff from over 30 of the refugee and eX-detainee communities in Australia, RISE urges the Australian public to say NO to the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s plan to introduce legislation to ban asylum seekers who arrive by boat from ever being allowed into Australia. In November 2016, former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and current Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton attempted to table the Life ban of refugees and asylum seekers Bill in parliament but it faded away after significant public backlash. Due to the current public outrage on “Kids in detention” in offshore camps, the Morrison government is reviving this bill yet again, using refugees as political pawns.

Scott Morrison’s proposal to impose a “life ban” on refugees and asylum seekers who have arrived since 2013 July, as well as future refugees who will be arriving to seek protection, will be tied up with the “No Advantage Policy”, which was crafted and designed under the Australian Labor government.

“Australia has a history of racism and genocide. Far right-wing sentiments are reappearing fast. It is up to us to not repeat the abhorrent acts that Australia was built on. “If the majority of the Senate go ahead with the decision to support Prime Minister Morrison’s proposal banning refugees and asylum seekers, it will be further evidence of Australia’s shocking discrimination against people fleeing from war, torture, rape and persecution” Ramesh Fernandez (RISE founder and eX-detainee)

People who have fled war, trauma and torture need long term security in order to restore their lives. The proposed legislation will be extremely harmful to refugees and asylum seekers. It adds major uncertainty to the lives of asylum seekers who have fled persecution and in turn exacerbates the trauma they have endured and continue to live through.

If New Zealand agrees to take about 150 refugees & Australia imposes life ban;

  1. What about those remaining in offshore torture camps?
  2. What is the fate of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia who arrived after July 2013? They may face deportation.
  3. What about those refugees who have gone to the USA?
  4. What about those refugees who were forcibly deported to danger?
  5. This bill impacts the reunion of families. Some of our members still have families in offshore detention centres. If this bill goes through, they will never be able to see their families again.
  6. What about children of asylum seeker parents who arrived after July 2013, who were born onshore in Australia?

People including children who are trapped in Nauru and Manus, held hostage by the Australian government, are being repeatedly used as political pawns. This is deliberately designed discrimination and well managed by Australian politicians. There is enough evidence that Australia’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers is both barbaric and illegal, and that treating survivors of persecution in this way should not continue.

“At present Scott Morrison like all other Australian politicians is setting his sights on the upcoming election and is most likely intent on mopping up – what is for him – a political mess in Manus and Nauru. RISE calls on the Australian public, politicians and so-called refugee supporters to refuse to be racist proxies in helping the government pass anti-refugee policies and use our people as political currency.  (Ramesh Fernandez – RISE Founder and eX-detainee)

Media contact :
Abdul Baig (eX-detainee and RISE director)
(03) 9639 8623 or


This proposal is likely to be discussed at the Senate soon (TBA). We need to ‘Say No To The Life Ban Of Refugees’ and #BlockTheBill. You can help stop this by informing the Senators that you are against this proposal. Call or email the Senators and tell them you stand with refugees and do not support the lifetime ban on refugees bill.

Senator Derryn Hinch
(02) 6277 3168
1300 498 035

Senator David Leyonhjelm
(02) 6277 3054
1300 884 092

Senator Stirling Griff
(02) 6277 3713
1300 556 115

Senator Rex Patrick
(08) 8232 1144
1300 556 115

Senator Tim Storer
(08) 8232 0220
1300 738 260

We need 38 votes to #blockthebill, so we really need to try to get each of these votes. Search for other Senators and Members here

Link to our #BlockTheBill Campaign :

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