Author Archives: riserefugee

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.

As Australia aims for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, we cannot ignore the fact that Australia has been arbitrarily detaining refugees who are seeking protection by boats. 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?

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

2nd ANNUAL EX-DETAINEES’ DAY FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS AND REFUGEES 3rd OF SEPTEMBER 2017

“As ex-detainees in Australia, we acknowledge that the land we seek protection on is the land of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples”

We, ex-detainees at RISE in Australia, mark the 3rd of September 2017 as Ex-Detainees’ Day, for all asylum seekers and refugees who have been forcefully detained whilst seeking protection. This is our 2nd annual Ex-detainees’ day. Crucially, this initiative is entirely managed and controlled by ex-detainees who are asylum seekers and refugees in Australia, as an assertion of our self determination.

The 3rd of September will serve to commemorate and raise the collective voice of asylum seekers and refugees around the world, who are facing discrimination and criminalisation due to detainment. Ex-Detainees’ Day will highlight and oppose all forms of refugee and asylum seeker detention we are subjected to globally: whether detention lasts 1 day, 30 days, 1 year, or longer periods of time.

Asylum seeker and refugee detainees are among the most persecuted and oppressed people in the world. We endured abuse in our own countries, and upon seeking protection, are disenfranchised and suffer institutional abuse within detention systems. Immigration detention centres are arbitrary and nefarious forms of state violence; they function to subjugate asylum seekers and refugees by imprisonment.

Furthermore, we ex-detainees who have sought protection and freedom in Australia, acknowledge that we live on colonised land where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ sovereignty has never been ceded. We recognise that the racism that pervades this country’s institutions and public spheres – which 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.

We require support and protection, not incarceration. States have the obligation to uphold our human rights; not exploit us for political gain. We denounce the torture, deportation, abuse and bloodshed occurring in immigration detention centres. We condemn governments, private companies and nonprofit agencies who are part of the detention supply chain.

By holding refugees and asylum seekers hostage in detention centres, governments and private companies are committing crimes against humanity with impunity, adding to the trauma we have suffered. Many detainees have been forcibly deported or self-deported due to the unbearable torture they experienced in detention back to countries they fled from; and were consequently tortured or killed upon arrival.

Individually we have been impacted so severely by this systematic violence that the cost to ourselves and to our communities as a result of this state-sanctioned trauma cannot be measured. Therefore, in addition to accountability, we seek reparations for the irreversible damage inflicted upon us and our communities.

HOW WE INITIATED THIS DAY:

At RISE, we have been running a self-support group for refugee and asylum seeker ex-detainees (run by and for ex-detainees), once a week since 2015. We come together to discuss the hardships we faced during our time in detention centres, and support one another to cope with the resulting trauma. The initiative to create an Ex-Detainees’ Day to highlight our experiences came from this support group.

As ex-detainees, our firsthand experience attests to multiple human rights violations. Whilst detained, we suffered and witnessed deportation, suicide, torture, sexual abuse and racial vilification without access to justice. We jumped from the frying pan and into the fire; we ran from one oppressor to another. The government considered us inferior and our determination to continue was extinguished.

Unfortunately, this phenomenon is not limited to Australia. All over the world, our lives and voices are suppressed. There is no accountability in immigration detention centres – and this must stop. Unless we collectively boycott and globally condemn detention nothing will change. We are certain Ex-Detainees’ Day will be a catalyst for this discussion and the abolishment of immigration detention centres.

For those who ask us: “but what is the alternative to detention of asylum seekers and refugees? ”We say this: the ONLY alternative to detention is NO DETENTION with FREEDOM, JUSTICE and proper humanitarian safeguards. As refugees and asylum seekers, we refuse to apologise for our survival and self-determination. We will not be commodified and criminalised for simply being humans who survived persecution, torture and abuse.

While we are starting this unique initiative in Australia, we also have been in touch with ex-detainees around the world. We will continue to reach out to and connect with other ex-detainees in countries where refugees and asylum seekers have been incarcerated in detention centres.

How YOU can support Ex-Detainees Day for Asylum Seekers and Refugees

1. Take action by supporting RISE’s campaign of ending all forms of asylum seeker and refugee detainment, and provide space and resources for ex-detainees to not only speak out, but to have full control in shaping this day.

2. Boycott and divest from government and non-governmental entities such as security firms and not-for-profit companies that are part of the immigration detention and “border security” supply chain; and continuously promote these actions across your networks.

3. Call for proper accountability and reparations for detainees past and present, along with those connected to them who have been affected by the abusive immigration detention system.

Ex-detainees in Australia.
RISE: Refugees Survivors and Ex-detainees

RISE PRESENTS: FIRST NATIONS AND REFUGEES SOLIDARITY PANEL DISCUSSION

As an extension of our ongoing work and last year’s #SovereigntySanctuary launch event at the foot of Parliament House of Victoria, RISE will host a panel discussion between First Nation People and Refugees who have sought protection in Australia (16/09/2017, 2pm, State Library, Melbourne).

The discussion aims to critically address the current and historical treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and refugees who are coming to seek protection via boats. It seeks to discuss what grassroots solidarity movements, self-determination and community organising has looked like and might look like in order to create meaningful, sustainable movements that challenge colonialism, border imperialism and white supremacy.

All panelists including the host have committed a number of years towards solidarity work and organising campaigns for their own community groups on a grassroots level. Additionally, everyone involved in the panel discussion are from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background as well as refugees and ex-detainees who have sought protection in Australia.

Panelists
Eugenia Flynn
Meriki Onus
Tania Cañas
Abdul Baig

Hosted by
Amy McQuire

Limited Tickets Are Available
$22.08 (full)
$16.84 (concession)

All proceeds from this event will be donated to Curtain The Podcast

As refugees, asylum seekers and ex detainees in Australia, we acknowledge that the land we seek protection on is the land of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples where sovereignty was never ceded. RISE fully support First Nations sovereignty, self-determination and we stand in solidarity with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples of so-called Australia.

RISE Team

RISE: Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees boycotts “world refugee day and refugee week” for the fourth year running: 16/06/2017

RISE: Refugees,Survivors and Ex-detainees will be boycotting “Refugee week” and “World Refugee day” for the fourth year running in Australia. It would be unconscionable for us to partake in this macabre circus while the crisis of hyper militarisation and abuse faced by our communities across the world continues to escalate in catastrophic proportions. Particularly as these events have been appropriated as a PR exercise by various groups and individuals that feed into and profit from the xenophobic and racist anti-refugee system that impacts on our daily lives.

In 2017, Australia’s own “Department of Immigration and Border protection” (DIBP) continues to dedicate a page for Refugee Week 2017 on their website while they hold hundreds of our people captive in concentration camps in and outside Australia and push refugee boats back into the sea. Looking at DIBP’s website it is clear that their PR stunt on Refugee week cannot exist without images and voices of our people and we urge our communities to give thought before partaking in such activities. We should not be remembered once a year as passive entertainers to satisfy the public’s voyeuristic interest or to satisfy the diversity checklist while our community members are directly or indirectly endangered by these very same entities.

Australia marks its fifth year implementing the “No Advantage” policy, one of the most cruel and racist refugee policies. It resulted in the reopening of Nauru and Manus Island internment camps where there have been 7 deaths so far in addition to untold misery. We cannot forget that this policy was implemented after considering the advice of a cohort of “experts” that included Paris Aristotle, the CEO of Foundation House, a Torture Trauma counselling service for Refugees that still employs him in this position. Government and NGO bodies at various levels continue to shower Paris Aristotle with accolades: he was named “Victorian of the Year” by the Victorian government in 2016 and Officer of the Order of Australia in last week’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for “distinguished service to the refugee and asylum seeker sector through executive and advisory roles with a range of state and national organisations”. Last year Foundation house was one of the major sponsors of Refugee week, overseen and organised by the Refugee council of Australia. This lack of accountability is not something we can take lightly.

On the international stage, while using the bodies and voices of our people to promote themselves during World refugee day, UNHCR, the peak body responsible for refugee rights across the globe, has facilitated countries involved in mass deportations of Refugees such as Afghan Refugees in Pakistan. In 2016, 600 Sudanese Refugees who erected tents in front of the Jordanian UNHCR office were forcibly deported from Jordan. RISE has evidence of UNHCR in Indonesia denying Refugees freedom of access to their personal information. For more than a year, UNHCR Indonesia has refused a request from our advocacy team for information on why an Afghan refugee was rejected despite the fact that authorisation for access to this information had been provided. The office also refused to release the information directly to the person concerned. Indonesian refugee advocates have also confirmed that UNHCR routinely denies many other Refugees in Indonesia access to their own information. RISE members have also experienced this issue in UNHCR offices in other parts of the world.

It goes without saying that we have an ethical duty to question if initiatives like “Refugee week” or “World Refugee day”, overseen by organisations headed mainly by non-Refugees from countries that have been responsible for creating forced displacement in the first place, can truly represent the interests of Refugees. To quote our own ex-detainee demand number 8: “We demand, that countries that cause forced displacement are stripped from their decision-making position in the global humanitarian sector. It is an irrefutable fact that the countries that supply the largest proportion of the world’s weapons and military power and consume the largest proportion of the world’s natural resources, are located mainly in Europe and North America. These countries also have a disproportionate amount of decision making power in the humanitarian sector and take in one of the smallest proportions of forcibly displaced immigrants in the world.”

While there are global efforts by both governments and NGOs during “World Refugee Day” to make us sing, dance and perform for them as they momentarily “celebrate” our existence, thus far, we have not witnessed a global effort by these entities to stop feeding the deadly “border security” and military industrial complex, and provide safe passage and sanctuary for Refugees crossing borders.

If “Refugee week” or “World refugee day” is about us, it should be about OUR freedom, OUR voices, OUR lives, OUR future and OUR self-determination. RISE will not partake in, nor “celebrate” or endorse, any refugee events used as a cheap PR stunt that serves or prioritises non-refugee interests.

RISE : Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees.

Australia continues to bully and discriminate refugees by giving no option for protection – Ramesh Fernandez (25/05/2017)

The announcement by the Australian Government last Sunday to force refugees to lodge their applications by 1 October 2017 is merely more cruel, calculated, systemic discrimination.

The Coalition Government is targeting refugees who have arrived in Australia by boat during the period between August 2012 until the end of 2013. Over 7000 asylum seekers are caught in this discriminative ‘Fast Track’ process.

We should not forget that Labor designed this offshore policy with the help of a three-member ‘expert panel’ including Foundation House CEO, Paris Aristotle.

We all know that the ‘fast track’ process offers no protection, only guaranteed unfair treatment. We should also not forget that the Australian government has deliberately cut funding to legal services assisting refugees. Under the ‘fast track’ process, there is minimum support for refugees’ claims but maximum discrimination; this process is designed to make it impossible to seek protection.

Three weeks ago, the Australian Government announced a vicious attack on refugees and migrants via proposals for a revised citizenship test. Just one week after that, the Australian government targeted refugees in offshore detention centres, forcing refugees and asylum seekers to either resettle in PNG or self-deport.

Now, the Australian government is turning its attention to refugees onshore. Peter Dutton has justified this process by whipping up hysteria around “fake refugees” while also refusing to disclose the number of boat arrivals to Australia and deporting refugees back to danger.

No refugees want to be left in limbo. The Australian government has not provided proper legal or community support for refugees who arrived during 2012/13. They were kept in the community without opportunities to seek protection and had their cases were mishandled by the Department of immigration.

Now the government wants to target the backlog of unprocessed refugees because our communities are the most vulnerable and helpless. Refugees should be allowed to seek protection and should be provided adequate support to seek protection, not punished for how we arrive to this country.

RISE Media Release : Call to immediately bring back Refugees and Asylum seekers trafficked by Australia to Manus and Nauru (17/5/2017)

RISE members including offshore and onshore ex-detainees strongly condemn the current move by Papua New Guinea immigration officials to force refugees and asylum seekers to resettle in PNG or self-deport. This move has been made with the announcement that they will be closing down the Australian government’s Manus Island detention camp by October 31, 2017.

The re-opening in 2012 of so called “regional processing centres” in Manus Island and Nauru by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard and immigration minister Chris Bowen has resulted in 7 deaths so far. Hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers trafficked to Manus and Nauru by the Australian government have experienced abuse and neglect on these islands.

Former offshore and onshore detainee, Ramesh Fernandez says “These camps cannot be called ‘processing centres’. Australian run offshore refugee camps are a modern form of concentration camps. How do you call this a ‘processing centre’ when you get locked up 24/7, tortured and humiliated constantly. We should not forget that in November 2015 over ‪600 refugees and asylum seekers in Manus Island detention camp wrote to Australian PM and immigration minister Peter Dutton calling for mass assisted suicide‬. This is evidence that refugees and asylum seekers are unable to continue their lives in Manus.”

“Furthermore”, Ramesh Fernandez says, “due to the lack of transparency in these Australian run detention camps, refugee cases have been mishandled, unfairly dismissed and processed without proper adherence to refugee rights protocol. Providing Manus detainees with the impossible ultimatum of settling in PNG or returning to their countries pushes unfairly rejected asylum seekers as well as those who have not been rejected to self-deport to danger.”

We say enough is enough! It is the Australian government who deported our community members to torture camps in Manus and Nauru. It is not for survivors of racist, state sanctioned abuse to clean up this unlawful mess. We demand that the Australian government immediately end the cycle of torture: Close these camps permanently and bring all survivors back to Australia for resettlement with proper support services. This is the very least that should be done to compensate for damage done to our communities by criminal actions of the Australian government and its proxies.

Media Contact : Abdul Baig , 03 9639 8623
RISE : Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees

1 2 3 21