Thuyền nhân Việt Nam xin tị nạn đang bị đe doạ trục xuất về nước, cộng đồng người Việt phải làm sao? (Vietnamese asylum seekers arrived by boat is being threatened of deportation, what can the Vietnamese community do?) – 12/10/2018

By RISE Vietnamese Member who seeks asylum in Australia. (Scroll down for English version)

Thuyền nhân Việt Nam xin tị nạn đang bị đe doạ trục xuất về nước, cộng đồng người Việt phải làm sao?

Các thuyền nhân Việt Nam vừa đến Úc hôm 27/08/2018 đã bị các người dân địa phương giao cho cảnh sát và đã bị giam trong Trung Tâm Giam Giữ Di Trú Đảo Chrismas Island. Bộ Trưởng Bộ Nội Vụ Peter Dutton đã lên tiếng đe doạ trục xuất tất cả các thuyền nhân vừa đến về nước, nơi mà họ sẽ bị Chính Phủ Việt Nam tra tấn, bỏ tù và hãm hại, thậm chí là bị giết chết.

Đây không phải là lần đầu tiên Chính phủ Úc có hành động tàn nhẫn với các thuyền nhân xin tị nạn nói chung và các thuyền nhân tị nạn Việt Nam nói riêng. Năm 1992, Chính Phủ Đảng Lao Động của Thủ Tướng Paul Keating đã quyết định mở ra trung tâm giam giữ di trú đầu tiên trên thế giới và sau này được nhiều quốc gia trên thế giới làm theo. Lúc bấy giờ, mục đích của các trung tâm giam giữ di trú này là nhắm vào các thuyền nhân xin tị nạn Việt Nam và tội phạm hoá việc xin tị nạn để xin được bảo vệ khỏi việc bị đàn áp, bức hại, thiên tai, nạn đói và nạn diệt chủng. Các nạn nhân sống sót của những trung tâm giam giữ khắc nghiệt, tàn bạo, vô nhân tính và đẫm máu này đã và đang lên tiếng về những ảnh hưởng tiêu cực của việc giam cầm vô thời hạn đến tinh thần, sức khỏe và cuộc sống của họ.

Đã có ít nhất 50 người đã mất mạng trong các trung tâm giam giữ di trú của Úc trong đất liền và ngoài khơi từ khi trung tâm giam giữ đầu tiên được mở cửa, trong đó có ít nhất 3 người Việt Nam.Hầu hết những người này là những người xin tị nạn và tất cả đều là người da màu. Những người này đã bị mất mạng vì những lý do có thể được ngăn chặn kiệp thời nếu chính phủ Úc ra tay can thiệp như như tự tử, sự sơ suất y tế và bị ám sát. Ngoài những cái chết oan uổng ra còn có vô số trường hợp đã và đang xảy ra hằng ngày trong các trung tâm giam giữ đối với các giam nhân (bất kể giới tính và lứa tuổi) như hãm hiếp, quấy rối tình dục, bạo hành, tra tấn, đe dọa v.v. Hơn nữa, hầu hết tất cả các cựu giam nhân cho dù đã hơn nhiều năm sau khi được thả ra, vẫn bị tàn tật và mang trong người những căn bệnh hậu từ những lần bị ngược đãi, tra tấn, hăm dọa, hãm hiếp, quấy rối tình dục, và khi cuộc sống của họ bị Chính phủ Úc làm cho hỗn loạn không có lối thoát trong nhiều năm. Ngoài ra còn có hàng ngàn người tị nạn bị Bộ Di trú trục xuất hay đàn áp họ cho đến khi họ tự trục xuất bản thân mình trở về nơi mà họ bị bức hại, diệt chủng.

Năm 2015, Bộ Di trú Úc đã thỏa thuận giao nộp những thuyền nhân xin tị nạn Việt Nam cho chính quyền Việt Nam và những người này đã bị kết án tù ngay sau khi trở về nước, mặc dù Chính quyền Việt Nam đã hứa là sẽ không bỏ tù những người bị trả về, tạo điều kiện cho họ hòa nhập vào xã hội và sẽ cho con cái họ đến trường. Cái bẫy của Chính quyền Việt Nam và sự ham muốn trục xuất người tị nạn của Chính phủ Úc một cách phân biệt chủng tộc đã làm cho những thuyền nhân này bị kết án tù giam và không có khả năng hòa nhập với xã hội, và một số người đã không còn cách nào hơn là phải liều mạng vượt biên một lần nữa. Vậy nên, khi Chính phủ Úc đang đe dọa trục xuất những thuyền nhân Việt Nam vừa đến Úc xin tị nạn vào ngày 27/8/2018 vừa qua, họ biết chắc rằng những người này khi về nước sẽ khó lòng mà yên thân với Chính quyền Việt Nam. Bất chấp việc những người này chắc chắn sẽ bị cầm tù, tra tấn, thậm chí bị giết, Úc vẫn thẳng tay đẩy những người này vào đường cùng.

Trong tình trạng chính trị hiện nay của Việt Nam, vài tháng trở lại đây, người dân trong nước và ngoài nước đã và đang tiếp tục bàn luận chống lại sự xâm lăng của Trung Quốc, và việc Nhà Cầm quyền Việt Nam đang bán đứng nước Việt Nam cho Trung Quốc. Ở nhiều tỉnh thành ở Việt Nam và cả một số nơi khác ở hải ngoại, người Việt đã xuống đường biểu tình phản đối kế hoạch cho nước ngoài thuê đất 99 năm ở các Đặc Khu Kinh Tế của Nhà Nước Việt Nam, và phản đối luật An Ninh Mạng, bộ luật được lập ra để tiện giám sát và điều khiển sự tự do ngôn luận của nhân dân trên mạng xã hội nhằm bịt miệng người dân.

Hiện đã có rất nhiều người, chủ yếu là công dân Việt Nam đã bị ám sát, quấy rối, giam cầm, bạo hành, tra tấn và buộc tội khi tham gia biểu tình hay lên tiếng chống lại luật Đặc Khu, An Ninh Mạng v.v. Vậy nên không có gì là bất ngờ khi có nhiều công dân Việt Nam tìm cách vượt biên xin tị nạn để thoát khỏi ách đàn áp của nhà cầm quyền Việt Nam. Chiếc tàu đánh cá của các thuyền nhân xin tị nạn Việt Nam đã cập bến Úc ở vùng xa phía bắc của tiểu bang Queensland (Far North Queensland) ngày 27/8/2018 vừa qua, kể cả khi chưa biết được trường hợp xin tị nạn của từng thuyền nhân là gì, nhưng rất dễ để có thể đoán chắc rằng những người này đã bị chính quyền Việt Nam quấy rối và đe dọa vì nghi rằng họ có tham gia biểu tình hay chống đối luật Đặc Khu và An Ninh Mạng bằng những cách khác nhau, và họ bị dồn đến đường cùng nên không còn cách nào khác ngoài việc liều mạng vượt biên.

Chắc hẳn, những ai đã từng vượt biên tìm đường tị nạn thì sẽ biết rất rõ những cảm giác lo sợ bất an khủng khiếp khi đang trên đường đi, cũng như là khi trường hợp xin tị nạn của mình đang được xét xử mà không biết là số phận của mình sẽ đi về đâu. Vậy nên, khi được người dân địa phương rủ đi bắt cua, uống bia chỉ để rồi bị báo và giao nộp cho cảnh sát, và rồi bị giam trong trại tập trung và bị đe dọa thẳng thừng là họ sắp sửa bị trục xuất về nơi đã làm cho họ phải bỏ của chạy đi lấy người, thì cái cảm giác đó nó phải khủng khiếp như thế nào? Hànhđộng này của những người dân địa phương và Chính phủ Úc có nhân đạo hay không, hay đây là nghĩa mới của từ nhân đạo? Nước Úc có đang làm theo Hiệp Ước Tị Nạn Quốc Tê hay không, và có đang tôn trọng nhân quyền cơ bản của người tị nạn hay không, hay nước Úc đang tự tạo nên một Hiệp Ước Tị Nạn mới, và đang tự thay đổi ý nghĩa của từ nhân quyền để có thể thẳng tay hành hạ người tị nạn?

Chúng ta đang kêu gọi nước Úc gây áp lực để Việt Nam chấm dứt sự vi phạm nhân quyền có hệ thống. Nhưng nước Úc có tư cách lên án các quốc gia khác khi các quốc gia này vi phạm nhân quyền có hệ thống hay không khi chính nước Úc cũng đang làm điều đó? Khi nước Úc thẳng tay đe dọa trục xuất những thuyền nhân  xin tị nạn người Việt Nam yêu nước đã lên tiếng chống lại giặc ngoại xâm Trung Quốc, và phải liều mạng vượt biên vì bị Chính quyền Việt Nam truy lùng, nước Úc có đang bênh vực kẻ yếu hay đang ủng hộ kẻ gian? Phải chăng nếu Úc lên tiếng bênh vực người yếu thế thì nước Úc sẽ đi ngược lại với lịch sử và nền tảng sáng lập nước Úc, khi chính người Anh sang Úc cướp đất và diệt chủng người Thổ dân ở lục địa này, những người đã sinh sống ở đây trên một ngàn thế hệ, để âm mưu chiếm nước Úc làm thuộc địa?

Lịch sử Úc là một lịch sử đẫm máu của người Thổ dân da đen khi họ bị cướp đất và diệt chủng bởi người da trắng. Lịch sử Úc cũng là một lịch sử đẫm máu khi Úc đàn áp một trong những nhóm người bị đàn áp kinh khủng và tàn nhẫn nhất trên thế giới: người tị nạn. Sẽ có người nói rằng, “Nhưng lúc trước Úc đâu có đối xử với tôi như vậy, Úc nhận tôi vào mà?” Thì câu trả lời cũng tương tự như là câu trả lời của câu hỏi,“Nếu Công an Việt Nam đối xử tốt với một số người thì công an Việt Nam có tốt hay không?”

Vậy làm sao để có thể giúp người tị nạn hiện nay?

Các cựu giam nhân từng bị giam giữ trong các trung tâm giam giữ di trú của Úc đã phải chịu đựng những sự tàn bạo kinh khủng nhất của các quy định về người tị nạn và xin tị nạn của Úc. Kể cả sau khi được cho ở lại định cư, họ vẫn phải chịu đau khổ gây ra từ những áp bức mà họ phải đối mặt trong các trung tâm giam giữ, cũng như các bệnh hậu và bị tàn tật vĩnh viễng từ việc bị hành hạ, đánh đập, làm nhục, hãm hiếp, quấy rối tình dục, đe dọa v.v. trong một thời gian dài. Ở tổ chức RISE: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-detainees (RISE: Người Tị Nạn, Người Sống Sót và Cựu Giam Nhân), các cựu giam nhân đã lên tiếng về tội ác chống lại nhân loại của nước Úc khi Úc bắt buộc giam cầm người xin tị nạn vô thời hạn, quay đầu thuyền tị nạn và trục xuất người tị nạn về nước. Họ đã khởi xướng chiến dịch Trừng Phạt Nước Úc để kêu gọi các nhóm nhân quyền lên tiếng gây áp lực lên Liên Hiệp Quốc không cho Úc được tham gia vào bất kì hội nghị về nhân quyền nào, cũng như không được tham gia ra quyết định về bất cứ quyết định nào có liên quan đến nhân quyền cho đến khi tất cả các trung tâm giam giữ di trú được Úc duy trì hoàn toàn bị đóng cửa vĩnh viễn.

Đây là thời điểm rất quan trọng đối với dân tộc Việt Nam trước ách xâm lăng của Trung Quốc. Trong thời gian tới sẽ có thêm rất nhiều người Việt Nam phải bỏ xứ ra đi tìm đường tị nạn. Nếu người Việt không lên tiếng chống lại sự đối xử tàn nhẫn của Úc đối với người tị nạn thì những người Việt xin tị nạn sắp tới sẽ là nạn nhân tiếp theo của tội ác chống lại nhân loại của Úc khi Úc tiếp tục thẳng tay đàn áp người tị nạn như hiện nay. Cách đối xử và thái độ đe dọa của Chính phủ Úc đối với các thuyền nhân Việt Nam vừa qua hôm 27/8/2018 khi họ đã bị giam cầm và bị đe dọa trục xuất về nước cho thấy Úc không hề có dấu hiệu áy náy cho hành vi chống lại nhân loại của mình, cũng như không có dấu hiệu nguôi tay với các chính sách đàn áp người tị nạn.

Đã bao năm qua cộng đồng người Việt tị nạn ở Úc đã cố gắng ăn nên làm ra, đóng góp cho nước Úc và làm việc với chính quyền để nâng cao hình ảnh của người Việt Nam trong xã hội Úc cũng như thương lượng để Úc cấp visa thường trú cho những người Việt xin tị nạn, nhưng Úc vẫn tiếp tục giam cầm, đàn áp, đe dọa và trục xuất những người tị nạn và xin tị nạn Việt Nam. Còn tệ hơn nữa là việc người tị nạn Việt Nam và Sri Lanka là hai nhóm người dễ bị Úc trục xuất về nước nhất, khi Úc đã ký kết thoả thuận với hai nước này là sẽ giao nộp tất cả những người vượt biên xin tị nạn không có giấy tờ về nước, nơi mà sau khi bị trả về, họ sẽ bị tra tấn, cầm tù, quấy rối, thậm chí bị giết chết. Vậy chúng ta có nên tiếp tục làm việc với chính quyền Úc để rồi mọi chuyện vẫn dậm chân tại chỗ, hay tệ hơn nữa là đi thục lùi? Hay chúng ta phải lên tiếng bênh vực lẽ phải và buộc nước Úc phải có trách nhiệm đối với những tội ác mà Úc đã gây nên? Khi Chính quyền Việt Nam đàn áp dân, chúng ta có thương lượng với chính quyền Việt Nam hay chúng ta phơi bày sự thật và kêu gọi thế giới gây áp lực cho Việt Nam buộc Việt Nam chấm dứt những sự đàn áp này? Chiến dịch Trừng Phạt Nước Úc đang làm những điều đó, những điều mà có thể thay đổi được tình hình và có thể thay đổi được thái độ của Úc đối với người tị nạn.

Lưu ý: Hãy tôn trọng tài sản trí tuệ và sự làm việc cần cù của người tị nạn trong khi viết tài liệu này và đừng ăn cắp.

Vietnamese asylum seekers arrived by boat is being threatened of deportation, what can the Vietnamese community do?

The Vietnamese boat people arrived on 27th August 2018 has been handed over to police by the local people, and is detained on Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre. The Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton has threatened to deport all of these recently arrived boat people back to their country, where they will be tortured, imprisoned, and harmed, or even murdered by the Vietnamese Government.

This is not the first time Australian Government is having cruel actions against asylum seekers arrived by boat in general, and specifically against Vietnamese asylum seekers arrived by boat. In 1992, the Paul Keating  Labor Government has decided to open the world’s first ever immigration detention centre and has been followed by many countries in the world. At the time, the purpose of these immigration detention centres were aimed at Vietnamese asylum seekers arrived by boat and criminalise the action of seeking asylum to ask for protection from oppression, persecution, natural disaster, hunger and genocide. The victims/survivors of these hostile, brutal, inhumane and bloodied detention centres has been and are still speaking out about the negative impact of indefinite detention on their mental health, physical health and their lives.

There has been at least 50 people who lost their lives inside Australian detention centres from the time the first detention centre was opened, and at least 3 of those people are Vietnamese. Most of these people are asylum seekers and all of them are people of colour. These people have lost their lives due to reasons that could have been prevented  if the Australian Government intervene such as suicide, medical negligence and murder. Apart from these unjust deaths, there are also countless incidences of rape, sexual harassment, violence, torture, threat, etc. happening everyday inside detention centres against detainees regardless of their gender and age. Further, despite many years since their release, most detainees are still disabled and still carry with them the illnesses/disorders they acquired from being abused, tortured, threatened, raped, sexually harassed, and when their lives were being left in chaos without seeing a way out for many years. There are also thousands of refugees who has been deported by the Department of Immigration or oppressed to the point where they would self-deport themselves back to where they were persecuted or faced genocide.

In 2015, the Australian Department of Immigration has negotiated to handover Vietnamese asylum seekers arrived by boat to the Vietnamese Government, and these people were immediately charged and imprisoned after they arrived back to their country, despite the Vietnamese Government has promised to not imprison them, create opportunity for them to integrate into the society and enable their children to go back to school. The trap of the Vietnamese Government and the willingness to deport refugees of the Australian Government in a racist way has lead these boat people to be imprisoned, having no capacity to integrate into the society, and a number of them had no other option than have had to risk their lives to cross borders again. So when the Australian Government threaten to deport these Vietnamese boat people recently arrived to Australia to seek asylum on 27/8/2018, they know for sure these people after arriving back will hardly be left alone by the Vietnamese Government. Despite the fact that these people are guaranteed to be imprisoned, torture, even murdered, Australia still pushes these people into an end road without hesitation.

In the current political situation of Việt Nam, within the last few months, the Vietnamese people inside and outside of the country has been and are still continue to discuss against the Chinese invasion, and the fact that the Vietnamese authority are selling off Việt Nam to China. In a number of provinces in Việt Nam and even a few places overseas, Vietnamese people has taken on the street to protest against the Vietnamese Government’s proposal to allow rent concession for foreign companies to rent land for 99 years in Special Economic Zones (SEZs), and to oppose the Cyber Security Law, a law created to make it more convenient to surveillance and control the freedom of speech of citizens on social media to cover people’s mouths.

Currently, there are many people, particularly Vietnamese citizens who has been murdered, harassed, detained, abused, torture and charged when participate in or speak up against the SEZs and Cyber Security Law etc. So it is not surprising when there are many citizens of Việt Nam finding a way to cross borders to seek asylum to escape the repressive regime of the Vietnamese Government. The fishing boat of the Vietnamese boat people seeking asylum has arrived recently to Australian shore in Far North Queensland on 27/8/2018, even when not knowing what each boat person’s asylum case is, but it is very easy to guess that these people has been harassed and threatened by the Vietnamese Government when they’re being thought to have participated in protest or oppose to the SEZs and Cyber Security Law in different ways, and they has been pushed to an end where they have no other ways than risking their lives to cross border.

Surely, anyone who has crossed border seeking asylum must know really well the horrible anxious feelings of uncertainty whilst en route, as well as when their asylum case is being process, not knowing where their destiny will lead them to. So, when being invited to catch crabs and drink beer by the locals, just so then being reported and handed to the police, and then being detained in concentration camps and being threatened without hesitation that they are about to be deported back to the place that has made them to have to abandon their properties and run away for their lives, how horrible must it feel? Are the actions of the locals and the Australian Government humane or not, or is this the new meaning of the word humanity? Is Australia following the International Refugee Convention, or is Australia self-creating a new Refugee Convention, and is self-changing the meaning of the word human right so they can abuse refugees without hesitation?

We are calling Australia to put pressure so Việt Nam will end its systemic human rights violation. But does Australia have the aptitude to condemn other countries when these countries violate human rights systemically when Australia is doing the same thing? When Australia without hesitation threatened to deport  patriotic Vietnamese boat people seeking asylum when they speak up against the invasion of China, and has had to risk their lives crossing borders when being hunted down by the Vietnamese Government, is Australia protecting the weak or is Australia protecting the crooks? If Australia speak up to protect the weak, wouldn’t that go against the history and foundation of Australia, when the British came to Australia to steal land and commit genocide against Indigenous people on this continent, the people who has lived here for more than one thousand generations, in a plot to occupy Australia as their colony?

The Australian history is a bloodied history from the blood of black Indigenous people when they have had their land being stolen away from them and endure genocide committed by white people. The Australian history is also a bloodied history when Australia repress one of the most cruelly and horrendously oppressed group of people in the world: refugees. There will be people who says, “But before, Australia didn’t treat me this way, Australia accepted me.” The answer is similar to the answer to the question, “If the police in Việt Nam treat some people nicely, would that make police in Việt Nam great?”

So how to help current refugees?

eX-detainees who has been detained in Australia’s immigration detention centres have endured the most horrible brutalities from Australia’s refugees and asylum seekers policies. Even after they are allowed to settle, they still continue to suffer from the oppression they faced in detention centres, as well as the after-illnesses and permanent disability from having been tortured, beaten, humiliated, raped, sexually harassed, threaten etc. for an extended period of time. At RISE: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-detainees, eX-detainees have spoken up about Australia’s crime against humanity when Australia mandatorily detain asylum seekers indefinitely, turn back refugee boats and deport refugees back to their countries. They have initiated the Sanction Australia Campaign to call human rights groups to speak up and put pressure on the United Nations to exclude Australia from participating in any human rights forums, as well as exclusions from making any decisions that have anything to do with human rights until all immigration detention centres are shut down permanently.

This is a very crucial time for Vietnamese people on the edge of Chinese invasion. In the near future, there will be many more Vietnamese people who will have to leave their country to find a way to seek asylum. If Vietnamese people don’t speak up against Australia’s cruel treatment against refugees then the oncoming Vietnamese asylum seekers  will be the next victims of Australia’s crime against humanity when Australia continue to oppress refugees without hesitation like what’s happening now. The treatment and threatening attitude of the Australian Government  towards Vietnamese boat people recently arrived on 27/8/2018 when they has been detained and is being threatened of deportation back to their country shows that Australia totally has no sign of repentant  for their crime against humanity, as well as  no  sign of  reform to their  oppressive laws against refugees.

For many years,  the Vietnamese refugee community in Australia  have tried with great effort to become successful and prosper, contribute to Australia and  working with authorities to improve the image of Vietnamese people in the Australian society, as well as negotiate in a way that Australia will grant permanent visas to Vietnamese refugees, but Australia continue to detain, oppress, threaten and deport Vietnamese refugees and asylum seekers. Even worse, Vietnamese and Sri Lankan refugees are the easiest groups of people to be deported by Australia, when Australia has signed Memorandums of Understanding  with these two countries to hand-over all asylum seekers who have crossed borders without documentation back to their country, whereby after their return, they will be tortured, imprisoned,  harassed, or even murdered. So should we continue to work with the Australian authorities just so everything will still remain on the same spot or  even worse, moving backward.  Or should we speak up for justice and hold Australia accountable with the crimes Australia has committed? When the Vietnamese Government oppresses the people,   do we negotiate with the Vietnamese Government or do we expose the fact and call the world to put pressure on Việt Nam to force Việt Nam to stop their oppressions?  The Sanction Australia campaign is doing these things, the things that could change the situation and could change the attitude of Australia towards refugees.

_______________________________________________________

‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ – While you are reading our advocacy materials, media statements and following our campaigns, please remember RISE is entirely governed by and for by eX-detainees, asylum seekers and refugees. Furthermore, all of RISE’s hard work is managed and developed by eX-detainees, asylum seekers and refugees. Support self-determination of RISE: Refugees, Survivors and eX-detainees, by making a tax deductible donation TODAY via https://www.givenow.com.au/riserefugee

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

‘NOT ALL DISABILITIES ARE VISIBLE’ – 09/10/2018

‘NOT ALL DISABILITIES ARE VISIBLE’  by Nguyen Hong Duc

When I started out as RISE’s Ability Rights worker two years ago, my role is to find supports for refugees and asylum seekers with disabilities. What I found was a distinctive lack of services across the migration sector, only three out of 16 Migrant Resource Centres have programs for people with disabilities, of those three only one supports asylum seekers or newly arrived. The other two did Home And Community Care (HACC) for those of migrant backgrounds over 55-65 years of age; HACC is home care and support (not personal/medical care). 

‘Launch of RISE’s advocacy booklet; refugees and asylum seekers with disabilities. A document that brings together the voices of RISE members and an analysis non-intersectionality of the literature in the refugee and disability sectors.’ Link here

As for the disability sector, where is scarcity of knowledge on refugees where I am yet to find a mainstream disability service provider that has a refugee intake program. Publically there is no clear indication be it either on their website or when I call them if refugees or asylum seekers on various visas can access the disability service. Most if the information is in English and little if any information on accessibility. This is a one-size fit all approach to informing the public of services available.  I need to make it clear I am referring to disability services not mental health services.

The mental health sector is hard for refugees to access, that is psychologists and therapists, refugees are more often referred to the specific torture and trauma clinics. How they differentiate between invisible mental health disabilities and PTSD related mental I cannot say. What I can say is that more needs to be done to support invisible disabilities like depression and anxiety, eating disorders and emotional behaviours that are often not treated go undiagnosed, and seen as “just adjusting to a new life”.

I myself is a former child refugee from Vietnam, I have two disabilities, a hearing impairment and cerebral palsy. Here I am going to advocate that for too long refugee settlement has been separate to disabilities and mental health needs. This erroneous and amounts to structural neglect from the medical profession and the migration settlement services sector. This is why the silo approach to refugees and asylum seekers is detrimental to their health and wellbeing and the community. This is a critique of the standard operating philosophy of using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This drives settlement support. It dictates the literature on refugees. It defines government policy. 

I’ve witnessed the long-term detrimental abuse by the system that does not acknowledge the damage of silos whilst living in the Vietnamese community for 6 years. That of loss, grief, AOD abuse, child neglect, loss of self and ego etc. Refugee policy does not see the intersections between health and disability at all. Today the refugee communities are still subjects absurd binary. You cannot just be happy with a roof over your head, food on the fridge, and part-time job.

If:

  1. You need to remove shrapnel from your body.
  2. You need a new prosthetic, and the loaned one from detention caused pain from ill fitting.
  3. You need new vision equipment to read your emails.
  4. You are deaf in one ear from a bomb explosion.
  5. You have constant sleepless anxiety about the survival of relatives in your home country.
  6. Your ability to focus for more than one hour has been severely impaired because of torture.
  7. Your ability to use your written hand, and almost crippling back pains damaged from torture trauma
  8. Or for no fault but fate, you suffer form the effects of polio, in a wheelchair, having an intellectual disability or from a bad case of a disease from refugee camps, or simply the conditions of having to flee across borders where nature took is aim at the body more than the bullets.
  9. If you have a mental breakdown or co-medicate on AOD as a way to deal with trauma.

The public face to proclaim from both the disability and the health sector is that their organisation’s charter quotes or their code of core values acknowledge universal human rights and respect to different cultures.  But the sad thing is that services are anything but universal, or only universal to the point of generalized standardization to the norm. That norm is the Anglo-Celtic norm. By mainstreaming of service delivery is not equity or addressing social determinants. This is a denial of difference, and that refugees all have special needs and need to be case by case approach towards wellbeing both physical and mentally. This is why I have named RISE’s disability program Ability Rights.

Note: Please do not refer any of your “clients or members” to RISE. Self reform within your own organisation.

RISE eX-detainees request supporters to raise awareness on AFL Grand Final day (Saturday 29th Sept), to bring to the World’s attention the escalating crisis faced by Refugees held hostage by Australia in detention centres.

RISE ex-detainees request supporters to raise awareness during the AFL Grand Final Day, Saturday 29th September 2018, to bring to the world’s attention the escalating crisis faced by detainees held hostage by the Australian government in offshore and onshore detention centres. We also ask our supporters to raise awareness internationally on the day at Australian embassies across the world, to show your solidarity with our community and #SanctionAustralia for their crimes against humanity.

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 26 years ago, yet these abuses continue because not a single Immigration Minister or administrator in the Australian government have 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. No refugee wants to be left in limbo, but the Australian government has consistently shown a lack of transparency and accountability, breaking faith with Refugees.

Australia has one of the highest concentration of media ownership in the world and therefore less likely to expose the torture, abuse and murder of our community who are fleeing wars and conflicts that mainly serve capitalist interests. We should not stay silent when there are lives at stake. If we do not act, refugees in Australian-run detention centres will continue to be tortured and abused by the Australian government, and be forced to deport or self-deport.

Please take action and #SanctionAustralia to send a strong message to the Australian government and show the world that you stand against Australia’s criminal administrative detention regime implemented more than 26 years ago against us refugees. The international community should also condemn Australia, a member of the UN Human rights council, for exploiting less affluent countries such as Papua New Guinea and Nauru and using them as proxies to carry out human rights abuses against refugees.

Who are we?
RISE: Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees is the first entirely self-determined refugee advocacy and welfare organisation in Australia. We seek direction from the RISE ex-detainee group in carrying out this action.

Read more about eX-detainees led and managed #sanctionAustralia campaign here: riserefugee.org/sanctionaustralia

RISE Ex-detainee Team
RISE : Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees
#SanctionAustralia

eX-detainees’ day statement : Do not bury eX-detainee voices or undermine over 2 decades of our labour towards dismantling immigration detention centres

We, eX-detainees at RISE in Australia, mark the 17th of September 2018 as eX-Detainees’ Day, for all asylum seekers and refugees who have been forcibly detained whilst seeking protection. This is our 3rd 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.

“Asylum seeker and refugee detainees who have been detained or are currently detained in detention centres are among the most persecuted and oppressed people in the world. We have endured abuse in our own countries, and upon seeking protection, are disenfranchised and suffer institutional abuse within detention systems.” eX-detainees

In this 3rd year of commemorating eX-detainees’ day we raise the collective voices of asylum seekers and refugees around the world, who are facing discrimination and criminalisation due to detention.  eX-Detainees’ Day will highlight and oppose all forms of refugee and asylum seeker detention that we are subjected to globally: whether the detention lasts 1 day, 30 days, 1 year, or longer periods of time.

We eX-detainees are thankful for those who have shown meaningful solidarity and allyship. We also like to see more eX-detainee voices put at the forefront in the refugee debate in Australia and across the world. In Australia, eX-detainees have been working towards dismantling immigration detention centres over two decades now. Do not bury eX-detainee voices as has been done continuously by successive Australian governments. Recognition, respect and autonomy should be given to many eX-detainees and detainees who have never compromised on the goal of abolishing detention centres and spoken out against detention centres, risking our freedom and families. Respect our voices and our well being. Here is the link to our demands http://riserefugee.org/exdetaineesdemands/

Last year we eX-detainees at RISE  established the #SanctionAustalia Campaign and we have received overwhelming support for the campaign in Australia and as well as across the world. Further, in the process of developing our Sanction Australia campaign, eX-detainees have been consulting with national and international wide activists, rights groups and civil society groups to endorse our Sanction Australia campaign.

We offshore and onshore eX-detainees from Australia strongly condemn successive Australian governments and other governments around the world for holding hostage our community members in detention torture camps across the world. We eX-detainees demand that all refugee survivors who are forcibly held in detention centres immediately release and provide them with permanent protection and proper support services.

eX-detainee Team

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


‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ – While you are reading our advocacy materials, media statements and following our campaigns, please remember RISE is entirely governed by and for by eX-detainees, asylum seekers and refugees. Furthermore, all of RISE’s hard work is managed and developed by eX-detainees, asylum seekers and refugees. Support self-determination of RISE: Refugees, Survivors and eX-detainees, by making a tax deductible donation TODAY via https://www.givenow.com.au/riserefugee

Transgender Refugees living in the community in Australia and Access to Primoteston

Recently, in the last few weeks, RISE: Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees’ transgender members who were coercively assigned female at birth and are living in the community, raised concerns about the removal of Primoteston Depot (a form of testosterone injection) from the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).  Primoteston has been removed from PBS by the manufacturer Bayer Pharmaceuticals for commercial reasons. This forces our members to purchase the medication at the full price of about $40 every 4-6 weeks. Generic brand testosterone is also not available through the system. For this reason, a meeting was organised last weekend by affected RISE transgender members to discuss this issue.  Clearly it has had a particularly devastating impact on our community members as they are also struggling with Australia’s precarious and abusive refugee visa process, with limited access to health and welfare services. Furthermore, it became clear in the discussion that even service providers that explicitly claim to support transgender people have failed to address the barriers transgender refugees face when it comes to accessing hormone replacement therapy.

In order for an unemployed RISE member living in the community on a bridging visa with Medicare, to purchase prescribed medication at a concession price they have to be approved for Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) by the Australian Department of Home Affairs.  If their SRSS application is approved, in addition to SRSS payments which is 89% of the standard Centrelink welfare payments they are assigned to a private subcontractor such as AMES or Life Without Barriers for “settlement” support. They do not have access to a healthcare card and have to depend on a letter from the SRSS provider to allow access to specific pharmacies to purchase PBS medication at a concession price.  Currently, AMES provides a letter that is usually valid for only 1 or 3 months which has to be renewed each time it expires. For RISE members (all of whom are ex-detainees) on 5 year temporary visas, the government will only allow them to receive Centrelink payments for up to 18 months in total. We also need to keep in mind RISE members who are undocumented or on bridging visas, who don’t have access to Medicare, the right to work or any welfare support payments and have to pay full price for all medication. The recent cuts to SRSS by the Department of Home Affairs places more of our members in this latter category.  

When a person changes from  Primoteston to a testosterone injection available on PBS such as Reandron (also manufactured by Bayer), they may have to continue to use Primoteston during a temporary overlapping period with Reandron.  So even RISE members eligible for PBS medication at a concession rate who decide to change from Primoteston to Reandron, will initially have to pay for Primoteston at the full price, in addition to Reandron at concession price.  Moreover, different people may react differently to different brands of testosterone and for these reasons many transgender people who use Primoteston cannot switch to a more affordable brand of testosterone.

RISE calls on health and welfare providers, particularly ones that claim and/or funded to support refugees and transgender people, to take direction from transgender refugees and effectively address the issues described above without further delay.

 

RISE DEMANDS IMMEDIATE EVACUATION OF REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS TRAFFICKED BY AUSTRALIA TO MANUS AND NAURU

RISE members including offshore and onshore eX-detainees strongly condemn successive Australian governments for holding hostage our community members in Manus and Nauru torture camps for more than five years now. RISE demands that the Australian government to immediately bring back all refugee survivors and provide them permanent protection and proper support services.

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.

‘Detention deaths are systemic murder not casual deaths of refugees, we should not normalise them at anytime’

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 12 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. This systemic abuse of our bodies and livelihood not only exist in detention but also long after we survived. We should not also forget those who are currently held hostage in both onshore and offshore detention camps, including some cases where people have been detained for 10 years without release date.

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.”

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.

“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 and Nauru  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.

RISE : Refugee Survivors and eX-detainees

This is the fifth year that RISE: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-detainees, the first self-determined advocacy and welfare organisation in Australia run by Refugees for Refugees continues to call for a boycott of Refugee week.

This is the fifth year that RISE: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-detainees, the first self-determined advocacy and welfare organisation in Australia run by Refugees for Refugees continues to call for a boycott of Refugee week.  Meanwhile almost every agency across the world that states they “help” or advocate for Refugees calls us to “celebrate” Refugee week and World Refugee Day.

There are now over 65 million forcibly displaced people around the world, the highest number since World War II.  Furthermore between just 2016 and 2017, despite the global increase of refugees, the number of refugee resettlement places dropped by 54%. How many refugees are Indefinitely and forcibly detained in immigration detention centres, Blocked from seeking protection, Tortured abused and murdered, Deprived of water and food supplies, Living below the poverty line within refugee camps or Deported to danger?

How are you going to address this systemic oppression and calculated discrimination during Refugee week? Sitting in a dark corner or event hall listening to happy and sad refugee stories and running panel discussions will not address the root of refugee global displacement. It is a cheap, weak and self centred approach that has satisfied personal or organisational goals which has not helped to effectively mitigate the escalating crisis of hyper militarization and abuse our communities face across the globe.  To quote an eX-detainee RISE member, “Sharing refugee stories is a saviour complex strategy that bandages white structural discrimination against refugees in Australia. Discrimination, torture and abuse of refugees will not end by sharing happy and sad stories unless the system of abuse is dismantled.”

In RISE’s 2017 callout for a boycott of Refugee week, we mentioned the fact that the architects of one of the most brutal, xenophobic, white supremacist refugeepolicies in the world, Australia’s department of home affairs, are one of the participants in Refugee week “celebrations” and yes, they continue to do so in 2018 (https://www.australianoftheyear.org.au/alumni/alumni-news-articles/article/?id=help-us-and-the-department-of-home-affairs-celebrate-refugee-week, https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/Refugeeandhumanitarian/Documents/refugee-week-2018-a3.pdf). How could those partnering with the  Australian Department of Home affairs at Refugee week events during this week keep ignoring the fact that this department continues to implement the discriminatory and abusive “No Advantage” policy introduced by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2012 that included the reopening of refugee torture camps in Nauru and Manus camps where 12 refugee deaths have occurred so far? Not surprisingly, numerous NGOs that have supported and/or continue to support the Australian government to run detention centres and community detention are organising refugee week events-for example Salvation Army, Save the Children, Red Cross, AMES etc.

Most importantly we should not forget UNHCR, the peak international refugee body that purports to represent us Refugees, coercively collecting biometric data of the most vulnerable in interim countries for “security” measures, and facilitating “Voluntary” repatriation of Refugees to war torn countries such as Afghanistan.  For instance RISE is aware that UNHCR has opened up an office in Bogor in Indonesia and Afghan community members have been informed this office will only assist those “who want to go back to Afghanistan”.

This lack of accountability is not something we can take lightly. 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.

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 displacing people, stop feeding the deadly “border security” and military industrial complex, and provide safe passage and sanctuary for Refugees crossing borders.

RISE Statement on the siege and massacre of Gazans.

The past two months have been horrific for the people under siege in Gaza. They have historically attempted for several weeks to protest at the border of Israel’s 12 year air, sea and land blockage and demand their right of return to 1948 areas now occupied by Israeli suburbs, under The Great Return March. In peacefully protesting, they have been massacred by Israeli sniper live bullets and other weapons which have killed more than 112 of whom 13 were children (under 18) and 13,190 injured.

The people of Gaza are insisting on breaking out of the siege and just day before yesterday, they sailed on a Freedom Flotilla ship with many of the injured to reach Cyprus and access medical care denied from entry into Gaza. Israel intercepted and seized this ship.

RISE stands unequivocally in support of the two million residents of Gaza in their demands for the siege to end immediately, who should not have to endure a brutal and dehumanising blockade which is the largest open air prison in the world.

We strongly believe that all refugees should be able to escape dangerous, unlivable conditions and seek asylum, yet the people in Gaza are forced to endure live ammunition and airstrikes for having the audacity to demand a life of safety and dignity.

We see Australia’s complicity in its belligerent UN vote against an investigation into Israel’s latest massacre as further reason to support the Sanction Australia campaign.

Our primary aim 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.

We do not see a difference between Australia’s white supremacist mandatory detention policy, and Israel’s zionist occupation, illegal settlements, blockade and seizing of Gazan ships. The parallels reveal clearly why Australia would use its power to protect its settler colonial ally – Israel.

We express our solidarity with Palestinians, who have endured 70 years as a nation in exile, unable to return to their occupied lands.

We invite them and all supporters of freedom to join us in our Sanction Australia campaign until Australia improves its human rights record both on refugee and Palestinian rights.

We RISE eX-detainees including Palestinian eX-detainees highly condemn the recent attacks on Palestinians in the Gaza strip by Israel.

Genocidal acts are being carried out daily, inside and outside the borders of Gaza by Israel and it is not a hidden matter; it is out there for people to witness. So far, over 40 Palestinians have been killed in the recent massacre with 2000 others injured.

We are not going to sit back and talk about “how can this happen?” or “violations of human rights law”. We find such discussions practically worthless, meaningless and short-sighted because there is no such thing called “human rights” in occupied territories. If there is one we wouldn’t have been treated as worthless humans. We stand against the massacre of Palestinians and the ongoing occupation by Israel.

We don’t need sympathy, we need accountability and reparations. We should not forget thousands of Palestinians have been refugees for over 50 years and barred from returning to their homeland or even a durable resettlement solution by UNHCR.

We send our deepest condolences to our community who are the victims of the Israeli government’s murderous actions, conducted repeatedly in front of your eyes.

RISE eX-detainees

 

eX-detainees highly condemn artists performed in the #Stolenwealth (“commonwealth”) games in Australia 2018 and call to boycott such artists.

We eX-detainees in Australia strongly condemn those artists who performed in the Stolenwealth aka “Commonwealth” Games in Australia 2018. We eX-detainees have requested artists to boycott the “Commonwealth” Games both nationally and internationally on the basis of our community members enduring ongoing abuses in Australia run detention centres for over 2 decades (26 years). http://riserefugee.org/stolenwealth-games-boycott-a-first-nations-ex-detainee-solidarity-statement-26-03-2018/

But our request has been regarded with clear disrespect and Australia’s rape and torture survivors should not have to educate people on this. Artists privileged enough to have such a platform should know that their solidarity should be with the oppressed not with a thieving murderous empire or “commonwealth”. This was an opportunity to leverage your power for justice but you instead chose fame and money while throwing abused and tortured communities under the bus. What is very interesting is that some of these artists are recognised as progressive and as human rights activists, yet have zero respect for refugees indefinitely detained in Australian detention camps both in and past and at the present. For over 26 years, white Australian refugee policy exists not only because of racist Australian government but also of spineless so-called progressives too.

This systemic abuse of our bodies and livelihood not only exist in detention but also long after we survived. We should not also forget those who are currently held hostage in both onshore and offshore detention camps, including some cases where people have been detained for 10 years without release date.

Therefore, we ask all our national and international followers to BOYCOTT below artists’ future performances due to their lack of regards for those who survived rape and torture in Australia-run detention centres.

Artist Names / Locations

Meg Mac – Melbourne
The Cat Empire – Melbourne
Born in a Taxi – Melbourne
Regurgitator – Melbourne
Confidence Man- Melbourne

Urthboy – Sydney
Nina Las Vegas – NSW
Icarus Productions – Sydney
Hot Dub Time Machine – Sydney
Thundamentals – Sydney
BlueSkillet Rovers – NSW
Eliza & The Delusionals- NSW

Kate Miller Heidke – Brisbane
Amy Shark – Brisbane
Ella Fence – Brisbane
Katie Noonan – Brisbane
The Jungle Giants – Brisbane
Bullhorn – Brisbane
Circa Contemporary Circus – Brisbane
Paces – Brisbane
Polytoxic dance theatre – Brisbabe
Lastlings – Brisbane
JACKIE MARSHALL – Brisbane
Dancenorth – Queensland
Don Walker – Queensland
Busby Marou – Brisbane
Michelle Xen – Brisbane
Courtney Act – Brisbane
Bobby Alu – Brisbane
The Creases – Brisane
Tijuana cartel – Queensland
Cheap Fakes – Brisbane
Dubmarine – Brisbane

Caiti Baker – Darwin
Restless Dance Theatre – Adelaide

Wafia – Netherlands
Rimini Protokoll – Germany
Early Morning Opera – USA
Punchdrunk – England
Susheela Raman – England
The Ska Vengers – India
Salmonella Dub – New Zealand
Peaches – Canada
GRRRL – Worldwide