Rise Blogs

#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
Email: Senator.Payne@aph.gov.au
Foreign Affairs: Foreign.minister@dfat.gov.au

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
Email: cat@ohchr.org

6. UNHCR Thailand
Phone : +66 2288 2180
Email : thaba@unhcr.org
Facsimile: +66 2280 0555

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

RISE Team

RISE University and Health Service Divestment Call

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 ‘LIFETIME BAN’ BILL AND THE ‘NEW ZEALAND DEAL’ – FACT SHEET 2018

THE ‘LIFETIME BAN’ BILL

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 ‘NEW ZEALAND DEAL’

  • 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 admin@riserefugee.org

SAY NO TO THE LIFE BAN OF REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS BY CONTACTING CROSS-BENCH SENATORS  

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.Hinch@aph.gov.au
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DerrynHinchOfficial/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HumanHeadline
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/derrynhinch/?hl=en

Senator David Leyonhjelm
(02) 6277 3054
1300 884 092
Senator.Leyonhjelm@aph.gov.au
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SenatorDavidLeyonhjelm/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DavidLeyonhjelm
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/senatordavidleyonhjelm/

Senator Stirling Griff
(02) 6277 3713
1300 556 115
Senator.Griff@aph.gov.au
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SenatorGriff/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Stirling_G

Senator Rex Patrick
(08) 8232 1144
1300 556 115
senator.patrick@aph.gov.au
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/senator.rex.patrick/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Senator_Patrick

Senator Tim Storer
(08) 8232 0220
1300 738 260
senator.storer@aph.gov.au
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SenatorTimStorer/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/storertim
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/senatortimstorer/

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 : http://riserefugee.org/blockthebillcampaign/

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.

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‘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.