Posts Tagged ‘Christmas Island’

Will Australia finally face its own trial over refugees?

April 27, 2017

The court decision to award damages to a girl held in detention on Christmas Island when she was just five years old must send panic through our Government. The fact that the Government offered compensation on the first day of the trial speaks volumes. The Government must fear that many now will also seek compensation for having been held in detention. The case of the girl started as a class action but the Court refused on the grounds it was lacking in common or shared issues.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-26/iranian-asylum-seeker-wins-payout-detention-christmas-island/8472718

For some years now the Australian Government has been accused of criminal neglect in keeping asylum seekers in detention under harsh conditions. The UN and the UNHCR have repeatedly warned Australia it was in breach of Human Rights. All to no avail. This Government stubbornly sticks to its mantra  that;

1. It is all the fault of the opposition the Labor party, in setting up the detention centres in first place.

2. To stop the boats coming and prevent drownings we need to give a good example to those that are contemplating escaping the horrors of war.

It seems that those that did not drown are now being punished. The refugees are in their fourth year of detention!

Australia is now trying to trade with the US administration some of the refugees still held in Nauru and Manus Island in exchange for some Latin American refugees held in the US. It is all shrouded in secrecy. Donald Trump said the deal  ‘was the worst he ever heard of.’  The obvious solution is for those refugees to be accepted in Australia. This is being fought tooth and nail against by the architects of indefinite detention on Manus and Nauru, Scott Morrison and now Peter Dutton. Our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is whipping us into a nationalistic fervour. ‘We must all stand-up and defend our ‘unique Australian Values’ . ‘He goes on about ‘the fair go and respect for law.’ The hypocrisy is just dripping so copiously from him it is actually showing.

I have reached the stage I try and not show my Australian passport. How can I keep my head up high?  How can I be proud of a country that has done such a terrible deed  and continues to do so, on the most vulnerable?

I hereby copy a recent post on my Oosterman blog by a man who worked as a guard on Manus;

Beau Mitchell Says:

“It is not a military run operation although its no coincidence that the vast majority of the workers, including myself were ex military and like myself ex special forces. unfortunately you can mistreat people like this when its off shore like this. There have been 2 companies that worked in Manus G4S and Wilson Security, I worked for both. This ABC story was the 2nd story I actually spoke to 10 Eyewitness news first. There was a media injunction slapped on me within 48 hours of speaking to 10 and in that 48 hours I spoke to ABC with the above report. No we do not have freedom of speech in Australia, you have watched to many American TV shows if you think this. in the event this message gets traced back to me I face up to 15 years in a federal prison for the crime of empathy. On Manus the Security company Wilson is the Judge, Jury and Executioner when it comes to discipline of the refugees located there. In the event a refugee does something wrong there is a make shift prison made from shipping containers, there is no trial or interaction with the local police, Wilson management makes the decision on the punishment one particular incident I recall a refugee lost his temper and started trying to hit people with a lump of wood (did not actually hit anyone) his punishment was a week in the Chauka (name of secret prison) where he was beaten each night (6 times in total) until unconscious during this time period, I was given the task of guarding the prison, I was posted at the main gate, and did not go in the Chauka. The smell was terrible of human feces and urine but being that I was on the outside I did not know why. I eventually saw”

LikeLikeBeau Mitchell Says:

 

 

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Peter Greste is freed. What about the Manus Island refugees?

February 2, 2015
Asylum seekers on Manus Island.

Asylum seekers on Manus Island.

Australian journalist Peter Greste is freed through the intervention of the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Could Abbott show similar compassion and free the refugees held in detention on Manus Island, Christmas Island and Nauru?

Peter Greste was at least charged with something, yet the refugees, some of them locked up for well over one year have never been charged.

Nauru

Nauru


I mean, are the refugees going to be locked up forever, totally forgotten?
It is a stain so reminiscent of Auschwitz footage I saw on TV just last Friday.”

No matter on how we look at the situations of refugees in indefinite detention under the ‘care’ of Australia. We can’t go into the future without dealing with the past.

It might help again to point out the following.

Here a partial extract written by Paul Toohey; ‘That sinking feeling.’

“The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, to which Australia is a signatory, defines a refugee as:

“Any person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his/her nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country”.

This definition is used by the Australian Government to determine whether our country has protection obligations towards an individual. If a person is found to be a refugee, Australia is obliged under international law to offer protection and support and to ensure that they are not sent back unwillingly to the country of origin.

An asylum seeker is a person who has sought protection as a refugee, but whose claim for refugee status has not yet been assessed. Every refugee has at some point been an asylum seeker.

Those asylum seekers who are found to be refugees are entitled to international protection and assistance. Those who are found not to be refugees, nor to be in need of any other form of international protection, can be sent back to their country of origin.

As of 30 June 2014 there were 24,500 asylum seekers who had arrived by boat (including 1,870 children) who had been permitted to live in the community on Bridging Visas while waiting for their claims for protection to be processed.

As at June 30 2014 there were 3,624 people in immigration detention facilities and 3,007 people in community detention.

MYTHS ABOUT REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS
There are many myths about refugees and asylum seekers. These are some of the common ones.

People who come by boat are illegals. The UNHCR states that a person who has a well-founded fear of persecution should be viewed as a refugee and not labelled an ‘illegal immigrant’ as the very nature of persecution means their only means of escape may be via illegal entry or the use of false documentation or having no documents at all. The right to enter without prior authorisation is protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), which Australia helped to draft.

Boat people are ‘queue jumpers’. Some believe that people who arrive by boat are taking the place of more deserving refugees waiting in resettlement camps. The reality is that there is no orderly queue, only a small proportion of the world’s refugees are registered with the UNHCR and in many places there is no opportunity to register at all.

Boat arrivals aren’t genuine refugees. Asylum seekers who arrive by boat are subject to the same assessment criteria as all other asylum applicants. Recent figures show that over 90% of asylum seekers arriving by boat have been found to be refugees and granted protection here or in another country.

We take more refugees than our share. Australia is one of only about 20 countries who participate in the UNHCR’s resettlement program and we accept a quota of about 13,750 per year. However this is only 0.03 per cent of the worlds 4 million refugees. The UNHCR’s program currently only resettles 1 per cent of the world’s refugees, with most remaining in developing countries neighbouring the countries from which they have fled.

Refugees receive higher welfare payments than Australian citizens. There is no truth to this myth, which has been widely circulated by email. Refugees living in the community have only the same entitlements as all other permanent residents. They do not have their rental bonds paid for by the government, nor do they receive a lump sum payment on arrival. Asylum seekers are not eligible to receive financial assistance through Centrelink but some can be eligible for the Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme administered by the Australian Red Cross and other contracted service providers. The scheme provides a basic living allowance equivalent to 89% of Centrelink payments.”

Is this the Best bloody Country in the World?

January 29, 2012

Is this the best bloody country in the world?

There is no doubt about it. Politics in Australia have sunk to a level not even comparable with a cesspit. The ongoing kerfuffle about the boat people, year after year and in the news almost daily is as tedious as it is sad. Almost, because it’s the people involved that are the saddest part. Tediousness can be done away with by simply putting the newspaper aside or switching off the Telly.

What is it that our form of governing can be so hopelessly lost in empty rhetoric instead of acting? Both sides seem impossible to clear the deck and deal with the issue of boat people. How can dealing with a fairly non-political external issue such as dealing with those that arrive on our shores become so entrenched in dividing an entire nation? The numbers are, compared in other parts of the world insignificant. The deterrent factor has been bandied about as if we are being threatened by millions. There are indeed many millions of refugees swirling around mainly Africa and the Middle East. Hundreds of thousands are in camps directly adjacent to where terrible wars are being fought. They are the countries that are really coping with an unimaginable magnitude of refugees flooding over their borders.

Australia is dealing with a miniscule almost negligible number. The problem is in the hardship for those few that in desperation are risking the boat trip… It’s not hard for us Australians, is it?  Are we suffering because of boat people? Has anyone lately been robbed, raped or pillaged by a boat person.

On the world stage our position on refugees has been damaged. Footage of a boat smashing against the rocks of Christmas Island and the numerous times of protesting refugees on roof tops of detention camps has been beamed around the world. Our harsh stance seems incomprehensible to most when the low numbers are considered.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-01-27/asio-refusing-to-comment-on-refugees-in-limbo/3797836

And then we have this yearly self congratulatory orgy of navel gazing with the oi, oi Australia Day. We whoop it up, jump around manically and go to bed assuaged by having ingested large T-bones and imbibed copious quantities from our beloved Liquor-Land. A plethora of Australia Day awards given to many that excelled in so many areas, especially in sport. We mustn’t be too mean-spirited though. An artist, Geoffrey Rush won the Australian of the Year award.  No mean feat!

A bit of a spoilsport was this little unsettling message from Dr Charley Teo on the ABC that our racism has subsided somewhat but… still dormant, still lurking around, ready to raise its ugly head at the slightest arrival (or hint of arrival) of anything foreign or smacking of the tags ‘Boats, unwelcome, our border, protection, uncontrolled, off-shore, detention etc. Not so much a response with tags s a ‘compassion, welcome, help, on-shore. It was so not long ago when over 150 000 Vietnamese were welcomed, many came by boats as well.

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3416597.htm

Those indulging of driving around blowing horns and sticking our national little flags out of car window are apparently, according to a recent survey, most likely to be xenophobic inclined racists.  When will it end?

We used to be proud of being a nation built on the back of boat people.

What has changed?