A positive warm hearted story of a need identified by one of the BMRSG Community visitors, of a family in a house with no furniture and a new baby still in hospital, a timely offer of furniture and a feat or organisation by a number of BMRSG volunteers. #BMRSGHelps
Behrouz Boochani, the Kurdish Iranian journalist and award winning autho, discussed his recently published memoir No Friend But the Mountain: Writing From Manus Prison at the Wentworth Falls School of Performing Arts last Saturday. Mr. Boochani fled from Iran to seek refuge in Australia but was instead sent to offshore detention on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Mr. Boochani is a vocal advocate for Kurdish people and all refugees and asylum seekers. Mr. Boochani Skyped in from East Lorengu, the refugee accommodation on Manus Island where he currently resides, and received a standing ovation from audience members, before talking about his memoir and his time in detention.
Summary and recommendation The purpose of the Migration Amendment (Prohibiting Items in Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2017 (the Bill) is to amend the Migration Act to: 1. allow the Minister to determine that an item is a ‘prohibited thing’ in relation to immigration detention facilities, 2 allow existing screening, search and seizure powers to be used in relation to prohibited things, 3 provide a power to search all areas of immigration detention facilities without a warrant, and 4 enable the use of detector dogs to search facilities and to screen detainees and other persons entering the facilities. This post goes into the details of the Bill, the responses of the main parties and the Government's respond to these comments.
Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen visited Sacred Heart Church Blackheath on Sunday 26 August for Migrant and Refugee Sunday. Bishop Long fled Vietnam on a refugee boat in 1979, following two of his brothers who had already left, and reached Malaysia, where he spent 16 months in a refugee camp where he learned English. He reached in Australia in 1980. In his homily he discussed Pope Francis' invitation to be “Welcoming, Protecting, Promoting and Integrating towards Migrants and Refugees”.
Joy Connor, Deputy Chair BMRSG visited politicians in Canberra with Marie Sellstrom President of Rural Australians for Refugees. First they met with Peter Dutton's main advisor and an advisor then they met with Shayne Neumann, Ged Kearney, Sue Templeman and the Advisor to Kristina Keneally. At these meetings they discussed Immigration Detention, the use of handcuffs on people seeking asylum when they went to medical and counselling appointments, SRSS, resettlement, The Amendments to the Migration Act, the RAR Statement on People Seeking Refuge and Asylum and the Andrew Wilkie Bill.
Members of the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group (BMRSG) took their campaign to the Windsor office of Macquarie MP, Susan Templeman, on Thursday, July 19. The gathering was part of a national day of vigils held around Australia to mark the deaths of 12 male asylum seekers in permanent offshore detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru. Twelve empty chairs and 12 pairs of shoes were placed outside Ms Templeman’s office to represent the death of each of the young men. Many of the men, aged between 23 and 34 years old, died from suicide, including overdose and self-immolation. The vigils, named ‘Five Years Too Many’, also marked the fifth consecutive year of refugees and asylum seekers being incarcerated in these centres, established on July 19, 2013.
Members of the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group combined with the Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children to hold a vigil outside the Federal Member for Lindsay Emma Hussar’s offices in Penrith on Thursday. The gathering was part of a national day of vigils held around Australia to mark the deaths of 12 young male asylum seekers in permanent offshore detention centres created by the Australian government on Manus Island and Nauru. The vigils, named ‘Five Years Too Many’ also marked the fifth consecutive year of refugees and asylum seekers being incarcerated in these centres, established on July 19, 2013. Twelve empty chairs and 12 pairs of shoes were placed outside Ms Hussar’s offices to represent the death of each of the young men.
A little more than a year ago two members of BMRSG met with Aasha (not her real name) who had escaped a horrific situation in India with the help of friends. Once she arrived in Australia she applied for asylum. Aasha was being supported by a STARTTS counsellor, her rent was mostly being paid by a leading charity which aids refugees, so BMRSG agreed to pay her $60 per week towards the rent plus $20 for her ongoing medications and fares. A few months later the charity said they were no longer able to pay Aasha’s rent. So, it appeared Aasha would be on the streets.