Report on BMRSG visit to the federal politicians 18 and 19 June 2018
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.
Blue Mountains Refugee Support group holds vigil outside Macquarie MP’s office
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.
2018 Human Rights Dinner keynote address by Behrouz Boochani
Standing up for human rights is about picking the battles that are long and exhausting precisely because they are the ones that matter the most. Even after five years of misery and oppression, Behrouz Boochani hasn’t given up. So how on earth can any of us? As he said in his keynote address via video from Manus island last night at the Annual Human Rights Dinner in Sydney: “Our advocacy will be acknowledged as truly valuable and worthwhile only when we can secure the release and safety of the refugees imprisoned on these islands.” Never give up. We won’t.
BMRSG at RAR Wodonga Part 1
Six members of BMRSG attended the Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR) National Conference held in Wodonga in April 2018. One of the group Roger Grealy writes of his experiences of the conference. This is Part 1 of 3 articles on the wide range of speakers, workshops and great people we met.
Friday essay: the Chauka bird and morality on our Manus Island home
Michelle Nayahamui Rooney grew up on Manus Island and returned to her home in November 2017. Here is the story of her childhood, what Manus island means to her as she tries to explains what the detention centre has done to this community. "My poem Chauka, yu we? started as an angry reaction to the appropriation of the Chauka and the inhumane treatment of asylum seekers. As a scholar and as a Manus Islander, I have tried to reason through the historical, political, social and moral issues that gave rise to the detention centre. At the same time I am left angry, sad and guilty..."
The increasingly deranged diary of a detention centre visitor
If the Department of Home Affairs was trying to stop detention centre visits with its new, punitive visitation procedures, then it may have worked. Last month the Department of Home Affairs changed the visitation protocols for Australian detention centres, provoking outrage and hunger strikes among detainees. Here, Rebekah Holt attempts to navigate the new system for her weekly Sunday visit.
Farewell to the wonderful Kath
Mountain Activist off to Bourke Bourke has gained a treasure, while the Blue Mountains, especially the Refugee Support Group Detention Centre visiting team, have lost Kath Sneddon, one of their great stalwarts. Refugees in Sydney have lost a great advocate. Kath’s cheerful energy has lightened many a depressing day at the Villawood Detention Centre while her home cooking and great free range stuffed eggs were a great favourite with home sick refugees stuck in indefinite detention – until Minister Dutton’s Border Force decided home cooked food was a security risk!
Susan Templeman’s speech on Australian Border Force Amendment Bill 2017
"The Turnbull government has introduced an amendment to Parliament to remove strict secrecy provisions governing Australia’s immigration detention system. The move has been described as “a major victory for refugee advocates who challenged the laws in the High Court”. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton introduced amendments to the 2015 Australian Border Force Act that previously threatened detention centre workers with two years in prison if they spoke out about neglect or abuse." Susan Templeman MP Member for Macquarie spoke on this Bill.
Work of BMRSG – Tavam’s shoes
Ever wondered just where BMRSG spends the most welcome donated money. Let me share a story with you. In November last year Tavam's children were attending the swimming school we were running. Tavam accompanied the children and in this delightful non-threatening environment Tavam told me about his well-worn boots. They were issued in detention years ago and have been his only footwear . These are not ordinary boots but boots with specialist built up sole on one shoe.
An exciting second year for the Youth Shoebox Project
Our very own Youth Shoebox Project kicks off for the second year to give a warm Blue Mountains welcome to children and young people seeking refuge and asylum in Australia. Go to their Facebook page Youth Shoebox Project to find out how you can be part of this great initiative.
‹ Previous 1 2 3 4 Next ›