November 8, 2011 Comments Off on As a Tamil refugee commits suicide, former Aust. diplomat criticises ASIO
ABC Unleashed – Time to clear up some security clearance doubts
The security clearance industry is just that – an industry.
In theory and more often in practice the more sophisticated a society the more efficient and streamlined is the process for obtaining a security clearance.
Record keeping – births, deaths and marriages – school, trade and university qualifications, police records, military service records and media interventions, mentions and appearances, all assist in building a profile. Couple this with an efficient filing and retrieval system and obtaining a security clearance should be neither difficult nor lengthy.
Where things start to unravel is when some or many of the prerequisites listed above are not kept on file or are missing from file. Add to this sloppy record keeping and matters become a bit hit or miss. Further add in corruption and the process ceases to function…
Bruce Haigh is a political commentator and retired diplomat who served in Sri Lanka.
SMH Opinion Editorial – Vaunted values too slow to save neglected son from fatal despair
An open letter to ‘Shooty’, who committed suicide in Villawood detention centre last week.
I’ve just watched our Prime Minister talking about shared Commonwealth values in Perth. My mind turned at once to you and your solitary, late-night death in Villawood detention centre last week…
…At CHOGM, the high table of Commonwealth values, Sri Lanka went un-punished for atrocities against Tamils. But even when the Tamil human-shield civilians were being blasted at the end of the Sri Lankan war between the government and the Tigers, we all knew some people like you would inevitably come to Australia. Good old John Dowd, who is head of our local chapter of the International Commission of Jurists, had already called for the trial of the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia for war crimes against your people. This just cry, like most just cries these days, has penetrated the stratosphere and vanished into space.
Amnesty International has reported death and torture of those asylum seekers returned to Sri Lanka. Of course, none of those accusations made it to the high table of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Mateship. The only person who said anything of note at CHOGM, anything that tried to push out the envelope of concern, was the Queen…
Tom Keneally, AO, is the Booker prize-winning author of Schindler’s Ark. ‘Shooty’ committed suicide in Villawood detention centre last week.
August 27, 2010 Comments Off on Stories from the MV Sun Sea
The National Post – Tamil migrants say they are fleeing mass murders
The Tamil migrants smuggled to the B.C. coast aboard the MV Sun Sea have released statements saying they are civilians fleeing disappearances and mass murders in Sri Lanka.
In a letter obtained by the National Post, a group of migrants detained at a prison near Vancouver thanked Canada and disputed what they called Sri Lankan government propaganda about them. More
The Star – Sri Lanka’s telling exodus
Canada doesn’t have a Tamil “problem,” whatever critics of our refugee system may say about the arrival here of the cargo freighter MV Sun Sea with some 500 asylum-seekers. We processed 34,000 refugee claims last year; these arrivals won’t overtax the system.
It is Sri Lanka that has a problem. President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s triumphalist government has failed to make the country’s large Tamil minority feel secure after crushing the Tiger insurgency last year. Until he does, people will continue to flee. More
No one is illegal – Myths and Realities about 490 Tamil Refugees on MV Sun Sea
Myth: They are terrorists.
There is no evidence to substantiate this. Rohan Gunaratna, the government’s primary source, has already been discredited by lawyers as well as an Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator for being uncredible. Last October, when the 76 Tamil asylum-seekers came on Ocean Lady they were similarly labeled as terrorists and security threats. However by Jan 2010, they were all released from detention when Canadian Border Services Agency admitted they had no evidence of a terrorist connection. More
August 13, 2010 Comments Off on Pip Hinman, SA candidate for Grayndler (NSW)
Message from Tamil Justice bloggers – Pip Hinman has tirelessly attended all our protests, vigils & remembrance days. She is dedicated, passionate and very inspiring. Our regards and solidarity goes out to her in the upcoming election. Best of luck Pip – we are with you all the way.
August 13, 2010 Comments Off on Australian Tamil Senate candidate writes…
ABC Unleashed – Reneging on our promise
…There is a simple reason for refugee migration patterns – it’s called survival. Men, women and children are risking their lives in the hands of people smugglers because they have no choice. As long as there is war, the threat of persecution, cultural and religious genocide, the boats will keep coming. But they are not many. About 2,000 boat people sought asylum in Australia in 2009. Compare this with the approximately 50,000 visa over stayers each year.
Australia is legally bound to provide protection for asylum seekers who meet the United Nations definition of a refugee, as defined in the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees. This is not something to fear, this is something to be proud of. We have an opportunity in this country we are lucky to call our home to provide safety for people in this world that have had to endure and suffer a life many of us can’t even begin to understand or imagine…More
Brami Jegan is an Australian Tamil, a refugee advocate and Greens NSW Senate Candidate for NSW. She was involved in some of the discussions between the ABC journalists and those onboard the Oceanic Viking.
July 23, 2010 Comments Off on UN asks Aussie Govt – why are there so many Afghan rejections?
The Age (19/07) – UN asks Labor why fewer Afghan claims accepted
THE United Nations refugee agency has asked Australia to explain the dramatic fall in the number of Afghan asylum seekers gaining refugee status since last year, when its own guidelines on Afghanistan have remained unchanged.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has predicted that ”many more” Afghan asylum seekers will be returned to their homelands if the recent 70 per cent rejection rate on their claims for refugee status is upheld on appeal.
In an exclusive interview, Erika Feller, the UN’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, revealed the agency had asked the Gillard government to explain the basis of the turnaround since last year, when Afghan claims were overwhelmingly successful.
July 21, 2010 Comments Off on I am every asylum seeker
I am every asylum seeker
Eureka Street, July 21, 2010
I was born in Kabul , the capital of Afghanistan .
I was born in Kashmir, between India and Pakistan . I was born in Iran .
I was born in Iraq .
I was born in Sri Lanka .
I worked as an architect, building up my business.
I worked as a negotiator, liaising with the government. I worked as an engineer.
I worked as a veterinarian.
I worked as an accountant.
I am a member of the Hazara ethnic group.
I am opposed to the government’s occupation of Kashmir .
I am a firm believer in women’s rights.
I am a whistleblower for government corruption.
I am an ethnic Tamil. More
Greg Foyster is a freelance journalist who’s written for The Age, The Big Issue, Crikey and New Matilda. The above stories are based on letters from asylum seekers in detention.
Eureka Street is a Jesuit publication in Australia. This tells the story of people seeking asylum in Australia.
July 21, 2010 Comments Off on A logical argument on why Tamils deserve refuge
Remember the Komagata Maru — and our leaders’ recent apologies.
…After intercepting the vessel, Canada could send it back to Sri Lanka, knowing that the passengers would — by virtue of having drawn international attention to the human rights situation there — be at even greater risk than before.
But if that sounds familiar, it’s because we — as a country — have been here before.
In 1914, the Japanese-registered Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver carrying 376 passengers from Punjab. The ship was forced back to India without disembarking; on its return to Calcutta, at least 19 of the passengers were shot by police. In 2008, Stephen Harper apologized on behalf of all Canadians for the Komagata Maru incident.
In 1939, the German-registered SS St. Louis arrived in Halifax harbor with more than 900 Jewish asylum-seekers on board, having already been refused landing in both Cuba and the United States. The Canadian government likewise refused entry, forcing the ship to return to Belgium. More than 200 of the passengers were later murdered by the Nazis. Jason Kenney, the minister for citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, frequently refers to the SS St. Louis as an example of how racist attitudes colored the policies of previous Canadian governments.
Harper and Kenney’s statements on these two historical precedents now place them in a quandary. Their contrition with respect to the Komagata Maru and SS St. Louis might be rooted in genuine humanitarianism, or be part of a cynical effort to attract Sikh and Jewish votes.
Either way, it ties their hands with respect to Tamil boat people. The law allows for options; the principle of consistency does not. More
July 19, 2010 Comments Off on Tamil asylum seeker describes the “hell” of his voyage
Cowering in the dark bowels of a leaky fishing boat, surrounded by grown men vomiting and catatonic with fear, Sri Lankan refugee Tharumalingam Punniyamoorthy was too weak to cry.
He shudders as he recalls the “hell” of his voyage, when he became one of thousands of poor Asian asylum-seekers fleeing to Australia — unwittingly setting off a public backlash which will dominate next month’s elections.
Punniyamoorthy, 30, now locked in an immigration centre, said he spent 18 days with 42 other Tamil men in the hold of a 36-foot (11 metres) trawler normally used for dried fish, with no fresh water and just a pinch of rice to eat every few days. More
July 17, 2010 Comments Off on Er…you listen and you decide who is speaking the truth
ABC Radio Australia Asia Pacific – Tamil terrorist claims exaggerated: former UN spokesman
The former spokesman for the United Nations in Colombo has accused the Sri Lankan government of branding Tamil asylum seekers as terrorists, fearing they might become witnesses in a war crimes tribunal if they are granted asylum in Australia.
The UN has established a panel to investigate whether a war crimes tribunal is appropriate in regards to the last months of Sri Lanka’s civil war, which, ended early last year. Since then 1,129 Sri Lankan asylum seekers have arrived in Australia, with about 30 per cent being granted asylum, 7 per cent being refused and sent back and the rest of the cases still pending. The Australian media this week published comments by a Sri Lankan security analyst, who said up to half of all Tamil asylum seekers had links to the Tamil Tigers, and that the Tamil Tigers had links to Al Qaeda. Former UN spokesman Gordon Weiss, says those claims are false and risk inflaming the debate over immigration in Australia.
Presenter: Liam Cochrane
Speakers: Gordon Weiss, former spokesman for the United Nations in Sri Lanka
ABC Radio Australia Asia Pacific – Tamil Tigers linked to Al Qaeda: High Commissioner
The Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Canberra, Senaka Walgapaya, stood by the comments that many Tamil asylum seekers are in his words “hardcore fighters” and that there were links between the Tamil Tigers and Al Qaeda.
He says Sri Lanka does not want to interfere with Australia’s immigration process, but believes some Tamil asylum seekers pose a security threat to Australia.
Presenter: Liam Cochrane
Speakers: Senaka Walgapaya, Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia
July 16, 2010 Comments Off on ATC in the media – Tamil voices heard
In contrast to their initial article, The Australian has published a second article that has incorporated the opinions of Tamil community representatives and non-Tamil independent experts to give the Australian public a much more balanced approach to the topic. We thank The Australian for listening to the views expressed by many who were concerned with the approach The Australian had initially taken on this issue.
The Australian – Tamil Tigers at the front door
SRI Lankan asylum-seekers with links to Tamil terrorists pose a dilemma for Canberra.
IN October last year a Sri Lankan mother packed up her two small children and a few belongings, paid her savings to a people-smuggler and boarded an unseaworthy boat in Indonesia, bound for Australia.
Shayana (not her real name) hoped it would be the final leg of her family’s long journey to escape the bloodshed and tumult still wracking their homeland after 26 years of civil war.
But it was not to be. More
The Australian – Tamil Tiger is extinct, and regime knows it
LEADERS slander Tamil refugees because they don’t want them to reach our shores, says Gordon Weiss.
SRI Lankan government warnings that half the Tamils seeking asylum in Australia have links to terrorists are dangerous, mendacious and self-serving. More