As a Tamil refugee commits suicide, former Aust. diplomat criticises ASIO

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.

Dear ‘Shooty’,

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.

Stories from the MV Sun Sea

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

Pip Hinman, SA candidate for Grayndler (NSW)

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.

Australian Tamil Senate candidate writes…

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.

UN asks Aussie Govt – why are there so many Afghan rejections?

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.

I am every asylum seeker

July 21, 2010 Comments Off on I am every asylum seeker

I am every asylum seeker
Greg Foyster
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.

A logical argument on why Tamils deserve refuge

July 21, 2010 Comments Off on A logical argument on why Tamils deserve refuge

The Tyee – Why Tamil Boat People Should Be Let into Canada

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

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