June 23, 2011 Comments Off on Refugee Art Exhibition in Sydney
January 27, 2011 Comments Off on 47 orgs reject Aust's deportation MoU with Afghanistan
SMH (AAP) – Afghan deportation agreement condemned
A plan to automatically deport failed Afghan asylum seekers from Australia has been condemned by a coalition of organisations and prominent experts.
The Australian government reached an agreement with Afghan authorities in mid-January under which failed asylum seekers will be sent directly back to the war-torn country.
Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen hailed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which formalised the pact as a major breakthrough in tightening Australia’s borders against people smugglers and non-refugees. More
December 31, 2010 Comments Off on Thank you, for listening to my story
SMH (29/12) – One man’s struggle to find a safe place to live
by Steven Glass
It is obvious, when I first meet Reza*, that his life has been difficult. You can see it in his eyes, in his furrowed brow, in the lines deeply etched in his face. He is not yet 40, but he appears perhaps two decades older. Still, he holds himself erect and smiles as he shakes my hand when I meet him in the interview rooms at the Curtin Immigration Detention Centre in Western Australia’s far north.
The rooms are small and bare, but they are air-conditioned, so they provide welcome relief from the oppressive 42-degree heat outside, where the sun is unrelenting.
Both Reza’s smile and the sense of respite are short-lived, as we get down to the business of preparing his application for an Australian protection visa. Reza is a Hazara, a member of a small and distinct ethnic and religious minority in Afghanistan, who many in that country accuse of being “foreigners” and “infidels”. They have been persecuted for generations. Reza tells me about his family’s farm, a modest patch of ground. He tells me of the nomadic Pashtun people, the Kuchi, who enter the village every few years and graze their cattle on his farm, leaving the family penniless. Sometimes they burn down houses in the village. I hear about the threats and extortion inflicted by the Taliban. His eyes mist up as he tells me of the courage of his brother who, a few years ago, refused to pay bribes to the Taliban. His brother was not seen for the next three weeks; his corpse simply appeared one day near the local bazaar.