More on Aust's cooperation with Sri Lanka

April 25, 2011 Comments Off on More on Aust's cooperation with Sri Lanka

ABC (22/04) – Ex-detainees claim AFP officer witnessed torture

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) has expressed concern over the conduct of security forces working in cooperation with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in Sri Lanka.

Two former Christmas Island detainees arrested by Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) after they were deported from Australia in 2009 claim to have been abused by members of the unit in the presence of an AFP officer.

Their lawyer, Lakshan Dias, says CID officers beat the men with wooden planks and threatened to rape their family members. (More)

Palm Sunday Rally

April 14, 2011 Comments Off on Palm Sunday Rally

Free the Refugees – End mandatory detention

No deportations – No offshore processing

Sunday 17 April, 1pm Sydney Town Hall

Speakers include:
Iraj Moghadam, Iranian refugee and ex-detainee

Sr Susan Connelly, Mark MacKillop Institute of East Timor Studies
David Shoebridge, NSW Greens
Sally McManus, NSW Australian Services Union branch secretary
Patricia Garcia, National Council of Churches

Organised by Refugee Action Coalition call Ian 0417 275 713 or

Diane 0413 003 148 Please use the Facebook group to invite people.

The breakout at Christmas Island and the hunger strikes, protests and suicides inside Australia’s detention centres are a desperate cry for help and freedom by refugees fleeing war and persecution. The race to the bottom on refugee policy between the federal government and the opposition is destroying asylum seekers’ lives—and repeating the worst of the Howard-era treatment of refugees. With over 6500 now in detention, conditions are worsening and the length of time people are spending behind razor wire is growing. The damage detention causes has been widely documented—including by mental health experts like Professor Patrick McGorry. Children are particularly at risk—but despite the federal government’s promise last year to start getting them out, there are still over 1000 children in detention. Yet the government is trying to find more places to build detention centres, by attempting to push a new detention facility on East Timor, and preparing to deport people back to danger. It has even signed an agreement with the Afghan government to allow forcible deportations back to a warzone, where ethnic Hazaras in particular continue to suffer extreme persecution.

Renewed public sympathy But we can also have renewed hope about dismantling the detention policy. The funerals in February for the Christmas Island disaster victims exposed the human suffering caused by the government’s refugee policies and captured public sympathy. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has been forced to move all the survivors to the mainland, and many of them, including children orphaned in the tragedy, into community detention. The recent breakout of over 250 asylum seekers from the Christmas Island detention centre has highlighted the overcrowding, lack of resources and desperation of all asylum seekers in detention. The heavy handed crackdown by detention security and police after the breakout is just another example of the cruelty of the Immigration department. Christmas Island in particular has been condemned by both the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Australian Human Rights Commission in recent months. Join us to protest on Palm Sunday to raise our voices to demand that all asylum seekers be released from detention, and for an end to the fearmongering about refugees.


Desperation from within Curtain detention prison

January 20, 2011 Comments Off on Desperation from within Curtain detention prison

MEDIA NOTE:  Message from hunger strikers in Curtin Detention Centre

Forwarded by Jack H Smit – Project SafeCom Inc.

This comes from an Afghan asylum seeker who is taking part in the mass hunger strikes that broke out today, 18 Jan 2011:

1100 people are in Curtin detention prison. More then 300 are on hunger strike. The rest, 100% are boycotting the mess.

Last week only 3 people got a decision, all of them ‘No’. Now the Australian Government has made an agreement with the Karzai government.  Now the Australian government is sending us back to that country. It is like signing an agreement with our enemy. Is that humanity?

Yesterday a young man tried to kill himself.  He cut himself all over his body.  They took him to the hospital in the morning and brought him back to his room in the evening.  He is still in his room.  Now more than 300 people are on hunger strike sitting in the hot sun with no shadow, no shade.

More people are coming to join us, 3 or 4 at a time, because our problem is the same. We want freedom or death, protection not detention. We have taken the white boards from the classroom. We have written on them with the marker: We want freedom or death; we want protection not detention; we want positive outcome.

Tell our friends, tell the media, tell the green party. We want to talk with an authorised person.  The Immigration officers who are living in Curtin, when we ask them questions – they have one answer – ‘sorry, we have no authority’. We demand to Immigration here in Curtin – who is authorised? We say to them – ‘we dont want to talk to you’.

We will continue til someone comes with authority. We are ready!  See it on the white board – freedom or death! When we arrived on Ashmore Reef, when they took us to Christmas Island, they told us to wait for six months, it was the law. We did that because we are following the law of Australia. Now the process has started, no decision, no result. We have danger in our country, we can’t go back. We are waiting for an authorised person and we need an answer from that person!

Meanwhile, Serco guards are watching us, walking around us, asking why we are doing this, asking what are our demands – they will send them to Immigration.  None of the officers of Immigration in Curtin are coming near to us.

3 Tamil refugees sent from Aust – missing

October 8, 2010 Comments Off on 3 Tamil refugees sent from Aust – missing

MEDIA RELEASE – Refugee Action Coalition



A year ago, then prime Minister Kevin Rudd called Indonesian president Yudhoyono requesting that the Indonesian navy intercept a boat carrying 254 Tamil asylum seekers to Australia. The boat was the subject of international attention after the asylum seekers refused to disembark at Merak in Indonesia. In April 2010, the asylum seekers were forcibly removed to Tanjung Pinang detention centre.

Except for two families shifted to detention in Medan, all the Tamils remain in appalling conditions in Tanjung Pinang.

On the anniversary of the interception of the Jaya Lestari 5, three Tamils refugees (two from the Merak boat) who voluntarily returned to Sri Lanka on Wednesday have been arrested on their return. Refugee advocates have fears for their safety, as family members have no news of them.
« Read the rest of this entry »

Sydney: Protest TONIGHT @ 5.30pm TownHall

September 24, 2010 Comments Off on Sydney: Protest TONIGHT @ 5.30pm TownHall

The protest is against the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers at Villawood Immigration Detention Center

Next Tuesday we will gather in Canberra in solidarity

September 24, 2010 § 1 Comment

There are now 38 organisations endorsing the People’s Assembly to Canberra.

Calling all refugee supporters to join the

People’s Assembly in Canberra @ Opening of Parliament Tuesday 28 September, 12.30-1.30pm (gathering from 12noon)

Speakers include:

Adam Bandt, Greens MP
Andrew Wilkie, Independent MP
Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens Senator
Najiba Wasesadost, Hazara community & former Curtin detainee
Peter Jones, Canberra Refugee Action Committee
Ian Rintoul, Sydney Refugee Action Coalition
Tamoor Sultan, Hazara student

Dear Refugee Supporter

The election is over and the real work of government is about to begin. This is an exciting time for a fresh start for our Federal government – a new way of doing things.

We are asking for you to join with us at a Peoples Assembly in Canberra at the opening of Parliament on Tuesday 28 September from 12.30-1.30.

We will assemble on the lawns outside Parliament House to call on the new Parliament to introduce humane refugee policies and stop using refugees as political footballs. Refugee groups are asked to bring banners with the key messages of the gathering as well as their own messages.

Was your voice heeded on asylum seekers during this election?
Many of us are worried about the way in which successive governments have treated asylum seekers and refugees.  We are tired of seeing asylum seekers used as political footballs where each side of politics scores points by proposing increasingly harsher policies.

We believe that it is time to tell our parliamentarians- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
With the entry of the Greens and Independents as significant players in Government, there is a chance to end this endless round of punitive policymaking and to achieve humane policies for refugees. We want to encourage these new players to demand better standards from the parliament on human rights.

We want to call a halt to this race to the bottom on human rights.

The reason we are coming together on the lawns of Parliament House on this day is to say that we, the people, want to be heard- we care about how vulnerable people are treated and we want our politicians to stop using asylum seekers as political footballs.

At a recent Refugee Advocacy Network meeting in Melbourne it was decided to ask all the refugee and asylum seeker networks, agencies and community groups to support and participate in this Peoples Assembly in Canberra.

Groups in each city will need to organise their own transport. We hope to send a bus from Melbourne, and are also assuming that many people will travel independently.   The logistics for the event are yet to be organized in detail.

We are seeking your support for this event. Please rely to Marie Hapke at with PEOPLES ASSEMBLY in the title of your email indicating the likely number of people who may attend from your group/organisation.

If your group or you as an individual would like to endorse this proposal please email Marie Hapke at with PEOPLES ASSEMBLY in the title of your email and details of your organisation and a contact number.
For further information contact Marie on 0409 252 673 or Pamela Curr on 0417 517 075 or Sue Bolton on 0413 377 978

Signed by:

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
Australian Nursing Federation
Balmain for Refugees
Blue Mountains Refugee Group
Bridge for Asylum Seekers Foundation
Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project
Coalition for the Protection of Asylum Seekers
Community Action Against Homophobia
Dr. Lynette Dumble
Eelamurasu Australia Inc
Free Tamil Eelam
Gippsland Trades and Labour Council
Global Sisterhood Network
Geelong Refugee Action and Information Network (GRAIN)
Gunawirra Limited – NSW
Humanitarian Crisis Hub
Islamic Council of Victoria
Lesley Walker
Liberty Victoria
Little Company of Mary Refugee Project (LCMRP), Sydney
Muslim Australia – Australian Federation of Islamic Councils Inc
Pax Christi Australia (International Christian Peace Movement)
Refugee Action Coalition (Sydney)
Refugee Action Committee – Canberra
Refugee Advocacy Network
Refugee Action Collective – Vic
Refugee Action Network Newcastle (RANN)
Researchers for Asylum Seekers
Rural Australians for Refugees – Daylesford & District
Rural Australians for Refugees Mount Gambier Inc
Rural Australians for Refugees Queenscliff
Rural Australians for Refugees – Surf Coast
Socialist Alliance
Socialist Alternative
The Greens NSW
Union of Australian Women Victoria
Victorian Greens

Syd – Refugee Rally this Saturday

August 4, 2010 Comments Off on Syd – Refugee Rally this Saturday

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