Refugees & Asylum Seekers

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Unaccompanied child refugees on Nauru report beatings, death threats
Ben Doherty |, Tuesday 28 October 2014

Four unaccompanied boys living in the community on Nauru end up in hospital after assault on Sunday leaves one unconscious

Four child refugees released to live in the community in Nauru say they were physically assaulted on Sunday night, and threatened with death if they stayed on the island.

The boys – aged between 15 and 17 and without parents on Nauru – have told Guardian Australia they were stopped by a group of Nauruan men on motorbikes as they walked home in the evening.

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Australia could take 4000 Iraqi and Syrian refugees as church leaders urge Abbott government protection for Christians
August 13, 2014 | Tony Wright

The Abbott government is considering offering refuge to as many as 4000 Iraqis and Syrians after the new Anglican Primate of Australia, Philip Freier, called for asylum in Australia for Christians facing slaughter in northern Iraq.

Dr Freier, Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, said he had written to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison asking that they emulate France in offering refuge to Christians facing forced conversion to Islam or death.

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Morrison accused of ‘state sanctioned child abuse’
July 30, 2014 | Sarah Whyte

A group of Catholic and Anglican church leaders have accused the Abbott government of ”state-sanctioned child abuse” in the immigration detention system, and called for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to step down from his position as guardian for all unaccompanied minors.

Leaders from nine Christian denominations, which form the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, will release a report on Wednesday that commends a raft of recommendations to the Abbott government to improve the well-being and treatment of children in onshore and offshore immigration detention centres.

The claims were rejected by Mr Morrison.

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Asylum seekers and the dignity of work
24 July 2014 | Peter Mares | Adjunct fellow Swinburne Institute for Social Research, Contributing Editor, Inside Story at Swinburne University of Technology

My interview with Mr Syed did not get off to a great start. We’d arranged to meet at the Dandenong library – part of the city council building, a huge, bright orange edifice in the redeveloped heart of Dandenong in Melbourne’s southeast.

I was early and kept a close watch on the library’s sliding doors as rain showers blew across the civic plaza outside. Various men who might conceivably have been asylum seekers from the subcontinent came and went but none of them proved to be Mr Syed.

Just as I was about to call him, Mr Syed sent me a text. “I’m waiting at Dandenong library,” it read. “But it has moved from here and closed.”

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Boat people will not be sent to Sri Lanka
July 19, 2014 | Sarah Whyte

A boatload of 153 asylum seekers who are being detained on the high seas would not be transferred to Sri Lanka, lawyers for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said during a directions hearing on Friday.

The asylum seekers have been detained outside Australia’s migration zone since their boat was intercepted on its way from India on July 7.

Stephen Donaghue, QC, representing the government, says the Commonwealth has no plans to send the asylum seekers to Sri Lanka.

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Asylum seekers in limbo on high seas
July 9, 2014 | Michael Gordon, Ben Doherty and Sarah Whyte

More than 150 asylum seekers, including about 40 children, face living in limbo on the high seas in an Australian customs vessel for weeks, while their fate is decided in the High Court.

Lawyers for the Abbott government and the asylum seekers agreed on a timetable for court action on Tuesday after the government promised to give 72 hours’ notice in writing if it intended to hand the asylum seekers to Sri Lankan authorities. A directions hearing will be held within three weeks, raising the question of where the asylum seekers will be held in the interim.

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Tamils to be returned after Australia accuses Sri Lanka of torture
July 7, 2014 | Ben Doherty

Australia is preparing to return more than 200 Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka, despite alleging the country is responsible for government-sponsored torture, abuse and mistreatment by police and security forces.

The Tamils, whose boat was intercepted by a customs vessel last week, will be transferred to the custody of a Sri Lankan naval ship at sea in coming days.

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Stop the boats: A merciless and punitive government policy
July 7, 2014 | Katie Robertson

Maurice Blackburn has begun proceedings on behalf of a man injured in the Manus Island riots, who can be known only as “RN”.

When I meet RN, he has the appearance of a man crushed. Tall and thin, he hunches as if to make himself smaller. He is softly spoken and a man of few words, I must lean in to hear his voice. He is broken by the system, as the government intends.

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Why care about the health and well-being of asylum seekers?
3 June 2014 | Stacy Carter | Ian Kerridge

A report on the refugee detention centre in Nauru by five independent clinical experts posted online by The Guardian on Friday paints a bleak picture of life on the island, particularly for children. But why should we care about how these people are being treated?

The report describes the now-familiar wretched conditions of refugee detention. Tents that leak in the rain and become unbearably hot and humid by 10am. Burning white rocks underfoot, little natural shade, dust everywhere, only electric fans for cooling in most areas of the camp.

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Syrian detainees told details will be passed to consulate if they opt to return
Paul Farrell | | Thursday 8 May 2014

Immigration officers on Manus Island recorded telling asylum seekers travel documents would be issued by Syrian consulate.

Syrian asylum seekers who opt to be sent home from Manus Island could be at risk after it emerged that Australia’s immigration department was in contact with the country’s consulate in Sydney about the detainees.

In a recording obtained by Guardian Australia, two immigration officers are heard telling a group of five Syrian asylum seekers on Manus – without the presence of a lawyer – that they will not be resettled in Australia, and asking them whether they would consider being voluntarily repatriated. The International Organisation for Migration does not facilitate repatriation to Syria, where civil war has raged for three years.

A female immigration officer is heard telling the asylum seekers that if they agree to return to Syria “we would be applying for a travel document in Australia at the Syrian embassy”.

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Refugee Action Collective (Vic) Free the refugees!
Posted 7 April 2014

Let them land, let them stay!


RAC meets every Monday at 6.30pm at ANF House, 540 Elizabeth St City. New people always welcome.


Phone: Chris 0403 013 183, Sue 0413 377 978 or Liz 0405 736 265
Twitter: racvictoria

RAC account details are: Refugee Action Collective account, Commonwealth Bank BSB: 063 262, Account 1025 2396 Send cheques to PO Box 578 Carlton South, Vic 3053.

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Posted 7 April 2014


Welcome to the Refugee Advocacy Network

The Refugee Advocacy Network is a broad coalition of Victorian organisations who have come together to advance a more just, humane approach to refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. If you or your organisation would like to support the network please get in touch.

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Refuge and refusal: why theatre about asylum seekers matters
Emma Cox | Lecturer in Drama and Theatre at Royal Holloway | 29 January 2014

When, some eight or nine years ago, I began researching the responses of Australian and refugee theatre makers, filmmakers and writers to asylum seeker debates it was very easy to share the hopes for political change that underpinned much of their work.

Theatre is a fundamentally ephemeral art, and one of my aims in editing the new collection, Staging Asylum: Contemporary Australian Plays about Refugees, was to account in some way for theatre’s unique role in heated and ongoing cultural conversations about how Australia treats asylum seekers.

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