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On June 30th yet another spate of bombings occurred in three separate parts of Pakistan. Shia Muslims were targeted in Quetta with responsibility being claimed by Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Hazaras in particular have suffered at the hands of this group, forcing many to seek asylum in Australia with Hazara refugees composing one of the largest populations in Australian detention centres.
The Perth Hazara community held a candlelight vigil in Langley Park on Tuesday, July 2nd, to show respect for the victims and their families, and to protest the ongoing persecution of Hazaras. Spokesperson Shafaat Ali Hazara called for a greater understanding of the plight of Shia Muslims and stated, “The Perth Hazara community is angered and saddened by the ongoing attacks and demands both justice and an end to the violence”.
Fremantle Workers’ Club
5-9 Henry St, Fremantle
Support act: SugarChild
$25/$20 conc/$40 solidarity
David has been playing “songs of social significance” for more than two decades including a very strong focus of supporting anti-racist causes. He is a fierce critic of Western governments throwing their weight around the world and is a strong supporter of liberation for Palestine.
This video is of a song about the wall Israel is building to divide Palestine applied to the wall being built along the US-Mexican border to keep Latin American’s out of the US. He also wrote the song “No One Is Illegal” which features in the video about RRAN’s Northam convergence this year.
Sugarchild are the bastard children of Gillian Welch and the Counting Crows, playing sad yet foot-tapping songs about life, love and society.
Last time David was in Perth:
Tagged with: Perth
by Peter Wilkie
You hear this one a lot – that people who take the dangerous boat journey to Australia in order to claim asylum are ‘economic migrants’.
Politicians on both side of the house love this argument. It insinuates that people are being selfish, greedy and dishonest. It feeds into and justifies resentment of asylum seekers. It denies the reality that leads people to flee to Australia. It makes it okay to send people back to the arms of their persecutors. It is illogical and completely absurd.
The main absurdity is obvious. We all know the journey is dangerous. Hundreds and hundreds of asylum seekers have died at sea. There is an estimated one-in-twenty chance that when you board an overloaded, leaky fishing boat from Indonesia in the hope of safety and a new life, you will never reach Australia.
This does not take into account deaths on other stages of the journey, such as on the Malaysia to Indonesia ferry leg. In these countries there is also the risk of being imprisoned, extorted and beaten in detention. Asylum seekers have died in Indonesian Immigration Detention. These are real risks and dangers.
Yet when you ask people who’ve actually made the choice to spend thousands for a place on a boat, they will often tell you that they thought the chance of dying was as high as fifty percent. I know one man who did the journey twice, twelve years apart. Even though on the first journey they nearly capsized numerous times and were without food and water for three days. When asked why he was willing to make the journey a second time, his answer was “What other choice did I have? It’s better to die once than living every day in my country knowing that you can be killed at any moment. It’s better than living every day in Indonesia or Malaysia knowing that you can be arrested, can’t work, have no future and just waiting for your money to run out. If it was just me, maybe I could live with these risks, but I have a wife and child. I have to find safety and security for them.”
When you understand these things you can see just how absurd it is to declare that people arriving by boat are anything but desperate. It’s inconceivable that anyone would spend thousands to risk their life on a boat if they could find any other way to travel. It’s inconceivable that anyone would choose to seek asylum in this way in preference to living safely under the protection of the UNHCR, waiting for resettlement. The people who get on boats do so because they don’t have any other realistic choice. It’s that simple.
by Victoria Martin
“So danger… small boat” “help now!” “We have no life jackets” “Water is coming in, we have water coming in” “yes yes water”.
As I slipped into the Coroner’s Court in Perth to attend the inquest into the sinking of the SIEV 358 in which at least ninety people died, the recordings of the communication between the doomed ship and Australian authorities at AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) filled the courtroom. I sat for some time absorbing the desperate tone in the voice pleading for assistance from those whose duty it was to mount a rescue. It was a duty they would refuse to honour until it was too late for almost half the people whose lives were in their hands.
During one particularly harrowing exchange, I noticed a man sitting alone at the back with his head in his hands. He was a survivor. I wondered, when the video from the surveillance aircraft was played, how he felt to see the tiny damaged ship bobbing low in the water a day before it sank. Or hear the repeated calls for assistance dismissed as “normal refugee patter”?
On day two Mr Lloyd, civil servant in charge of AMSA, said that no mayday was raised by AMSA until after the ship capsized. He maintained that the ship was not in distress until shortly before disaster struck, and dismissed the distress calls as irrelevant. On at least one occasion he read from his prepared statement that “illegal immigrants” often call in with bogus distress calls. He said they cannot mount a rescue every time since, statistically speaking, the majority of boats will make it.
It is a point of view a cynic might expect from Customs and Border Security. But this was not Customs and Border Security. This was the maritime rescue authority.
Now the coroner and the barristers will re-convene next month to continue the forensic examination of the evidence and decide – are AMSA legally culpable for the deaths of those people?
Whatever decision the coroner ultimately makes, I am left with the contrast between the desperation of the asylum seekers trying to get help for all those on board, and the indifference of those who were not interested in hearing what was being said, purely because of who was saying it — “illegal immigrants”.
Tony Kevin, who has written extensively on this subject in the recently published Reluctant Rescuers, tells me the protocol in the Navy is to investigate every distress call it receives. This is also the standard we expect when we call 000. The question I find myself asking is whether the attitude of Border Control, that refugees are “illegals” invading Australia and that the task at hand is to deter them, has in fact contaminated AMSA and blinded staff working in the Maritime Safety Authority to their core task – the rescue of people and the preservation of life at sea, for surely in abandoning those asylum seekers to the sea, they abandoned their duty, their honour and ultimately their own humanity.
On Monday the 1st of July, 2013, RRAN hosted a forum to discuss the highly contentious policy of mandatory detention in Australia;
for those who weren’t able to make it to last night’s forum, the video of it is now available.
The speakers included Assad Khurrami, a former detainee of Curtin IDC currently employed in supporting refugees in Perth; and Sarah Ross and Cindy Nancarrow, refugee advocates with RRAN, regular visitors in detention and both studying in related areas at Murdoch and QUT university respectively.
The forum explored contemporary policy implications and the impact on asylum seekers in detention, and was followed by a short Q&A session.
As many of you know, we recently migrated our mailing list and sent out the first of our regular RRAN newsletters. The last major upgrade that’s left is the move from our long standing ‘Refugee Rights’ group to the new RRAN Facebook page at http://facebook.com/rran.org.
While there are actually quite a few reasons for doing this, the main ones are that this move will (a) make it easier for us to share posts, information and fact sheets with you in a way that will be more visible in your feeds; (b) tie in more closely with our newsletter and its sign-up page; and (c) it will allow us to reach more people — with information and news about events — through more affordable ads and cool, participatory, tools like donateyouraccount.com.
Over the next day or two, we are going to invite you to like our new page, but if you want to help us out with this process, you can also just head over to http://facebook.com/rran.org and click on the ‘Like’ button to the right of the page’s name.
Thank you for your understanding and continuing support,
by Phillip Cook
Recently the Global Mail created “Behind the Wire” (behindthewire.theglobalmail.org). This website is a graphical representation of incident reports from immigration detention centres around Australia lodged between October 2009 and May 2011. The incidents range from everyday mishaps to deaths.
Each report is only one or two sentences long, but DIAC holds detailed documentation of each incident, particularly for those of a more serious nature. The Behind the Wire site provides a simple link that allows a visitor to lodge a freedom of information request to access this documentation.
Like many people, I submitted a FOI request. Unfortunately, I received a negative response from DIAC. Their letter states that they received 85 unique FOI requests between the 11th and 23rd of June and that under the FOI rules they can treat all of these requests as one. They state that to process all of these claims would ‘substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of the agency from its other operations’. Thus they are denying all 85 of the FOI requests lodged between these dates.
The creators of the Behind the Wire website are investigating the best option to progress our FOI requests and have advised everyone to wait to hear from them before proceeding further.
Transparency is a core principal of a fair and democratic society. It is not good enough for the department to simply claim they do not have the resources to provide the public with reports about serious harm that has occurred to people they are detaining.
I, for one, will continue to demand that our basic democratic rights are upheld and that we are given access to information about what is really going on in these secretive and unjust facilities.
When: Monday, July 1st 6.30pm
Where: The Activist Centre, 15/5 Aberdeen St, East Perth. (Right next to McIver Train station and walking distance from Perth Train Station)
This forum will address the highly contentious policy of mandatory detention in Australia.
The speakers will include: Assad Khurrami, a former detainee of Curtin IDC currently employed in supporting refugees in Perth; and Sarah Ross and Cindy Nancarrow, refugee advocates with RRAN, regular visitors in detention and both studying in related areas at Murdoch and QUT university respectively. The forum will explore contemporary policy implications and the impact on asylum seekers in detention. There will be time for questions and a chat afterwards. All welcome.
Please click attending on the Facebook event and invite your friends.
RRAN MeetingsRRAN is currently meeting on Mondays from 6.30pm at the Activist Centre, U15/5 Aberdeen Street, Perth (just north of the McIver Train Station). For more details, send us a message via our Contact page, or call/text us on 0417 904 329.
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« December 2013 » S M T W T F S 1 2Events on 2 December 2013
- RRAN Weekly MeetingStarts: 6:30 pmEnds: 2 December 2013 - 8:00 pmLocation: Activist Centre, U15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth WA 6000
3 4 5 6 7 8 9Events on 9 December 2013
- RRAN Weekly MeetingStarts: 6:30 pmEnds: 9 December 2013 - 8:00 pmLocation: Activist Centre, U15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth WA 6000
10 11 12 13 14 15 16Events on 16 December 2013
- RRAN Weekly MeetingStarts: 6:30 pmEnds: 16 December 2013 - 8:00 pmLocation: Activist Centre, U15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth WA 6000
17 18 19 20 21 22 23Events on 23 December 2013
- RRAN Weekly MeetingStarts: 6:30 pmEnds: 23 December 2013 - 8:00 pmLocation: Activist Centre, U15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth WA 6000
24 25 26 27 28 29 30Events on 30 December 2013
- RRAN Weekly MeetingStarts: 6:30 pmEnds: 30 December 2013 - 8:00 pmLocation: Activist Centre, U15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth WA 6000
TagsAFP Arrests ASIO Assault Australian Government Australian Navy Children in Detention Chris Bowen Christmas Island IDC Convergence Darwin Darwin Airport Lodge DASSAN NT Deportation DIAC Forum Hazara High Court Hunger Strike Indonesia Intimidation Iranian Legal Mandatory Detention Melbourne ITA Mental Health Nauru Northam Northern IDC Offshore Processing Perth Protest Safety of Life at Sea Security Assessments Self-harm Serco Sinking Sri Lanka Suicide Tamil Torture UNHCR Villawood IDC Wickham Point IDC Yongah Hill (Northam) IDC