Chris Slee

Peoples Democratic Party MP, Leyla Güven ended her 200-day hunger strike on May 26, after the Turkish government finally allowed imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan to meet with his lawyers.

Three hundred people rallied on May 24 to show solidarity with refugees, who face increasing attacks following the re-election of the Coalition government.

More than 100 people attended a rally called by the Tamil Refugee Council on May 15 which combined a commemoration of the genocidal massacre of Tamils in Sri Lanka 10 years ago.

The Sri Lankan army and police have used the bombings of churches and hotels on Easter Sunday as a pretext for repression, targeting people who have no connection with the group responsible, the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ – National Monotheism Society).

The NTJ, an extremist Islamic group, is believed to be linked to the Islamic State, based in Iraq and Syria.

Sri Lankan police have been raiding numerous Muslim groups with "Thowheed" in their name, even if they are opposed to the NTJ. As of May 2, at least 130 Muslims had been detained, according to Tamilnet.

Sri Lanka has had a violent history in the seven decades since its independence in 1948. But this history did not include any major conflict between Muslims and Christians. Both Muslims and Christians have in recent years come under attack from Buddhist chauvinists. Why then, did the bombers target Christians?

Sivaguru Navanitharasa, a Tamil refugee who fled Sri Lanka in 2008 and who has been detained for nearly 10 years, now faces a new challenge: overcoming cancer.

The Australian Tamil Congress has expressed its “disappointment” with a March 21 United Nations Human Rights Council resolution because “very little justice has reached victims and survivors” it said.

Solidarity activists who recently returned from a fact-finding missions to Venezuela reported to a meeting organised by the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign (Melbourne) and the Latin American Solidarity Network (LASNET) on March 27.

The National Union of Workers (NUW), which represents Chemist Warehouse workers that had been on indefinite strike since March 12, announced on March 28 that workers had voted that morning to accept a new agreement covering those employed in the company's distribution centres across Victoria and Queensland.

Mozhgan Moaref, a co-founder of the Refugees and Asylum Seekers Information Centre in Jakarta, spoke by video link to a Refugee Action Collective forum on refugees in Indonesia.

About 80 people attended a rally called by the Refugee Action Collective on March 2 to protest against the Australian government's plan to reopen the detention centre on Christmas Island and send refugees from Manus Island and Nauru there.

La Trobe University Latin American studies lecturer Ralph Newmark told a meeting of 80 people on February 20 that the English-speaking media misrepresents the causes of the crisis in Venezuela.

The meeting was organised by the newly-formed Venezuela Solidarity Campaign.

Newmark said the crisis is being caused by external pressure from the United States and internally by the Venezuelan middle and upper class who oppose the government’s pro-poor measures.

US president Donald Trump announced by tweet on December 19 his intention to withdraw US troops from Syria. This followed a phone call between Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had often stated his intention to invade north-eastern Syria. 

Mary Merkenich together with colleagues from Highvale Secondary College at the Teachers for Refugees protest in Melbourne on November 20.

Teachers, education support staff and even some principals walked off government and private schools across Victoria and assembled at the State Library on November 20, in support of refugees currently being detained on Manus Island and Nauru. A similar protest was held in Brisbane that same day.

Thirty refugee supporters protested outside the Melbourne headquarters of Jetstar on November 9, demanding that Qantas (Jetstar's parent company) cease participating in the deportation of asylum seekers.

Turkish troops fired across the border on November 1, killing a six-year-old girl in the northern Syrian village of Til Findir.

The murder was part of a pattern of harassment by the Turkish army against the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS). The DFNS is a liberated area administered by democratic local councils, with equal representation of men and women and the inclusion of ethnic and religious minorities.

Pages

Subscribe to Chris Slee