Niko Leka

The federal Labor government’s freeze on processing visa applications by Afghan and Tamil asylum seekers is being challenged in many quarters. Legal advice published by the Human Rights Law Resource Centre on May 23 said many of the factual and legal assumptions of the policy are open to “substantial challenge”.
Two Afghan and nine Tamil asylum seekers faced Christmas Island magistrates court on March 11. They pleaded not guilt to all charges related to a so-called riot in the Christmas Island detention centre last November.
On 22 February, Newcastle Greens councillor Michael Osborne received a notice of a “code of conduct” complaint, because he’d taken part in a protest.
Green Left Weekly reported in its last issue (#828, March 3) that the immigration ombudsman was about to visit the Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre, and that coincidentally, construction of a gym in the alpha compound had commenced.
Manju, one of the 254 Tamil refugees aboard the Jaya Lestari in Merak, Indonesia, is due to have her baby on 5 April.
An asylum seeker accused of rioting in the Christmas Island detention centre on November 21 recently contacted a refugee advocate about living conditions inside. The refugee advocate asked Green Left Weekly to withhold both their name.
The stress on Afghan and Tamil refugees waiting for their asylum claims to be processed in the Christmas Island Detention Centre is taking its toll.
On January 26, three refugee advocates — Sydney-based Tamil community activist Sara Nathan, Pamela Curr from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne, and Jessica Chandrashekar from the Canadian Humanitarian Appeal for Relief of Tamils — were arrested in Merak, Indonesia.
Indonesia plans to force the 240 Tamil refugees, moored on a boat in Merak, into detention at the end of this week, “at gunpoint if necessary”, the January 14 Australian reported.
Twenty people attended a meeting to discuss the need for greater solidarity with Palestine on February 11. The meeting, organised by the Socialist Alliance, featured Abe Quadan, a Council member of the Centre of Peace and Conflict Studies at the

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