A humanitarian catastrophe has been escalating over the last three months in the internment camps in which 285,000 Tamil civilians have been imprisoned in the north of Sri Lanka.
I was angry that Timorese president and peace laureate Jose Ramos Horta used the 10-year anniversary of the United Nations-supervised ballot in East Timor on August 30 to declare: “There will be no international tribunal.”
On August 25, a demonstration was held in Jakarta, organised by the Parliament of the Streets Alliance, at the inauguration of newly elected members of parliament. The protesters demanded free education for all citizens, free health programs, employment and housing programs for poor people.
Imprisonment is still mandatory for refugees arriving by boat — despite the ALP government’s promise to mitigate the harsh anti-refugee policies of its predecessor. In the latest incident, the navy intercepted a boat carrying 52 refugees and three crew on August 29 and took them to the Christmas Island prison camp.
This abridged interview with Gerard Jodar, president of the pro-independence trade union federation Union of Kanak and Exploited Workers (USTKE), was first published in Liberation on August 17. He was interviewed by Matthieu Ecoiffier on the struggle of Kanaky, a French colony in the Pacific, for independence and social justice.
More than 100 people attended a meeting organised by the Sri Lankan Human Rights Project at the University of Sydney on August 31.
On September 2, the steps of the state library, and later Parliament House, were filled with more than 300 protesters for the second time this year. The rally demanded that international and post-graduate students be given the right to hold concession cards for public transport.
In state parliament on September 2, Victoria’s shadow energy minister Robert Clark attacked climate activists planning a protest outside the Hazelwood power station. Clark called on the state government to “act urgently” to protect the Latrobe Valley’s coal-fired power generators from the September 13 “Switch Off Hazelwood” protest.
On August 17, the Network Working Group, formed out of the January Climate Action Summit, circulated its national network proposal to 300 climate action groups and networks that make up the grassroots climate movement. The groups have until September 18 to vote on the proposal.
Fifty people marched from Newcastle Trades Hall to state MP Jodi McKay’s office on August 28, protesting against the proposed privatisation of the Wallsend aged care facility. The rally was organised by the NSW Nurses Association. NNA members were joined by members of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and Maritime Union of Australia Veterans Association.