As the Philippine government dithered and made excuses for its grossly inadequate response to the catastrophic floods — which inundated 80% of the country's capital, Manila — Sonny Melencio was leading a grassroots relief effort that brought the first food supplies in days to some of the poorest and most badly affected communities.
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre released the statement below on August 14. * * * The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) is shocked and disappointed with the release of the expert panel’s recommendations as they focus on deterrence, punishment and breach the very reason the Refugee Convention was established — offering protection to people fleeing persecution. The recommendations are a step backwards in Australia's humanity and will affect our reputation as a defender of human rights.
The Refugee Action Coalition released the statement below on August 13. * * * The Refugee Action Coalition has strongly condemned the Houston panel’s recommendations for offshore processing as made public at their press conference this afternoon.
The report delivered by the Angus Houston-led “expert panel” on asylum seekers is not a plan for “stopping the boats” or stopping people from risking their lives at sea. It is a plan to demonise refugees and use them as a scapegoat for the rising government-led attacks on Australian people.
Up to 200 people crowded into the Mori Gallery on August 8 to attend the official opening of the Beautiful Art for Innocent Children exhibition. The exhibition was sponsored by Agent Orange Justice to aid “the innocent children being born now in Vietnam with horrific birth defects as a consequence of Agent Orange/dioxin remaining in the soil and the consequential genetic damage continuing for generations”.
The ALP’s capitulation to populist refugee-bashing is wrong on so many levels that it's hard to know where to begin. The underlying rationale is patently false. The Age reported: “In a major backdown from her earlier insistence on the Malaysia ‘people swap’, Prime Minister Julia Gillard declared: ‘If people want to put up banners that this is a compromise from the government: dead — in order to start saving lives.’
Carolus Wimmer, a longstanding member of the Latin American Parliament and International Relations Secretary of the Communist Party of Venezuela, spoke at a Sydney forum on Latin America in revolt on August 11, sponsored by the Communist Party of Australia. During his Australian tour, he also addressed meetings in Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
Advocacy group Refugees, Survivors and Ex-Detainees (RISE) released the statement below on August 15. * * * There is nothing to be surprised about. Once again, the government has used puppets to say yes to “offshore processing”. None of the three individuals on the Houston Panel have been appointed by refugee community groups or advocates, and therefore it comes as no surprise that their proposal is in line with the government’s own offshore solutions.
The Coal Terminal Action Group this week launched a community-led dust and health study, following the application by Port Waratah Coal Services to construct yet another coal terminal in Newcastle (T4). For many years, communities living around the port, along the coal train lines and near the mines have been calling for the NSW government to do the research to find out what health impacts all the coal dust and diesel emissions are having on them.


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