Refugees held in indefinite detention on Nauru shared the following letter on their Facebook page on October 26. They addressed it to human rights commissioners, communities of oppressed people and “world independent news channels”. It has been published with minimal edits. ***
The Sydney Refugees Action Coalition released the statement below on September 7. * * * A High Court decision this morning has dismissed an application of behalf of five asylum seekers seeking to extend judicial review to discretionary ministerial decisions. In a similar application (M61) in 2010, the High Court found that asylum seekers were entitled to judicial review of appeal decisions. The High Court judgment means that there is now no legal impediment to the government moving to deport a large number of asylum seekers.
The Refugee Action Coalition released the statement below on August 30. *** The Refugee Action Coalition has renewed its call for a full independent inquiry into Australia’s response to safety-of-life-at-sea (SOLAS) situations involving asylum boats. The latest boat tragedy may have cost the lives of 140 or more people. This is the second time in three months in which the delayed responses of Australian authorities have cost lives. In June, 90 asylum seekers were drowned despite calls to Australian authorities over a period of 40 hours.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s “expert panel” on refugee policy will hand over its findings on how to “stop the boats” and end the parliamentary “deadlock” over offshore processing when parliament begins sitting again next week. After an asylum boat tragedy that killed 90 people in June, the three-member panel, headed by former defence chief Angus Houston, was tasked to report on the “best way forward for Australia to prevent asylum seekers risking their lives” considering “Australia’s right to maintain its borders”.
Labor and Coalition MPs have shed thousands of crocodile tears claiming that Australia needed to “stop the boats” to “save lives” by making offshore processing of asylum seekers government policy. Labor backed a private members bill put by independent MP Rob Oakeshott that would allow Australia to expel refugees to any country that was part of the Bali Process, including Malaysia.
Another boat, believed to be carrying up to 180 asylum seekers, made a distress call to Australian authorities at about 4.30am (AEST) time this morning. The call said the boat was about 50 nautical miles south of Indonesia and heading to Christmas Island, and its engine had failed and that it was taking on water. ABC Online said the HMAS Wollongong was searching for the boat, but it had not been found.
The newly opened Yongah Hill detention centre in remote Western Australia is “probably one of the most secure facilities in the entire network,” immigration media manager Sandi Logan said on June 25. The new detention centre is about 90 kilometres north-east of Perth, about five kilometres outside the rural town of Northam. The $125 million centre was a disused army barracks and will house up to 600 male asylum seekers. It is now fitted with electric fences, “scale-proof” walls, cameras and bars on most windows, said an AAP reporter who visited the site.
The search and rescue of some 90 asylum seekers still missing at sea continues after a boat capsized 200 kilometres from Christmas Island on June 21. Sydney's Refugee Action Coalition released the statement below on June 22. * * * From the timeline of contacts between Australian authorities and the capsized asylum boat indicated by Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare, it seems that more timely action by the Australian rescue authorities could have averted the latest asylum boat tragedy.
Seven people from multiple Australian cities were arrested today while climbing a hill to make contact with refugees inside the Wickham Point detention centre outside Darwin. About 35 refugee activists from Darwin, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne were at the centre as part of several actions that took place outside the city’s three detention centres over the Easter long weekend for the annual refugee convergence.