Boat Turnbacks by Australia

A placard remembering Reza Berati

Reza Berati’s death has become a symbol of the brutality and impunity of the offshore imprisonment of asylum seekers and refugees, argues Janet Parker, on the ninth anniversary of his brutal death on Manus Island.

Labor has no right to ride the wave of sympathy for the Murugappan family while it turns back boats at sea in contravention of the UN Charter, argues Janet Parker.

Researchers in Britain and refugees in Australia condemned the new offensive against refugees in Britain and across Europe. Andrea Bortoli reports.

Boat turn-backs don’t save lives at sea. The real meaning of this barbaric practice has always been “Fuck off and die somewhere else”, argues Sam Wainwright.

Discarded lifejackets on a Mediterranean coastline. Photo: Pixabay

Australia’s brutal policy of turning back refugees at sea has been picked up by Britain, reports Binoy Kampmark.

The fate of more than 600 people rescued at sea by the Doctors Without Borders rescue ship Aquarius is one more example of the impact of right wing populism on human rights in Europe today.

While the architect of Australia’s detention system Liberal Senator Jim Molan was rehearsing his lines to promote this cruel system on ABC’s Q&A, a woman was arrested for the crime of standing outside and peacefully holding a banner reading “Close the Camps, Bring Them Here”.

On July 26 more than 150 activists from around the country met in Melbourne for the National Refugee Rights Conference, hosted by the Refugee Action Collective (Victoria). Many of the participants had attended the protest outside the ALP national conference the day before, and inevitably discussion revolved around the decision of the majority of delegates to reject an explicit ban on refugee boat "turn backs" which paves the way for Labor to once again follow Coalition policy.
A few days before the National ALP Conference on July 22, Labor leader Bill Shorten announced that he would support a policy to turn back boatloads of asylum seekers at sea if it is elected to government. The announcement shocked and angered refugee rights advocates around the country, including members of his own party.
The demonising of asylum seekers is an elaborate exercise in racist scapegoating designed to distract Australians from the real causes of anxiety and insecurity in their lives. We need to be absolutely uncompromising in our resistance to this toxic agenda.
Earlier this year it looked as if Labor4Refugees’ amendments to the Labor Party’s platform that specifically reject boat turnbacks might win enough votes from the ALP left and the Catholic right to get through at the ALP national conference in late July. However, the Labor leadership is committed to a policy of deterring asylum seekers and is working to prevent any policy change at the conference.
The Tony Abbott government’s illegal “Turn Back the Boats” policy is under further scrutiny, following media revelations that in late May, Australian customs officials paid $US30,000 to six crew members on a boat carrying 65 asylum seekers from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, which was heading to New Zealand, from Indonesia.