Racism and homophobia are on the rise. Millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) and sex and gender diverse identifying (SGDI) people face life-threatening persecution. About 2.7 billion people live in the 76 countries that criminalise homosexuality. The death penalty for homosexuality is applied in Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen. In China, several hospitals use electric shock therapy as “anti-gay treatments”.
Profits have soared for the operator of Australia's detention camps for asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea on Manus Island and on Nauru. Broadspectrum, which used to be called Transfield Services, announced it had trebled its net profit for the first half of the year to $25.1 million. Broadspectrum has been awarded a 12-month extension on its contract providing operational, welfare and security services to asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island. It has told investors it is the "preferred tenderer" for a new five-year contract it hopes to sign this year.
Dear Prime Minister, Following the High Court's recent decision in Plaintiff M68/2015 v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, we, the undersigned law firms, community legal organisations, legal bodies and legal associations, jointly urge you to let the 267 individuals at risk of removal to offshore processing centres stay in Australia. We strongly advocate for the end of offshore detention and request you bring all asylum seekers and refugees in regional processing facilities back to mainland Australia.
On February 18, a delegation of Victoria University staff and students delivered a letter to the office of Tim Watts, Labor MP for the federal seat of Gellibrand. The letter, signed by 125 students and teachers — in only two days and before most students were back at university — pleaded with Watts to follow Premier Daniel Andrews' example and advocate that the 267 vulnerable asylum seekers, including 36 babies, not be sent back to Nauru.
Photo by Marziya Mohammedali The High Court ruled on February 3 that the federal government has the power to send 267 refugees and asylum seekers to Nauru, with only 72 hours' notice. But a #LetThemStay groundswell across the country is demanding the refugees be allowed to stay -- with snap protests across the country. The 267 people includes 37 babies — many of whom were born in Australia — and at least 15 women who were allegedly sexually assaulted on Nauru.
In May last year Nazanin, a 23-year-old Iranian asylum seeker, was raped on Nauru. It took three months and a medical emergency for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to send her to Australia for treatment. At the time, the department said Nazanin's mother and brother would also be brought to Australia to provide critical family support.
Kiribati, a nation made up of 33 islands in the South Pacific, is predicted to be one of the first countries to vanish beneath the sea before the end of the century. The government has already bought 2400 hectares of land in Fiji in case they need to more the entire population.
Walk Together marches were held in cities and regional centres around Australia on October 31 as a celebration of diversity. The aim of the marches was to present a picture to Australia's political leaders and media of a different Australia — one that is known for its compassion and generosity. Caroline de Costa gave this speech at the Cairns rally. * * *
Canadian activist and author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism versus Climate Naomi Klein spoke to a packed audience at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Sydney Opera House on September 5. This is an edited transcript of her speech. Klein and Avi Lewis’ film This Changes Everything is about to be released. ***
Thirty refugee rights activists rallied outside Commonwealth offices in Sydney, to coincide with the June 17 presentation of a 65,000 strong petition to the Federal Parliament in Canberra, calling for the immediate closure of Manus Island and Nauru detention centres. The petition is here and can still be signed. Nicole Judge, Manus Island detention centre whistleblower, and Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) spoke at the rally.