Refugees

Médecins Sans Frontières Australia has disputed home affairs minister Peter Dutton’s version of events which led to the organisation being told by the Nauruan government to leave on October 5.

Along with his affiliation with the Horizon Church in Sutherland, Sydney, newly appointed Coalition Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s commitment to conservative social movements and the number of Christian conservatives in the Coalition should ring alarm bells.

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.

'Class consciousness is knowing which side of the fence you’re on. Class analysis is figuring out who is there with you.' — Slogan from a 1970s poster, author unknown.

The newly formed "Industrial Left" faction of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) in Victoria combined with the right at the party's state conference on May 28 to block discussion about imposing a 90 day time limit on offshore detention.

The Manus Island tragedy is the latest in a series of systemic human rights abuses by successive Australian governments in recent decades.

But there is another story: one of courageous resistance in some of the most hostile situations imaginable — a resistance led by several hundred people on Manus Island who are still protesting, still demanding “freedom, nothing less than freedom”.

The federal Coalition government is on the skids. It seems only a matter of time before it will be forced to an early election.

The latest sign of panic by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was the November 20 decision to delay the last sitting of the House of Representatives by a week to December 4.

The stated justification for this blatant lock-out of opposition and independent MPs — that it would facilitate the passing of equal marriage legislation by the end of the year — does not wash.

I had considered the racist abuse hurled at Labor Senator Sam Dastyari to be a deliberate publicity stunt by a group of neo-Nazis, enabled by a climate of rising bigotry and white nationalism, on the grounds that they deliberately sought out the senator, filmed their racist abuse and posted it on Facebook.

That was before Pauline Hanson explained otherwise. The senator, campaigning in Queensland, pointed out that Dastyari was just using abuse he faced in a pub on November 8 to sell his book.

If there is one thing I have learnt from being involved in this campaign over the past decade, it is that seeing people protesting, known that someone cares about you and is watching, has always made a difference to people suffering in detention.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s enthusiastic embrace of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is reprehensible, the Tamil Refugee Council said on November 2.

“This place is like a war zone,” wrote Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian journalist locked up in the Manus Island detention centre, as he exhaustedly began to describe the situation on November 2 – day 2 of the “Manus Island siege”.

Since October 31, 600 desperate men, suffering in more ways than most people can comprehend after more than four years of torture in detention, have barricaded themselves in the centre.

Pages

Subscribe to Refugees