Pacific region

Australian-pushed 'free trade' screws Pacific Islands

Despite its secrecy and lack of appropriate media coverage, many people have heard about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the huge free trade agreement being negotiated by some of the biggest economies on the Pacific rim.

Some of it details have been leaked by WikiLeaks, exposing the behind-closed-doors machinations of governments and large corporations.

But very few people have heard about PACER-Plus, a free trade agreement that will include the small island states at the heart of the Pacific.

Palm Sunday marches: End the war on refugees

ADELAIDE: Sun 13 April 2pm, at the steps of Parliament House. Gather there then walk to Light Square via the Immigration office in Currie Street

ARMIDALE: Sun 13 April 11am, Central Park

BRISBANE: Sat 12 April 1pm, King George Square

CANBERRA: Sun 13 April 1pm, Gareema Place, Civic

MELBOURNE: Sun 13 April 2pm, State Library

PERTH: Sun 13 April 1pm, St George's Cathedral

SYDNEY: Sun 13 April 1pm Hyde Park

Pacific activists: 'Say not to GMO'

New Caledonia, a French-administered archipelago in the south-west Pacific, passed a law on February 13 banning the importation of genetically modified seeds for cereals and fruits.

Vegetables, however, are exempt from the law. A proposal for mandatory labelling of GMO products is still to be approved by the Congress.

Alleged attackers return to Manus camp

The Refugee Action Coalition released the statement below on March 11.

***

Refugee advocates are warning of new dangers of attacks on asylum seekers if local staff are re-introduced into the Manus Island detention centre.

Local and national PNG staff and police have been excluded from the detention centre since the night of February 17 when 23-year-old Reza Berati was killed and at least 77 others brutally bashed.

PHOTOS: International Women's Day 2014 Sydney march

About a thousand people took part in the 2014 International Women's Day march in Sydney on March 8. The rights of women workers, single parents, migrant and refugee women and threats to the right to abortion were among the issues highlighted.

The organising committee raised as two central demands: "Stop Zoe's Law!" and "Equal pay now!"

""We are facing the biggest attack on our reproductive rights that this country has seen in recent history with the introduction of a foetal personhood law (titled "Zoe's Law") in NSW Parliament.

Stop the scapegoating of refugees

“You don't want a wimp running border protection,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on February 21. “You want someone who is strong, who is decent, and Scott Morrison is both strong and decent.”

Abbott was defending immigration minister Scott Morrison for his actions and comments after a young asylum seeker was killed in the Manus Island detention centre on February 16.

Pacific free trade deal fails to make headway

Four days of talks in Singapore for the proposed TransPacific Partnership (TPP) ended inconclusively on February 25.

It is clear big disagreements still exist between the negotiating countries. Combined with unease among the populations in negotiating countries, this is likely to prevent the deal being finalised this year.

Manus Island violence can't be covered up

Two important things were revealed when immigration minister Scott Morrison was finally forced to admit he had been wrong about most of the facts when one man was killed and at least 70 others were injured on Manus Island on February 16.

The first was that asylum seekers who rang and messaged advocates, supporters and friends in Australia in a panic over the outbreak of violence, saying that G4S security guards and angry locals were brutally attacking dozens of people, were telling the truth.

PHOTOS: Thousands join vigils in solidarity with refugees in wake of Manus Is killing

When refugees are being killed and injured by thugs hired by the Australian government to run its offshore refugee detention camp in Manus Island, PNG; when Australia's foreign minister Julie Bishop pressures Cambodia (one of the poorest countries in the world) to take asylum seekers off Australia (one of the world's richest countries) surely it is time to say: NOT IN OUR NAME!

And this is what thousands of people did over the weekend of February 22-23 in more than 750 vigils, called by internet campaigning network GetUp.

PHOTOS: March on Abbott's office charges 'blood on his hands' over Manus refugee nightmare

All around the country this week there have been angry snap protests against Abbott Liberal-National Coalition government's cruel policies towards asylum seekers. This follows the death of one asylum seeker and several injuries in violence in an Australian offshore immigration detention camp on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

Syndicate content