refugee rights

Doctors and health professionals, with community support, have won a significant victory against the government’s agenda of suppression, fear and secrecy. Health professionals have been made exempt from the secrecy and disclosure provisions of the Border Force Act.

In a backdown by the federal government on one of the most contentious elements of the Australian Border Force Act, health professionals have been removed from the definition of “immigration and border protection workers”. This leaves them free to speak out about conditions and medical treatment in Australia’s immigration detention system.

The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe
Written and directed by Ros Horin
In cinemas now

About 90% of women refugees have been subjected to sexual violence in the process of becoming a refugee. In this film, four African women who managed to make it to Australia open up about their experiences and, in the process, create a theatrical work that has swept the world.

It is amazing how radical believing in the simple notion of welcoming refugees in Australia has become. ABC’s Q&A program on alternatives to detention on October 10 gave some insight into how convoluted the debate on refugees has become.

A number of “compromise solutions” are being put forward but none of them address the worldwide refugee crisis or end Australia’s cruel detention system.

Every day, people’s human rights are violated. In detention centres like those on Nauru and Manus Island, such violations are not just allowed but enforced by the Australian government. However, last month people stood together for nine hours to tell the Australian government that they would not accept it any longer. 

The vigil was held in the Hobart CBD from 10am to 7pm. People took turns reading to onlookers from the Nauru case files that were recently leaked by the Guardian. Others held placards and banners with messages of solidarity for the people in detention centres at Manus and Nauru. 

Refugee activists attended a meeting on October 3 to discuss strategy for the refugee rights movement.

The meeting was organised by the Refugee Action Collective (RAC) in response to an article written by Robert Manne, Tim Costello, Frank Brennan and John Menadue calling for a "compromise" solution to "our refugee crisis".

RAC invited Manne to speak at the forum. Chris Breen spoke on behalf of RAC.

Refugee supporters rallied in Sydney on October 5 in solidarity with asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru who held their 200th consecutive day of protest against their illegal detention that day.

Speakers included Danielle Austin, a former nurse on Christmas Island and convener of Mums for Refugees; Dr Barri Phatarfod, a convener of Doctors4Refugees; and Judith Reen, a former teacher on Nauru.

The Papua New Guinea (PNG) government sent a letter to asylum seekers in Manus Island detention centre on September 27 saying the centre will be closed and outlining the next steps.

The letter states: “The purpose of this centre is for refugee status processing. All processing will end soon.”

The letter can be seen as moves by the Australian and PNG governments to close Manus Island detention centre.

Former Brisbane high school student and Iranian refugee Mojgan Shamsalipoor was released from detention on a temporary three-month bridging visa on September 21.

Mojgan came to Australia aged 18 in 2012 from Iran, fleeing sexual assault and an arranged marriage to a 60-year-old man.

She was released from Christmas Island into community detention on a temporary visa while her refugee claim was being assessed. She went to high school and later met and married her husband.

“Tell him to write a will” was the reaction of the Australian government when doctors requested an emergency transfer to an Australian hospital for a seriously ill Afghan asylum seeker.

He has written a will, requesting that if he dies, the Australian government care for his children and provide them with an education.

Doctors have expressed extreme concern for “Abdullah”, a single father of two teenagers trapped on Nauru with an urgent heart condition requiring airlift to Australia. His case has not been classed as an emergency. 


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