refugee rights

Parmalat workers victory

More than two months after 60 workers were locked out of a Victorian yoghurt factory, AMWU and ETU members voted on March 20 to accept an agreement that includes wage rises and improved redundancy provisions.

The agreement also included provisions making all production workers direct employees of Parmalat and for mandatory consultation with the union if contractors are engaged.

ACTU secretary Sally McManus congratulated the workers on wining "an epic battle with a multi-national".

Manus Island protests

A year after the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court ordered that the Manus Island detention centre be closed, people are still living in the same compounds and sleeping in the same beds.

In the latest protest, as tensions simmer inside the detention centre, guards hastily withdrew from Mike Compound on March 18 after a protest erupted in the mess area following Border Force renovations that made the serving area more like a prison.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor might be willing to support the deportation of children who commit crimes.

Australia does not currently deport minors. 

But the Joint Standing Committee on Migration is examining the screening process when people are given Australian visas and support services when they arrive in Australia.

They are also looking into whether their visa can be revoked if child migrants join gangs.

Shorten said there may be merit in changing the law.

“I’d rather kill myself than return to Iran — to the hell where I was violently raped by my own stepfather. But unless immigration minister Peter Dutton urgently intervenes by exercising his discretion and allowing me to apply for a partner visa while in Australia, I’ll spend my life in limbo with the never-ending threat of indefinite detention in Australia or forced return to Iran.”

Trevor Grant passed away on March 6, after a long battle with asbestos-caused mesothelioma.

Trevor was well known as a sports reporter, particularly for his reporting on AFL, for many Melbourne newspapers. While the mainstream media has focused on that aspect of his life, what was not mentioned was the contribution he made to the community via 3CR, a community radio station in Melbourne, and as convenor of the Tamil Refugee Council.

Under President Donald Trump’s new guidelines, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are stepping up raids, roundups and deportations of undocumented immigrants.

Fulfilling his promise to “take the shackles off” ICE and Border Patrol Agents, the thugs in uniform have been given the green light.

A February 26 New York Times front page article was headlined: “Agents Discover a New Freedom on Deportations, Emboldened by Trump.”

A subhead read: “Quick Shift as Officers Expand Targets and Start Roundups.”

This year marks 25 years of resistance to the escalating human rights abuses of Australia’s mandatory detention laws. A whole generation has now lived under this policy and are constantly exploring new and inspiring ways of rejecting it.

One area that has not been explored, at least in recent years, and that offers a lot of potential is campaigning for university campuses to become organising spaces, welcome zones and sanctuaries.

Marginalised communities from Native Americans to Black people to Muslims and Latino immigrants, who have suffered under successive US governments for centuries, are now up against a new aggressive and blunt attack by President Donald Trump. Aside from rolling back a slew of rights in just weeks in office, Trump has also stoked the sparks of a new resistance across identity lines with the potential to draw on diverse histories of oppression and struggle.

Australians overwhelmingly believe keeping asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru indefinitely is cruel, but are evenly split on whether they should be resettled in Australia. 

This was the result of a survey by Roy Morgan Research over February 18 to 19.

The poll found a majority of voters in Victoria (52%), NSW (51%) and Tasmania (58%) supported bringing those on Manus and Nauru to Australia.

A majority of voters in Queensland (53%), WA (57%) and SA (54%) opposed resettlement in Australia.

Hundreds of thousands of people overflowed the streets of central Barcelona on February 20 in the largest ever European demonstration in support of refugee rights. The city police estimated attendance at 160,000 people; the organisers — the “Our House, Your House” campaign — put it at half a million people.

All along the vast march, its thematic sea-blue placards stood out in the light of the bright winter’s day: “Enough excuses! Let’s take them in now!"

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