Refugees

The Refugee Action Collective organised a public meeting on November 7, addressed by Harry Wicks, who had worked as a carpenter at the Nauru detention centre and Bernard, a Malaysian who has done volunteer work at refugee camps in Malaysia.

Wicks said that Nauru, a small island with a population of 10,000 people, has a 90% unemployment rate.

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. 

Advocacy group Doctors for Refugees has launched a High Court challenge to the controversial Border Force Act that prevents them from speaking out about child abuse and other threats to asylum seekers in detention centres.

Lawyers for the doctors will argue that the court should declare invalid laws that threaten detention centre staff with two years' jail for disclosing information about conditions they observe behind the wire.

More than 1500 people crowded into Sydney's ornate Town Hall as an east coast low brought rain tumbling down, to rally for refugees.

The pre-election refugee rights rally, themed 'Close Manus, Close Nauru, Bring Them Here', was held during World Refugee Week.

Speakers included Socialist Alliance Senate candidate Ken Canning, who gave a moving acknowledgment of country; Ian Rintoul from Refugee Action Coalition; TV personality Margaret Pomeranz, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, Sophia from Young Labor for Refugees, Hamad, a refugee, and Judith and Evan, who were teachers formerly on Nauru.

The Refugee Action Collective Queensland protested outside the electoral office of immigration minister Peter Dutton in Strapthine on June 9.

The collective presented the minister’s office with a copy of the Australian Women in Support of Women on Nauru report Protection Denied, Abuse Condoned: Women on Nauru at Risk, authored by five prominent Australian women.

Zebedee Parkes, an activist in Sydney’s Refugee Action Coalition and member of Socialist Alliance prepared this for Green Left Weekly.

1. Asylum seeker protests in Nauru detention centre for more than 60 days

Protests in the Nauru detention centre started on March 20 and have now continued for more than 60 days in the face of hostility from guards and attempts to stop messages from getting out to the world.

Several hundred people rallied outside the department of immigration in Sydney on April 29.

They were part of nation-wide #BringThemHere actions, demanding the federal Coalition government bring the 850 asylum seekers and refugees currently in Manus Island Detention Centre to Australia.

Earlier in the week, the PNG Supreme Court had ruled that the detention centre was in breach of its constitution.

Aboriginal activist and Socialist Alliance Senate candidate Ken Canning said: "The way this government is treating these people, a lot of them will die — and that is murder."

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.

I am not sure if I fully understand recent political developments, but the message I am getting from the Malcolm Turnbull government is that we have to send babies to hellish prison camps or else the gay lobby will persecute Christian students.

And we need a big increase in military spending or house prices will tragically collapse, or tragically rise, depending on which tragedy you wish to choose. Say what you will about the Turnbull government, it offers no shortages of tragedies.

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