Chris Slee

GLW author Chris Slee

Sri Lanka: UN report calls for war crimes trials

The United Nations' Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) report of its investigation into human rights violations in Sri Lanka found “reasonable grounds to believe that gross violations of international human rights law … were committed.”

The investigation deals with the period between February 2002 and November 2011. It thus includes the final years of the war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The LTTE fought for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka and was defeated in May 2009.

Tamil refugee: How Australia is complicit in Sri Lankan genocide

Tamils protest in Geneva to demand a UN investigation into Sri Lankan war crimes. Photo via Tamilnet.

Gulf regimes’ sectarian push unpacked

Anti-government protests in Bahrain, 2011.

Sectarian Gulf: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia & the Arab Spring That Wasn’t
Toby Matthiesen
Stanford University Press, 2013

In 2011, when a wave of protest and rebellion swept the Arab world, the monarchical states making up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) were not exempt from the unrest.

Sri Lanka elections called

Protest demanding investigation of war crimes. Jaffna, Sri Lankan-occupied Tamil Eelam, February 24.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has dissolved parliament and called elections for August 17. Sirisena was elected president on January 9, replacing Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Forum discusses Labor Party policy

On June 24 about 150 people attended a forum organised by the Refugee Action Collective, Labor for Refugees and the Refugee Advocacy Network on the theme “How can we get Labor to oppose offshore detention?”

Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney told the meeting that the ACTU has recently adopted a stronger policy on refugees, based on recognition that “seeking asylum is a human right”.

200 attend Melbourne Islamophobia meeting

About 200 people attended a meeting on Islamophobia on May 31. The meeting was co-chaired by Steve Jolly, a Socialist Party member and Yarra city councillor, and Monique Toohey, a board member of the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV).

Toohey told the meeting that the harassment of Muslims had made many of them fearful of going out in public.

Ghaith Krayem, the president of the ICV, said that under proposed new laws people could be deported by the decision of a minister, based on suspicion, with no right to challenge claims made by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

Iran: 'If people unite, the regime will fall'

“Iran is not a safe space,” Bahman, an Iranian refugee living in Australia and active in Iranian Workers Solidarity, told Green Left Weekly.

Bahman was responding to Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop’s recent visit to Iran, where she tried to persuade the Iranian government to accept asylum seekers sent back to Iran involuntarily.

Pensioners demand a "fair go"

Melbourne Fair Go For Pensioners protest, May 20, 2015. Photo: Annaki Rowlands

Pensioners rallied in Melbourne on May 20 to protest against the federal government's budget. The rally was organised by the Fair Go for Pensioners Coalition.

What happens to refugees deported from Australia?

Refugee Council of Australia president Phil Glendenning spoke at a public forum in Melbourne on May 13 about the fate of refugees deported from Australia.

Glendenning is also the director of the Edmund Rice Centre, which has investigated the fate of asylum seekers deported to their homeland, or pressured to return "voluntarily".

Visitors restricted at Melbourne detention centre

People who regularly visit refugees and asylum seekers detained in the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation in Broadmeadows have reported that the rules for visiting have recently become much more restrictive.

Visitors must now give 24 hours notice. They must give the names of the specific detainees they wish to talk to, and are not allowed to talk to any others. This makes it hard for them to make contact with new arrivals in the detention centre. Requests to visit are often refused on the pretext that the visiting room will be full, whereas in fact the room is often half empty.

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