Jay Fletcher

When feminist writer Clementine Ford outed one of her online abusers to his employer, it struck a chord with people who have endured similar sexist harassment and abuse: on their blogs, social media, and even dating websites. However, Ford also been criticised and been told she's doing more harm than good, most famously in the widely discussed opinion piece on independent news site New Matilda by Jack Kilbride titled “Why Courageous Clementine Ford Is Not The Answer”.
Four Corners’ exposure of the massive exploitation of workers on 417 visas — the backpackers’ visa — by farms and factories has triggered inquiries and legal minefields for supermarkets giants such as Coles, Woolworths and Aldi.
During his visit to Sri Lanka, Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton said the transfer of refugees to Cambodia would “happen very shortly”. Dutton said he wanted to send “a small group” to the south-east Asian country to “send a clear message to the remaining people on Nauru that Cambodia is an appropriate option to consider to start a new life”. The Australian government has been trying to persuade refugees held on Nauru to volunteer to settle in Cambodia, which signed a deal with Australia to take refugees in exchange for aid.
Former workers from the Nauru detention centre say the Australian government has “tolerated the physical and sexual assault of children, and the sexual harassment and assault of vulnerable women in the centre for more than 17 months”. Refugees who have been released from the detention centre to live in the community have also faced ongoing violence. A woman reportedly called the Nauruan police on April 8 after being sexually assaulted by men in a car.
The power to “play God” with the lives of asylum seekers was granted to Australia’s immigration minister by the passage of the most punitive refugee laws ever seen last December. Former immigration minister Scott Morrison, who held refugee children to ransom to pressure recalcitrant senators to concede their votes, pushed through the laws.
Refugees on Nauru have defied government and police attempts to ban protesting, as the United Nations adds to the growing body of evidence that Australia's asylum policy is violating human rights. The Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) said 300 refugees held a peaceful protest on March 11, “just one week after Nauruan police staged mass arrests on the island in a bid to stifle the campaign of non-cooperation being waged by the refugees”.

“We will not be treated like slaves,” a refugee forced to live on Nauru said during a series of public protests held by refugees on the island. Hundreds of refugees living in the community, alongside asylum seekers still held in detention camps, have been holding a campaign of non-cooperation and protest since February 25. Children have boycotted class, refugees with jobs have begun a stay-away strike and many are refusing to talk to their case mangers.

The Refugee Convention and similar international laws exist to protect the world’s most vulnerable and persecuted people. People who flee war zones or are victimised by their governments and communities rely on countries that are signatories to these conventions to recognise their at-risk status and provide safety.
A refugee has won his claim for protection because the High Court ruled that the basis of his arrival, by boat, was not a valid ground to reject him. Former immigration minister Scott Morrison denied the Pakistani man a visa because he arrived by boat, even though the department had found him to be a genuine refugee and Australia was legally obliged to provide protection. The High Court unanimously ordered the immigration minister, now Peter Dutton, to grant him a permanent protection visa. Dutton said a visa would be issued within seven days.
Eighty days on hunger strike has put an Iranian man who sought safety in Australia at death's door, as advocates around Australia fight for the immigration department to act to save his life. “Martin” took the non-violent step to refuse to eat last November after the Australian government denied him refugee protection and redetained him in the remote Wickham Point Detention Centre. At least 15 other men in the same situation as Martin have also taken up a hunger strike.
The boats that “just kept coming and coming” under Labor have been “all but stopped”, Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared to the Press Club in his widely described as “crash-and-burn” address on February 2. “The Abbott government has stopped the boats — and only this government will keep them stopped.”
There is one message refugees in the Manus Island detention centre want Australia to hear: we need help. In a letter written on January 20, a group of asylum seekers taking part in a mass hunger strike wrote: “In here alarms are ringing but heartless politicians are still indifferent.” They said they were writing “from the heart of Manus” as the hunger strike entered its “ninth day and it will continue”. “We will continue our push until we reach our ultimate goal, which is freedom.”
A Senate committee recommended on November 24 that immigration minister Scott Morrison’s sweeping migration amendments be passed by parliament. The Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 would give Morrison unprecedented powers without the scrutiny of either parliament or the courts.
Here are some numbers. There were 51.2 million refugees and displaced people worldwide at the end of last year. About 11,000 Australian protection visas are available, worldwide, each year, for people overseas who have applied for asylum. Australia’s total share of the 11.7 million refugees officially registered with the UN refugee agency is 0.3%.
A campaign organised by Cambodians has led the country’s first vice-president of the National Assembly to urge Australia to back down from its bid to resettle refugees there. Kem Sokha said in a letter to the Australian Ambassador to Cambodia, Alison Burrows, that the deal to transfer up to 1000 refugees from Nauru could have “negative impacts which would possibly be caused by economic, social situations”. Joyce Fu, who works for NGO Corner Link and was part of organising protests and petitions calling for the refugee deal to be abandoned, said Cambodia was ill-equipped for the plan.
Doctors have spoken out for refugees in unprecedented numbers, as an open letter to the government signed by more than 62,000 Australians was handed to parliament on October 20. The letter, signed by more than 240 health professionals, legal experts and academics, accuses the government of “willfully and deliberately” harming refugees.

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