refugee rights

The Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) held its state conference over the weekend of May 26 and 27.

The conference was held amid rising tensions within the Victorian ALP; with several prominent unions including the Construction, Forestry, Mining, Maritime and Energy Union (CFMMEU) splitting from the Socialist Left to form the new “Centre Unity and Industrial Left Alliance” faction with a number of right-wing unions including the Australian Workers Union (AWU).

While the architect of Australia’s detention system Liberal Senator Jim Molan was rehearsing his lines to promote this cruel system on ABC’s Q&A, a woman was arrested for the crime of standing outside and peacefully holding a banner reading “Close the Camps, Bring Them Here”.

PNG has asked that someone be tasked

To examine Manus as a destination

For tourism indeed, so let’s take heed!

They’re awaiting a recommendation.

               Dear Sir or Madam

For your disposal I have a proposal

For the Manus tourism survey,

They need some actions, they need attractions

For the industry they want to purvey.

Another person who came to Australia seeking safety and security died on Manus Island on May 22. The Rohingya man is the seventh person to die on Manus Island since Labor re-established offshore detention.

The man died after jumping out of a bus — it is being reported as a suicide. Doctors for Refugees had been calling on the government to bring him here for more than a year as he suffers from epilepsy.

The Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) released this statement on May 7.

* * *

Refugee advocates have serious fears for the welfare of Omid, a 24-year-old Iranian refugee from Nauru, who has been on hunger strike for more than 30 days.

His condition has significantly deteriorated since he was hospitalised a couple of weeks ago. He has reached a critical stage in the hunger strike with growing concerns that he may have already suffered some long-term damage to his health.

After a journey of more than a month, more than 150 members of Viacrucis Migrante — known as the Central American Migrant Caravan — arrived at the United States border on April 29. They were met with a hostile response.

The United Nations said that nearly 4000 people have been driven out of their homes in Myanmar (also known as Burma) in April as the country’s north is gripped with violence.

About 100 people attended a forum on April 23 with the theme: "Change the rules for refugees".

The forum, organised by the Refugee Action Collective (RAC), aimed to show the links between the struggles for union rights and refugee rights.

Chairperson Lucy Honan, a member of RAC and the Australian Education Union, said that unionists and refugees are under attack by the same Coalition government. She noted that many refugees are themselves workers.

Medical students and professionals are taking inspiring action, in defiance of the Australian government, to assert that health is a human right as the crisis on Manus Island and Nauru rapidly worsens, writes Zebedee Parkes.

“We have a system of detention for people arriving by boat which is deliberately designed to cause harm,” psychiatrist Dr Peter Young told a rally of hundreds of medical students in Sydney on April 7.

Medical students rally for refugees in Sydney on April 7.

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