refugee rights

Filmed over one year in 23 countries, Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow is at the same time beautiful and heartbreaking.

The Tamil Refugee Council released this statement on February 28.

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A former member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, or Tamil Tigers) deported under duress from Australia on February 22 is being harassed and intimidated, along with his family, by the Sri Lankan state.

Santharuban was handed over to Sri Lankan authorities at Bandaranaike airport, Colombo, where he was questioned for about four hours.

Hundreds of refugee families defied a protest ban in the Indonesian city of Makassar on Sulawesi on February 21.

They marched from their refugee accommodation to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) with banners and placards that read “No one is illegal” “Is there any UNHCR?”. A young girl held up a placard, almost as tall as her, that read “We are forgotten”.

Italian general elections on March 4 will be a testing ground for the new grassroots, left-wing movement Potere al Popolo (Power to the People), born only four months ago.

In a climate of hatred that has poisoned the electoral campaign, Power to the People has stood out for its scale of popular participation, both in the way it established its political agenda and in the campaign itself. In this sense, Power to the People is an unprecedented attempt at creating a real bottom-up democratic movement.

Seventy people rallied outside the Broadmeadows detention centre on February 18 to protest against the threatened deportation of Santharuban, a Tamil refugee.

Alex Bhathal, the Greens candidate for the upcoming Batman byelection, told the rally that Santharuban's life is in great danger if he is sent back to Sri Lanka, as crimes against humanity continue there and people previously deported have died.

Seven protesters who staged a sit-in on November 3 at the Lonsdale Street headquarters of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection have avoided a conviction for trespassing on Commonwealth property. They were part of group protesting the closure of the Manus Island detention centre three days earlier.

An Iranian refugee held on Nauru, who has been diagnosed as being at “imminent risk of … heart attack or sudden death”, is refusing to leave Nauru to go to a hospital that can treat her because the Australian Border Force (ABF) has refused her young son permission to go with her.

Doctors have requested five times since September 2016 that Fatemeh be moved to a hospital off Nauru for heart checks that cannot be performed on the island. But she is refusing to leave her 16-year-old son unaccompanied on the island.

Eighty people rallied in Dandenong, an outer Melbourne suburb, on February 11 against the planned deportation of Santharuban, a former member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who sought asylum in Australia after the defeat of the LTTE in 2009.

The LTTE fought for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka. Former members of the movement continue to be "disappeared, detained, tortured, and harassed by the Sri Lankan security forces", according to a statement by the Tamil Refugee Council (TRC), which organised the rally.

A man waves over a roughly boarded fence, as a guard walks intimidatingly in front of it. A group of refugee protesters, sweltering in the hot sun in Leonora — a two day drive from Perth into the desert — wave back and yell “azadi”, the Farsi word for freedom.

I am one of the protesters and I am filming the protest.

One week earlier, just before the start of my second year at university, I opened an email from an activist group advertising a “Caravan of Compassion” to Leonora detention centre.

A few days later I was on the bus, barely knowing one other person.

Four years ago thousands of people lit candles in more than 750 locations across Australia to remember slain 23-year-old Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati and demand an end to Australia’s detention system.

It was the largest post-Howard government mobilisation for refugee rights to date.

At rallies across the country activists who had been in contact with people in Manus Island detention centre exposed the horrors of that night.

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