asylum seeker

Canberra refugee protest outside parliament

Refugee advocates protested today on the lawns outside Parliament House, Canberra, to call on the new federal parliament to introduce humane refugee policies and stop using refugees as political footballs.

About 150 people from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra, carrying endorsements from over 48 groups across Australia, gathered at the opening of Parliament on Tuesday 28 September.

Australians form 'human lifesaving rings' for refugees

Over the weekend Australian refugee supporters attended 'Human Lifesaving ring' events in cities around Australia to send a clear message to politicians: asylum seekers should not be used as political pawns. The events were organised by Amnesty International, Get Up, Refugee and asylum seeker support groups, union and church groups.


Rudd government to reopen 'human rights hellhole'

Refugee and Human Rights advocates are in shock at the Rudd Government announcement that Curtin, the Howard era hellhole is to be reopened. Curtin Detention Centre was the worst of Australia's hellholes. It was the most secret, most isolsted and the most brutal. Curtin is 28 hours by road from Perth. It is 1/2 hour by road from Derby and 6 hours from Port Hedland. The Rudd government may think that they can detain and hide people in an isolated hellhole but they underestimate the decency and determination of the human rights community in Australia.


Unions and refugee advocates call for humane response on refugee stand-off aboard Oceanic Viking

Photo by cactusdude666 on Flickr - Australia's Shame - Nov 2, 2009
Refugee advocates and the Australian Union Movement have called on the Rudd Government to take the 78 Sri Lankans on the Oceanic Viking to Christmas Island where their claims as refugees and asylum seekers can be processed. Many of them have languished in Indonesian Immigration Detention for several years and already have been determined as refugees. They are refusing to leave the Australian Customs ship Oceanic Viking to go to the Tanjung Pinang Detention Centre resulting in a standoff between the Australian Government and the Indonesian Government.

See also: Australia's refugee resettlement program from Indonesia grossly inadequate | Tell Kevin Rudd: respect refugees’ rights

Australia’s refugee resettlement program from Indonesia grossly inadequate

Once again we are witnessing a public hysteria building about asylum seeker boat people seeking the safety of a new home in Australia. A new report ‘Behind Australian Doors: Examining the Conditions of Detention of Asylum Seekers in Indonesia’ (PDF) describes poor conditions across many Indonesian immigration detention facilities. Produced by lawyer and refugee advocate Jessie Taylor, the report highlights cramped conditions, grossly inadequate hygiene and sanitation, rodent infestations, inadequate and inappropriate food, polluted water, and a lack of medical care available to asylum seekers. Pitifully few people from these camps are selected for resettlement in Australia with an average of 50 people per year achieving resettlement.

Related: Behind Australian Doors Blog | Help bust the asylum seeker myths on Melbourne Cup day | Tell Kevin Rudd: respect refugees’ rights