Monthly Archives: July 2012

Refugees’ artwork tours WA

July 31, 2012

Image source: Google


An exhibition of artwork by young refugees and migrants living in Perth will be displayed across regional Western Australia.

The Restoring Hope Art Exhibition includes visual and audio art and a music video inspired by the experience of relocating to Western Australia.

The first regional stop on the tour is Katanning this Thursday – a town largely built on a multicultural community.

Stuart Reid from the Department for Communities says art can help people to understand and accept those from different backgrounds.

“It’s also about understanding the richness of experience that these young people are bringing with them and the value that that brings to our society, to our community,” he said.

“It’s a richness and diversity that really adds to the fabric of life here in Western Australia.”

Mr Reid says art is a means of expression that others can easily relate to.

“If someone is speaking with an accent it can be difficult for them to get their message across,” he said.

“Finding people to listen to, who’s going to sit down and listen to young people in the street? They’re not but are they going to see an exhibition of art and have that speak to them? Yes they are.”



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Filed under Human Rights and Refugee Activists, Public Reaction/Perception Towards Asylum Seekers, Talented Asylum Seekers

Distressed asylum seeker boat rescued

July 31, 2012

Image source: Google

THE Australian navy has helped a boat in distress carrying 65 suspected asylum seekers.

HMAS Launceston, working with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority Rescue Coordination Centre, intercepted the boat southwest of Sumba Island off Indonesia on Monday night.

The vessel was also carrying four crew, the federal government said in a statement on Tuesday.

The passengers are being transferred to Christmas Island for initial security, health and identity checks.


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Two asylum boats intercepted

July 30, 2012

Two separate boatloads carrying a total of 87 asylum seekers have been intercepted near Christmas Island and the Cocos Islands.

Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said HMAS Broome intercepted a vessel north of Christmas Island on Monday.

The boat was initially detected by a surveillance aircraft operating under the control of Border Protection Command.

It was carrying 35 suspected asylum seekers and two crew, who have been transferred to Christmas Island for security, health and identity checks.

A second vessel was intercepted by ACV Hervey Bay west of the Cocos Islands, with initial indications suggesting there were 52 people on board.

The people will be transferred to government authorities on the Cocos Islands for basic health and security checks before being transferred to Christmas Island.


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Second asylum boat arrival within 24 hours

July 29, 2012

Christmas Island

Another boat of asylum seekers has arrived on Australian waters. Picture: Daniel Wilkins Source: PerthNow

A SECOND boatload of asylum seekers was intercepted on Saturday, Border Protection Command says.

A vessel carrying 49 people was intercepted north-west of the Cocos Keeling Islands on Saturday night.

It was intercepted by ACV Hervey Bay after being detected by a RAAF maritime patrol craft.

The passengers were transferred to Australian government authorities on Cocos Island and will be sent to Christmas Island for health, security and identity checks.

Earlier the same day, a government patrol boat intercepted a vessel carrying 15 passengers and two crew east of Browse Island off the Kimberley coastline.

They were transferred to Broome initially and are being sent to Darwin detention centre for security, health and identity checks.

And Sri Lanka says it’s netted a boatload of people bound for Australia, bringing the total number of detained would-be illegal immigrants to 700 since May.

Sri Lanka’s navy arrested a boatload of people heading to Australia and raised the number of would-be illegal immigrants detained this month to a record 500, an official said today.

A fishing trawler carrying 31 people was intercepted off the island’s western coast on Saturday, and another 20 were arrested on shore ready to board the vessel, the navy official said.

“We had the highest number of arrests this month,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

“We stopped eight trawlers off the eastern coast and three off the western coast as they set off for Australia.”

The official said the figures were in contrast to 200 people arrested between May and June, and that the July arrests were the highest on record during a one-month period.

Most of the would-be illegal immigrants had paid up to 300,000 rupees ($A2,220) as an advance for the perilous journey and were to give an additional 400,000 ($A2,895) on reaching Australian shores, according to the official.

The boat people have been handed over to the police Criminal Investigations Department for investigations, the official said, adding that most of them wanted to claim political asylum in Australia.

Opposition border protection spokesman Michael Keen said the fact the boat carrying 15 passengers arrived so close to the Australian mainland yesterday before it was intercepted highlights how much pressure Border Protection Command is under.

The island is 160 kilometres north-west of the WA coast.

“With the resources at their disposal and relentless nature of illegal boat arrivals, it is increasingly difficult for our Border Protection forces to continue mopping up after Labor’s failed policies,” Mr Keenan said in a statement today.

The Federal Government has set up an independent committee to consider the asylum seeker issue after it failed to win Coalition support for its Malaysia solution.

Coalition members oppose the option of sending people to Malaysia on the grounds it is not a signatory to the United Nations refugee convention, instead favouring a return to offshore processing in Nauru and other countries which have signed the convention.


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Asylum seeker boat intercepted

July 28, 2012

Authorities have intercepted a boat carrying around 15 suspected asylum seekers east of Browse Island off the coast of Western Australia.

A government patrol boat intercepted the vessel on Saturday.

“Initial indications suggest there are 15 passengers and two crew on board,” Customs and Border Protection said in a statement.

The passengers will be transferred to Broome for security, health and identity checks.


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53 Afghan Asylum Seekers Arrested in Thousand Islands

July 27, 2012

The Indonesian Navy arrested some Afghan 53 asylum seekers off the coast of Jakarta’s Thousand Islands last week, an immigration official said on Thursday.

The asylum seekers — who were reportedly heading to Australia’s Christmas Island — were arrested on July 20 as they transferred to a smaller boat for the rest of their trip, Ramdhani, an official with the Tanjung Priok immigration office, said.

“They were arrested by [the Navy’s Sea Security Officers] Satkamla on Friday last week at 12 a.m. in Untung Jawa island,” Ramdhani said. “Satkamla handed over the 53 illegal immigrants who did not have passports to Thousand Islands Police. We received them on Saturday.”

The asylum seekers have been detained in a hotel in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, under the guard of 16 officers after two of the immigrants allegedly tried to escape, Ramdhani said.

“On Sunday two of them ran away from the hotel at 3 a.m.,” Ramdhani said.

The two asylum seekers were still missing a week later, he said.

“We have been searching them with the North Jakarta police,” Ramdhani said. “They have been on the run for five days. Although they did not bring any money, their friends in Puncak, West Java could have supplied them [with money].”

To head off further escapes, the remaining asylum seekers will be transferred to the Immigration Office’s detention centers, Ramdhani said.

“We’re planning to move 30 of them to an immigration detention house in Manado [North Sulawesi], though it is still tentative,” he said. “The rest will be placed in Surabaya or also in Manado. We’re still planning it.”

On Wednesday, another boat, this one containing of 58 asylum seekers from Iran and Iraq, arrived in Indonesia. The boat sunk off the coast of Madura, leaving the asylum seekers were stranded in Goagoa Island. Local police plan to move the asylum seekers to a Surabaya detention center on Friday aboard a navy boat.

The boat’s captain had fled the scene at the time of the accident, but three members of the ship’s crew were still in Goagoa Island and will be questioned by police.


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Filed under Asylum Seekers in Indonesia, Detention Centers, People Smugglers

Stricken asylum boat passengers reach land

July 26, 2012

Guwa Guwa island        Photo:       The asylum seekers have managed to be helped ashore on the remote Guwa Guwa island. (Google Earth)

Indonesian search and rescue crews say 60 asylum seekers who spent the night adrift in a stricken boat have made it ashore on a tiny island north-west of Bali.

The island of Guwa Guwa is so small it is not visible on some official maps of the Indonesian archipelago.

But that is where it seems the asylum seekers, from Iran and Iraq, have managed to be helped ashore after pleading all night to be rescued from their broken-down boat.

Indonesian rescue authorities initially called off the search overnight, saying they did not have the right equipment to find a boat in the dark.

However they resumed operations after asylum seekers on board provided accurate GPS coordinates to the ABC.

An Indonesian navy ship is now on its way to pick up the asylum seekers, but it will be nightfall again before the ship is expected to get there.

Earlier, as the drama developed, an Iranian man on board the stricken boat told the ABC the engine was broken and the vessel was filling with water.

Below is the conversation between George Roberts and the asylum seeker:

AHMED: Can you speak English?

GEORGE: Yes, I speak English. Where are you?

FEMALE: Hello, bale (“yes” in Farsi).

GEORGE: Whereabouts are you?

AHMED: We are exactly next to the Madura Island.

GEORGE: Next to Madura Island?

AHMED: Madura, Madura.

GEORGE: Madura and what is wrong with the boat? Are you safe?

AHMED: Sorry.

GEORGE: Are you safe?

AHMED: Yeah, we are safe, we are safe.

GEORGE: Is there water coming on board or is the engine just broken down?


Ahmed told us the boat was taking on water and it mightn’t last long.


AHMED: Help me please fast because this ship is not going to be at all safe more than one hour.

GEORGE: It is not going to last more than one hour?

AHMED: Yeah, because the pumps doesn’t work.

GEORGE: The pump doesn’t work. Is there water on board the boat?

AHMED: Yeah, the water is coming to the boat and so there is people.


A series of frantic phone calls later and he managed to provide basic GPS coordinates.


AHMED: So you can help us?

GEORGE ROBERTS: I’ll pass it on to rescue authorities.

AHMED: Oh, okay.


But the asylum seekers were not interested in being rescued by the country they were trying to leave.


FEMALE: You has told Indon here?

GEORGE ROBERTS: Yes, I told Indonesian search and rescue.

FEMALE: Why? I come to Australia.

GEORGE ROBERTS: Australia is not coordinating the rescue so …

FEMALE: No, no, no, no.


Ahmed says there are 70 people on board. They have only got 15 lifejackets and they’ve now lost the GPS.


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Filed under Asylum Seekers in Indonesia, People Smugglers, UNHCR