Tag Archives: refugee action coalition

Asylum seekers ‘political pawns’: rally

August 24, 2013


Asylum seekers have been turned into “political pawns and political victims” by the big political parties in the lead up to September 7, a refugee supporters’ rally has been told.

Around 150 protesters on Saturday rallied outside Sydney’s Town Hall against both Labor and the coalition’s policies on asylum seekers.

Addressing the crowd, Refugee Action Coalition’s Amy Thomas slammed both parties on the issue.

Many of the crowd held placards reading “Kevin: a value free zone” and “free the refugees”.

Asylum seekers had become “political pawns and political victims” in the lead up to the election, Ms Thomas said.

She was especially critical of the coalition’s plan, revealed on Friday, to “buy back” asylum seeker boats from their Indonesian owners.

“It’s not about lives, it’s about destroying lives of asylum seekers,” Ms Thomas said.

Rallies are also being held in Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra on Saturday as part of a national day of action by refugee advocates.

Mark Goudkamp, a Refugee Action Coalition spokesman, said protesters were planning to march on Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s Sydney office on August 31.

There was “a lot of disquiet” in the ALP on the issue, Mr Goudkamp said.

The opposition on Friday revealed a “boat buyback” scheme would be part of a coalition government $420 million regional policy to cut off the people smuggling trade.

Labor wants PNG to settle all asylum seekers found to be refugees, after processing on Manus Island.

The crowd later swelled to about 250 for a very vocal march through the Sydney CBD, under police escort.

Source: http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/asylum-seekers-political-pawns-rally-20130824-2si5n.html


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Filed under Human Rights and Refugee Activists, PNG/Pacific Solution

Hundreds rally in Brisbane and Adelaide against PNG asylum seeker plan

July 21, 2013

Protesters rally against PNG asylum seeker deal in Brisbane

Protesters rally against PNG asylum seeker deal in Brisbane

Hundreds of people have rallied in Brisbane and Adelaide against the Federal Government’s new policy of sending asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea.

Under the plan announced by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Friday, people arriving at Christmas Island will be processed in Papua New Guinea and resettled there, if they are deemed to be refugees.

Protesters voiced their outrage at the plan and vowed to continue their campaign for as long as it takes.

A huge crowd swarmed the steps of Parliament House in Adelaide before marching to Rundle Mall.

Paul Coats from the Adelaide Refugee Action Group has vowed to continue the fight.

“This decision by the Federal Government is absolutely monstrous,” he said.

“We’re here to show that we are outraged by the horrible, horrible lurch to the right that Kevin Rudd has made and we’re not going to put up with it.

“We’re not going to just stand by and let the Labor Party pass through this horrendous anti-human policy.”

Meanwhile, some refugee advocates ignored Queensland police advice not to march on the road during the Brisbane protest which attracted more than 200 protestors.

The Refugee Action Collective did not warn police of plans to march on the road but they did anyway even when advised not to.

The march disrupted traffic for a short period of time.

Senior Sergeant Sean McKay says police respect the right to protest but the rally tied up resources.

“Worst case scenario, something could happen somewhere else and the police are here,” he said.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says people from all sides of politics are outraged by the plan.

“There are many in the Australian community, many Labor voters, many Liberal voters who are devastatingly disappointed that this race to the bottom has gotten as far and as low as it has,” he said.

“People want an Australia that stands up for decency, stands up for what is right, stands up for fairness.”

Opposition questions legality of PNG asylum seeker deal

The Federal Opposition says the Government’s asylum seeker deal with PNG is not on solid legal ground and does not guarantee people, especially non-refugees, would not be returned to Australia.

Coalition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison says the document the two countries have signed is not legally binding.

“What it is, is a document that doesn’t even have the legal standing of a Memorandum of Understanding,” he said.

“And remember it was the Memorandum of Understanding that was found not to be legally binding enough to protect the Malaysian people swap when that was struck down by the High Court.”

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says the document the two countries signed is flimsy.

“Something that is held together by blue tac and sticky tape,” he said.

However, Labor argues the policy is watertight and would not allow a single person arriving by boat to live in Australia.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has told Channel 10 concerns about capacity in PNG are unfounded.

“There’s an unlimited number that can be sent.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr told Sky News he expected the Opposition would support any legislation necessary to counter a court challenge.

“Should we win the election and it may be necessary to legislate in response to a High Court decision to the country that there’s be support in the Parliament for it.”

The Government says a boat carrying asylum seekers which arrived on Christmas Island on Friday will be the last to be dealt with on Christmas Island.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-21/hundreds-rally-in-brisbane-and-adelaide-against-png-asylum-seek/4833824

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

Six asylum seekers in Australia’s Nauru camp beaten unconscious – report

June 27, 2013

A refugee activist in Australia says six protesters at the Australian-run asylum seeker detention camp on Nauru were left unconscious yesterday after being beaten by guards.

Ian Rintoul says the guards’ action was a brutal response to a protest by the camp inmates.

He says the protest came after about 50 Palestinians, Sudanese and Lebanese asylum seekers, who were recently transferred from Christmas Island, were addressed by Australian government officials.

Mr Rintoul says the asylum seekers were told that it would take at least six months before they would meet lawyers to consider their claims for refugee status.

He says the inmates staged a protest prompting a brutal response from the Wilson Security detention guards.

Mr Rintoul says the Refugee Action Coalition is calling for a full inquiry and the guards to be held accountable for their actions.

Source: http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=77090

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Filed under Human Rights and Refugee Activists, PNG/Pacific Solution, Torturing and Health Issues

High Court to hear Sri Lankans’ deportation case

December 04, 2012

A refugee advocacy group has applied to the High Court to stop a group of 56 Sri Lankans being deported from Australia.

The papers were lodged in Sydney’s High Court yesterday by the Refugee Action Coalition and a hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

Spokesman Ian Rintoul says the group is challenging the process it calls “screening out” – where only specific questions are asked so that asylum seekers cannot be assessed as genuine refugees.

The Sri Lankans were due to be deported today, but Mr Rintoul says the Immigration Department has delayed that due to the court action.

“The Government has given an undertaking not to remove the 56,” he said.

“So while an injunction wasn’t necessary for those particular people, we do I think still need legal action to reveal something of what’s happening in the screening out process as a whole.”

A spokeswoman for the Immigration Department says as the matter is before the High Court, it would be inappropriate to comment.

More than 540 Sri Lankans have been sent back since the reintroduction of offshore processing in August.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-04/refugee-group-fights-sri-lankans-deportation/4406706

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Filed under Courts and Legal Challenges, Deportation, Human Rights and Refugee Activists