Tag Archives: refugees

Weekly salon 16/2

1. Political follies

To me the most staggering political event of the past week was PM Scott Morrison’s announcement that he had ordered the re-opening of the Christmas Island detention facility. What for? Does he expect that suddenly the navy will be unable to intercept and turn back boats? The facility is quite large:

Christmas Island Shire CEO Gordon Thomson told Patricia Karvelas the announcement was stunning and made no practical sense. The centre was already on 72-hour standby. Continue reading Weekly salon 16/2

Care of strangers

Australian Border Force missed a Vietnamese boat, so now we have Dozens of migrants missing in crocodile-infested Daintree rainforest after boat sinks:

The boat containing irregular migrants that ran aground near the mouth of the Daintree River on Sunday 26 August 2018.

Steve Ciobo, newly minted Minister for Defence Industry, and a Queenslander from the Gold Coast, declared they should be taken to Nauru. Continue reading Care of strangers

Saturday salon 12/8

1. Made in Australia by the Turnbull government

The Liberal Party Has Overwhelmingly Decided To Keep Its Plebiscite Policy, so because the Senate again failed to pass the necessary legislation, we are off to a $122 million postal vote, which is really a voluntary survey to be conducted by the ABS, if the High Court lets them.

Except, we already know what the people think, because they’ve already been surveyed, and people who know about these things say that the proposed survey is incompetent as a survey, lacking proper sampling. Of course, the opponents of same sex-marriage see this as their best chance of getting a “no” vote and kicking the can down the road.

Peter FitzSimons asks, How did the Liberal Party get into such a mess? Continue reading Saturday salon 12/8

Dumb deal

On a superficial level I agree with President Trump that it was a “dumb deal” for the US to accept asylum seekers warehoused by Australia in Nauru and Manus Island. We should have brought them to Australia long ago.

What is scary is how Trump and his administration handled the whole thing. Via Bloomberg, this is the scene in his office:

Continue reading Dumb deal

UN has a plan for a plan on refugees

Malcolm Turnbull was at the historic UN Summit on Refugees to tell everyone about our world-class effort, though it is doubtful world leaders took very much notice. Australia has unique circumstances, and thankfully, unique solutions. What we may see as our badge of honour, others may see as our badge of shame. Anyway, undaunted by UNHCR estimates of a burgeoning number, reckoned in 2015 at 65.3 million people displaced from their homes, the UN announced The New York Declaration, enunciating principles, promising aid, and plans to conclude a global compact on refugees and immigration in 2018.

Within hours, says Deutsche Welle:

    A UN aid convoy in Syria was bombed, leaving 12 aid workers dead; Kenya is closings the world’s largest refugee camp in Dadaab, pressuring refugees to return to Somalia; and one of the main points of arrival for refugees in Europe, the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesvos, is burnt down…

Continue reading UN has a plan for a plan on refugees

Saturday salon 5/5 (late edition)

1. Midnight Oil to burn again

Midnight Oil, led by the former Hon. Peter Garrett, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Education, are returning to a high-ticket priced venue near you.

Simon Tatz says:

    Once again, we’ll witness the gangly mantis, this time just plain old Pete Garrett, belt out songs condemning American military imperialism, condemning the loss of Indigenous land rights and noting that beds, as well as pink batts, keep burning. Continue reading Saturday salon 5/5 (late edition)

Is the political ground shifting in Germany?

Before the three state elections in Germany on Sunday, March 13 many saw Angela Merkel’s CDU party in for a rough ride because of her policies towards Syrian refugees.

After the election many of the headlines were similar to this one from the NYT: Setback for Angela Merkel as Far Right Makes Gains in Germany. A closer reading presents a more complicated picture. Continue reading Is the political ground shifting in Germany?

Cologne: what happened and where to from here?

A Deutsche Welle report I heard on NewsRadio began along these lines:

    She was pulled to the ground by her long blond hair, then a man laid down on top of her.

An extensive investigation by Der Spiegel tells us that groups of men humiliated, sexually assaulted and robbed women around the main railway station in Cologne on New Year’s Eve. What happened was not new and was not limited to Cologne. What was different was the scale, the presumed predominance of men from North Africa amongst the perpetrators, and the timing in relation to the dilemmas faced by the influx of refugees from Syria. Continue reading Cologne: what happened and where to from here?

Europe’s dilemma over refugees

Two articles have come my way which may be of interest to people trying to come to grips with the refugee situation in Europe. First:

Overall while there have been some protests and violent attacks, the German people have been welcoming. As leader, Angela Merkel has been very firm: Continue reading Europe’s dilemma over refugees

Turning back boats – only by agreement

Turning back asylum seeker boats can only be done legally and ethically, in my view, with the agreement of transitional countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Unfortunately the form of the decision made at the ALP conference makes clear that the ALP would seek to act without such agreement. Continue reading Turning back boats – only by agreement

Saturday salon 23/5

1. Child sexual abuse

The Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse continues to amaze, this time with the horrific abuse in the Diocese of Ballarat. At the same time we find that the Catholic Church will continue to use the so-called Ellis defence, whereby it can’t be sued for compensation because it does not technically exist as a legal entity. Continue reading Saturday salon 23/5

Abbott’s Cambodia solution

Australia has signed an agreement to resettle refugees held in Nauru to Cambodia.

It may be Abbott’s but it is not a solution. The numbers will be negligible.

Cambodia’s Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said his country wants to take far fewer refugees than expected after an initial pilot program that could involve only a handful of people.

“It would be 20 or 10 or 50 or 100 or something like this. Not 1000 as people have said,” Mr Khieu Sopheak told the Phnom Penh Post.

Only people willing to go will be shipped to Cambodia.

Long Visalo, secretary of state at Cambodia’s foreign ministry, told journalists that before refugees slated for resettlement on the Pacific island of Nauru are selected, Cambodian officials will go there to brief them on the country’s difficulties and traditions.

Cambodia is one of the world’s poorest nations.

“We will explain to them about Cambodia … the country is like this or this, a lecture for them and then they will decide if they want to come or not,” he said.

Cambodia certainly is poor ranking 183rd in the world in terms of per capita GDP. While a signatory to the UN convention Cambodia currently hosts only 70 refugees and 20 asylum-seekers. It has not always been exemplary in the treatment of its own minorities.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison told RN’s AM that four or five would be resettled at first. It seems altogether possible that volunteers will be found given the horrific stories coming out of the Nauru detention centre:

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said women inside the centre were regularly required to strip and exchange sexual favours with guards so they could have access to the showers.

She said there were also allegations children had been forced to have sex in front of guards at the centre.

The UNHCR is not happy. They are deeply concerned at the precedent set by the Cambodian agreement:

“This is a worrying departure from international norms. We are seeing record forced displacement globally, with 87 per cent of refugees now being hosted in developing countries. It’s crucial that countries do not shift their refugee responsibilities elsewhere,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. “International responsibility sharing is the basis on which the whole global refugee system works. I hope that the Australian government will reconsider its approach.”

UNHCR has consistently advocated for asylum-seekers to have their claims assessed and to benefit from protection in the territory of the State where they arrive, or which has jurisdiction over them.

“Refugees are persons who are fleeing persecution or the life-threatening effects of armed conflict. They are entitled to better treatment than being shipped from one country to the next,” Guterres added.

Meanwhile the UNHCR has identified some 3.2 million Syrian persons of concern. The 7.30 Report paints an even gloomier picture:

It’s over 6 million who are internally displaced, approaching to 7 million people, and over 3 million who have fled over the borders – and, of course, these are known numbers. There’s always some leeway with this but we know of at least that many people. So it’s a severe humanitarian crisis.

The UNHCR are looking for another $1.8 billion to deal with the Syrian refugee problem. Abbott might give a damn if he’s honestly concerned about humanitarian issues.