Refugee Action Collective (Vic)

2017 Media Releases

MEDIA RELEASE 20/09| FIRST MANUS REFUGEES TO THE US THIS WEEKEND; NOW, STOP THE FORCED CLOSURE

Refugee Action Coalition
MEDIA RELEASE
FIRST MANUS REFUGEES TO THE US THIS WEEKEND; NOW, STOP THE FORCED CLOSURE

Three Sudanese refugees on Manus Island have been accepted for resettlement in the US. They will fly to Port Moresby this coming weekend and from there to the US two days later.

“This is good news for these refugees who have been ilegally held on Manus for four years,” said Ian Rintoul, spokeseperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “But uncertainty hangs over the future of the people on Manus. Even if the US deal is met in full, there are not enough places for all those who need protection. The government should immediately halt its moves to forcibly close the Manus detention centre until there is a safe solution for everyone on Manus Island.

“The forced closue and forced transfers are pushing people into unsafe conditions in Port Moresby and East Lorengau, when there are no plans for ensuring they have a secure future.”

The first appontments for Nauru refugees to receive US resettlement answers are scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, 21 September.
Attached is a photo of Manus refugees checking the detention noticeboard yesterday (Tuesday)

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

MEDIA RELEASE 06/09 | ADVOCATES CALL FOR PERMANENT VISAS AND IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF ROHINGYA REFUGEES

Refugee Action Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE

ADVOCATES CALL FOR PERMANENT VISAS AND IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF ROHINGYA REFUGEES

The UN estimates that more than 120,000 Rohingyans have been forced to flee genocidal violence of the Myanmar army since late August.

World leaders have called for an end to the systematic violence against the Rohingyans, but the Australian government has been silent.

The crisis has exposed the Australian government’s own shameful policy of persecution in regard to Rohingyan refugees. The Australian government is holding over 90 Rohingyan refugees on Manus and a similar number on Nauru.

Even as the crisis was unfolding in Myanmar, on the 29 August, the government returned a 53 year-old Rohingyan refugee from Australia to Manus Island, although he was still having medical treatment for his heart condition.  Since his return, PNG and Australian Border Force officials have tried to force him to sign PNG resettlement papers.

“The Australian government is denying permanent visas and family reunion to Rohingyan refugees who are living in the Australian community,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Rather than help rescue Rohingyans fleeing in 2015, Tony Abbott, famously declared ‘Nope, nope, nope’ to accepting Rohingyan refugees. He called for Malaysia and Thailand to turn away boats of Rohingyan asylum seekers.

“Although 1000 Rohingyans were rescued by Indonesia fishermen in 2015, the Australian government has resettled only 37 Rohingyan refugees since 2013. The Liberal government policy has banned accepting any refugees registered in Indonesia since July 2104.

“The government should immediately release all Rohingyan refugees in Manus and Nauru and bring them to Australia. Rohingyan refugees in Australia should be granted permanent visa and allowed to bring their families. The government’s ban on accepting refugees registered in Indonesia must be lifted.”

The Refugee Action Coalition is supporting the protest, Australian Government -Speak out against Rohingya genocide, called by Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA,  9:00–10:00am, Thursday 7 September at DFAT office, 9 Castlereagh St, City.  Speakers will include: 

Gabe Kavanagh, President, Amnesty International Australia; Ian Rintoul, Refugee Action Coalition; Kate Lee- Executive Officer, Union Aid Abroad; Mohammad Junaid- Burmese Rohingya Community Australia (BRCA); Anwar Sha- Burmese Rohingya Community Australia (BRCA)

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

MEDIA RELEASE 05/09| PORT MORESBY REFUGEES PROTEST PHONE CARD CUTS

Refugee Action Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE

PORT MORESBY REFUGEES PROTEST PHONE CARD CUTS

Refugees transferred to Port Moresby for medical reasons staged “Day 1” of protest action outside the Australian Border Force office at the motel where they are being held (photo attached).

They are protesting the latest move by Border Force to cut them off services and support. A notice put on the wall of the motel on Sunday 3 September (photo attached) announced that phone cards would no longer be available for refugees held at the motel, from today, Tuesday 5 September.

The withdrawal of phone cards from the refugees in Port Moresby follows similar recent cuts to phones and phone cards on Manus Island.

There are now well over 100 refugees and asylum seekers at the motel, supposedly transferred for medical reasons. But it has become obvious that many of the supposed medical transfers are simply a way of getting refugees off Manus Island.

Some refugees, fearful of being dumped and left homeless in Port Moresby, have refused to be transferred from Manus Island because they do not have medical issues. Attached is a photo of one of the “medical” transfers from Manus to Port Moresby in handcuffs, on 29 August.

Meanwhile protests continue at the Manus detention centre against the forced closure of compounds, cuts to activities and services, and the long term detention. Today marked the 35th day of protest (photo attached).

Yesterday, Manus asylum seekers and refugees were told that the number of points they are given to use at the detention centre canteen has been further cut from 39 to 34 points.

“Peter Dutton is using the same tactics on Manus that he is using against the refugees who have been transferred from Manus and Nauru to Australia for medical treatment,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“On Manus, and in Port Moresby, he is cutting points, and cutting goods from the canteen, while he is pushing them out of accommodation blocks. In Australia, he has cut their income and depriving them of housing.

“Bereft of policies, left with egg on his face because he is unable to settle anyone in PNG or the US, Dutton is reduced to spiteful standover tactics, pushing defenceless people around because he can. It’s pathetic. Another sign that the government is on the way out.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713
POM Border Force