Help Build The Refugee Movement – Posters to Share

Victorian Trades Hall Council has produced two great posters calling to Welcome Refugees and Bring Them Here. These should go up in every workplace, on every union noticeboard. They can go up anywhere else in your suburb as well, cafe’s, libraries etc. Click the links to download pfd files to print. There is also a poster and flyer for the upcoming Palm Sunday Rally on March 25, 2pm, State Library.

manus poster

welcome refugees poster

Palm Sunday 2018 A4

Palm Sunday 2018 double sided flyer


Open Letter to the Refugee Movement: Kids Out, All Out!

Open Letter to the Refugee Movement

Kids Out, All Out!

Every one wants children out of detention.

The Australian Human Rights Commission report, “The Forgotten Children 2014” which was released in early 2015 renewed interest attention to the situation of children in detention.

As a result we have seen the formation of groups such as “Grandmothers Against
Detention of Refugee Children”. The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre has ‘Kids Out’ as one its key campaigns.

Since the election of Malcolm Turnbull, the Greens have also prioritised the focus on children. Adam Bandt said a key test for Turnbull was “Releasing children who are locked up in detention.” GetUp’s Transfield divestment campaigner Shen Narayanasamy recently argued in The Age ‘People might be swayed by the Stop the Boats rhetoric, but they draw the line at child abuse’.

But the truth is that there are few children in detention even if you count Nauru as well, where there were 87 as of July. The issue for children on Nauru is not detention per se, it is the fact that they are incarcerated on Nauru. Getting them out of detention, only to leave them on Nauru would be worse than an empty victory. Keeping families and children on Nauru is still child abuse.

By continuing to focus on “children in detention”, there is a serious risk of both disorienting the people in those groups and also misdirecting their significant energy and mobilising ability. Limiting the focus to children, inadvertently actually limits the impact on the government. The fact is that the government is getting children out of detention including significant numbers out of detention on Nauru. Things have moved on since the “Forgotten Children”. To end the abuse of children, we have to end offshore processing and close Nauru.

It is time to campaign for what we really mean – close Manus, close Nauru.

We also need to end mandatory detention, onshore as well as offshore. So long as the architecture of detention and deterrence exists, there is always a risk that children and others will be detained again in the future. Detention is not OK for anyone.

It is understandable that people think campaigning for children is a relatively soft target, that can appeal to a much wider layer of appeal than “end offshore processing. It is also sometimes argued that “children out” is only a first step; and that the groups will go to campaign against offshore processing after “children out “ is achieved.

But that is not the way politics works. When Howard released the children from detention in 2005, ChilOut folded. There are ways to tap into concerns about children in detention without disarming the campaign groups.

Our slogans have to be “Free the Children; Free Everyone; Close Manus & Nauru; End Offshore processing.”

With the ascension of Turnbull it is essential that we don’t sell the campaign short. More and more people see through the Liberals “Stop the Boats Slogan”. More than ever we have to demand: Stop the abuse -free ALL the refugees.

Refugee Action Collective

Murder of Australian dual citizen in Afghanistan shows that deportations can kill


Murder of Australian dual citizen in Afghanistan proves that deportations can kill

On September 20, Australian citizen Sayed Habib was kidnapped off a bus between Kabul to Jaghori in Afghanistan. Three days later his body was found, showing signs that he had been tortured before his execution. Habib, 56, arrived in Australia by boat in 2000 and eventually gained residency and citizenship. He was in Afghanistan and making the journey he was to visit his daughter-in-law and grandchildren. His son is currently stranded in Indonesia.

Refugee Action Collective spokesperson Tony Iltis pointed out that Mr Habib would not have put himself in danger had not the racist policies of the Australian government denied him family reunion. “This is yet another horrible tragedy that is a direct consequence of Abbott seeking electoral advantage by boasting that he has ‘stopped the boats’,” he said.

The Australian foreign affairs department responded to the tragedy by reiterating that Afghanistan was officially considered an unsafe destination for Australian visitors and that the part of the country where Mr Habib was killed was contested by different armed factions.

However, at the same time the Australian government declares that Afghanistan is safe destination for deported asylum seeks, ignoring the fact that — as the murder of Mr Habib demonstrates — having sought refuge overseas is enough to get one targeted by armed groups.

“Research by the Edmund Rice Centre has revealed that of 8 refugees returned from Australia to Afghanistan during the Howard years, 6 are dead and one is missing. As far back as 2008, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that a man coerced from Australia to Afghanistan had been beheaded. In August the first forced deportation from Australia to Afghanistan took place with the deportation of a man to Jaghori — the same place Sayed Hamid was travelling to when he was murdered,” Iltis said.

“It is not just Afghanistan. As will be shown on the SBS current affairs show, Dateline, tonight. Tamil refugees returned to Sri Lanka, including those intercepted on the high seas by the Australian navy, have been subjected to the most horrific forms of torture and sexual sadism. Australia has closely aligned itself with the Rajapaksa regime in Sri Lanka and ignores the internationally-recognised reality of human rights abuses there.

“Australia recognises that the human rights situation in Iraq and Syria is dire, and indeed is using this as a pretext for going to war. However, Iraqi and Syrian refugees continue to be threatened with deportation or coerced into returning through the inhuman and life-threatening conditions of Australian detention.

“Today’s revelations by Senator Christine Milne of sexual violence by camp guards against detainees in Nauru are just the latest example of how Australian refugee policy is based on deterring people from seeking refuge here by making the consequences of doing so as horrific as the violence from which they fled. In this context refugees choosing to return cannot be seen as voluntary. Australia is sending innocent people to their deaths.”

Refugee Action Collective is holding a rally on October 11, at 2pm at the State Library (corner Swanston and Latrobe Streets), to call for an end to Australia’s war against refugees.

For more information call Tony Iltis 0437237010 or Chris Breen 0403013183.