refugees

The way in which refugees are excluded is one of the most serious human rights issues facing non-citizens. Refugees may find themselves denied a wide range of human rights including such basic rights as freedom, the right to work, the right to education and the right to safety. Thousands of asylum seekers have lost their lives seeking to cross international borders.

Latest Deaths in Detention: Mohammed Asif Atay and Meqdad Hussein

Mohammed Asif Atay and Meqdad Hussein are the latest asylum seekers to die in Australian migration detention centres.  Both were young men.  Mohammed was aged 19.  Meqdad was aged 20.  Both were Hazara asylum seekers from Afghanistan.  Both committed suicide.  Mohammed had been detained for 10 months in the Curtin detention centre in South Australia.  He had developed…

More than one thousand deaths since 2000

On 15 December 2010, 50 people are believed to have drowned when their asylum seeker boat was smashed, only metres from safety, on the shores of Christmas Island.  Some of the bodies of those who died will never be recovered.  In protests by asylum seekers that followed, children held in detention are seen holding up placards asking: “The children died. Why?”…

Government should take lesson from Christmas Islanders

It appears from all reporting that what makes the tragedy that occurred on the morning of Wednesday 15 December, 2010 on the shoreline of Christmas Island all the more tragic is that human beings had to watch (and listen) helplessly whilst fellow humans died just metres away. The stories of the traumatised witnesses have painted a horrific picture of what…

Villawood Protests

What is a “protest”? In the context of democracy we think of them as citizen action – citizens speaking to their government – expressing their dissatisfaction with a policy or state of affairs. What then are we to make of the actions of a few non-citizens protesting on the roof of the Villawood detention centre…

“Crossing Over” – Harrison Ford stars as ICE Agent

Crossing Over is a 2009 American independent film drama exploring the lives of illegal immigrants attempting to “cross the border” literally and metaphorically to achieve legal status in the United States.   The film deals with the border, document fraud, the asylum and green card process, work-site enforcement, naturalization, the office of counter-terrorism and the clash of cultures. …

Australia seeks to process asylum seekers in East Timor

In a policy announcement echoing the discredited ‘Pacific solution’ of the previous Liberal Government, the new Australian government has decided to seek to detain asylum seekers in a ‘regional processing centre’ in East Timor.  The new Australian policy reflects a general hardening of policies towards asylum seekers in the lead up to national elections.   ABC…

Remote Control Borders: Violating Freedom of Movement

Article 13(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that everyone has the right to leave any country.   Increasingly countries are cooperating to violate this human rights by preventing aslyum seekers and others from leaving a country to seek refuge in another country.  Some examples are: Egypt:  which prevents Africans from leaving Egypt in…

The Berlin Wall and Barack Obama

  In recent days Germans and those affected by the Cold War are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is an anniversary worth celebrating. A chasm between the politics of the west and the communist world dissolved and people that had been kept apart for 40 years were suddenly…