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Buddies Refugee Support Group
BREAKING NEWS: THE BILOELA TAMIL FAMILY GRANTED TEMPORARY VISAS FOR THE NEXT THREE MONTHS... READ MORE
The 433 rescued asylum seekers onboard the Norwegian cargo ship MV Tampa on 27 August 2001 as it sat anchored off Christmas Island.
THE GUARDIAN, 26 AUGUST 2021
The sight of Peter Dutton’s mournful eyes staring down the camera the other night, warning that Afghans fleeing the Taliban posed unknown dangers to Australia, showed the Tampa times aren’t 20 years in the past. They are now.
    What happened then is happening today as our planes lumber in and out of Kabul: a Coalition government is finessing its decent obligations to refugees to hold onto the vote of the 15 to 20% of the electorate most fearful of race, the constituency the Coalition wants to stay in power.
    The Tampa affair was about votes. Howard was facing re-election – stopping the Tampa made a likely victory even more certain. The lives of 438 people were, in effect, put at risk to give Howard a bit of an edge at the polls.
    That ruthlessness is part of our politics today. Labor is still hopelessly wedged. The country is still using the language invented – brilliantly – to make a grubby operation blocking refugees sound like an act of national salvation... more
COMING EVENTS
SUNDAY 19 SEPTEMBER

Stand with the brave women of Afghanistan

Refugee Action Collective Queensland

2–5 pm, King George Square, Brisbane City
Despite the assurances of the Taliban, there are legitimate fears about what their regained power means for women, human rights, and political freedoms. The Diaspora Advocacy Network for Afghanistan (DANA) and the Auzra Network are urging the Australian Government, the United Nations, and international communities, to support their stand for women’s rights in Afghanistan... more
MONDAY 20 SEPTEMBER

On iView: Australian Story speaks to Biloela’s Priya and Nades

The untold story of the refugee family at the centre of a tug-of-war between a small country town and powerful forces at the big end of government – a high-stakes legal battle that has played out in the national spotlight between their lawyers and the Federal Government. “The level of community support for this family is well beyond anything that I have seen in my thirty years’ experience in immigration policy,” says Dr Abul Rizvi, former deputy Secretary from the Immigration Department.

SEPTEMBER LEH CANCELLED

Kayla Szumer

Unfortunately, due to disruption caused by the recent lockdowns in SE Queensland, the  Learn English Holiday program due to be held this month has had to be cancelled. The next one is scheduled for April next year, COVID permitting!

BREAKING: Today (Thursday) during court proceedings, lawyers acting for the Morrison Government relayed a surprise undertaking from the Immigration Min. who has agreed to provide three family members with new 3-month bridging visas.

 
–  Home to Bilo, on Twitter

Help the Afghan refugees who have just arrived in Brisbane by getting involved in a practical way

Lynda Utting, Buddies Director

Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia is training and equipping individuals who want to help in tangible ways. Their Group Mentorship Program (GMP) mobilises local groups to be able to effectively reach out and support the new Afghan arrivals... More about the GMP program
For more info and/or to apply, visit the CRSA website HERE

Afghanistan Helpsheet – calling on parliamentarians to take action for Afghanistan

Refugee Council of Australia

Members of the Afghan diaspora in Australia are desperately worried about those who remain in Afghanistan. Many here in Australia also need certainty and safety. Help to urge the Government to do the right thing with support and protection. Please take two minutes to send the following letter to your local Federal MP.

PETITION: Action for Afghanistan – act now!

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

We strongly urge PM Scott Morrison to help at-risk groups and to ease the suffering of the Afghan people. We call on the Government to act now to provide safe passage to those fleeing the Taliban... SIGN
Note: we are working closely with Australian community leaders from Afghanistan and other NGOs, This petition page mirrors those of our allies. The matching petitions will be merged before presentation to the Government.

Meeting minutes from last month's AGM

Gaynore Stoessel, Buddies Secretary

The minutes from the 2021 Buddies Annual General Meeting held on 29 August can be accessed HERE.

123 refugees remain in Papua New Guinea

Refugee Voices, 6 September

123 refugees remain in PNG following several refugees leaving PNG for a third country option recently. There are also approximately 110 refugees still remaining in Nauru and 70 still imprisoned in Australia in onshore detentions centres and Alternative Places of Detention (APOD’s), who were brought to Australia from PNG and Nauru under the now repealed Medevac Law.
    From this cohort of refugees forcibly sent to camps on Manus Island and Nauru under the Operations Sovereign Borders policy in 2013, ‘some 1400 people, the vast majority refugees, remain in limbo as a result.’ (UNHCR, July 19 2021)... more

‘Freedom is beautiful’: 33 refugees released from detention across Australia

SBS News, 23 August

Refugees who’ve been detained by the government, were in ‘shock’ after 33 of them had been released across Darwin, Melbourne and Brisbane.
    The Maghames family have become the last family brought to Australia under Medevac laws to be freed from detention in Darwin. Along with his sister and his parents, he is now in Brisbane, where the family have been granted approval by the government to live in community detention.
    “My mind is so busy at the moment after nine years [in detention],” Abbas said. “I’m so excited. Freedom is beautiful”... more

Afghan arrivals start new life in Australia after completing two weeks of quarantine

ABC News, 9 September

Several families that fled Afghanistan two weeks ago have been released from hotel quarantine in Adelaide and will now be given support to settle into Australian life. A Home Affairs spokesperson said the people would be given support including housing, supplies and English lessons
    The local Afghan community greeted the new arrivals,  many holding welcome signs outside the medi-hotel, including Mursal Azimi and her daughter. “We saw some happy smiles and we waved to them,” she said. “It was great to see them happy for their new journey in Australia to live their life in peace"... more

The COVID-19 delta variant has entered vulnerable immigration facilities

Sydney Criminal Lawyers, 14 September

According to RAC spokesperson Ian Rintoul, seven Villawood detainees were placed in isolation recently, after they’d been exposed to a guard who tested positive to COVID-19.
    The centre which was holding 479 noncitizens on 31 July also suggested that more detainees may have been in contact with the guard whilst they were symptomless.
    Australian Border Force confirmed that a service provider had tested positive, and that contact tracing and deep cleaning were taking place, and “to date, no detainee has tested positive to COVID-19'... more

Refugees fear COVID risk in Australian immigration detention

Aljazeera, 11 September

Concerns have been raised for the health and safety of those held in overcrowded conditions in a Melbourne facility after a guard contracted the virus.
Campaigners are urging the government to release asylum seekers held in immigration detention after at least one COVID-19 case was officially confirmed at a facility in Melbourne currently in its sixth week in lockdown.
Multiple campaigners and asylum seekers have told Al Jazeera at least two guards have tested positive and dozens more were presumed to be in quarantine because they had not reported for work in recent days... more

Tampa survivor calls for Australian action

Canberra Times, 8 September

As a child, Abbas Nazari fled Taliban persecution with his family on a small fishing boat crammed with 400 asylum seekers which sunk in the Indian Ocean. Their rescue on the Tampa freight container ship triggered one of the most controversial chapters of Australia’s border history.
    After being taken in by New Zealand, Nazari is now a Fulbright scholar and has recently released a book detailing his remarkable journey. With his homeland once again under Taliban control, the author is urging the Morrison government to help Afghans in Australia and abroad. He wants the 5000 Afghans living in Australia to be granted permanent residency... more

As an Afghan-Australian after 9/11, I watched my family mourn lost lives and brace for what was to come

The Guardian, 10 September

It was bittersweet being proud of a heritage tainted by politics.
    I was 10 years old when 9/11 happened. Growing up in Australia in an Afghan family where war, the threat of extremism and politics was part of dinner table discussions and everyday conversations, I distinctly recall chills running down my spine as the planes crashed into the towers.
    As a child of refugees who fled persecution, it was clear that the same evil that drove out my family from their homeland – in its various shapes and forms – had now reached the US, a place where my mother’s family resided, and we often visited... more
Thank you to Gillian Duffy, Jill Horton, Gaynore Stoessel, Lynda Utting and Diana Woolley for their contributions to this edition.
BUDDIES BULLETIN – EDITORIAL POLICY
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EDITOR / PRODUCTION: Wendy Oakley
WEBSITE: Wendy Oakley

FACEBOOK: Anneliese Broadaway
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ABOUT BUDDIES REFUGEE SUPPORT GROUP
Buddies is an independent community group based on the Sunshine Coast which advocates for just and compassionate treatment of refugees, consistent with the human rights standards which Australia has developed and endorsed.
   We support policies towards refugees and asylum seekers that reflect respect, decency and traditional Australian generosity to those in need, while advancing Australia’s international standing and national interests.
Confidentiality  Your email address is completely confidential.
To contribute to Buddies   Buddies’ fundraising contributes to refugee and asylum seeker support. You can direct debit to:
Suncorp Bank, BSB 484-799     
Account No: 123508960    
Account name: Buddies Refugee Support Group Ltd 
Your donations are much appreciated by those we help.






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Buddies Refugee Support Group · PO Box 367 · Buderim, Qld 4556 · Australia

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