Buddies Refugee Support Group
Sam will now be going to Canada!
The goal amount of $AU20,000 has now been raised. Congratulations to Gillian Duffy and Gabby Sutherland who set up and promoted this campaign, and to everyone who contributed.
The view from the Kangaroo Point hotel where detainees awaiting medical treatment are held.
Below: The corridor outside the hotel room where the guards are stationed.

The Guardian, 19 March

An immigration guard working at a Kangaroo Point hotel in inner Brisbane which is being used as a makeshift detention centre has tested positive for coronavirus, prompting fears the confined refugee population could be vulnerable to an outbreak. The hotel  is used by Australian Border Force to house refugees brought to Australia from offshore detention, mostly to receive specialist medical treatment.
    Guardian Australia reported last year concerns that conditions were inhospitable, cramped and dirty.
    Detainees have not been tested. While the cohort is essentially being kept in isolation from the outside world, they and refugee advocates are concerned the cramped conditions are not safe. They say common areas used for meals and activities are small.
“Isolation is about trying to keep the virus out. If it gets in, everyone will get it,” an advocate said... more 
21 MARCH, 10am–6pm
Harmony Day Festival, West Caloundra CANCELLED
22 MARCH, 11am
Buddies meeting – future planning session CANCELLED
25 MARCH, 3-4.30pm

Art exhibition Woven Secrets – meet the artist, Noosa
Art exhibition Woven Secrets, Noosa
30 MAY
SCRAN raffle draw

CANCELLATION: Harmony Day Festival

Due to concerns over the spread and containment of Coronavirus, the Harmony Day Festival this year has been cancelled. The Festival Committee will reconvene to discuss options for rescheduling the event at a later date if possible.


The March meeting was to be an open forum allocated entirely to exploring Buddies’ future planning and direction. However due to the current coronavirus situation, the Board members have taken the decision to cancel the proposed meeting in the interests of community safety.
    However anyone who has an idea or thoughts that they would like to contribute regarding Buddies current position and/or where best to focus our efforts in 2020 and beyond, your suggestions are more than welcome and can be forwarded to us by email. To submit your ideas, please email Paul McKinlay. THANK YOU!

Art exhibition Woven Secrets – meet the artist

The J, Noosa
On Wednesday 25 March from 3–4.30pm you can meet artist Gabby Sutherland to discuss the various art works inspired by her time teaching young refugees on Nauru. There will be an opportunity to buy small art works, silk scarves and raffle tickets. This free art exhibition is co-sponsored by SCRAN.

Dutton attended a cabinet meeting while he was infectious. The whole Australian executive branch exposed to coronavirus should begin quarantine so as not to risk danger to others. Christmas Island IS a purpose-built isolation facility. No joke; they should go there.

– Van Badham, journalist, on Twitter

Buddies Bulletin – Editorial Policy

For anyone interested in how the Bulletin works and how it fits into the organisation's framework, the policy statement contains an overview of priorities, a history of the Bulletin and some essential guidelines for anyone wanting to submit items... read

PETITION: To protect people seeking asylum and refugees in COVID-19 crisis

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

People seeking asylum and refugees are experiencing insecure work, extreme poverty, mental and physical health decline and homelessness. 1000s face extreme hardship, risk of infection, and loss of life in the economic and health crisis that COVID-19 is creating. Call on Scott Morrison to introduce emergency measures to protect people seeking asylum and refugees... SIGN
Canadians and Aussies are stepping up – if the government won’t resettle Manus and Nauru refugees, we will.

Bring Sam to Canada – WE'RE THERE!

Sam is a young Iranian refugee, forced to flee Iran at 15, granted refugee status in Australia but then detained on Nauru for over 6 years. He is currently being held at BITA.
    The fundraiser for Sam has now reached $20,100! Of this $5,816 was donated by SCRAN members and friends, so a great effort. We are working on his paperwork and will update as we get news.
    Sam is overwhelmed by the generosity of people he has never met and is excited about going to Canada. You can read about Sam's story HERE.

Purchase tickets for the SCRAN raffle

The raffle first prize – an art work generously donated by local artist Katherine Nix – is now on display at Berkelouw Books in Eumundi. You can buy $5 raffle tickets at Berkelouw or purchase them from the Buddies website. You can also volunteer to sell raffle tickets to friends and family by emailing Andrea Douglas or Penny Rivlin. The raffle will be drawn on 30 May 2020. More about the raffle prizes

He (Peter Dutton) is not a good person for us and even for Australian people but I will forgive him for what he has done to me because I don’t like anyone to die for what he has done to me and the others detainees.

– Detainee speaking about Dutton's contraction of coronavirus, on Twitter

Book review: Sophie McNeill – We can’t say we didn’t know

For more than 15 years, ABC award-winning journalist Sophie McNeill has reported on some of the most war-ravaged and oppressive places on earth, including Syria, Gaza, Yemen, West Bank and Iraq. In We Can’t Say We Didn’t Know, Sophie tells the human stories of devastation and hope behind the headlines – of children, families and refugees, of valiant doctors, steadfast dissidents and women seeking asylum... more

The ‘Indefinite Sleepout’ now reaches 222 days

‘Indefinite Sleepout’ are a group of Australian doctors, nurses, allied health practitioners, medical students and community members in the Illawarra campaigning for fair and humane treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. They have council and police approval to maintain an Indefinite Sleepout to End Indefinite Detention in Crown Street Mall in Wollongong with a rotating roster of supporters. They have comfy and warm swags!... more

Peter Dutton ordered to self-isolate on Manus Island for next 5-8 years

by The Shovel
13 March

Saying it was the best way to ensure he didn’t contaminate the Australian population any further, authorities have ordered Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to spend the next 5-8 years in isolation on Manus Island.
    A health department spokesperson said he realised it was an inconvenience for Mr Dutton, but assured him that Australia’s processes were very efficient. “This is actually a very quick and humane process and Mr Dutton can expect to be reunited with his family in 2025, maybe even later”, he said.
    The spokesperson said Mr Dutton would be free to move around the island. “I’m sure there will be plenty to keep him entertained over the next few years”.
    Asked whether Mr Dutton would be allowed to be transferred temporarily to Australia for medical treatment if required, the spokesperson said ‘no’. “That would set an unrealistic precedent of compassion”.

A young man with severe mental health conditions needs to live in the community, his doctor says

Buzzed, 18 March

As the coronavirus spreads, so does anxiety in immigration detention — where very sick refugees have been detained for months on end with little explanation. In 2017 26-year-old refugee Hamed set himself alight outside the Nauru detention camp. Eighteen months earlier, he had watched his friend Omid Masoumali self-immolate. Hamed is one of a number of refugees and asylum seekers who were brought to Australia for medical treatment, but have instead waited in onshore detention centres for months... more

Men in detention are washing their hands with shampoo

Buzzfeed, 12 March

Refugees and immigrants held in detention centres, and so-called “alternative places of detention” like hotels around Australia have been told that they will no longer be able to hug their visitors or shake their hands under new rules to protect them from the coronavirus pandemic. Men held in a hotel doubling as a detention centre are washing their hands with 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner in an attempt to protect themselves. The men cannot afford soap as well as cigarettes under the points-based system they use to make purchases... more

Armidale Nauru to Canada appeal to get Nauru refugee family to Canada

Armidale Express, 6 March

Can an ordinary Australian citizen possibly help get a refugee out of one of our northern off-shore detention camps to build a new life?  The answer is yes, there is a way, and Armidale people have adopted it in droves as they try to get one refugee off Nauru, and reunited with his family in Canada. His wife and children are still in Myanmar, living unrecognised by that government, with no rights at all and in constant fear of cultural violence. Funds being raised by Armidale’s Nauru to Canada Appeal will sponsor the family, and Sanctuary’s Jeff Siegel said they have now raised $40,00 towards the required A$52,000... more

The former Wallabies doctor helping refugees get back on their feet, for free

SBS News, 15 March

Few refugees and asylum seekers can say they are being treated by one of Australia’s leading sports doctors, but some of the country’s most marginalised people are being given a helping hand from Dr John Best. The 56-year-old is one of Australia’s leading sports doctors. Dr Best co-founded ICFAR (Injury Clinic for Asylum Seekers and Refugees) more than two years ago in Sydney, where he volunteers his time to treat more than 100 patients. The clinic’s expenses are covered either by Medicare or the generosity of refugee groups.  “I don’t draw an income. It’s a passion. I’ve been very fortunate in life,” he said... more

IOM, UNHCR announce temporary suspension of resettlement travel for refugees

UNHCR, 17 March

As countries drastically reduce entry into their territories owing to the COVID-19 global health crisis, and restrictions around international air travel are introduced, travel arrangements for resettling refugees are currently subject to severe disruptions. UNHCR and IOM, the International Organization for Migration, are concerned that international travel could increase the exposure of refugees to the virus, so are taking steps to suspend resettlement departures for refugees. This is a temporary measure that will be in place only for as long as it remains essential... more

What killed Rakib Khan?

Buzzfeed, 27 February 

(Part 1 of 4) A young refugee who Australia exiled to Nauru complained of chest pains. Two days later he was dead — and nobody can tell his family why. Khan, a Bangladeshi refugee, was the fifth of 12 men who have died after being exiled to an island detention camp by Australia. Four years later, the cause of his death remains a mystery. His mother, whose own health is failing, still does not know what killed her son. “For four years I’ve been waiting and I want to know answers,” she said, speaking from Bangladesh through an interpreter. “When I think about it, I want to cry, scream and cry out loud, I want to know why my son is dead”... more

Refugee diaries: 10 years in immigration detention in Australia

Al Jazeera, 8 January

With more than 7,000 men, women and children in migrant detention centres across Australia, the country has earned notoriety for its tough border protection policies. For many, however, Australia’s detention centres have become their unlikely home, with their dreams of freedom shattered by what they say is a never-ending wait to be released. This includes Said Imasi, birthplace unknown, deemed 'stateless'. It is unclear whether he will ever be released. His case rejected in the High Court last year, his future is in limbo and he remains in the Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney... more
Thank you to Andrea Douglas, Gillian Duffy, Paul McKinlay, Bill Stanford and Diana Woolley for their contributions to this edition.
Please send contributions for the newsletter to the editor. 


FACEBOOK: Anneliese Broadaway
The Buddies Refugee Support Group is a Sunshine Coast group 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.
   We are an independent community group and meet on the 4th Sunday of each month at 11am, University of the Sunshine Coast, Building E, Ground Floor Room 14.
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 
Or you can contribute to ‘The Box’ at our meetings and events. 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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