Buddies Refugee Support Group
Asylum seeker Zabihullah Hussaini: "I was 21 when I came to Australia, now I am 29”.
Below: Port Moresby
Afghan refugees have condemned Australia’s decision to end offshore processing in PNG, saying they have been abandoned after years in limbo.
    Canberra has announced that the program will end on December 31 under an agreement between the Australian and PNG governments. There are 123 asylum seekers in PNG awaiting a settlement determination, and questions remain over whether Australia can give up responsibility for the asylum seekers there.
    Zabihullah Hussaini, a 29-year-old Hazara man who was transferred to  Manus Island in 2013 and after six years in detention was released in Port Moresby. “News (of the PNG closure) surprised us all. Every Afghan here was concerned.
    “To hear... that Australia can’t support us anymore was like sprinkling salt on our wounds. Some are at breaking point here. One Afghan man says, he wants to end life because there is nothing to hope for”... more


Total number in PNG is 123. Of these 35 are non-refugees (asylum seekers) and all others refugees. About 35 are still in the US pathway, while another 40 are in the Canada Pathway.
    It is estimated that 80-100 men will be left in PNG with a viable third country option to either Canada or the US. UNHCR may send a dozen or less to other welcoming countries.
Population by nationality: Iran- 59, Iraq-2, Afghanistan-20, Pakistan-19, Sudan-7, Somalia-3, Egypt-1, Sri Lanka-4, Bangladesh-4 (+1 in Bomana), Myanmar-1, Stateless-1 (Rohingya), India-2

Invitation to commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the SIEV-X sinking

Zoom online event, 7pm EST (Sydney)
Speakers include artist Kate Durham; Julian Burnside, QC; Vivenne Glance and Ismail Afeif (poets in WA), and caretakers of the Canberra SIEV-X memorial. The commemoration will dwell on the portraits Kate Durham painted representing those who drowned.

Curry Night Fundraiser for Refugees

5-7pm, St Mark’s Anglican Church, Buderim
Tables of 6. Curries will be prepared under the supervision of our specialist Sri Lankan chef!
$20 a head. To reserve a place please contact Colin Williamson on 0407 275 277, or email

Our next Buddies 'face-to-face' meeting

11am, venue to be advised

Guest speaker Freddie Steen: “The current situation for asylum seekers and refugees in the ‘care’ of the current Australian Government and Queensland’s advocacy response”

Formerly a public servant in the Immigration Department, Freddie is well known to many Buddies supporters for her long time refugee advocacy, expertise and continued support of our organisation. She now volunteers with the Indooroopilly Uniting Church refugee support group.

Manus Island has finally closed. For 8 years the prison island was used by Lib & Lab as political theatre. The centre may close but the ghosts will haunt us for generations.

–  Adam Bandt, Greens MP, on Twitter

Open letter: Support the people of Afghanistan

Action for Afghanistan

"We the undersigned academics, community leaders, human rights advocates, lawyers, doctors, writers, engineers, artists, students and civil society representatives urgently call on the Australian PM Scott Morrison, to take urgent concrete steps to support the people of Afghanistan, who are now facing an imminent humanitarian crisis with the violent Taliban takeover of their country"... SIGN THE PETITION

PETITION: Hands off our charities!

ASRC campaign

The Australian government recently introduced new regulations that will mean charities can be deregistered for the most minor of offences – for example, for blocking a footpath at a public vigil. The regulations could even see charities deregistered for unintentional acts. These laws are designed to silence charities and the voices of the millions of people they represent, including the vulnerable and disadvantaged... SIGN THE PETITION

VACANCY: Event & Activities Coordinator

Lynda Utting, Buddies Director

We are seeking a dedicated and passionate person to step up into this newly created role which would be to organise and coordinate one or two one-off events each year.
    It would suit someone who already has experience in event coordination or who is well-organised, has excellent interpersonal communication and time management skills, and a desire to promote the refugee cause in our local community. Full training will be provided (if needed).
Expressions of interest to Lynda Utting, 0416 878 431, before 31 October. Email:

Past event: Great local support for refugees

Margaret Norris

Members of St Mark’s Anglican Church Buderim held a very successful afternoon conversation on Sunday 3 October, with Freddie Steen and Asif coming up from Brisbane, and Director Len Mangan speaking for Buddies. It was a great discussion, with lots of interest and questions.
    Pleasingly, over $300 was raised and donated to Freddie for the work of the Uniting Church in Indooroopilly.

Book: Seeking asylum: our stories: The voices Australia should hear


This beautifully illustrated hardback shares stories of the resilience, courage, love and hope of people seeking asylum – in their own words. Accompanied by beautiful portrait photographs, these stories of seeking asylum show the depth and diversity of people’s experience and trace the impact of Australia’s immigration policies.
Available 27 November 2021. 100% of the proceeds will be reinvested to fund ASRC projects... more info

Buy Goodwill Wines any time and support Buddies at the same time

Penny Rivlin

Never too early to be thinking about Christmas presents! Half of the profit from every bottle sold goes to Buddies, and so far $1980 has been raised in sales since the beginning of this program... more

VIDEO: PNG resettlement program to end, four years after Manus closure

ABC News, 6 October (Duration 3 minutes 2 seconds)

About 1,300 men were originally sent to immigration detention in the PNG province, but just a few hundred remain in the country... WATCH

Afghans seeking Australian humanitarian visas say Taliban are ‘hunting us like animals’

The Guardian, 11 October

Accounts of their “painful” experiences under the Taliban regime – including testimonies of beatings, interrogations and threats to family members – are set to be provided to a Senate inquiry into Australia’s engagement in Afghanistan.
    A Hazara man told of being interrogated by the Taliban as they demanded to know whether he was a civil activist and had any links to foreigners. The man, whose name cannot be published for safety reasons, said he was taken into a cell where he was blindfolded, gagged and whipped.
    He recounted later being threatened with execution. “I believed my life would soon be over. I was so frightened,” he wrote. He was eventually released and is in hiding, sleeping in a different place every night… more

Concern for refugees in PNG as offshore detention deal with Australia ends

SBS News, 6 October

Australia is being urged to help resettle the asylum seekers still in its immigration detention system in PNG, after the Federal Government announced an end to its offshore processing deal with the country.
    The Morrison government has also been accused of abandoning the more than 100 detainees who remain in PNG and criticised by former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd, who initially signed Australia up to the offshore arrangement in 2013.
    Former Manus Island detainee Thanush Selvarasa was released from detention in Melbourne earlier this year. He said his life and that of many other asylum seekers have been damaged irreparably by being held on PNG, and those who remain there need a “permanent solution”... more

‘Authoritarian-style’ law would allow Australia to use secret evidence to deport migrants

The Guardian, 11 October

Proposed legislation would install a ‘regime of alarming secrecy’, legal organisations and rights groups have told parliament
    The proposed new law would allow the Australian government to unilaterally cancel a person’s visa without telling them why, or on what evidence the visa was being cancelled.
    'Chris' had never been charged with a crime, never accused, never questioned. But his visa was summarily cancelled, and he was no longer welcome in Australia, the only country he had ever known as home... more

Young refugees share their stories of coming to Australia, becoming community leaders

ABC News, 3 October

Nine years ago, Syrian-born Nayran Tabiei arrived with her husband and daughter at Christmas Island. After a year in immigration detention she has made a life in Melbourne, where she is constantly giving back to her community.
    Nayran, along with Ku Htee and Yusuf Liban, are recipients of the Victorian Multicultural Commission’s refugee awards. Despite experiencing hardships such as war and life in a refugee camp they have all become community leaders, with each determined to help multicultural and refugee communities adjust to life in Victoria... more

Canada doubles its Afghan refugee resettlement target to 40,000 people

New York Times, 17 September

The Canadian government is fulfilling a campaign pledge made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, with an announcement, coming a week after Mr Trudeau’s party won re-election. Humanitarian groups in Canada had been pressing the government to do significantly more when it initially committed last month to take in 20,000 refugees after the Taliban swept into power.
    With the Taliban’s harsh interpretation of Islamic law and their repression of women, many Afghans have been hoping to leave the country... more

"The pattern is clear: Australia’s next election will be a competition on cruelty"

The Guardian, 11 October

Since the Tampa affair, humanitarian issues have been used to manipulate the public. The refugees still exiled in PNG will suffer the consequences, says Behrouz Boochani.
    “Last week the Australian government announced it will end “offshore processing” in PNG within three months. This shock announcement is deeply destabilising for refugees who have been in limbo for more than eight years on Manus Island and now in Port Moresby. For many of us who have been following Australia’s cruel and punitive refugee policies over the past two decades, this was not unexpected in the lead-up to an election year"... more

Growing up in detention: Casualties of Australia’s refugee system

Al Jazeera, 11 October

Since they were 15, Mehdi and Adnan have been trapped – detained as “unauthorised” arrivals by an asylum system that will never let them resettle. Eight years later, they still ask: Why?
    “My father’s friend made a decision for me — he put me on a boat.” Mehdi says, speaking via Zoom from a detention facility in Brisbane. The same thing happened to his cousin Adnan.
    It was this life-changing moment that set the boys, then both 15 years old, on course for an adolescence in one of the world's most notorious refugee systems. Eight years later, they are now young men, locked up as “unauthorised maritime arrivals”... more
Thank you to Jill Horton, Margaret Norris, Penny Rivlin, Lynda Utting and Diana Woolley for their contributions to this edition.
Please send contributions for the newsletter to the editor. 

WEBSITE: Wendy Oakley

FACEBOOK: Anneliese Broadaway
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.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Buddies Refugee Support Group · PO Box 367 · Buderim, Qld 4556 · Australia

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp