Buddies Refugee Support Group
Behrouz Boochani stands in the sunshine in Christchurch’s botanical gardens.
Below: outside the Manus Island detention centre

by Ben Doherty, The Guardian, 16 November

“One day,” Behrouz Boochani said, observing the bleakness of the abandoned Manus detention centre, “we will meet in some other place, far away from here.” That was two years ago, when he helped smuggle this reporter into the decommissioned Manus Island detention centre where 400 men were holding out against being forcibly removed. 
    Each time The Guardian met him, he presented a little more diminished: physically smaller, his head bowed, his shoulders hunched. The uncertainty of indefinite detention was taking its toll.
    Now today is that day. Finally free in New Zealand, Behrouz is in that other place, a man at liberty, a broad smile creasing his worn features. In this city, people stop him in the street to talk, they reach out to touch his arm and say “welcome”. He is moved to tears. “Here,” he says, “I feel free”... more
Friday 22 November, 4pm
Amnesty Sunshine Coast photo exhibition, Nambour
Sunday 24 November, 11am
Buddies meeting, USC Sippy Downs
Wednesday 27 November, 12 noon
Free the Bomana 47 protest, Brisbane
Saturday 30 November, 11.30am
Buddies Xmas picnic, Cotton Tree
Wednesday 4 December, 7.30am
Bunnings sausage sizzle, Noosaville
Saturday 7 December, 11am
Buddies Reunion Picnic, Roma St Parklands
Saturday 7 December
The World's Big Sleep Out, The Gabba, Brisbane
Sunday 15 December, 3pm
SCRAN 2019 Celebration, Tanawha
13–14 February 2020
RCOA Refugee Alternatives Conference, Brisbane

Photo exhibition opening

presented by Amnesty Sunshine Coast

4-8pm, then open 10am-3pm daily, Old Ambo Station, Nambour
This free exhibition is about 3 stories, 3 connections. For each story, one of them is from a refugee background and the other from a local person. Really beautiful stories and pictures. View the poster
11am, USC Sippy Downs
Our guest speaker this month is Gabby Sutherland (pictured right with director Heather Kirkpatrick), one of the sources for the documentary Against Our Oath screened last month in Nambour and Noosa. 
Followed by members' business – agenda items to Paul McKinlay 0439 679 588. 
12.30pm: Refreshments – please bring your own mug. 
Follow signs to Car Park 4. View the map.
This will be our last meeting for the year.

Protest – Free the Bomana 47

RAC Queensland

12 noon, outside the Department of Home Affairs, 299 Adelaide Street, Brisbane
Australia is using harsh conditions to coerce forty-seven men not given refugee status into accepting repatriation. They have been held at the Bomana immigration detention centre in Port Moresby since August. They have no phones and all requests for visits have been ignored... more

Buddies Xmas picnic

11.30am, Cotton Tree Park, Maroochydore
Bulletin readers, family and friends are invited to a Xmas picnic. Meet your fellow Buddies and join in the fun. BYO picnic goodies and chairs. More info: Paul 0439 679 588. RSVP  View the poster

Bunnings sausage sizzle fundraiser

7.30am–4.30pm, Bunnings Noosaville 
This is a fun way to meet the public and possibly spread the word about refugee support whilst hopefully raising lots of money towards Buddies’ work. Sausage sizzles are a great fundraiser for our organisation.

Buddies Reunion Picnic – an invitation to all Homestay Hosts

11am, Roma Street Parklands, at the tables under the big white sails near the lake
An opportunity to catch up with new and old friends. Please contact your refugee friends and invite them to join us all. Please bring plenty of food and drinks to share with everyone. For more info email Kayla0427 380 235

The World's Big Sleep Out

The Gabba, Brisbane
For one night, in backyards, hometowns and iconic locations across the globe, people will sleep out in unison to create the world’s largest display of solidarity with those experiencing homelessness and displacement. The Romero Centre has been chosen as the charity mission to be benefiting 50% of funds raised from the event... MORE

SCRAN 2019 Celebration

Hosted by Sunshine Coast Refugee Action Network

3-6pm, Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens, Tanawha
Come and celebrate the year's achievements with us at a picnic style event. Take part in Amnesty International's annual Write for Rights campaign! Bring a plate of food to share (no meat or single-use plastics please) and BYO drinks. Hope to see you there!

The best news I’ve heard all year (after MedeVac). I can’t think of a person who deserves freedom and safety more than Behrouz Boochani. ⁦Voice of Manus Island refugees, is free in New Zealand.

–Kon Karapanagiotidis, ASRC CEO, on Twitter

PETITION: Free the gay journalists

This is to demand justice for two Saudi journalists currently seeking asylum in Australia, after fleeing for their lives because they are gay. The men allege that while in detention here they have been subject to threats of violence from other detainees and intimidated by guards. We're calling on Immigration Minister Coleman to immediately grant bridging visas and release these men from custody... SIGN

Save Medevac: Call Senator Susan McDonald

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

The Morrison Government has postponed the vote to repeal Medevac till next Wednesday 27th. We know that as the vote nears, undecided politicians will take their cues from the community. Queensland Senator Susan McDonald has some influence in the coalition government and can put internal pressure on Minister Dutton before then. Since Medevac no one has died from medical neglect offshore...more

Groups we support financially: BITA medevac refugee support group 

Penny Rivlin, Finance Group

This group was formed by Dr Gabrielle Rose, Rebecca Lim and others to greet the men from Nauru and PNG coming here for medical treatment. They initially come to BITA (Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation) needing clothes, shoes, SIM cards (average cost $200 pp), and sometimes a phone. Recently BITA received 17 asylum seekers from PNG and 7 from Nauru – some move on to hotel detention and some go to Adelaide for treatment there.
Canadians and Aussies are stepping up – if the government won’t resettle Manus and Nauru refugees, we will.


UPDATE: 6 Years on Nauru

The target amount of $50,000 has been met (and then some), thanks to the care shown by all of you. For the funds raised over and above the amount needed for the family on Nauru, Ads-Up will send these funds to the next person(s) needing sponsorship... more

Ads-Up general fundraiser

Ads-Up are also running a general fundraiser for the remaining refugees on Manus and Nauru with a target of $200,000. Donations currently stand at $172,500... more

It was incredibly hard to say goodbye to a dear friend Behrouz Boochani but in the other hand I’m really happy for him. Wish you all the very best brother. We really miss you.

–Shamindan, writer and activist detained in PNG, on Twitter

‘People will die’ – Boochani sounds grim Bomana warning

RadioNZ, 18 November 

Behrouz Boochani has sounded a grim warning about the fate of about 50 men locked up for the last three months in the Bomana Immigration Centre, an Australian built $US15 million annex to the most notorious prison in Port Moresby. “They are under too much pressure those people. Actually they punish them, because many of them refused to claim asylum in PNG, and that’s why they rejected them and they jailed them,” he said. “What I know is that they deprive them to have access to phones so their families are very concerned about them. I think if they continue to keep them there, more people will die”... more

Kerryn Phelps: Please, Jacqui Lambie, it’s down to you: let Medevac go on saving lives

Sydney Morning Herald, 14 November

"Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie is facing one of the most significant political decisions of the new Parliament now the government is pressing ahead with its controversial plan to repeal the so-called Medevac law. The make-up of the Senate means Lambie has the casting vote on whether to keep rules put in place to provide proper emergency medical treatment to refugees in offshore detention. My medical training – and professionals with first-hand experience working with people in offshore detention – told me we were dealing with a humanitarian crisis of our own making" ... more

Asylum seekers detained with Behrouz Boochani celebrate his ‘bittersweet’ NZ arrival

SBS News, 16 November

After 2,269 days, Kurdish refugee Behrouz Boochani has left PNG. Asylum seekers who were detained with him have celebrated the news of his arrival in New Zealand, but called the situation “bittersweet”. Sri Lankan asylum seeker Shaminda Kanapathi said it was a “great moment”. “I’m really happy for him because he has left PNG, never to return. He has found his freedom so this is a really great moment for me,” he said... more

‘You exiled me to Manus’: Behrouz Boochani lashes Labor’s ‘shameful’ response to NZ arrival

SBS News, 17 November

Soon after arriving in New Zealand, Behrouz Boochani has used Twitter to hit out at the ALP. Opposition Home Affairs spokesperson Kristina Keneally took to Twitter to welcome news of Boochani’s departure from PNG. “We look forward for Mr Boochani having the opportunity to permanently resettle in a third country as soon as possible, wherever that may be,” she said. Boochani has panned the remarks, describing them as unacceptable... more

Two gay Saudi journalists ‘treated like criminals’ in Australia after seeking asylum

The Guardian, 16 November

Two Saudi journalists have been detained in Australia after fleeing their country, where they were threatened that their relationship would be exposed if they did not stop working with foreign media. The men have drawn stark similarities between their treatment in Saudi and their treatment in Australia. They allege they have been threatened with violence by other detainees while in the detention centre and intimidated by guards... more

Mass climate refugees on the horizon: An interview with Dr Ian McGregor

Sydney Criminal Lawyers, 6 November

One major aspect to the global climate crisis is that millions of people are going to find themselves dispossessed from their homes. Indeed, in some regions across the planet climate refugees are already on the rise, both internally and across borders. A report released by the World Bank in March last year, warns that by 2050 there could be over 143 million people in three regions of the Global South – sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America – displaced internally within their own countries... more

The West’s obsession with border security is breeding instability

Foreigh Policy, 16 November

In the name of fighting illegal immigration, the EU, the US and Australia are emboldening authoritarian regimes, fueling abuses and corruption, and stoking intolerance at home. For too long Western leaders have been getting away with a brutal circus in the name of border security. From hard-right politicians to the erstwhile establishment parties, “fighting illegal migration” is the new game in town from Canberra to Washington by way of Brussels and Rome. This deadly game is sadly not just being played by a few callous politicians. Rather, it is systematic... more
Thank you to Gillian Duffy, Len Mangan, Paul McKinlay, Penny Rivlin, Kayla Szumer, Lesley Willcoxson 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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