Buddies Refugee Support Group
Jaivet Ealom says his escape was the culmination of a year's worth of planning and preparation. Below: imprisoned on Manus Island

The Age, 22 February

Most of Jaivet Ealom's classmates know him as a Rohingya refugee who fled Myanmar. What few of them know is that he escaped Australia’s offshore detention centre on Manus Island by posing as an interpreter. Or that he lived as a fugitive in PNG and the Solomon Islands, where he obtained a passport by pretending to be a local. Or that he arrived in Canada broke and alone, and was forced to sleep in a Toronto homeless shelter.
    Ealom is the first known asylum seeker to be resettled in a third country after successfully escaping from Australia’s detention system. He has never told his story publicly, until now. Had he been caught during his daring and secretive cross-country journey, he risked being fined and imprisoned. Instead – after teaching himself a new language, altering his appearance and mastering global visa rules – he found freedom in the most unexpected of places... more
Art exhibition by Gabby Sutherland, Noosa
12 MARCH, 10.30am
Art Chat – Behind the Art – Behind the Fence, Cooroy
21 MARCH, 10am–6pm
Harmony Day Festival, West Caloundra
22 MARCH, 11am
Buddies meeting – future planning session, Sippy Downs
30 MAY
SCRAN raffle draw

Refugee focused art exhibition: 
Woven Secrets by Gabby Sutherland

6.30 pm, The J, Noosa
Tickets are $25 and include a glass of wine and canapes. The exhibition will run for one month. 
Co-sponsored by SCRAN.

Art Chat - ‘Behind the Art – Behind the Fence’

10.30am, Butter Factory Arts Centre Cooroy
Featuring Jandamarra Cadd and Yasaman Bagheri (a refugee formerly on Nauru). A lively discussion on the global issues of displacement and implications to faith, culture integration and community detention. Free event. Enquiries: Phone (07) 5442 6665 or email the Butter Factory

Harmony Day Festival 2020

10am–6pm, grounds of Baringa Community Centre, 20 Edwards Tce, Caloundra West

A day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia home – our Sunshine Coast celebration of cultural diversity and world music. View the map

Volunteers required for Harmony Day stall

Tasks include selling raffle tickets, getting signatures on petitions, handing out information brochures, advocating on behalf of refugees & asylum seekers (experienced people will be available if required) and just being friendly to all comers. If interested please email Len Mangan, 0419 664 524 with your preferred start/finish time and details.  
View the poster

Buddies meeting – future planning session

11am University of the Sunshine Coast, E Block, ground floor room G14

The March meeting will not include a speaker. Instead, this meeting will be an open forum allocated entirely to exploring Buddies’ future planning and direction. Come with your ideas and have your say on the future function(s) of Buddies.
    Whether you are a member of Buddies or not – if you have a passion for refugee issues, a particular skill, or you are just interested and want to see change, come along – to contribute, or simply just to listen to what Buddies could be doing and where to focus our efforts in 2020 and beyond.
For further details, please email Paul McKinlay

Wire. Walls. Glass. What’s the difference if you can’t live, work, see family, dream, achieve, create, be free?
End it.

– Craig Foster, refugee advocate and ex-Socceroo, on Twitter
Canadians and Aussies are stepping up – if the government won’t resettle Manus and Nauru refugees, we will.

Let’s get Sam to Canada!

Gillian Duffy

SCRAN has been working with Ads-Up Canada to organise sponsoring ‘Sam’, a young Iranian refugee, to resettle in Canada. Forced to flee Iran at 15, he was granted refugee status in Australia but then detained on Nauru for over 6 years. Last year he was transferred to Australia for medical care, and is currently held at BITA (Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation). Gabby Sutherland taught Sam on Nauru and spoke about him at a Buddies meeting recently... MORE INFO/DONATE      


Gillian Duffy

SCRAN aims to raise $5,000 to be shared between the four partner organisations. Tickets are $5 each and the 1st prize  is worth over $1000. The raffle will be drawn on 30 May. 
We need volunteers to sell tickets to friends, family, etc. If interested please email SCRAN.
More information including details of the prizes

Watch on iView: Stateless

Sundays 8.30pm on ABC and iview, (1st episode aired last Sunday 1 March)

Inspired by true events; a woman escaping a cult, a refugee fleeing with his family, a father trapped in a dead-end job, and a bureaucrat on the verge of a national scandal find their lives intertwined in an immigration detention centre.
Cast includes Cate Blanchett, Yvonne Strahovski, Asher Keddie, Marta Dusseldorp, Dominic West, Jai Courtney, Fayssal Bazzi... more
Every month more than 100 refugees and people seeking asylum can make ends meet because of gifts of non-perishable foods, groceries, and toiletries from the Romero Centre in Dutton Park, Brisbane.
    For years Buddies has supported this Romero 'community pantry' and if you live on the Sunshine Coast you can take advantage of our network of members offering food drop-off points and delivery to Brisbane:
Buderim – Scott, 0427 364 802. 
Nambour – Kristi, 0434 086 995
Mooloolaba – Janine, 5452 6643

Book review: Undocumented: how immigration became illegal

In this illuminating work, immigrant rights activist Aviva Chomsky (daughter of Noam Chomsky) shows how “illegality” and “undocumentedness” are concepts that were created to exclude and exploit. Blending history with human drama, Chomsky explores what it means to be undocumented in a legal, social, economic, and historical context. The result is a powerful testament of the complex, contradictory, and ever-shifting nature of status in America... More on Amazon

An email from Philip, Music for Refugees

"I am one of the volunteers at Villawood Detention Centre who organises music jams and music lessons for the interned detainees to help them deal with their stress. I also supply free donated music instruments to refugees throughout Australia wherever possible. I am in my 12th year of doing all this. I have decided to create a musical based on different interactions between visitors, volunteers, refugees and asylum seekers, both in and out of detention. The plan is to stage the musical on a stage that becomes a mock detention centre"... more on Philip's website

Manus guard pleads with Morrison to settle claim before taking life

The Age, 3 March

A former security guard left severely traumatised by the deadly riots at the Manus Island detention centre has taken her own life before her legal battle with the Australian government and G4S Australia reaches court – after writing a suicide note addressed to the Prime Minister. Diane Parker, 53, was one of 18 former staff to pursue compensation through the courts, with the first case to proceed to trial next week. Ms Parker pleaded with the government to settle her claim in a hand-written letter to Scott Morrison, who was immigration minister in 2014... more

No Friend But The Mountains to be made into a film

The Guardian, 24 February

Behrouz Boochani’s award-winning debut book, No Friend But The Mountains, will be made into a feature film with production to begin in Australia in mid-2021. The Kurdish Iranian writer and journalist, who is currently living in New Zealand after six years in immigration detention, said the film adaptation would bring more international attention to the truth behind Australia’s brutal immigration detention regime. “The most important thing is that we should share this story, and this story is not just my story,” he said... more

‘People are crying and begging’: the human cost of forced relocations in immigration detention

The Conversation, 2 March

Between July 2018 and August 2019, the Home Affairs Department spent more that $6 million flying refugees, asylum seekers and other immigration detainees around Australia. It does not include the cost of keeping planes on standby and transporting staff who accompany detainees. But forced relocations impose profound human costs, and deeper questions about what these relocations involve and how they affect detainees and their supporters have been largely ignored. ... more

Stateless review – thrilling  drama interrogates painful Australian truths

The Guardian, 27 February

The Cate Blanchett-led ABC series offers a psychologically charged and nail-biting depiction of immigration detention. The six-part series begins in the middle of nowhere, a combination of drone and ground shots capturing a hysterical woman running across sun-scorched desert in desperate search of, or escape from... what? It’s a classic “how did we get here?” opening, forcing the audience to ask fundamental questions which we assume will be answered in due course... more

‘I never said I want to go to Australia’: Boochani rejects Peter Dutton barring him from the country

SBS News, 1 March

Behrouz Boochani has taken aim at the government and Peter Dutton as speculation mounts about his asylum status in New Zealand. He said comments made by Dutton, barring him from entering Australia, “make no sense”. In November Mr Dutton said Boochani “wouldn’t be permitted to come to Australia”, following New Zealand granting him a one-month visa to attend a conference. Boochani is now living in New Zealand, but it’s not yet known whether he plans to claim asylum there... more

How two women from a conservative Queensland town made the deportation of a local Tamil family national news

SBS News, 20 Feburary

Those behind the ‘Home to Bilo’ campaign say they’re continuing their fight for them to stay and the attempted deportation “doesn’t pass the pub test”. One of the organisers of a recent vigil was local social worker and friend of the family Angela Fredericks, who would later become the face of the fight to bring Priya, Nades and their two Australian-born daughters back to Biloela. What she didn’t know at the beginning was that their number of supporters would grow to be hundreds of thousands, and almost two years later the family would still be fighting to stay in Australia from the Christmas Island detention centre… more 

Those in immigration detention are actually being subjected to domestic abuse

Julian Burnside website, 3 March

An essay by Sarah Ruby. Domestic and family abuse is currently at the forefront of our national discourse, due to the recent horrifying murder of a Brisbane mother and her three children. But there is something else frightening, impossible to prevent, and without and end-date happening in communities around Australia. The victims are hidden from sight, intimidated into silence, and afraid of the consequences if they speak out. Those in immigration detention in this country, and their friends and family, are being subjected to domestic abuse. The perpetrator is the Honourable Minister for the Department of Home Affairs, Peter Dutton... more
Thank you to Andrea Douglas, Gillian Duffy, Paul McKinlay, Len Mangan, Angela Mercuri, 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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