Buddies Refugee Support Group
 Kurdish refugee Behrouz Boochani with one of his friends, a local Manus resident

Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, 5 April 

Nobel Prize Literature winner J.M. Coetzee, journalists Peter Greste, Kerry O’Brien, Tracey Spicer, Kate McClymont and Quentin Dempster, and writers Michelle de Kretser, Alexis Wright, Alice Pung, Christos Tsiolkas, Andy Griffiths and Kate Grenville are among the initial signatories to an open letter co-ordinated by MEAA. 
    Boochani’s 2018 book No Friend but the Mountains won two prizes at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards earlier this year. MEAA chief executive Paul Murphy said Boochani’s safety and welfare had deteriorated since its publication, and the case for releasing him from Manus was now urgent. “Behrouz has effectively become a marked man since the fame that his book has brought him,” he said.
     Peter Greste, spokesman for the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom, said Boochani had courageously worked as a journalist chronicling life on Manus, while also helping Australian-based journalists cover the situation there… more

Sunday 14 April
Palm Sunday rally and march, Brisbane
Sunday 28 April, 11am
Buddies meeting, 24 King St, Buderim. 11am: Members' business – agenda items to Scott Grimmett 0427 364 802. 11.45am: Guest speaker. 12.30pm: Refreshments.

Palm Sunday rally for peace and refugees

RAC Queensland & Just Peace Queensland

2pm, outside Qld Parliament, cnr George and Alice Sts, Brisbane
Join us on Palm Sunday to stand up for refugees. In the run up to the federal election the Palm Sunday rally and march will help deliver the message to all politicians that we want a fair society that welcomes refugees… more


Peter Greste, for Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance

MEAA is co-ordinating a new campaign calling for the Morrison Government to resettle in Australia the acclaimed journalist, writer and film-maker Behrouz Boochani, who has been detained for more than half-a-decade on Manus Island. Join with the dozens of Australian journalists and writers who have signed the open letter… SIGN

Behrouz is a journalist fleeing persecution in Iran and unequivocally qualifies for refugee status. And as long as he remains in detention, Australia has no moral authority as a leader for press freedom.

– Peter Greste, journalist, on Twitter

I choose humane

Refugee Council of Australia

As the federal election looms we're sending a message to politicians that we want policies for people seeking asylum that are humane, not cruel. Sign the pledge today to show your support!.. SIGN

Call for fairer refugee sponsorship

Amnesty International

Community sponsorship – where everyday people choose to contribute towards the costs of resettling a refugee – has worked in Canada for over 40 years. Australia’s current proposed community sponsorship model is limited and expensive. Call on the Government to expand and improve community sponsorship for refugees – so that more families can rebuild their lives in safety… SIGN

Learn English Holiday Program rolls out!

Margaret Norris

26 visitors are enjoying a wonderful week of hospitality and classes. Among the highlights so far have been the music classes and dot painting, our shared dinner and a day at the beach and wildlife HQ.
More reports next week!

These countries are home to the highest proportion of refugees in the world

SBS News 10 April

In 2017 Australia had 48,482 refugees living in the country according to UNHCR – less than two people per 1,000. But how does this compare to other countries? By the end of 2017, 68.5 million people had been forced from their homes – the highest on record. The vast majority of refugees are living in middle- and low-income countries. While Turkey has the world’s largest refugee population, Lebanon (164 per 1000, a quarter of the population) and Jordan are hosting the highest number relative to population size... more

Christmas Island: more than 150 staff are guarding zero detainees

The Guardian, 4 April

The government is paying workers to guard zero detainees on Christmas Island, the home affairs department has confirmed. The detention centre was reopened less than two months ago in reaction to the parliament passing the medical evacuation law. Department secretary Michael Pezzullo also confirmed that only one person has been transferred under the new law, but he was sent straight to the Australian mainland because of the high level of medical care needed. There have been a total of three applications for transfer, but the other two have not yet been actioned, he said.... more

More refugees in Australia than offshore

Vision Christian Radio, 4 April

There are now more asylum seekers and refugees in Australia for medical treatment than there are on Manus Island and Nauru. Home Affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo says 953 people have been brought to the mainland for medical care or to accompany family members, outnumbering the 915 people held offshore. Another 822 people have voluntarily returned to their home countries. Just 35 people were brought to Australia for medical treatment in the 2017/18 financial year. This has increased more than ten-fold over the past nine months... more

From Ethiopian refugee camp to footy pitch for Hawthorn’s latest up-and-comer

SBS News, 3 April

Hawthorn defender Changkouth Jiath was born in an Ethiopian refugee camp in 1999 – two decades later, he’s on the cusp of making his AFL debut. The promising 185cm player is newly drafted by the Hawthorn Football Club in Melbourne, after working his way through feeder teams and getting noticed while playing for the prestigious Xavier College. That love of sport that’s inspired him to potential stardom was fostered in an Ethiopian refugee camp, where he grew up kicking a soccer ball about... more 

Millions spent on six-day Manus contract

SBS News, 8 April

Home Affairs officials spent more than $8 million on temporary accommodation for asylum seekers on Manus Island, only for the contract to be torn up six days later. Two months before the detention centre was shut down in October 2017, the department paid logistics company Toll Holdings $8.1 million to organise interim housing. However the PNG government decided to proceed with more permanent accommodation. Officials have denied the $1.35 million per day was a waste, and that the money had included the purchase of temporary structures and shipping costs... more

Lawsuits say Australia subjects asylum seekers to torture and crimes against humanity

Wheaton Business, 5 April

Two class action lawsuits, filed in Australia‘s High Court by human rights group National Justice Project, claim people seeking asylum in Australia who have arrived by boat without proper documentation are subject to crimes against humanity. The team representing the migrants is seeking injunctions to transfer the asylum seekers to safety in Australia and award damages, arguing that they have been subject to arbitrary imprisonment and severe deprivation of physical liberty; denial of proper medical assessments and treatment; inadequate security and protection; inadequate food and water; inadequate accommodation; and an unhygienic environment... more

‘It’s a deterrent’: Treasurer defends spending $185 million to reopen Christmas Island

Sydney Morning Herald, 7 April

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has defended the Morrison government’s decision to reopen the Christmas Island detention centre, arguing it will deter refugees and asylum seekers who would otherwise “game the system” under new medical transfer laws. Critics labelled the decision an expensive stunt after it was revealed that only one person has been transferred to Australia under the laws, despite warnings from the government that hundreds would come within weeks. The man was brought to the Australian mainland despite Morrison reopening Christmas Island for the explicit purpose of detaining refugees and asylum seekers transferred under the medevac regime... more
Thank you to Margaret Norris 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, 24 King Street Buderim.
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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