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Buddies Refugee Support Group
Guards check on a Medevac refugee detainee in the Park Hotel. Below: Ahmad Zhir Azizi, one of the refugees held in the Park who has tested positive to COVID
SYDNEY CRIMINAL LAWYERS, 26 OCTOBER 2021
As of Sunday evening, 23 of the 46 Medevac refugees currently being held long-term have contracted the Delta strain of the COVID-19 virus. Authorities however are keeping all Park Hotel refugees – the infected and the uninfected alike – inside the same building.
    The men currently being detained inside the Park were all previously locked up for years in the offshore gulag that was the Manus Island immigration detention centre. These refugees were placed in the Park last December. This was after they’d all been held in other APODs, following transfer from PNG in 2019 under the now revoked Medevac laws.
    This means that all the men being held inside the hotel with COVID-19 circulating have compromised health and are, therefore, more susceptible to the potentially deadly virus... more
COMING EVENTS
BUDDIES MEETING THIS SUNDAY
SUNDAY 31 OCTOBER

11am, St Marks Anglican Church, 7 Main St Buderim

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.

ALL WELCOME!
SATURDAY 13 NOVEMBER

‘Scattered People’ film screening

3pm, Electrical Trades Union Building, 41 Peel Street, South Brisbane

Followed by an informal discussion & refreshments.
    About the film: Through the eyes and hearts of two Iranian musicians, Scattered People is a story about the healing power of music, bringing together people, cultures and countries while exploring Australians’ attitudes towards people seeking asylum. Scattered People is about the power of music to create change and restore hope... MORE


This is a scandal. If 50% of residents in an aged care or disability facility had tested positive for #COVID19 in a week you’d be shutting it down, calling an inquiry & getting them to safety. Yet nothing is happening for the 50% of refugees who have #COVID19 at Park Hotel.

 
–  Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, on Twitter

WANTED – A DIRECTOR (OR TWO)

Lynda Utting, Director

We are seeking expressions of interest from any member(s) who would like to fill this position. Directors are responsible for managing and directing the activities of Buddies. They meet once a month and the role is not onerous. Bring your skills and passion to the role – and make a difference.
For more information: Len 0419 664 524, or Lynda 0416 878 431.

RAR Letter Writing Kits

Jan Govett

Buddies is a member of Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR), an informal network of regional and rural groups supporting refugees and asylum seekers. Each month the ARAN Letter Writing Network produce a letter writing kit which includes background notes, proforma letters and addresses for suggested recipients – ministers, senators, etc. October's theme was ‘URGENT ACTION – AFGHANISTAN’.
Click HERE for more info.

FYI: ‘Eight Years, No Freedom’

from Jill Horton’s newsletter

There are now 303 innocent humans who have been imprisoned for 3032 (+) days offshore and onshore.
    There are 232 detainees in PNG & Nauru – 109 on Nauru and 123 in PNG, some with Covid.
    In Australia there are 71 in detention – 46 in Park Hotel prison (23 with Covid), 12 at BITA in Brisbane, 2 in Villawood in Sydney (1 woman), 2 in Perth, and 9 in MITA Melbourne.
View more in Jill’s newsletter HERE.

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: refugeebuddies@outlook.com

VIDEO: Andrew Wilkie: Australia remains a pariah on its approach to asylum seekers

andrewwilkie.org, 23 June, 2021

At the end of the day Australia’s bipartisan policy, its response to asylum seekers, remains fundamentally immoral and illegal under international law. This country must adopt an alternative response to asylum seekers: one that is moral; one that is legal under international law; and one that we can be proud about on the international stage...  WATCH

Australian government urged to act as PNG’s COVID-19 outbreak spreads among refugees

ABC News, 21 October

The Australian government is under increasing pressure to evacuate refugees from PNG, where a number have contracted COVID-19.  The country is grappling with a major Delta outbreak amid low vaccination rates.
    Bangladeshi refugee Nurul Islam received a positive COVID-19 test result on October 12, after he started developing symptoms. A few days later his wife Umme Salam and five-month-old daughter Nuzhat Islam also tested positive.
    Mr Islam, who has been in PNG since 2013 under Australia’s offshore processing arrangements, said he was extremely concerned for his family’s health... more

Khalid fled Afghanistan in August — today he explores Melbourne for the first time

ABC Radio Melbourne, 22 October

Like many Melburnians, Khalid Amiri is looking forward to coming out of lockdown so he can get a haircut.  “I haven’t had a chance to make myself look good,” he says laughing.
    But unlike many Melburnians, he doesn’t know what the city is like without COVID restrictions. He only arrived a few weeks ago, having fled Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of Kabul in August. While he’s still processing the “trauma” of leaving the country he loves so much, he can’t wait to experience the “beauty” of Melbourne for himself.
    AMES Australia is in the “early stages” of settling 2,000 Afghan refugees in Victoria and South Australia... more

SIEV X anniversary: Cover-up claims remain 20 years on

SBS News, 19 October

This week marks 20 years since a fishing boat sank between Indonesia and Australia with hundreds of asylum seekers on board.
    A memorial in Canberra stands in the shadows of federal parliament for 353 mainly Afghans and Iraqis who died on a fishing boat known only as SIEV X. They drowned 20 years ago after leaving Indonesia in the first major – and worst – asylum seeker boat tragedy on record of those trying to reach Australia.
    The incident in October 2001 remains subject to claims of a cover-up by the Australian Government, and the exact circumstances around its sinking remain unknown...more

Afghan interpreter who worked with Australian troops murdered by Taliban

ABC News, 20 October

When Afghanistan fell to the Taliban there were dire warnings that Afghans who had worked with coalition troops would be targeted by the Taliban.
    This week a former Afghan soldier who worked as an interpreter for the ADF was murdered by the Taliban. The man’s sister lives in Australia and has been trying to secure visas for the soldier’s family who remain in hiding and thought to be in extreme danger. The family applied for a humanitarian visa in August and followed up with Immigration on several occasions to try and expedite the process... more

Four people died and self-harm incidents rose in immigration detention last year

SBS News, 22 October

More people were detained in Australian immigration detention facilities on average in 2020-21 compared to the previous year.
    The average number of people detained on a single day this past year has also risen to 1,514, a seven per cent increase compared to the average of 1,414 in 2019–20.
    The number of self-harm incidents in immigration detention centres increased over the year, while four people died while being held.
    The figures are contained in the most recent Department of Home Affairs annual report... more

Mardin Arvin: "Can our jailers provide our care?"

Overland, 26 October

“My brothers in the Park Hotel prison in Carlton, Melbourne, are living in a hell that is unimaginable to those of us outside. Of the forty-five refugees held in those rooms without fresh air, twenty have so far tested positive to Covid-19. Each of those men is labouring under great pressure on their minds and spirits, the fear that no one will move them to a safe place to stop the transmission and to treat the sick.
    "I have been seeking asylum for nine years. I have experienced how the Australian government uses medical treatment as part of torture for refugees in prisons on Christmas Island, Manus Island, and in the hotel prisons of Melbourne city.
    "Indefinite detention is a unique form of torture"... more

Court orders mute asylum seeker detained in Australia be released into community or moved to Nauru

The Guardian, 18 October

A judge has ordered that a mute asylum seeker detained in Australia for eight years be moved to Nauru or released from detention and allowed to live in a house in Perth pending the transfer. If the man is ultimately transferred to Nauru he would be the first person sent offshore by Australia in more than seven years.
    The man has been shunted between detention centres and the indefinite nature of his detention has damaged his mental health, the federal court has heard. The court noted the man’s “chronic demoralisation” and said the “unchallenged evidence is clear that ongoing and prolonged detention is contributing to the applicant’s poor state of mental health”... more
Thank you to Jan Govett, Jill Horton, Lynda Utting and Diana Woolley for their contributions to this edition.
BUDDIES BULLETIN – EDITORIAL POLICY
DEADLINE FOR CONTRIBUTIONS: 5pm Wednesday
Please send contributions for the newsletter to the editor. 

EDITOR / PRODUCTION: Wendy Oakley
WEBSITE: Wendy Oakley

FACEBOOK: Anneliese Broadaway
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ABOUT BUDDIES REFUGEE SUPPORT GROUP
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.






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Buddies Refugee Support Group · PO Box 367 · Buderim, Qld 4556 · Australia

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