Buddies Refugee Support Group

The Guardian, 24 January

As of last month just 18 of the 52 men held in the Bomana detention centre remained there after the others had been removed, having agreed to return to their country of origin. Many of those said the conditions inside Bomana broke them into signing the agreements.
    “In the hotel, I think, they have good rooms and everything is OK,” refugee advocate and Port Moresby Catholic priest Father Giorgio Licini said. “What we hope is one way or another through UNHCR they will be resettled somewhere, because they can’t be resettled here.”
   “The fact that they’re out is fantastic,” said refugee advocate Anne Moon. The Australian government has said it has no involvement or visibility inside Bomana – however Moon says Australia bears responsibility for the treatment of the men there. “They’re broken. We’ve broken them. And some of these men will never recover”... more
Protest at BITA, Pinkenba
Refugee Alternatives Conference 2020, Brisbane
Movie: Against our oath, Maleny
Art exhibition by Loretta Manners. Cooroy
Buddies meeting, USC
Art exhibition by Gabby Sutherland, Noosa

Protest at BITA – Stop the cruelty

RAC Queensland

2pm, outside BITA (Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation), 100 Sugarmill Rd, Pinkenba
• Release and treat medical evacuees
• Bring Priya, Nades and family back to Biloela
• Close off-shore processing
It’s time to end this misery and BRING THEM HERE... more
13–14 FEBRUARY 2020

Refugee Alternatives Conference 2020

Refugee Council of Australia and QUT

QUT Gardens Point Campus, Brisbane
An action-packed conference week with speakers and delegates joining us from across Australia, with priority given to speakers from refugee backgrounds… Register here

Film Screening: Against Our Oath

6pm, Verandah Room, Maleny Community Centre

Presented by Welcome to Maleny

Please come along to support us and to learn what health professionals are facing. Acceptances needed as there are a limited number of seats.
Contact Ann Koenig, 0407 138 182 to book.

Refugee focused art exhibition:
Passage into the heart of resilience by Lorissa Manners

Opens 4pm, Cooroy Butter Factory 
Stories of refugee women and women from the Stolen Generation. This is a free event.
Festival program


Guest speaker: Kagi Kowa
Kagi is originally from Sudan and currently works for the ASRC. In her spare time she is an artist (painter). Kagi has offered to share with us some of her journey – both physical and mental / spiritual / cultural.
The guest speaker will be followed by members' business – agenda items to Paul McKinlay 0439 679 588. 12.30pm: refreshments. Follow signs to Car Park 4. View the map.

Refugee focused art exhibition: 
Woven Secrets by Gabby Sutherland

6.30 pm, The J, Noosa
"A legacy and social commentary on a humanitarian crisis faced globally." 
Co-sponsored by SCRAN.

$26 million to imprison the Biloela family on Christmas Island
$410,000 a WEEK on 45 medevaced refugees detained in hotels
Predicted expenditure on offshore processing for fewer than 535 refugees – $1.2 billion over the 2020-2023 period
The LNP always have $$ for unnecessary cruelty…

– Amanda Perram, Eyes on Offshore, on Twitter


Gillian Duffy

SCRAN is hoping to raise $5,000 to be shared between the four partner organisations (Buddies, Amnesty, Noosa Welcomes Refugees and Welcome to Maleny). Tickets are $5 each and the 1st prize, which has been generously donated, is worth over $1000. We need volunteers to sell tickets to friends, family, etc. If interested please email SCRAN. Tickets also available at the Buddies meeting... more

Peyman gets work at last!

Penny Rivlin, Finance Group

Our friend Peyman, an asylum seeker with work rights, has been having rental top-ups from Buddies for a considerable time whilst he has been searching for a job. Now he has finally achieved some dignity and security with regular employment, so no longer needs support from Buddies. He can earn overtime, and would like to express his gratitude for the longstanding support Buddies has given him.

Jason still fighting for his Afghan interpreter

Gillian Duffy

Jason Scanes, Maryborough local and former army captain, will be back in the Federal Court on 11 February, fighting for his Afghan interpreter to be given refuge in Australia. Jason founded Forsaken Fighters, which assists local people who have worked with Australian forces in areas of conflict to apply for protection visas in Australia "My resolve for a ‘fair go for a mate’ has not wavered, and I am proud of my service to Australia, Defence values and a soldier’s commitment to his mate”...  View the media release.

RCOA publication: Keeping the Australian Government accountable: a guide

Refugee Council of Australia, 19 January

This guide is for refugees, people seeking asylum and people advocating on their behalf. It provides information about different ways in which people can raise their issues with the government, and how they can find out information about their issues… more

Book Review: Refuge beyond reach: how rich democracies repel asylum seekers
by David Scott FitzGerald

Democratic Audit, 25 February

In this book FitzGerald argues that the rich democracies of the Global North have developed ways to evade the spirit of international humanitarian laws when it comes to migration, whilst simultaneously de jure adhering to them. With a rich empirical basis and a clear accessible style, this is a compelling and topical book… more
Canadians and Aussies are stepping up – if the government won’t resettle PNG and Nauru refugees, we will.

The brother who survived: From Iran to Canada


Farzad Zac is a Kurd from Northern Iran who has been located in Turkey for over five years. Should he return to Iran he faces arrest, torture or death. Farzad is university-educated with strong English and filmmaking skills. He is also a UNHCR certified refugee and is therefore eligible for Canada's sponsorship program. $8,905 raised of $16,500 goal... more

Morrison says Australians quarantined on Christmas Island will be processed as quickly as possible and can expect to be off the island within 14 years

THE SHOVEL, 29 February 202O

Those quarantined on Christmas island due to coronavirus fears can expect to be home by the end of 2034, the Prime Minister has confirmed. Mr Morrison said he had enacted standard procedures to ensure the process was as painless as possible.
    “Authorities will get straight onto collecting personal details next year, before running a quick nine-year medical check.
    "Once we’re confident there’s no risk of infection, we’ll forget about everyone for a few years and then have them off the island straight away.”
    He said he was aware of the concerns of parents with infants. “I want to assure all parents with young ones that we’ll have you out of there before they’ve turned 18”.
    Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said those heading to the Christmas Island facility were in for a treat. “It’s basically a 5-star hotel. Enjoy your 14 year holiday”.

Coronavirus fears trigger border operation as Chinese men try to enter Australia by boat

ABC News, 29 January

Six Chinese men who tried to enter Australia’s northern waters by boat have triggered border and biosecurity operations in Australia and Indonesia. The six men flew into Bali on New Year’s Day. In Kupang they paid $1,000 each for an Indonesian boat to take them to Australia. They drew the attention of Operation Sovereign Borders officials when they reached Ashmore Reef, just inside Australian territorial waters. The ocean crossing in unseaworthy fishing boats is perilous at any time, but coming amid the global coronavirus scare only added to the difficulty of completing the journey... more

Kopika escorted to first day of school by guards

SBS News, 28 January

The eldest daughter of the Tamil family currently detained on Christmas Island attended her first day of school on Monday as the court case aiming to stop their deportation continues. The four-year-old was escorted to her first day of school by guards. Kopika, who has been in immigration detention with her parents since March 2018, wass very excited about seeing her friends when she started school on Monday, family friend and advocate Amanda Fredericks said. The family were moved from a Melbourne detention centre to the remote island just south of Indonesia in August last year after a legal bid delayed their deportation... more

This man on Nauru hasn’t eaten fruit in more than a year

Buzzfeed, 27 January

Refugees on Nauru are going without fruit, vegetables and other essentials because they cannot afford them. Since the processing centre on Nauru closed down in March 2019, refugees have received a small government pension to allow them to purchase food and other basic necessities. Single adults receive $200 every two weeks. Couples receive $370. Much of Nauru has been ravaged by phosphate mining, and its soil is largely unfit for growing vegetables. This means fresh food must be imported, arriving every two weeks, and prices are sky high. A watermelon can cost up to $61... more

Dutton and Pezzullo’s bushfire emergency failure

Independent Australia, 27 January 

The responsibilities of Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Emergency Management Australia Secretary Mike Pezzullo for events such as the bushfire crisis, are clearly set out. One would expect that Peter Dutton would be front and centre in almost every respect of the bushfire emergency. But he is nowhere to be found. Dutton is not at all shy about his public profile — attacking asylum seekers or misleading us about boat arrivals, South African farmers or African youth gangs in Melbourne. But on the bushfire emergency, he is as silent as the grave... more

Transforming refugee policies in Indonesia

ASEAN Post, 2 February

The Indonesian government has strong reason to draw policy lessons from the international community in order to deal with over 14,000 transiting refugees and asylum seekers, before the situation deteriorates further. While the refugee issue is not a political priority in Indonesia, it seems to garner much traction for Australian politicians – where refugee issues dominate their agenda. Indonesia’s geographical features makes it an easy entry point for asylum seekers who wish to go undetected. Aware of this, Australia has implemented policies such as the Pacific Solution and the Operation Sovereign Border policy... more 

PNG’s Canberra-built Bomana immgration centre likened to WW2-era camps

The Big Smoke, 29 January

Bomana has been the end of the line for certain asylum seekers. The conditions were so torturous that after years of refusing, most signed up to be sent back to their countries of origin. Although since doing so they’re still being housed in Port Moresby, not able to be returned as yet. And as of last week authorities can hail the operation a complete success as the final 18 men were released. This was only after some tinkering from rights groups, so these men were offered resettlement in a third country, rather than being forced to return to the land from which they fled... more

Sri Lanka finally admits 20,000 missing Tamils are dead

The Telegraph, 21 January

Tamils have long campaigned for the government to release information on the whereabouts of the 20,000 people who went missing during Sri Lanka’s Civil War. Now new Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa has finally admitted the missing Tamils are dead. Rajapaksa, then defence secretary, led government troops to victory over Tamil soldiers, but his forces were accused of carrying out mass disappearances and executions. It is the first time the government has admitted its complicity. The move crucially comes as he is about to introduce legislation granting immunity to those who carried out abuses... more
Thank you to Gillian Duffy, Ann Koenig, Paul McKinlay, Penny Rivlin 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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