Buddies Refugee Support Group

The Guardian, 15 February

The Office of the International Criminal Court prosecutor has described Australia’s camps on Nauru and Manus as an ‘environment rife with sporadic acts of physical and sexual violence committed by staff at the facilities’. The  regime is a “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment” and unlawful under international law, the ICC's prosecutor has said.
    But the office has stopped short of deciding to prosecute the Australian government, saying that while the imprisonment of refugees and asylum seekers formed the basis of a crime against humanity, the violations did not rise to the level to warrant further investigation.
    In a letter to MP Andrew Wilkie, the Office said conditions in the Australian-run camps on Nauru and Manus were dangerous and harsh, findings consistent with many other reports including those by the Australian Human Rights Commission, the UN and Amnesty International... more
Andrew Wilkie:
ICC agrees Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers breaches international law
Art exhibition by Loretta Manners, Cooroy
Buddies meeting, USC Sippy Downs
29 FEBRUARY, noon–2pm
Family Lunch Get Together, Caloundra
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, Caloundra

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

Opens 4pm, Cooroy Butter Factory 
Guest Speaker Sandy Bolton MP. Stories of refugee women and women from the Stolen Generation. The exhibition will run for one month. 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.

Call for new directors of Buddies

At the last Buddies AGM (August 2019) we were pleased to welcome new directors in Len Mangan, Mo Darbas and Lynne Johnston, plus the continuing services of Paul McKinlay. Unfortunately, at the end of the year both Moe and Lynn stepped down as directors. Andrea Douglas (our industrious secretary) has stepped into the breach in the interim, and this meets our constitutional requirement to maintain at least three directors.
   For the remainder of 2020, we are seeking nominations from members who would be willing to step up and fill the role of one or two new directors. The role is not onerous, and we would love to have some new blood / new ideas on the board.
If this sounds like you, feel free to contact one of the current directors for more information: Len – 0419 664 524; Andrea – 0439 748 447; Paul – 0439 679 588

SCRAN raffle tickets on sale

Gillian Duffy

Raffle tickets will be for sale ($5) at the Buddies meeting. If you would like to sell tickets to raise funds for Buddies, you can pick some up at the meeting, or email Penny or SCRAN. (More info about the raffle below.)


Non-perishable food and toiletries for the Buddies Food Drive for the Romero Centre in Brisbane.
OUT OF STOCK: Cooking oil - Basmati rice - sugar - body wash - coconut milk / cream.
URGENTLY NEEDED (ONGOING): Honey - plain flour - coffee - handwash - shopping vouchers (Coles, Woolworths, etc.) 

Family Lunch Get Together

noon–2pm, Caloundra Community Centre, 58A Queen St, Caloundra
Welcoming new families to the Sunshine Coast – meet other new families in the Sunshine Coast experiencing the migrant journey. Bring some traditional food to share! BYO drinks.
Please confirm attendance by Thursday 27 February... more info.

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, Baringa Town Square, Caloundra
A day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia home. MORE INFO TO COME.

This is big! The International Criminal Court has found that the conditions Australia holds refugees in detention is of "sufficient severity to constitute the crime of imprisonment or other severe deprivation of liberty". Thanks Andrew Wilkie for taking it to ICC.

– Kon Karapanagiotidis, ASRC CEO, 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. 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

Pictured: First prize “Sailing Searching the Hostile Shore” by local artist Katharine Nix. This work was shortlisted for the Lyn McCrae Drawing Prize at Noosa Regional Gallery in 2016.

Factsheet:The Cultural Atlas

Refugee Council of Australia

The Cultural Atlas is an online atlas including over fifty countries representing Australia’s largest migrant populations. It provides a comprehensive guide to each country, describing the dominant culture of each country and their behaviour in relation to Australian norms. It aims to inform and educate the public in cross-cultural attitudes, practices, behaviours and communications... more

Today is the anniversary of Reza Barati’s death. He was killed by the security staff on Manus prison camp in 2014. He was the first victim of the Australian exile policy. 13 people are killed by this system & their names will remain as part of Australia’s modern history, forever.

– Behrouz Boochani, journalist and author, on Twitter
17 February 2020

Morrison relieved to finally have a crisis that involves barring people from entering Australia

After weeks of being forced to deal with the tedious details of the domestic bushfire crisis, Scott Morrison says he finally feels himself again after being given the opportunity to stop people from coming to Australia.
    “This is why I got into politics; this is what gets me up in the morning,” Mr Morrison said, announcing a ban of all Chinese people coming into Australia
    “Let’s be honest, coordinating emergency relief for Australians who have lost everything is pretty boring really. But banning Asians from entering Australia is what makes me tick. This is what being Prime Minister of Australia is all about”.
    Mr Morrison had been holidaying with his family, but rushed back on the first flight home when advisors told him of the opportunity to ban foreigners. “Jen and the family will have to wait. This is far more important,” he said.

Biloela family wait in Christmas Island limbo as Wuhan evacuees see out quarantine

The Guardian, 9 February

As they prepare for their final hearing, the only asylum seekers on the island hope they too will soon be able to return home. On 21 February, days after the last of the quarantined Wuhan evacuees are expected to leave, the family will still be on Christmas Island and their case will come before the federal court. The case is ostensibly a decision on their youngest daughter, whose claim to stay in Australia has never been assessed by the government or any court. The hearing is not a reassessment of the merits of the case, rather a judicial review of the process they have been subjected to. It is the family’s final legal avenue... more

Australia put hundreds of women on a tiny island. There are just eight left

BuzzFeed, 31 January

Just shy of six years ago, Nauru was home to more than 300 women who had tried to come to Australia by boat to seek asylum. Now only eight remain. At its peak in mid-2014 more than 1,200 people were warehoused on Nauru. Others were sent to Manus Island. By October 2019 — the last time for which detailed official statistics are available — all but 278 of those people leave Nauru. Of those left, none were children, who were all moved elsewhere by the end of February 2019. The vast majority were recognised refugees. Just 12 were women: 10 Iranian women; a Sri Lankan woman, Vaishnavi (a pseudonym); and Fawzia. That figure has now dwindled to eight... more

Manus Island refugees injured by mob attack in Port Moresby

Radio NZ, 20 February

A refugee has a broken leg and several others are injured after being attacked by an angry mob in Port Moresby. Sudanese refugee Yasir Omar said the attack in the suburb of Boroko started at about 11pm on Tuesday, when refugees were accosted outside their accommodation by intoxicated locals. Other refugees tried to break up the fight, as did some of the security guards employed by the building owner, two of whom were injured. The mob, which eventually grew to about 20 people, was reportedly yelling, “we will kill you; get out of our country”... more

Judge tells government to give documents to family’s lawyer after ‘overenthusiastic’ redactions

The Guardian, 17 February

The federal government has provided heavily redacted documents to lawyers representing the Tamil family detained on Christmas Island, entirely blacking out details of discussions between Australian and Sri Lankan authorities on the matter. In a pre-hearing in Melbourne on Monday, lawyers representing the family said they had also been given a redacted document about a ministry briefing between Dutton and the department secretary... more

Plane asylum seekers hit new peak – 50,000 waiting to be deported

Sydney Morning Herald, 16 February

Nearly 50,000 people who have had their claims for asylum rejected after arriving by plane are still in Australia awaiting deportation, raising questions over the efficiency of our border controls. A government backlog is being blamed for the slow progress in tackling the problem, with Labor warning that people smugglers are using the system to exploit illegal workers. “The rising number of airplane arrivals represents a work scam run by people smugglers, pure and simple,” said Senator Kristina Keneally... more

Behrouz Boochani: Years after Reza Barati’s death, we still have no justice

The Guardian, 17 February 2018

"It has been four (sic) years since the Manus prison riot of February 2014. It led to the killing of Reza Barati. Every year on the anniversary of his death refugee rights activists from different cities around Australia hold memorial ceremonies and join us as we mourn for Reza. Even though four years have passed, the killers have yet to be brought to justice, and there are still no clear answers to the fundamental questions concerning the riot"... more

‘Finally, a life’: Canada comes to the rescue when a refugee family loses hope in Australia

The Guardian, 8 February

Dima, Hani and their son escaped the hopelessness of detention through sponsorship that led to permanent residency in Toronto. Dima first appeared in the headlines three years ago. Back then, she was a 37-year-old anonymous refugee on Nauru with a potentially life-threatening pregnancy, being refused a critically needed transfer to Australia. When the Australian government finally agreed, Nauru’s ministry refused to let her go... more
Thank you to Andrea Douglas, Gillian Duffy, Len Mangan, Paul McKinlay, 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.
Thank you to Gillian Duffy, Ann Koenig, Paul McKinlay, Penny Rivlin and Diana Woolley for their contributions to this edition.

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

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