Buddies Refugee Support Group
The Yarsir children: Brothers Atik, six, and Obaidullah, eight, and (front) sister Jasmine, three

SBS News, 19 April

“I think the vast majority of children who have come to America have PTSD in one form or another,” says Fleur Wood, an Australian co-founder of New York charity Ads-Up, which helps resettle refugees from Nauru. “We’ve had a lot of people with anxiety and depression. Often, they don’t have great English, they don’t have job set skills, they don’t have an education, often they’ve got health issues and they are terrified of going out.”
     Eight-year-old Obaidullah Yarsir was born in Myanmar but was on Nauru for nearly five years and witnessed suicide attempts. His sister Jasmine, three, was born there. The Yarsir family now lives in San Antonio, Texas.
      Obaidullah slept in a tent, eating only at designated times and allowed to shower for just two minutes daily. His father Mohammad says the situation was “horrific” and the family’s time on Nauru was “useless” for his children... more

Friday 26 April, 6.30pm
Vigil for Sri Lanka victims, Annerley, 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 – Ghenwa from our September 2018 Learn English Holiday program. 12.30pm: Refreshments.
Sunday 2 June, 5pm
Communify community dinner, Bardon
Friday 7 June, 5pm
LUMINOUS Lantern Parade, Southbank Parklands, Brisbane
Saturday 15–Saturday 22 June
Refugee Week, Sunshine Coast

Our guest speaker: Ghenwa

Ghenwa has now lived in Brisbane for nearly 12 months and was a participant in the recent Learn English Holiday program. She will tell us about living through the Syrian civil war, the difficulties of daily life and the toll it takes on families. She will also tell us about the challenges of rebuilding a life in Australia – not just language, but culture, work experience and education. She will also talk about the value of both volunteering and refugee services.

Urgently needed: shampoo, shower gels, soap

Non-perishable food and toiletries are always needed for the ongoing Buddies Food Drive, which assists asylum seekers in the Brisbane community via the Romero Centre. Items such as rice, UHT milk, coffee, shampoo etc gratefully received.  Items requested & drop-off points
Starting in June, our monthly meetings will be held at University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), BUILDING E, ROOM 14 
VIEW THE MAP HERE). The ground floor venue has an inbuilt video projector and whiteboard with a kitchen and excellent acoustics! Free parking on weekends and well served by public transport. This will be a challenge after so many years of meeting at St Mary's which is a location hard to mistake!

Multi-faith vigil for Sri Lankan Easter Sunday victims and their families

6.30pm, St Philip's Anglican Church, Annerley
Hosted by St Philip's Church Tamil Congregation
Please come and join us to pray for Sri Lanka. The calm of Easter Sunday was shattered by gruesome bombings that killed at least 250 people in Sri Lankan churches and hotels… more info

Communify's Asylum Circle Kurdish and Persian community dinner

5pm, 172 Jubilee Terrace, Bardon
Communify Asylum Circle provides transitional supported accommodation to 18 men, originally from the Congo, Cameroon, Iran, Sri Lanka and Iraq, who are on bridging visas with no access to Centrelink payments. 
RSVP: Mandy Cox, 0421 662 566. View the poster.

LUMINOUS Lantern Parade

5pm, South Bank Parklands, Brisbane
The 12th annual LUMINOUS Lantern Parade celebrates Queensland Week by highlighting the strength of our cultural diversity, our heritage and our people, giving us all the opportunity to say “Welcome!” to our newest Australians. This free event unites government, community leaders, multicultural communities and all Queenslanders… more

Volunteers wanted: SCRAN Film Festival

The Sunshine Coast Refugee Action Network is coordinating a Film Festival for Refugee Week 15–22 June. So far there are 7 venues across the Coast screening 5 different films over 8 days. Full program available shortly. Volunteers are needed to help out at individual events, selling raffle tickets etc. If you are interested email SCRAN for more information.

There are millions of refugees in the world. It is no longer a queue but a disaster and Australia must do its part.

– Nyadol Nyuon, lawyer and former refugee from Sudan, on Twitter

Australia's embarrassing refugee policies

Phil Glendenning, Director of the Edmund Rice Centre and President of the Refugee Council of Australia, has made frequent dangerous journeys to 22 countries to monitor the safety of asylum seekers rejected by Australia. He discusses his embarrassment when leaders of international refugee councils are incredulous at the tiny populations on Manus and Nauru and the incredible cruelty meted out to them by the Australian government... VIEW THE VIDEO

WORK WANTED: for Iranian asylum seeker

As a truck driver, plumber’s labourer or in any driving or labouring position. Has an Australian heavy vehicle licence, has worked twenty years as a plumber in Iran (including gas) and ten years as a truck driver in Iraq. Spent four years on Manus, now in Brisbane, receives no government support. In his forties, has a resume, a good grasp of English, fit and well and would make a reliable hardworking employee. Please contact Bronwyn Bell 5445 3727.

REPORT: Learn English Holiday, April 2019

Lesley Willcoxson

This month's course was the seventh we have run totally ourselves and we believe that it was again a most successful week. The program involved 26 participants from five different countries, hosted by 13 families on the Coast. Five Buddies’ volunteer teachers and 30 teaching assistant volunteers helped in the classroom as well… View the full report

Avocados – an update

Kendall Snowden

A short break in the rain enabled us to do a quick pick last Sunday morning. Progressive sales so far... $1250. Thanks to Bronwyn and Thene Bell for their hard work!
There will be avos for sale at the Buddies Meeting this Sunday, so bring along your $5 !!

Video: Sri Lanka and the search for justice, ten years on

Vimeo. February 2019

This film considers the important question of why, despite the current government of Sri Lanka’s stated commitment to address the past, it has failed to hold the perpetrators of serious human rights violations to account. And it asks what the international community can and must now do to help bring an end to the culture of impunity in Sri Lanka, before the window of opportunity to lay the foundations for sustainable peace closes... watch

Typhoid fever strikes Manus Island refugees

Radio NZ, 20 April 

Two men on Manus have been diagnosed with typhoid, a potentially fatal disease. General secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG Giorgio Licini said the men were flown to Port Moresby this week for treatment. “It has been established that it is typhoid fever. That’s why they were moved fast,” he said. Suspected cases of the illness are affecting other men in all three refugee detention centres on the island, where Father Licini is visiting over Easter... more

Cuts to asylum seeker welfare create surge in demand for food and housing

The Guardian, 23 April

A Coalition government decision to slash income support for community-based asylum seekers has forced hundreds more to access emergency housing and food banks. Eligibility requirements for Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) – about 89% of Newstart or $250 a week – were tightened in June last year, saving the budget about $90m. The changes will eventually reduce the number of recipients from 13,000 to about 5,000, advocates say... more

Christmas Island trauma counsellor brings stories from detention to MPs

Canberra Times, 20 April

On Christmas Island, trauma counsellor Christine Cummins always served tea from porcelain cups. Her patients, asylum seekers at the detention centre, were used to eating off Styrofoam, holding plastic knives and forks. Christine shares stories from her time on Christmas Island in her new book Dignity in a tea cup which chronicles the five years she spent on the island and her work with its most desperate people – refugees fleeing torture and atrocities overseas... more

Government must act following damning comments by former Nauru president

Human Rights Law Centre, 18 April

In a damning attack on the Australian Government’s offshore refugee camp on Nauru, former president Sprent Dabwido said the agreement with Australia was a mistake, describing it as a ‘deal with the devil'. For the former President, one of key dealmakers in this shameful arrangement, to now liken the treatment of innocent people to ‘torture’ is a further damning indictment of the Government’s harmful refugee policy... more

Behrouz Boochani: Australia is introducing a ‘new kind of fascism’

New Internationalist, 23 April

Immigration detention centres are prisons for those who have committed no crime. Few have managed to powerfully narrate the experience of being detained while being inside. Says Boochani of the recent award for his book, ‘I don’t have this right to celebrate because there are so many people around me who are suffering. I certainly did not write this book just to win an award. My main aim has always been for the people in Australia and around the world to understand deeply how this system has tortured innocent people on Manus and Nauru’... more

Scott Morrison and racism

New Politics, 18 March

While they weren’t the ones pulling the triggers in the recent Christchurch massacre, we need to look at the senior political figures that have fanned the flames of discord and discontent in Australia for too long, aided by key figures within Australia’s conservative media. The two key figures in politics that have consistently done their best to inflame discontent are the current Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton, who have constantly fuelled anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-asylum seeker sentiment for well over a decade now... more
Thank you to Janine de la Begassiere, Gillian Duffy, Scott Grimmett, Angela Mercuri, Penny Rivlin, Lesley Willcoxson 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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