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Buddies Refugee Support Group
Djokovic – denied entry to Australia, now detained at Melbourne's Park Hotel alongside many of the remaining Medevac detainees. Below: Protesters outside the Hotel
SBS NEWS, 6 JANUARY 2022
TENNIS WORLD No 1 Novak Djokovic has been detained by the Australian Border Force at Melbourne’s Park Hotel after the cancellation of his visa. “This is a very unfortunate situation, one faced by many people who arrive in Australia,” said lawyer Alison Battisson of Human Rights For All.
   “First of all, he would very likely be handcuffed – that is absolutely standard procedure. So from the airport Djokovic would be handcuffed and transferred in a blacked out van with unmarked windows to a detention hotel.”
    Djokovic spent several hours at the airport before being moved to the Park Hotel, where both refugee advocates and fans gathered.
    “Novak Djokovic has the resources of the world behind him, so you can imagine if someone like him can be caught up in this sort of brutal regime, then people who arrive seeking asylum at the airport or via boat are really faced with this impenetrable system of constant changing rules and regulations,” Ms Battisson said.
The Park Hotel still houses a number of the Medevac detainees, and was recently a site of a COVID-19 outbreak, where half of the detainees and around 20 staff became infected with coronavirus. There have been reports of maggots in food and the site has been condemned by epidemiologists and architects for its poor ventilation.
DEAR READERS,
Commencing this month the Bulletin will be published monthly on the second Friday of the month, supplemented with the occasional Bulletin Extra.
    For anyone wanting to keep up-to-date with the latest news regarding refugees and asylum seekers on a weekly basis, the Kaldor Centre distribute a very comprehensive newsletter every Monday. You can subscribe HERE.
COMING EVENTS
SUNDAY 27 FEBRUARY, 11AM

NEXT BUDDIES MEETING

The first meeting of the year will be held at St Mark's Anglican Church in Buderim. Guest speaker to be announced and more details to come.
The whole world is watching as Novak Djokovic is detained at Park hotel prison. As a refugee I was imprisoned there, & refugees are still imprisoned there in tiny rooms without fresh air. No one deserves this. Let’s not forget the people that will remain long after Novak leaves.
 
–  Mostafa Azimitabar (Moz), ex-Park Hotel detainee, on Twitter

Petition: Permanent visas NOW

Justice for refugees Victoria
To Karen Andrews, Minister for Home Affairs For over a decade, the government has forced 30,000 people to endure an endless cycle of temporary visas. Never knowing whether they can count on staying has meant never knowing whether they will ever be genuinely safe to pursue fulfilling and rewarding lives.     We call on the government to end the uncertainty. SIGN THE PETITION

A LIFELINE TO CANADA

Refugee Council of Australia
End eight years of lockdown for 30 refugees. Operation #NotForgotten is a community-led response that provides private sponsorship to Canada for refugees who were detained in PNG and Nauru and have no viable resettlement option. By donating today, you can help these brave people to finally find a permanent home.

More info HERE.

Thanks to all our Eumundi carpark volunteers!

Penny Rivlin, Buddies Finance Group
In 2021 the following folk turned up each month to keep Buddies coffers topped up – Len, David, Maree, Fay, Tricia, Sue, Sarah, Florence, Vin, Lesley, Thorsten, Tammy, Janet and Gaynore. It’s an easy way to earn money – each volunteer group earns $24 per person per hour and in the last 12 months we raised more than $8500.
   The regular (and irregular) personal donations were also fantastic last year, greatly supplementing the carpark income. Thanks also to Clare for keeping the finances in order, and to Tricia and Dee in the finance team helping to decide how to spend all this hard-earned money!

Historian required

Buddies will be celebrating our 20th anniversary this year and our written history would be an essential part of that celebration. There are still enough original or long serving members around for the oral history to be recorded.
    If anyone, either an individual or a group, is interested in writing the history of Buddies please contact us.

CONTACT: lenmango123@gmail.com or 0419 664 524

New Policy Brief:

'Comparative perspectives on airport asylum procedures before and during the COVID-19 pandemic'

Kaldor Centre for International Law
Air travel may have slowed dramatically during the pandemic, but persecution, conflict, disasters and violence did not – indeed, COVID-19 sometimes made these worse – and millions of people were forced across borders seeking protection.  
    Some governments simply shut them all out. Was that justified by the public health risks?
    The Kaldor Centre’s latest Policy Brief examines how different countries have dealt with international protection needs at airports, before and during the pandemic.

How Australians are helping Canada’s private sponsors give refugees a fresh start

THE GUARDIAN, 12 DECEMBER
EIGHT REFUGEES held offshore for more than eight years have landed in Vancouver and Toronto, sponsored by community groups in Canada and Australia to begin new lives on the other side of the world.
    Another former Manus detainee arrived in Canada a week ago. Abdo (pictured) had been medevaced to Australia before being accepted for resettlement in Canada.
    “I have mixed feelings about starting this new life in Canada,” Abdo says. “It was hard leaving my friends in Australia. I wish I could have stayed.
    “Thank you for all [the] people that made it possible for me to become a permanent resident of Canada. To all my Aussie friends, come [for a] visit.”
    Abdo was the first refugee to be resettled to Canada by Operation Not Forgotten.

Australia finally gets the refugee sponsorship model the community wants

RCOA, 17 DECEMBER
 

‘Finally I can buy a candle’: Masoumeh released after nine years in detention

THE GUARDIAN, 28 DECEMBER
 
THE REFUGEE Council of Australia has welcomed the Federal Government’s new refugee sponsorship pilot, saying it is the model Australian communities have been seeking for more than a decade.
    The Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Pilot (CRISP), announced recently by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, is a significant improvement on the unaffordable and flawed models of community sponsorship introduced by the Australian Government in 2013 and 2017.
    RCOA CEO Paul Power felt that the CRISP would provide the first reasonable opportunity for the broader community to be involved in refugee sponsorship.
 
61-YEAR-OLD REFUGEE Masoumeh Torkpour has finally been granted a three-year temporary protection visa.
    Masoumeh fled Iran in 2011 and has been in detention ever since. In 2018 she was granted refugee status and a refugee tribunal found that she should be issued a temporary protection visa because her mental health issues including OCD and depression were being exacerbated by conditions in detention.
    However she was denied a visa due to rigorous “character” tests. Torkpour was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment during her detention for spitting at and biting detention centre staff over disputes about food and access to a mobile phone...
 

I have no future yet’: Call to move ex-detainees onto permanent visas

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 20 DECEMBER
ONE YEAR AGO, a lock turned and Farhad Bandesh walked through the open gates of a Melbourne detention centre.
    Free, but not a free man.
    “I am still in limbo because I have no future yet,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
    Mr Bandesh – a Kurdish musician, artist and jewellery maker – had been detained by Australia for 7½ years. He recently celebrated his 40th birthday with friends, and lives in Melbourne on a six-month bridging visa. He has a close-knit group of friends and supporters. He paints, writes and creates music, knowing that at any time he could be returned to detention or a third country.
    Since December 2020, 192 of the Medevac detainees have been released into the community on bridging visas.

‘Confusion, no answers’ as Australia ends asylum seeker deal with PNG

SBS NEWS, 31 DECEMBER
 

‘It stopped the boats’: John Howard on Tampa, Siev X and the Pacific solution

THE GUARDIAN, 28 DECEMBER
 
AUSTRALIA'S OFFSHORE processing agreement with PNG ended on 31 December but asylum seekers and advocates feel they’ve been left with “more questions than answers” about what will happen next.
    Sudanese asylum seeker Yasir Omar is riddled with anxiety about what his future holds. “The situation is bad… people are confused. We don’t know what’s going to happen,” Mr Omar said. “We just stay. We are hostages. Eight or nine years [in PNG] and nobody knows anything.”
    But for Mr Omar, who has been robbed four times since 2019, PNG also does not feel safe. “You walk in the street, people start to talk about you. They start swearing at you… You’re different, you’re not from this place.”
 
TWENTY YEARS on from the Tampa affair John Howard remains unapologetic. In an interview ahead of the release of the 2001 cabinet papers by the National Archives of Australia, he said his tough policies had “saved lives” and that European nations were now facing a similar dilemma about how to avoid asylum seekers drowning at sea.
    “I thought the Australian public supported what we did over Tampa and generally supported what we did on offshore processing – quite strongly,” Howard said.
    “The Australian public’s position on migration has always been they are supportive of it provided it’s properly controlled. But once they think it’s getting out of control they reduce their level of support.”
 

Campaign calls on Australia to end ‘10 years of limbo’ for refugees in Indonesia

SBS NEWS, 17 DECEMBER
More than 13,000 refugees stuck in Indonesia with no prospects of being resettled into other countries have launched a social media campaign, #EndTo10YearsInLimbo, hoping to make their voices heard internationally. They are calling for more prompt action on their resettlement, with the UNHCR telling them to ‘consider other solutions’.
    Thousands of refugees have rallied in recent weeks, setting up camps outside the UNHCR and International Organization for Migration (IOM) offices in eight Indonesian cities.
    33-year-old Boman Ali was one of several Hazara refugees who sewed their lips together, saying he had no other choice. The Hazara refugee fled Afghanistan seeking a life free of “discrimination, prejudice and security threats” before arriving in Indonesia in 2013.
Thank you to Len Mangan, Penny Rivlin, Gaynore Stoessel 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
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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