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Buddies Refugee Support Group
The principal solicitor at the Refugee Advice and Casework Service, Sarah Dale, is calling for an Independent Guardian to be assigned to unaccompanied children seeking protection in Australia. Currently unaccompanied children seeking asylum are appointed the Minister for Immigration as their guardian, creating a conflict of interest and leaving them without a voice who can advocate for their best interests.
     “The majority of these vulnerable children have suffered greatly and experienced unimaginable trauma. They land in a foreign country, not speaking the language and away from their family members, so there is no one to independently manage important decisions surrounding their safety, health, wellbeing and application for protection," Ms Dale said. “Having the role of an Independent Guardian would pave the way for a key decision-maker to consider the best interests not only for these children, but for all children seeking asylum in Australia”... more 
Friday 9 August, 12.30–2pm
Talk by author Mark Isaacs, USC Sippy Downs
Sunday 25 August, 11am
Annual General Meeting, USC Sippy Downs
Saturday 7 September, 2-4pm
Learn English Holiday briefing meeting, Buderim
Saturday 21 September, 10am–6pm
Festuri annual multicultural music & dance festival, Maroochydore
Sunday 22 September
Sausage Sizzle, Noosaville
Monday 23 – Friday 27 September
Learn English Holiday, Buderim
Saturday 26 October–Saturday 2 November
National Unity Week
FRIDAY 9 AUGUST

Author Mark Isaacs talks about his book The Kabul Peace House

12.30-2pm, USC, Lecture Theatre 5
Join us for this seminar as Mark talks about his book, his experiences in modern Afghanistan, and the future of universal human rights. The Kabul Peace House shows us a portrait of modern Afghanistan that is deeply human and recognisable, and reminds us that even in the most challenging circumstances, hope, love and peace can flourish. More about his book below.
SUNDAY 25 AUGUST

Buddies Annual General Meeting

11am University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs
All welcome. This year we have the opportunity to elect four Directors as Lesley Willcoxson, Mitra Khakbaz, Shaye Yuill and Scott Grimmett are retiring. Paul McKinlay is continuing in the position. If you have never been to a Buddies AGM, the following information should be useful.
The AGM is coming up and a reminder that only paid up members are eligible to vote. If you have not renewed your membership we encourage you to do so now. Membership paid since 30 March is current until 30 June 2020.
SATURDAY 7 SEPTEMBER

Briefing for the September LEH program

2–4pm, Immanuel Lutheran College, 125 Wises Rd, Buderim
For more details please email buddiesleh@gmail.com
 
SUNDAY 22 SEPTEMBER

Bunnings sausage sizzle fundraiser

7.30am–4.30pm, Bunnings Noosaville 
We’d love to have competent sizzlers, major accountants and food service skills put to use in 2–2.5 hour shifts. It’s a fun way to meet other Buddies, and possibly spread the word about refugee support whilst hopefully raising lots of money towards Buddies’ work. If you can spare a couple of hours to help, please email Penny Rivlin or Lesley Willcoxson.
MONDAY 23–FRIDAY 27 SEPTEMBER

September Learn English Holiday program

Immanuel Lutheran College, 125 Wises Rd, Buderim
If you’re interested in participating this year as a homestay host, volunteer driver or in any other volunteer position, please email buddiesleh@gmail.com.
More about the program below.

If Australia was truly a liberal democracy, not only Peter Dutton should have been sacked for wasting tax payers' money and damaging Australia’s reputation internationally, but also he should have been tried.


– Behrouz Boochani, author and Manus detainee, on Twitter

14 DAYS LEFT NOW... THE CAMPAIGN FOR OUR SRI LANKAN FAMILY

Kendall Snowden and Wendy Oakley

Our very successful campaign is drawing to a close and we can't express how CHUFFED we are by the response! Only about $3000 now to get to the finish line. Every little bit helps, so please consider donating if you haven't already. If you've already donated please share the Chuffed website with friends... DONATE

About the impact of our Learn English Program

Margaret Norris

Know how many people are involved in our LEH program? 
We estimate that each program draws on more than 80 volunteers! They are our host families, volunteer bus drivers and extra visitors to class each day, our volunteer teachers in the classrooms, guest presenters, students from the schools we work at, liaisons within the schools, people from local churches who help with hospitality and morning teas, local businesses and the background organisers that may not even make it to classes!... Read more

BOOK REVIEW: Mark Isaacs: The Kabul Peace House

The author takes us inside a remarkable and unlikely peace project established in one of the world's most war-torn, violent countries, Afghanistan. After decades of war, few Afghans remember what it is like to live in peace, and many have never known a time without war. Yet a group of Afghan youth, male and female, have come together – led by the charismatic Insaan – to form a model community, a microcosm of how a new Afghanistan could be... more


Minutes of the July Buddies meeting

Minutes of the Buddies meeting on 28 July, including the finance report, can be read HERE or on the website.
 

Home affairs department failed to keep track of those claiming asylum at airports

The Guardian, 31 July

The Department of Home Affairs does not keep track of how many people claim asylum at Australian airports, freedom of information documents have revealed. The revelation has prompted concern that there is no way of knowing if Border Force officers are ensuring all asylum seekers are being appropriately assessed. Using the Right To Know system for seeking government documents, an applicant had asked the Department for records of claims for protection made at Australian airports prior to or during immigration clearance since 2008. The request was refused because the requested documents did not exist... more

Australia has ‘tarnished’ Manus Island and military base isn’t welcome, governor says

The Guardian, 29 July 

Manus Island governor Charlie Benjamin says the establishment of a US-Australia military base was made without the consultation or involvement of Manus people and says Australia has left the people of the island with nothing but ‘bad memories’ and no infrastructure. "The Australian and PNG governments have failed the people of Manus Island, who did Australia a favour in hosting its offshore immigration centre," he said. "I thought Australia would be even more grateful to us.” Benjamin, a Manus MP since 1997 and governor since 2012, called for the Australian government to stop waiting for another third country option... more
 

Probe ordered into detention centre care of toddler who had teeth removed

Sydney Morning Herald, 25 July

Two-year-old Tharunicaa, locked up in a Melbourne detention centre, had four baby teeth removed under general anaesthetic after her teeth rotted during her time in detention. Federal workplace authority Comcare is investigating the Department of Home Affairs for its treatment of Tharunicaa and her four-year-old sister Kopika. The younger girl’s mouth had been swollen with infection for months,with her emerging teeth visibly rotten and broken... more

Refugee and TPV rally outside Parliament House, Canberra

Canberra Times, 29 July

Hundreds of refugees, mainly from Sydney and Melbourne, rallied in front of Parliament House on Monday, calling on the government to end the limbo of temporary protection visas. Organiser Samir Kafaji, an Iraqi leader from Melbourne, said Monday’s rally was the beginning of a campaign against harsh treatment. Even those who had secured permanent residence had been denied family reunion, and others had had visas cancelled for minor issues, he said... more

House speaker tells Australia to stop avoiding responsibility for stranded refugees

Jakarta Globe, 27 July

Bambang Soesatyo, the speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives, has reminded Australia not to avoid the responsibility of accepting refugees currently transiting in Indonesia.  Indonesia today hosts around 14,000 refugees and asylum seekers from several countries including Afghanistan, Myanmar and Somalia. Most are seeking to go to Australia, but   have been held back in Indonesia for years because Australia keeps denying its commitment to the 1951 Refugee Convention... more
 

Nick McKim: Visiting Manus Island

The Saturday Paper, 27 July 2019

For the author and Greens senator, a recent return visit to Manus Island confirmed that conditions have worsened in an already unspeakably cruel environment. “I was on Manus Island last week to mark a dark anniversary – six years of indefinite offshore detention – long years of deprivation for thousands of innocent people in island prison camps. They have been murdered, assaulted, raped, fired at with machine guns and shotguns, laid siege to after being cut off from the essentials of life, and brutalised under a prison system designed to dehumanise. All of which occurred after they fled persecution in their homelands... more

Tim Costello: The refugee reality

Probono, 30 July

In this extract from his new memoir, A Lot with A Little, activist Tim Costello reflects on the need for Australia to take our fair share of refugees and reject the language of the new authoritarianism. “Sometimes I have been at a very low ebb. I think I have seen too much suffering and I fear my attempts at a response are just spitting into a gale. Why do humans need scapegoats to unify or to hold countries together? Many times when low I hear a divine whisper in my soul that I have not given up on this mad broken world. But it is not easy to go on and often I have felt I have done enough. Let others fight for the scapegoats of the world... more
 
Thank you to Tayla Bostock, Andrea Douglas, Gillian Duffy, Scott Grimmett, Paul McKinlay, Margaret Norris, Penny Rivlin, Kendall Snowden, Lesley Willcoxson and Diana Woolley for their contributions to this edition.
DEADLINE FOR CONTRIBUTIONS: 5pm Wednesday
Please send contributions for the newsletter to the editor. 

EDITOR / PRODUCTION: Wendy Oakley
WEBSITE: Mike Law

FACEBOOK: Anneliese Broadaway
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ABOUT BUDDIES
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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