Buddies Refugee Support Group
Indian asylum seeker Ravinder Singh
Charges will be laid against 30 year old Ravinder Singh after he set fire to himself and his room at asylum seeker accomodation on Manus Island. After initial treatment for burns to his face and hand the man, who has been denied asylum, was taken to the police station then evacuated to Port Moresby for further medical treatment.
     A friend and fellow detainee said that Mr Singh had been in pain for many months. “He kept asking for medical treatment for his back and shoulder pain for four… five months now but they would just keep giving him painkillers and not proper treatment,” he said.   
     Under the PNG criminal code, attempting suicide is considered a misdemeanour which carries a penalty of up to one year in prison. Arson carries a sentence of up to life. The incident occurred at Hillside Haus, one of three accomodation blocks in Lorengau housing men whose asylum claims have been rejected... more

Sunday 28 July, 11am
Buddies meeting, USC. 11am: Guest speaker followed by members' business – agenda items to Scott Grimmett 0427 364 802. 12.30pm: Refreshments – please bring your own tea/coffee mug.
Follow the University signs to Car Park 4. View the map.

We’re detaining asylum seekers indefinitely in malarial prisons and driving them to suicide in a place where you can be imprisoned for attempting suicide. Australia went from world leaders in how we processed asylum seekers to this. What happened to us?

– Benjamin Law, writer, on Twitter


Kendall Snowden and Wendy Oakley

With 49 days to go people are continuing to donate generously – we are now almost halfway towards our goal of $12000. Thank you so much to everyone who has opened their heart and their wallet! 
Please consider donating if you haven't already – no amount too small. More info/donate.

REPORT: SCRAN film festival a great success

Gillian Duffy

One of the main objectives of the festival was to raise awareness of refugee issues and the existence of refugee advocacy organisations on the Sunshine Coast. With over 400 people attending the eight screenings, over 260 petition signatures, 26 Bulletin sign ups 16 new members and at least 7 newspaper articles, the Festival has been a huge success in terms of raising awareness... read the full report

FACTSHEET: Temporary Protection Visas and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas

Kaldor Centre for Refugee Law, UNSW

These are temporary visas – people holding these visas do not have the same access to services, rights, and residency or citizenship pathways as refugees who hold a (permanent) Protection Visa. The key difference between asylum seekers’ eligibility for each visa is their method of arrival in Australia, not the merit of their protection claim... read in full

Minutes and Finance for June 2019

Minutes of the June meeting, including the Finance Report, are attached HERE.

Labor should let hope prevail on refugees, shadow minister says

The Guardian, 26 June

Public sentiment on asylum seekers has shifted, and Labor must use the looming parliamentary term to “give Australia’s hopeful side a fair chance to prevail over the politics of fear and division” says shadow minister for multicultural affairs Andrew Giles. Giles argues the recent community debate around the medical evacuations bill and the tone of the federal election suggests Australians are over the toxic politics of border protection, and fatigued by the “false binaries and unnecessary aggression” from the home affairs minister. The Victorian leftwinger said it was notable that border protection and the “demonisation of asylum seekers” did not feature front and centre in the 2019 federal election, unusual compared with previous federal contests... more

Offshore detention cost up fivefold in a decade

Financial Review, 21 June

At a time when the public service has been slashed, Home Affairs has avoided proper scrutiny around the costs of offshore processing, but that’s about to change. In 2008 an immigration department official provided a rare figure on the cost of housing asylum seekers offshore, around $289 million over six years, an amount considered outrageously high. At $350 a night per detainee, noted Greens Senator Kerry Nettle, the government could have provided a “pretty nice hotel room”. Fast forward just over a decade and that figure has jumped almost fivefold to around $1600 a night, at a time when the government has slashed staff numbers and imposed strict efficiency dividends across the entire public service... more

Women using rape and abortion claims as ploy to get to Australia

The Guardian, 20 June

Peter Dutton has said women have been “trying it on” in claiming they were raped and needed an abortion, so as to get to Australia from Nauru for medical treatment. The home affairs minister claimed the women then changed their minds on arriving in Australia and sought a legal injunction to prevent their return to offshore detention. Dutton said “you could question whether people needed medical attention”, and accused them of simply seeking to get to Australia and obtain legal injunctions preventing their return... more

PNG wants Australia to end security firm Paladin’s Manus contract immediately

ABC News, 25 June

PNG Prime Minister James Marape says he wants Australia to stop Paladin’s contract for security work on Manus Island immediately. He said PNG “will not tolerate” foreign firms doing security work in the country. PNG wants to see a local company take over the Paladin contract on Manus Island. The awarding of the contract to Paladin is currently being investigated by the auditor-general. The company’s $423 million contract for work with refugees and non-refugees on the island comes up for renewal at the end of the month... more

Medevac panel overturns two cases in four months, despite ‘floodgate’ fears

Sydney Morning Herald, 23 June

The medevac expert panel that Peter Dutton said would open the “floodgates” and admit sick refugees and asylum seekers to Australia has been used nine times since the law passed, with the vast majority of all medevac applications being waved through by the government before reaching the final medical body. The government has approved 31 medical transfers since the medevac law came into effect four months ago. As of Friday, nine refugees and asylum seekers had their applications rejected by the government... more

A world without welcome

Otago Daily Times, 22 June

Manus Island detainee Behrouz Boochani gives Bruce Munro a rare emotional telephone interview ahead of his public video-link talk in Dunedin, NZ. Small talk is minimal. Time is of the essence. Boochani is quietly outraged. The situation for the about-600 refugees who have been kept on the island for six years is desperate, he says. “In less than 25 days, at least 50 people have attempted suicide or self-harm. Right now people have completely lost hope. They are so broken and they are” – he struggles to find the words – “living with high depression”. Many people are locked up in their rooms and they don’t come out. We are struggling with this. The local authorities ... are very angry with Australia because they don’t care about the situation here"... more

A timeline of despair in Australia’s offshore detention centers

New York Times, 26 June

Human rights groups call them a violation of international law. The Australian government says they are crucial to regulating the flow of immigration. But one thing is indisputable: Despair is soaring among asylum seekers being held in offshore detention. Since Australia’s national election in May there have been dozens of suicide attempts and acts of self-harm at the refugee centers. “It’s hard to know how many cases are serious cases of people trying to end their lives or a cry for help, but in any case it’s a big escalation,” said Elaine Pearson, the Australia director for Human Rights Watch, who has made several visits to Manus. “People are very worried they are going to be completely forgotten about”... more
Thank you to Andrea Douglas, Gillian Duffy, 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, 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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