Another senseless, tragic death in detention
The man who took his life last night in Villawood was a refugee waiting for a security check. He had been through the rigorous Australian refugee process and found to be a refugee to whom Australia owed protection. Rest in peace Shooty - your death will not be in vain.
Why was he still in detention? That is a question for the Government. In answer to the question - "Does ASIO require irregular maritime arrivals to remain in detention whilst it undertakes its security assessment?" - ASIO has unequivocally stated: "It is not a requirement under the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 that irregular maritime arrivals (IMAs) remain in detention during the security assessment process. The detention of IMAs is managed by the DIAC, in accordance with Australian Government policy." ASIO ANNUAL REPORT 2011.
A Thousand Dreams
The controversial events surrounding the Tampa 10 years ago gave many Australians a reason to help asylum seekers build a new life.
We had angry Australians coming in saying: 'I've got to do something. I can't stand what's being done in my name'.
Postcard from a north Qld detention centre
On the flight from Cairns to Weipa, a burly young bloke boarded wearing his “WE BUST OURS so WE CAN BUST YOURS” T-shirt with attitude. We were later to recognise him as a guard at Scherger Immigration Detention Centre in north Queensland.
Four-metre high fences double-ring the camp. Guards unlock the chained-up gates, checking passengers and recording car registration. The same process was repeated two kilometres further at gate two. On arrival the security game continues with IDs produced, bags searched, mobile phones and laptops confiscated and bodies security wanded. It is hard to remember that this is administrative detention, not prison.
Mandatory detention: expensive and ineffective
Interestingly the basis for our detention regime since 1992 has been to deter arrivals when there is no evidence showing that our detention policy influences boat arrivals. Two billion dollars is a lot of money to spend on a policy which has so clearly failed to achieve its stated objective – financially and morally.
When the Vietnamese people stepped off the boat in Darwin in 1976, they had no passports or visas; we did not lock them up. They lived in hostels until they were settled, moved out, got jobs, bought houses, started families and today are our fellow Australian citizens.
Community detention best for kids
On October 18, 2010, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that the majority of asylum seeker children and their families would be released by June 30, 2011.
...figures show that 531 children are in community detention. This is 58 per cent of the Government's promised majority of children out of detention.
IT job gives refugee a fresh start
Read this article in The Age about how The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre helped Didier Agonvonon from West Africa to find work which made use of his IT studies.
Mr Agonvonon found work within six months of arriving in Melbourne, and after a three-month trial he impressed enough to be employed full time.
They survived rape and torture ... will they survive Australian detention?
How has it come to this? Six detention deaths in seven months. Five of these are suicide.
If these were not asylum seekers, there would be an uproar. Will this latest death of a 19-year-old Hazara in Curtin be the catalyst for the judicial inquiry needed to investigate mandatory detention?
Round one lost but Sister Brigid will fight on
ASRC board member fights to get kids out of detention.
The ASRC board member, Sister Brigid Arthur had never set foot in the High Court before she took on the Commonwealth Government and one of its most senior ministers this week - and lost the first round of a big fight over the detention of child asylum seekers.
Volunteers at detention centres speak about Scientology influence
A CHARITY that recruits volunteers to run recreational activities at detention centres is on the brink of deregistration for failing to provide a single financial statement to Fair Trading NSW since it was formally created in 2003.
Were Customs and the Navy ready for Christmas Island rescue?
Questions have been raised about the preparedness of Customs and Australian Navy personnel in responding to last Wednesday’s Christmas Island asylum-seeker boat wreck, while the Greens are calling for an independent judicial inquiry into the tragedy.
'Bizarre' and 'unworkable' -- Morrison's plan for asylum seekers
Opposition immigration spokesperson Scott Morrison's plan to send Afghan asylum seekers -- who arrive in boats -- back to camps in countries such as Pakistan and Iran is doomed to fail, say asylum seeker advocates.
Fair go for all
By Kon Karapanagiotidis
Asylum seekers are not asking for special treatment - just a fair go. When we deny people the right to have their refugee claims independently reviewed to ensure they had a fair process, we become part of the continuum of persecution that asylum seekers fled in the first place. Australia is better than this; we are a country built on a fair go who prides itself on its democratic fabric.
Dignity and choice
ABC TV: Helpers - Episode 38: Kon Karapanaigiotidis is passionate about supporting asylum seekers in Australia. Interview with Kon, Hailey Mansfield (volunteer) and Patrick Lawrence (volunteer).
Letters from detention: in the test match of life, Howard’s the batsman
The sporting dreams of teenage boys can often be fairly predictable. Whether they involve hitting a last-ball six to win a test match or scoring the winning goal at a World Cup, rarely do backyard fantasies stray far from an orthodox narrative of fame, fortune and triumph. But what about the sporting dreams of boys awaiting their application for asylum? As a group of teenage Hazara detainees wrote in open letters sent to Crikey, they still aspire to glory, but it’s John Howard, not a sporting rival, they dream of beating.
Asylum Seekers To Get Access To Hands-on Training
Asylum seekers and victims of human trafficking in Victoria will soon have access to Government subsidised vocational education and training places in a bid to boost their skills.
Refugee groups join Greens in push for free-kids law
Refugee groups are urging the government to go further with its decision to allow children of asylum seekers to be released from detention, with the Greens pushing for the policy to be enshrined in law.
Releasing some kids from detention not good enough
Plans to Release some kids from detention is a step in the right direction but still a long way from a fair go for children
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) welcomes the Government’s announcement today of plans to release the majority of unaccompanied children and families deemed to be ‘at risk’ from detention into the community by June 2011. The release of some children and families will make a significant positive difference to their welfare.
Why So Frightened
Watch a video of Kon's address at the Wheeler Centre
Sitting with asylum seekers on the side of the Stuart Highway
On Wednesday morning a large group of asylum seekers walked out of the Darwin detention centre and stood quietly by the Stuart Highway holding up bed sheets so that passing cars could read such messages as "Give us mercy." Pamela Curr, campaign co-ordinator, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, was there:
Like many small towns, Darwin leaks with information. Everybody knows somebody. The recent walkout by Afghan asylum seekers from the Northern Immigration Detention Centre was presented by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) as a response to visa rejections. But in a town such as Darwin, truth will out.
Pamela Curr, ASRC Campaigns Co-ordinator, writes for Crikey detailing how Australia's approach to border protection has fuelled the people-smuggling trade in Indonesia.
The corruption and bribery chains operating in the Indonesian people smuggling trade as shown in the ABC’s Four Corners last night have their roots in Australian government policy. Four Corners detailed the money changing hands in bribes to release people from Indonesian prisons and then to aid their escape by boat. What this program did not show was the way...
Terrorists in detention?
Australian-built detention centre isn’t holding terrorists after all
Pamela Curr highlights inconsistencies with The Australian's report that an Afghan with links to Al-Qaeda was being held in an Indonesian detention centre.
Jakarta may lock up boat people
Jakarta may lock up boat people
In this article, the ASRC condemns the Australian government for pressuring the Indonesian government to detain all transiting asylum-seekers, including those recognised by UNHCR to be genuine refugees.
Boat Rush Blamed On Election Fears
Boat rush blamed on election fears
ASYLUM-SEEKERS in Indonesia are scrambling to get to Australia before the federal election, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre says.
Burmese minority left to languish
THE Uniting Church raised the plight of a Muslim minority group from Burma with Immigration Minister Chris Evans last month.
In His Blood
Kon Karapanagiotidis, ASRC CEO, gives an overview of his personal history, the history of the ASRC and dispels popular myths about asylum seekers. In addition to the article you can also watch a 10-minute interview with Kon.
Australia Probes Taser Claims
Australia probes taser claims at Indonesian asylum centre
On ABC Radio, Pamela Curr speaks out against the ill-treatment of asylum seekers housed in the Australian-funded Tanjung Pinang detention centre in Indonesia.
Stun Guns Against Detainees
Detainees complain of Taser, stun gun use
Pamela Curr discusses allegations that guards in Indonesian detention centres have been using tasers and stun guns on detainees. You can also watch her speak about this issue on Lateline through the video link.
East Timor Solution
Labor's East Timor solution sparks debate
In Australia's leading Greek newspaper, Kon speaks out against the government's new policy for failing to address the protection of asylum seekers.
Stopping The Boats
Insight: Stopping the boats
See Pamela (ASRC Campaigns Co-ordinator) discuss the issue of people-smuggling and asylum seekers on SBS’s Insight.
Federal Budget Response
All pain, no gain
Read Kon's letter to the editor in response to the latest Federal budget. Kon argues against the vast sums being spent on detention, while funds for supporting community-based asylum seekers have been neglected.