indigenous social justice association: on a public meeting and other things

Workers BushTelegraph (1996 - 2016)

some final things for 2013 as we wind up for the year.

tonight, thursday, and apologies for the short reminder here, we will be holding our meeting at the redfern community centre at the block at 7pm to further our call for solidarity from those groups and individuals previously invited by letter to discuss the upcoming tj rally, amongst other solidarity actions.

the next and final isja meeting for the year will be held on 12 december. all are welcome to attend at 7pm at the redfern community centre. the january meetings will be held on 9 and 23 january, 2014 and thence every 2nd and 4th thursday of the month thereafter.

on friday 13 december we will be holding our last public meeting for the year at the settlement, 17 edward street, darlinton. . we begin at 7pm and finish, at the latest, by 9pm. tea, coffee and water…

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Brutal Silence – What I Know …

CASTLEMAINE VIGIL IN RECOGNITION OF ABORIGINAL SOVEREIGNTY AND IN SOLIDARITY WITH REFUGEES

OPEN LETTER:

As you know there is a code and policy of secretiveness and silence around what is happening to people seeking asylum in Australia at the moment.

I would like to share with you some of what I know.

Today, the 18th of October 2013, fifteen pregnant women are to be sent to Nauru. Some are 5 and 6 months pregnant and one woman, who is very unwell, is a young woman who lost her twin babies recently.

All the women are Vietnamese.

People in the detention centre from other nationalities have told us that the Vietnamese people in Darwin are treated worse than anyone else. One woman said- “They (SERCO) are rude and mean to all of us but worst of all to the Vietnamese women. They are not allowed to do anything” RACS/ ASRC. 

The accommodation on Nauru is still very primitive – tents, no running water, toilets a long walk in the night  (Pamela Curr). In the men’s section I know that there are only 8 toilets for 600 men.  Families live in vinyl communal and crowded tents with the temperature around 50 degrees celcius – and for those many unaccompanied minors (as far as I know ranging in age from 5 – 17) … I do not know where they are housed – or rather tented!

The Victorian Childs Commissioner has been banned by the government from visiting the Victorian Detention Centre’s – I am quite sure that the federal Childs Commissioner has not visited the Detention Centres of Manus Island and Nauru.

Health care is very limited.  There are already women on Nauru who are pregnant – some with complications such as diabetes – all traumatized and with inadequate access to health care. Each time health concerns have been brought up with Scott Morrison his reply is that there will be no concessions made for any ‘illegal arrival’ as he calls people.  This sees people with diagnosed mental illnesses, physical illnesses, children and pregnant women all sent – irrespective of their situation – to ManusIsland detention or Nauru detention – indefinitely.

I know that in many Detention Centres – on-shore – all people: women (pregnant or not), children, men (of whatever age or health); are made to stand in line for hours for food; are made to stand again at least twice a day for ‘muster’; are not called by name but each person there is referred to by number (some of the children know themselves better by number than by name).

At the moment there are 2000+ children being held in detention centres.  In the next 12 weeks it is expected that at least 45 babies will be born in detention.  Some communities are gathering basic material resources for these pregnant women and getting them into Detention Centres as basic needs are not supplied to them.

Assessment of people’s health on Christmas Island is (under the new regime) expected to be completed within 48 hours which of course means that the health assessments of many people are totally insufficient and that many health issues will not be taken care of – they are then flown to be imprisoned on Manus Island or Nauru.

I know that children as young as 7 are trying to kill themselves and that adults too are attempting suicide on a daily basis.  Many children are of course so traumatized they have retreated into silence. Self harm is rife.  Rape and sexual assault are common –the perpetrators are enabled to continue raping others in the camps by the Immigration department and the private companies running the Detention Centre’s.   Those who are raped are denied any protection – but forced back into the same tent and the same situation with the perpetrators.

There are also the people who are being held indefinitely – for ever perhaps – as ASIO has defined them as a potential risk to ‘a state’.  Even though they have been found to be refugees by the High Court they are incarcerated in detention perhaps forever.  Some have been in detention for 4 years already.  One man (who is Tamil) of 30 years old, a father and husband – tried to hang himself this past week – having lost all hope of freedom.  He has been in detention in Australia and is held in Broadmeadows Melbourne Immigration Transit Accomodation Centre.  The state that he ‘may be a risk to’ is Sri Lanka – the state that has tortured him and from which he is seeking refuge.  Australia has made an agreement with the Sri Lankan government that all asylum seekers from Sri Lanka who arrive by boat – after a certain date nominated a few months back – will be deported back to Sri Lanka.  Most of these people are Tamil – a group of people targeted viciously by the current and past Sri Lankan government/s.

Vietnamese Special Police have been allowed into detention centres in Australia to question ‘detainees’. Soon after people have been separated out and forcibly deported back to Vietnam.  Of course people deported are arrested and – who knows what horrors followed – once landing back in Vietnam.

And of course there is the difficulty of living in the community for many on Bridging Visas – unable to work and living in poverty with no idea of when or if they will be given the right to safety here in Australia, the right to work, to live – and with the prospect of being re-detained in a centre at the arbitrary whim of the Immigration Department.  No hope of family re-union.  And then there is the further criminalization of people seeking safety with the announcement last week by Scott Morrison that the addresses of all refugees in the community will be given to police and that these people will have to adhere to a particular (though as far as I am aware the particulars are not publically available) code of conduct.

Breaking News today is that Scott Morrison has ordered all staff working in Department of Immigration & Detention Centres to refer to all people:

– in onshore detention as “detainees” & not “clients”
– in offshore detention as “transferees” not “clients”

– all people arriving by boat as “illegal maritime arrivals”.
– all people in community detention as “community detainees not clients”
– all people who arrived by boat and are now on Bridging Visa’s as “IMAs on BV” not “clients”.

AND Temporary Protection Visas are back ! This means all people seeking asylum who have arrived by boat & as of yesterday had not been granted a Protection Visa can now only get a 3 year TPV. We have become the only developed country in the world to deny permament protection forever to refugees coming by boat. Hundreds of unaccompanied children already here in Australia will never see their families again, ever. (ASRC)

I am sharing with you just some of what I know because I feel the brutality of the policy of secretiveness and silencing needs to be understood by as many of us as possible so that it does not create further long-lasting harm than it already is – it harms all of us  – imprisoned or not.

I realise that a lot of people feel overwhelmed – but to act, to inform
yourself, and do something – whatever it is – actually helps to ease the burden of overwhelm.

*Things you can do: You can write and email your local member- tell them what you think about pregnant women being subjected to camp conditions which compete with third world camps – amongst other concerns for children and traumatized peoples – the secrecy, silencing and dehumanization.

* Scott Morrison’s email address: minister@immi.gov.au Here is his phone number: (02) 6277 7860. Here is his fax number: (02) 6273 4144

*Rural Australians for Refugees – Bendigo has a facebook page; the Castlemaine Vigil information can be found on wordpress at galbraithjanet.wordpress.com; RISE – an organisation in Melbourne set up and run by Refugees and ex-detainees can be found on the internet or facebook; as can the Asylum Seekers Resouce Centre, CARAD, RACS and many more.

*New Matilda, The Stringer,  The Guardian are also good online resources.

*There is a group of health practitioners called Doctors4Refugees  who welcome all health practitioners to join them https://www.facebook.com/doctors4refugees; For more information contact: Dr Barri Phatarfod, 0412 090 304;

*RISE, ASRC and other groups are asking for material aid as well as monetary donations.  You can collect material aid (speak to those in the know as to what is needed before you do this so that you actually get what is needed).

Sincerely,

Janet Galbraith

Castlemaine Vigil In Recognition of Aboriginal Sovereignty and in Solidarity with Refugees.

TAKE ACTION AGAINST THE TYRANNY OF THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT

Please TAKE ACTION AGAINST THE TYRANNY OF THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT by:
Contacting the UN and expressing your concerns about the illegal actions of the Australian government:

Email (subject heading: Attention-Navaneetham Pillay)
InfoDesk@ohchr.org

It is also important that the Australian people also contact international organisations such as Amnesty International and Human rights watch and ask them to highlight the illegal actions of the Austalian government.

Amnesty International UN Office in New York

777 UN Plaza, 6th floor
New York, NY 10017
Telephone: + 1212 867 8878
Fax: + 1212 370 0183
E-mail: aiunny@amnesty.org

Head of Office and Representative at the United Nations: José Luis Díaz

Amnesty International UN Office in Geneva

22 rue du Cendrier – 4th floor
1201, Geneva
Telephone: + 4122 906 9480
Fax: + 4122 731 7457
E-mail: uaigv@amnesty.org

Head of Office and Representative at the United Nations: Peter Splinter

Human Rights Watch:
Geneva:

http://www.hrw.org/contact/geneva

If you live outside Australia please contact the local Austalian embassy and also express your concerns about the government’s actions against asylum seekers and refugees.

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE24th Session UN Human rights council-Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers

24th Session UN Human rights council-Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers condemned on the world stage:
http://www.hrlc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/HRLC_Statement_24Session_UNHumanRightsCouncil.pdf
==========================================
Please TAKE ACTION by:
Contacting the UN and expressing your concerns about the illegal actions of the Australian government:
Email (subject heading: Attention-Navaneetham Pillay) InfoDesk@ohchr.org
It is also important that the Australian people also contact international organisations such as Amnesty International and Human rights watch and ask them to highlight the illegal actions of the Australian government.
Amnesty International UN Office in New York
777 UN Plaza, 6th floor New York, NY 10017 Telephone: + 1212 867 8878 Fax: + 1212 370 0183 E-mail: aiunny@amnesty.org
Head of Office and Representative at the United Nations: José Luis Díaz
Amnesty International UN Office in Geneva
22 rue du Cendrier – 4th floor 1201, Geneva Telephone: + 4122 906 9480 Fax: + 4122 731 7457 E-mail: uaigv@amnesty.org
Head of Office and Representative at the United Nations: Peter Splinter
Human Rights Watch: Geneva:
http://www.hrw.org/contact/geneva
If you live outside Australia please contact the local Austalian embassy and also express your concerns about the government’s actions against asylum seekers and refugees.
for more information see riserefugee.org

REMEMBERING JOHN PAT: STOP DEATHS IN CUSTODY – CASTLEMAINE

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Janet Galbraith shared a photo.
REMEMBERING JOHN PAT: STOP DEATHS IN CUSTODY – CASTLEMAINE
My respect goes to the 20 or so people who came to support this action in Castlemaine.
We heard about the state of incarceration of Indigenous people in this continent, some stories of those who have been killed or died in custody, read the late Elder Jack Davis’ powerful poem for John Pat, signed a petition, wrote in cards to send to the families of some of those who have passed away and sang for the men and women who have died in custody and the mothers who mourn. A song adapted from Bernice Johnson Reagan’s song for Ella – ‘We who believe in freedom cannot rest, we who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes. Til the killing of a Black man, Black mothers son, is as important as the killing of a white man, white mothers son. We who believe in freedom cannot rest, we who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes…’.
REMEMBER RALLY TO STOP ABORIGINAL DEATHS IN CUSTODY 12 NO0N STATE LIBRARY MELBOURNE – TOMORROW 28TH SEPTEMBER 2013
Thankyou to those who sent their apologies and best wishes: Rick Nelson, Cath Ryan, Melissa, Colin, Harkirat Singh and others …

CASTLEMAINE VIGIL – REMEMBRANCE: STOP ABORIGINAL DEATHS IN CUSTODY – 6PM FRIDAY 27TH SEPTEMBER

CASTLEMAINE VIGIL – REMEMBRANCE: STOP ABORIGINAL DEATHS IN CUSTODY –  6PM FRIDAY 27TH SEPTEMBER

Hello All – On the 28th of September – this Saturday – it will be 30 years since John Pat of Roebourne, WA, was killed by police. A number of groups have got together to instigate a National Day of Action : Stop Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Mrs Mavis Pat – John Pat’s mother – has given permission for this National Day of Action.

The Castlemaine Vigil in Recognition of Sovereignty and in Solidarity with Refugees will be holding REMEMBRANCE: STOP ABORIGINAL DEATHS IN CUSTODY on the eve of this Day of Action.

Meet at the Vigil on the Steps of the Castlemaine Market Bldng at 6pm on FRIDAY 27TH OF SEPTEMBER – THIS FRIDAY and we will remember the many who have died in custody; the heartbroken families and communities affected; and send love to those who are currently incarcerated – speaking out to STOP ABORIGINAL DEATHS IN CUSTODY.

WHAT DOES THIS INVOLVE: We will read Uncle Jack Davis’ poem for John Pat; exchange information and get up to date on the state of Aboriginal incarceration in 2013; sign cards for the mothers of some of those Involved who have died; light candles and I will sing a short song that others can join should you wish. This short event will be filmed so to send to those who are concerned with Deaths in Custody – and hopefully to some of the families. Should you wish not to be filmed let me know on the evening.

Bring along any poetry, songs, SIGNS etc that you may wish to share. Please run these by me on the evening.

Melbourne’s Day of Action will be held at the State Library at 12noon on Saturday the 28th of September. It would be good to see as many Castlemainians attend as can.

Hope to see you there and please pass this on to any who may be interested.

Aboriginal Elder, the late Dr Jack Davis AO, BEM once said, “The beginning of the cause of deaths in custody does not occur within the confines of police and prison cells or in the minds of the victims. Initially, it starts in the minds of those who allow it to happen.”

janet galbraith