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Newsletter for 7 November 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Roadside Demo -Coffs Base Hospital Thursday November 9th 2:30pm
Next Market Stall - Bellingen Sat 18th November
RAR annual get together Sunday 3rd December
Manus Island crisis

Next Roadside demonstration: Thursday 9th November, Coffs Harbour: 2.30 to 4.00 pm

Our next roadside demonstration is this Thursday 9th November from 2.30 pm until 4.00 pm.
 You will find us by the side of the Pacific Highway in Coffs Harbour, opposite the Base hospital.  This surely should be our biggest demo of the year, given  the appalling events on Manus Island in recent days. Now is the time to send the strongest message possible that this cruelty must be brought to an end without further foot-dragging on the part of the Coalition government, with the tacit support of the Labor opposition. Please make an effort to join us for a while to add your voice to the calls for our government to finally act with humanity and principle. We have lots of banners and placards to share.

Next Market : Bellingen Community Market: Saturday 18th November

Our next market stall will be at the Bellingen market on Saturday 18th November from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. If you can help out for a while – handing out leaflets, chatting to market-goers, persuading people to sign our petition, and selling our merchandise – then please let Mike know by emailing him at :

Meeting and social get-together: Sunday 3rd December from 10.30 am

We are planning  an end-of-year meeting and social gathering on Sunday 3rd December at our usual venue : 39, Rogers Drive, Valla Beach. We’ll meet at 10.30 to review what we have done and achieved in 2017 and share our thoughts about activities for 2018. The meeting will be followed by lunch on the back deck, which will give everyone the chance to relax and to enjoy one another’s company. It does not matter at all if you have not been engaged with our activities to date. Just come along, meet with a lot of like-minded people and enjoy the occasion. You will definitely not be pressured to take on any responsibilities! It would be appreciated if you could bring a plate to share. Please put the date in your diary and let Mike know that you plan to come along by emailing him at :

Manus Island crisis

The dire situation faced by the men detained on Manus island has finally hit the news headlines in recent days, with images of men protesting peacefully and digging frantically to find water inside the detention centre. They have now been without supplies of food, water, medication and power for a week. Locals attempting to bring them provisions have been turned away.
The Australian government’s hard-line stance has been widely condemned, with the UNHCR demanding that food, water and health services be restored immediately in the face of the “unfolding humanitarian emergency”. UNHCR spokesperson Rupert Colville stated: “We have serious concerns about the welfare, safety and wellbeing of the roughly 600 men who remain in the accommodation compound, who are too frightened to leave.” Our government has an obligation under international human rights law and the 1951 Refugee Convention to protect these men from harm. Rupert Colville repeated previous UN concerns about Australia’s offshore processing centres, saying that they “are unsustainable, inhumane and contrary to Australia’s human rights obligations”.
Minister Dutton, who is not a regular visitor to Manus Island, but who has a long history of attempting to mislead the Australian public, doesn’t see it that way.  On the other hand, Senator Nick McKim , who has been on Manus for the past week, together with Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and UNHCR, who have all visited and reported on the detention centre in recent times, tell it how it is. It is dire! These people and organisations have all reached the same conclusion: that these men must be brought to Australia for processing and, in the majority of cases, for resettlement in Australia or other third countries which can offer them a safe haven. And surely that must include New Zealand!
Please maintain the rage and keep  pressing the case for bringing the men here. Points to make include:
  • this is clearly a politically motivated and extreme move, and shames us as Australians.
  • It is cruel and unnecessary and victimises some of the most vulnerable people in the world.
  • Australia has a moral and legal responsibility to those fleeing torture and death, whatever their mode of arrival in Australia.
  • this decision is being widely condemned as a policy that is morally reprehensible and breaches our international obligations.
Telephone numbers:
Prime Minister Turnbull: (02) 6277 7700 and (02) 9327 3988
Opposition leader Shorten: (02) 6277 4022 and (03) 9326 1300
Minister Dutton: (02) 6277 7860 and (07) 3205 9977
Luke Hartsuyker: (02) 6277 4482 and (02) 6652 6233

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