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Newsletter for 8 April 2015 Rural Australian for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Newsletter for 8 April 2015
Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts 

Asylum Seeker on hunger Strike in Perth

This newsletter is stored here for archive purposes. To read complete newsletter click below

The following message was received a few days ago by one of our supporters, from a friend in Perth.

Saeed Hassanloo is now taking sustenance , but the information below is worth reading, because undertaking a hunger strike is a last resort and the suppression on information on this cannot be justified.

"There is a man in a Perth hospital, very close to death as a result of a hunger strike. I am old enough to clearly remember 1981 and the death of Bobby Sands after 66 days on a hunger strike. Halfway across the world, here in Australia, his decline and death was covered in every news bulletin. Whether we supported his cause or not, we all followed his story – Bobby Sands was a household name and we FELT something in response to his actions.
Yet right here, now, today an Iranian man is close to death, protesting his imminent return to Iran, a country he fled in 2009. He clearly believes that death here is better than being returned to Iran. Yet this story is not making news. I googled it today and could find it covered in only three media outlets: ABC News Online, The Guardian and Perth Now. Nothing mainstream. We don’t even know this man’s name, unlike Bobby Sands.
Well, his name is Saeed Hassanloo and he is about 27 years old. One of the reasons why we know so little is that the hospital where is now located, Royal Perth Hospital, is unable to provide any information on his condition unless it is approved by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (formerly the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, and the name change speaks volumes about the thinking of our government) and the Department is not approving any media releases.
The story that the radio and TV stations and the print and online newspapers should be covering therefore, is the story of man who is dying in a hospital, from a hunger strike, in the middle of beautiful, affluent, sunny Perth and the public is not allowed to know anything about him because the federal government is censoring our access to information. That is a real story and that is what the media should be focussing on. Perhaps they don’t because they know that, by and large, Australians are so apathetic that they just don’t care.
We have two major political parties who try to outbid each other at election time to see who can provide the toughest, least sympathetic approach to the issue of refugees and they do this because they sense this is what the Australian public wants them to do. I am becoming increasingly disillusioned with all that we stand for as Australians. We are such a self-congratulatory people, always talking about behaviours that we consider to be un-Australian. We have become so self-obsessed, so focussed on what is happening in our own households and our own streets that we don’t even know what is happening in a major hospital in the centre of our city. Or if we do know, we don’t care. Are we so lacking in generosity of spirit that we no longer care about the plight of others?

Now is the time to let our government and our media know that we do care and we do want to know what is happening – to Saeed Hassanloo specifically and about how Australia treats refugees generally. There isn’t much time left. This man has already not eaten for 40 days and has not taken water for the past few days – he is close to death. I want to be part of a country – again – that cares about what happens to people on our shores."

Chilout Newsletter for March 2015

To read the Chilout Newsletter, click on "Chilout" tab at top of blog

Mike has made the following comments on the newsletter

"107 children held in detention on Nauru excludes the considerable number who, in recent times, have been “released into the community” on Nauru. The expression is a fiction, in that these young people, many of them unaccompanied, are living in refugee camps on the island. So they, like the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in refugee camps around the Middle East, are  not our concern. We need to continue to fight for all asylum seekers, especially children, to be removed from Nauru and settled in Australia, provided that their refugee claims, following a proper assessment, are valid."

He "recommends  that you read Professor David Isaac’s editorial in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. "   (linked to in the newsletter)

"Deeply shocking in every way."

Report by Prof David Isaacs on visit to Nauru Detention Centre

brief extract 
...."We went in December 2014. We did not want to profit from our visit and agreed in advance to donate our earnings to our hospital Refugee Service.

We were utterly appalled by the Nauru Processing Centre, a prison camp except in name, which was situated in the centre of the island where it was hottest and most humid (see Fig. 1). Living conditions were Spartan. Asylum seekers lived in lines of adjoining tents without privacy or running water. Many tents had mould on the canvas. Toilet and shower facilities were 30- to 120-m distance. At night, this was a fearsome walk under the eyes of huge, threatening guards. Many children and some women wet the bed rather than brave the walk....." 

Full report at

Breaking News on abuse in Nauru Detention Centre - open letter

"The government is under renewed pressure over the Nauru detention centre, with a claim that it has known of “the sexual and physical assault of women and children” for at least 17 months."

click on link 

We will follow this story on the blog and in future newsletters

Valla Beach Markets April 2015 - cancelled

Sadly, our planned market stall at Valla Beach last Saturday had to be abandoned because of heavy rain. A big thank you to the ten people who volunteered to help. Our next market will be in Bellingen on  Saturday 16th May. Mike and John will be setting up the stall before 7.00 am, so we are looking for volunteers from 8.00 am onwards. If you can help for an hour our two, then please get in touch with Mike at:, or phone 6569 5419.

National Rural Australians for Refugees - now has current news on their web site 

Blog  includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians.
Click on the tabs at the top of the blog  to get ideas for and to see letters already sent to politicians and newspapers  (4580 page reads)

Letter to cross benchers on Border Protection Bill and responses

The next newsletter is being drafted on the blog.  If you want to see what is in it so far go to


"Welcome Asylum Seekers - people just like us"

Twitter Account  @RARBellingenNam

Email Address

David Wallin

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