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Newsletter for 13 October 2015 - Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Hi everyone

This newsletter is stored here for archive purposes .

To read the newsletter click below

Refugee Arrivals on Lesbos.

 The photograph taken on October 5th 2015  shows refugees arriving in an
overcrowded dinghy on the Greek Island of Lesbos. The beach is full of
abandoned dinghies and life jackets. The migrants have crossed the Aegean
Sea from Turkey . Many are fleeing the horrors of war in Syria. According to
the UN refugee agency, UNHCR,  refugee and migrant arrivals in Greece this
year will soon reach 400,000.

photo is also attached

The Australian Government has recently announced that it will resettle an
additional 12,000 Syrian refugees over the next year. By comparison,
Germany expects to take 800,000 refugees this year alone. The increase in
resettlement numbers for Australia  is a welcome initiative on the part of
the government but needs to be seen against comparative numbers being
re-settled in other countries.


Nauru: Has life suddenly got better?

Last Monday the Nauruan government unexpectedly declared that the  650 asylum seekers currently held in detention on the island are "free to come and go as they wish". This was, of course, just a happy coincidence for the Australian government, which two days later was facing a hearing in the High Court on the constitutionality of Australia funding offshore detention. This new development allowed the Solicitor General, Justin Gleeson SC, to tell the Court that the detention centre on Nauru could now be properly described as a "designated place of residence", and that the case should therefore be thrown out. George Orwell would have been impressed.
 The kindest thing that one could say about all this is that it is an utterly cynical move on the part of the government.
But does it change anything for the asylum seekers?
Sadly, the effects of the change are overwhelmingly negative. The reality is:
·       The detention centre is where they will have to continue to live as there are no other places for them on the island.
·       There is abundant evidence, in spite of the secrecy, that life on the island outside the detention centre presents even greater danger for asylum seekers than the centre itself - which we already  know is an unsafe and inadequate facility for women and children.
·       The asylum seekers will not be resettled in Australia once their claims for refugee status have been processed. They will be issued 10-year visas to stay on Nauru, which is an indication of how long our government thinks it might take to resettle them elsewhere. Their already-shattered lives will remain on hold.
·       Nauru is a tiny island of just 21 square kilometres and a population of 10,000. Settling the refugees here would be the equivalent of Australia taking in 2 million refugees. And Nauru is a poor nation. Human Rights organisations and Save the Children have constantly reported that Nauru is not an appropriate place for the resettlement of refugees.
·       The effect of "opening up" the detention centre will make it even easier for the Australian government to wash its hands of any responsibility for the asylum seekers on Nauru. We will undoubtedly and increasingly  hear our government claiming that the asylum seekers are entirely the responsibility of the Nauruan government, notwithstanding the fact that we sent them there and we are paying billions of dollars of taxpayers' money to keep them there.
The asylum seekers on Nauru, therefore, will now simply live in an open, rather than a closed prison, with no hope for the future unless our government changes its policy. Their situation is as desperate as ever, and we should redouble our efforts to bring this shameful  situation to an end.


Flying Pickets

    I am trying to get together a group of people willing to participate in flying pickets at local events to protest about how our country is being governed, whether locally or nationally. What we would need are people to participate and people to provide the information as to what is happening, for instance Luke Hartsuyker on a charity bike ride, getting TV and photo coverage. 
My idea would be a contact list for people and those able and willing to participate just turn up. Our protests should be themed so as to be clear and not everyone would want to put their energy into each event, we all have different priorities. I do not wish us to be couched within a political party or lobby group, as I feel it would be too constraining and might interfere with their messages too.

So if this approach appeals to you please contact me by email;  or phone 6655 9254 and we can go from there    

Offshore detention - how long can this continue?

Attached is a chart which shows the number of days the Manus Island Detention centre has been open.

If you download this excel file and store it on your computer, it updates itself each time you open it.

It makes the starting point for posters or leaflets on the point that asylum seekers have been held on manus Island for nearly three years.

If you would like help in changing the wording, adding photos etc please email us

David Wallin


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

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