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Newsletter for 2 August 2016 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next market stall will be at Valla Beach 6th August - this Saturday.
Popup demonstration: Thursday 11 August Coffs
Chasing Asylum - Movie - Sawtell screening
Valla Beach Market: Saturday 6th August

A reminder that our next market at Valla Beach is just a few days away. We will be collecting signatures for our new petition, which has been circulated to other RAR groups across NSW and Victoria, and we’ll be selling our merchandise, handing out leaflets and engaging with the public. These markets are a great opportunity for us to continue to remind people about the inhumanity and cruelty of current government asylum policy.  If you can join us for an hour or two at the market, then please email Mike at : to let him know of your availability. If you are passing by, don’t forget to drop in to sign the petition.
All the profits from the sale of merchandise will be donated to the Asylum Seekers Centre, based in Newtown. (see last week’s newsletter).
Pop-up Roadside Demonstrations

A big thank you to all the people who turned out for our roadside demonstration in Urunga last week. The indefatigable Sue Kitson, who sewed the new banner, dropped by on her crutches, following a recent fall, to wish us well! The demo was a great success, with lots of positive responses from passing motorists.
We have further demonstrations planned for August and September as follows:
Thursday 11th August:  Outside the Big Banana, Coffs Harbour.  3.00 pm to 4.30 pm
Thursday 25th August: On the Pacific Highway adjacent to the Nambucca Plaza, Nambucca Heads.  3.00 pm to 4.30 pm.
Thursday 8th September : On the Pacific Highway, opposite the Base Hospital, Coffs Harbour.  3.00 pm to 4.30 pm.
Thursday 22nd September: Waterfall Way, outside the library in the centre of Bellingen.  3.00 pm to 4.30 pm.
We have demonstrated in all these venues before, and we believe that they are all safe places both for motorists and demonstrators.
If you can help with the first of these demos  at the Big Banana, then please email Robin at : to let him know that you will be joining us. We have plenty of placards and banners, or you can of course bring your own.

Chasing Asylum

 The movie "Chasing Asylum" is to be screened at the Sawtell cinema on August 14th at 6.30pm.   Tickets are on sale now.
Ferrovial risk prosecution for ‘crimes against humanity'
Spanish infrastructure corporation Ferrovial took over the management of Australia’s Offshore detention centres on Manus and Nauru in May of this year. Since then Ferrovial has been warned by professors at Stanford Law School that its directors and employees risk prosecution for crimes against humanity under international law for supplying these services.

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 Asylum seekers at the Manus Island detention centre

Stanford Law School reported “We have raised our concerns with Ferrovial in a private communication to their officers and directors detailing our findings. We have yet to hear back.”
The report advises Ferrovial to immediately cease all operations at the two camps, and urges its financiers and shareholders to withdraw their support for the Spanish company if it refused to do so.
Ferrovial has said it will not bid for a new contract after the current one expires in February 2017.
Currently, people who arrive in Australia by boat without a visa seeking asylum are sent to either Nauru or Manus Island, where most are held in indefinite, arbitrary detention. They are told they will “not, under any circumstances, be settling in Australia”, but there are no other viable resettlement options for them.
At present, there are 843 men held on Manus Island, and 466 people, including 50 children, in the Nauru detention centre. Most have been held on the islands for nearly three years.
An Australian Senate inquiry found that a “culture of abuse” exists in offshore detention, and former staff have condemned the camps. A traumatologist described conditions on Nauru and Manus as the “worst atrocity” he had ever seen, while the former chief psychiatrist on the islands said the camps were “inherently toxic” and akin to torture. Rape and physical abuse is widespread. 
These findings pose obvious questions for the future operation of Offshore Detention . If companies seeking to take on the management of the centres risk prosecution for crimes against humanity how will the government find companies to run the centres in future years ? 
Hopefully this ruling will call into question the continued operation of offshore detention centres which have attracted widespread and consistent criticism in recent years. It’s time to put an end to this cruel and unlawful policy.
Marlene Griffin 

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