Becoming a Member
Our daily Newsletters
When and Where we meet
The People's Refugee Visa
National People's Refugee Summit
Le Thanh Nhon
Just. Marcus Einfeld Speech
Fr Frank Brennan Speech
Australian Refugee Groups
Ruddock has the hide
End Detention Web Ring
|Our promotional CD-ROM
of the most fascinating yet simple programs
on our promotional CD-ROM is Mailwasher, a small sentry which checks
the mail on the computer of your internet service provider. If there's
any mail for you, you can read it while it is still on your ISP's
server. If you don't like it, you can delete it, thereby saving your
download quota. Not only can you delete it on the server, you can
also issue a "Postmaster notification": Mailwasher can tell your
ISP's computer to issue one of those infamous messages to the sender
of the unwanted email, telling them that your email address does
not exist. It sure is one of the smartest programs around - and it's
freeware! Click on the image to explore our CD-ROM!
Newsletter's recommended Sites around Australia: most sites below are listed on our Network pages, shich now list 140
refugee websites related to Australian refugees. To visit these
pages, click here.
· S. Khan: Dying Every Day
· Christmas Island website
· No Detention
· BaxterWatch Net
· Maribyrnong Watch
· Australian Refugee Assn
· Greg Egan's Home Page
· Rural Australians 4R
· UNHCR: Refugees site
· Pre-ExCom NGO meeting
· Asylum Law website
· Refugees Online
· Austr. Lawyers for HR
· long journey, young lives
· RRAN Perth
|The Scattered People CD
Tragically, some members of the choir have been
refused protection in Australia and have been forced to return to the
countries from which they had escaped. We all fear for their safety.
The Refugee Claimants Support Centre Choir has since disintegrated,
its members demoralized, disempowered or deported. But their voices
and their spirit carry on in this CD .
click here to access this page.
AI Australian Schools Kit
Amnesty International Australia has produced an
excellent Schools Kit on their website. The document is freely
available to anyone - and suitable for Primary/Secondary School
Refugee Action groups. We store a copy of the document on our
refugee documentation page.
click here to access this page.
Our Visa: a public apology
Since Tampa I have been awakened and
I feel so much pain and shame on how we treat refugees.
I am embarrassed but I know the ache in my chest and throughout my
being cannot be compared to what these poor people are suffering
in my own homeland. I want it to be their homeland too and I want it
to be the best it can be for all of us who live on planet Earth.
I dream that things change soon for our refugees, in the meantime
I would like to say that I am so sorry.
[read it here]
|Sailing to Australia
I escaped from Iraq to Syria by road using a false
passport. This is the only way to get out of the country. From Syria,
I flew to Indonesia and then came on a boat with 110 other people.
They were mostly from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. We were on that boat
for a week, and it was a frightening experience.
The waves were enormous, and we were worried that the captain didn't
know which way we were going. Two boats before us had sunk,
and another had lost its way, and food had run out. Two Iraqis
from this boat had jumped into the sea to recover some food thrown
from a passing Japanese ship, but they were so weak from hunger that
they drowned. It was a long and exhausting journey.
this story here
Refugees grow from wars
"We put this conviction directly and unequivocally: It would
constitute a failure of the duty of government to protect the
integrity and ensure the security of our nation to commit any
Australian forces in support of a US military offensive against
Iraq without the backing of a specific UN Security Council
Bob Hawke, Sir Malcolm Fraser, former G-G Bill Hayden and others
[ Source - The Age ]
"Philip Ruddock (Letters, November 9) maintains that "compassion for
asylum-seekers" is "precisely the basis of Australia's orderly refugee
and humanitarian resettlement program", ensuring that "places go to
those who deserve them the most". To the casual reader this may sound
compelling. To the informed reader, it is little short of
stomach-churning. Refugees with medical problems are almost
invariably amongst the neediest in a refugee camp, amongst the most
deserving of compassion and assistance. Yet it is notoriously the
case that applicants for places in "Australia's orderly refugee and
humanitarian resettlement program" can be rejected if they are sick
or disabled. As long as this remains the case, as long as we reserve
our "compassion" for healthy applicants who can be resettled cheaply,
Mr Ruddock's preaching about compassion should be recognised for
the politician's blather that it is."
Dr William Maley, Canberra Times 'Have your say' 14 November 2002
[ Read more]
Up till this very moment,
people have read, or are now reading, this edition of our Newsletter.
Project SafeCom Inc.
P.O. Box 364
Narrogin WA 6312
Phone 041 70 90 130
a second Newsletter: excellent reception
Welcome to this Newsletter!
Three months ago we sent out our first promotional Newsletter, and
almost immediately we knew we had found the best way of keeping in
touch with our supporters and allies amongst refugee advocates, and
provide thousands of people around the country with an easy file
to explore right there on their own computer.
The response was overwhelming. Thousands of people read the
Newsletter, and perhaps even hundreds more forwarded the Newsletter
to others in their network. The enthusiasm caught on: we have included
a "readership counter" in this Newsletter, which tracks how many
people read this Newsletter. It blocks itself from re-counting
when you open the Newsletter on one computer several times - and
it provides a reasonably accurate way of estimating our readership.
Find it at the end of the left column...
The slippery Minister - Many things have happened since our first Newsletter. In the Australian refugee
climate of the "ever-shifting sands" of extremist, manipulative and
slippery right-wing asylum seeker policies, we sometimes feel trapped by
the current Minister of Immigration in an environment of reactiveness,
short-term action and a failure of long-term goal setting. We sense that we are not the only ones. Many of us around Australia
work tirelessly to protest, write letters, catch up with the
Newspapers and latest media reports, only to discover that what we
thought we just read has already been superseded by a new wave of
events, from deportations to hospitalisation, from despair as
expressed by detainees to hunger strikes or admissions to hospitals
with medical or psychological failure of the psyche of even the
strongest asylum seeker - and to deaths of detainees, complete with
explanations always announced with an "acceptable spin" by the
Howard government.... Atrocities
committed cannot be undone. They can go unreported and unrecorded,
but they never leave a nation's record.
Getting stronger - There is
a change in the midst of these waves in Australia: everywhere we see
conventions and forums springing up, and membership numbers drastically
increase: ChilOut, The
Rural Australians for Refugees 'get together' in Mudgee
(yes, we will be there!), Labor for Refugees, AfJRP and
others are organising, while in Western Australia we have a newly
formed WA Refugee Alliance, with similar aims: to combine forces,
to strengthen oneness of purpose and draw much more than we did before,
on mutual resources and resourcefulness. We're on the way to what Guy
Rundle in The Australian called 'the largest rainbow coalition since
the Vietnam War' - and we think it will all converge during the National
People's Refugee Summit, planned for the weekend following 30 January 2003. And
with the call 'We are a mass movement,
we need to look like one', the Summit planning is off to
an excellent start. And we say: "Watch
out Minister, here we come: hundreds of thousands of decent
Australians are on the move, and they do not tolerate that Australia
becomes a corrupted nation, where human rights abuses are the order
of the day."
Jack H. Smit
Coordinator, Project SafeCom Inc.
are many links to other websites and pages in this Newsletter. All
links open a new window in your browser, so your reading is not
unnecessarily interrupted. If you do not want to receive any further
Newsletters like this one, simply
click here to unsubscribe.
Qamar Naseeb Khan
Stephen Khan: Incarcerated and in
limbo - Stephen Khan is a 29 year old Kashmiri man who has
been detained in Australia for nearly 4.5 years; he is one of
Australia's longest serving asylum seekers in detention. For over
3 years of that time he has been held in Perth Detention Centre,
and this while HREOC claims that no-one should be kept in the Perth
IDC for longer than 7 days. Colin Penter, the
Perth-based coordinator of The Campaign to Free Stephen Khan, says:
"Stephen Khan is a pawn in a political game to
demonstrate the so called 'integrity and toughness' of Australia's
policies. He is being made an example of by the Minister and DIMIA.
Stephen's case is an indictment of the moral failure of Australia's
refugee determination process and of the moral deceit of the Minister
and government officials."
NOTE: most of the material below is from the Asian
Human Rights Commission website
Stephen Khan began his life as a refugee from his home in Indian
occupied Kashmir in 1996 after escaping from police detention. He had
been kept naked, interrogated and tortured by the police for 10 days
before his escape, in relation to his activism in the Jammu and
Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) which he had joined after the
Indian authorities arrested, tortured and murdered his father.
His refugee journey took him through hiding in Kashmir and Punjab,
to Thailand, Singapore, Papua New Guinea and then finally a
harrowing, week long journey to Australia in a rubber dinghy.
He has been locked up in terrible conditions ever since
(except for a brief escape from detention, which earned him 3
months in a more humane regular prison cell). Kept uninformed
of his rights, he unknowingly failed to bring his case to a court
because a time limit passed by. Thus, Mr. Ruddock, the Minister for
Immigration, is the only person he can appeal to - the same Minister
that earned international condemnation over his refusal to allow the
'Tampa' to land on Australian shores, carrying hundreds of desperate
refugees who had narrowly escaped drowning.
According to the latest human rights reports, it is clear that
Stephen Khan is highly likely to face ill-treatment, torture,
arbitrary arrest and detention if he is forced to return to his
country. This is why he fled in the first
full details of his case click here.
No response from Minister on asylum case
On 26 February 2002, AHRC issued an urgent appeal drawing attention
to the case of Stephen Khan, a Kashmiri asylum seeker who has been
in detention in Australia since 1998. At the time the Asian Legal
Resource Centre (ALRC) also wrote directly to the Minister of
Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock (in whose hands
solely Mr. Khan's case now rests) requesting that Mr Khan be granted
a visa without further delay. Regrettably, the Minister has to date
not sent a reply. [Read details]
Stephen Khan's article
"I would like to draw your attention to the life of detainees in an
Australian immigration detention centre."
"Detainees abscond from their countries because of political
instability, bloody and vindictive wars, a fear of persecution, the
worst human rights violations and torture and death. When we enter
Australia and ask for asylum, we think we are safe, but the treatment
from the Australian Immigration Department is inhuman and unacceptable,
making the future again uncertain. We are branded as boat people,
queue jumpers and illegal migrants so we feel guilty and ashamed,
but it's a reality that we had to flee to Australia to save our
lives. Finally, if we expose the truth, we are branded as media
Australian Atrocities by the Snippet...
"....the media had been in [Woomera] during late December 2000,
but they had only been allowed to attend on a particular tour and
it seemed that they were only allowed to film the carnage that had
occurred inside the detention centre. So once again the propaganda
machine was at work. But, when the media were invited in, the rules
and regulations that I was talking about around their visit were
accurately compared by Media Watch with the limitations that were
put on journalists in North Korea; and the similarities were
astounding." [read more]
George Munster Forums 2002: Reporting on Refugees
We arrived in Port Hedland late in the afternoon but were given
nothing to eat or drink until the following morning at 8.00am.
For around 32 hours the children had no food. We were held in a
small room with no toilet or water facilities whatsoever. I
repeatedly asked to take my child to the toilet but often had to
wait for up to an hour before being escorted to the toilet.
A child of two cannot wait and I had to allow my son to relieve
himself on to a bundle of clothes in the corner of the room.
Later I washed these clothes out when I was taken to the toilet on
one of the twice daily toilet breaks. [read more]
Julian Burnside: Conditions in detention: promises vs. performance
"SIEV-X is a tragedy - 353 died people trying to
reach a great country they thought would welcome them and give them
freedom. The 353 believed in Australia but Australia did not believe
in them - they were denied in death as they were in life. In this entire country only one man cared enough
to speak for them. Tony Kevin was the sole advocate for the people
of SIEV-X and he has risked everything to seek the truth. [read more]
Sydney Morning Herald: Margo Kingston's Web Diary
Baxter November 2002: verbatim report - "Then the situation was calm down.
The detainees were having their dinner at about 8:00 clock. All of a sudden more
than thirty armed ACM officers entered the mass and started to bash
the boys who were taking their dinner. And they were trying to take
him out of the compound by force. No human could have seen this
incident as reasonable especially the boy was being treated by the
ACM. The other detainees wanted to prevent ACM from taking him
away. Then the ACM officers started to attack the detainees
by smashing things in the area. This situation remained more than
two hours. At last they could be able to take the boy from the
compound. We are in dilemma what will happen to him and how he
will be treated further." [read more]
Verbatim Report: Assaults by ACM at Baxter - Item #6 - Newsletter 11/11/2002
"In Syria, Palestinian refugee Mohammed Saleh was
imprisoned, beaten and tortured with electric shocks. He fled to
what he thought was freedom: to Australia, where he was isolated in
a darkened cell, given electric shock treatment and died--mentally
and physically broken--after surgery for a tumour that had long
been left untreated. His story came to light only because of an
inquest into his death--Australia's first coronial inquiry into
the death of an asylum-seeker in mandatory detention." [read more]
The Weekend Australian Oct. 12/13, 2002: A deadly shock to our system
Hellhole Woomera - Two
working toilets for 700, men separated from
their families, kept in confinement for days without reason; food
that is not even fit for human consumption, temperatures that reach
40°+C without shade or shelter, and in one case a 5 year old child
who spent 15 days in confinement with his parents and 15 year old
brother. They were not able to use a bathroom and the eldest son was
assaulted when he complained. When the federal police refused to
investigate the claim he hung himself. [Source - Entry 05/09/2002 ]
Comments for a Mandatory Detention petition endorsement
Refugee boats sunk - Ruddock's response underscores the government's basic
position: that refugees, having been driven to seek asylum without
official permission, have no democratic rights whatsoever, not even
the fundamental right to live. Not only have they been deprived of
citizenship or residency status, but they have lost the right to any
protection of life or limb. [Read Source]
WSWS 29/12/00: "Australian government refuses to search for missing refugees"
Project SafeCom: how you can help
We have started to prepare proposals for local government in Western
Australia, following the community development model of Welcome
Towns by Rural Australians for Refugees - and first contact
has been made with representatives of the City of Fremantle.
In 2003 we also hope to develop working relationships with the Shire
of Augusta/Margaret River and the Denmark and Katanning Shires for the
Our financial resources limit us considerably in our
work. As a relatively new incorporated association, we need to
urgently ask for your support with our work. Below are several ways in
which you can help us. Please do so:
can become a member of Project SafeCom for as little as $20.00 per
year. To explore this option, with our new feature of the online
members lounge, coming online voting and polls, and the internet
overcoming many limitations of distance, you may want to do this.
We already have members in Queensland and Victoria, and an Associate
member in Dallas, TX, USA. To download the membership form, click on the Word Document image.
Click here to visit the membership application page.
2. To make a donation to our
project by direct transfer, send your funds to our account at Bendigo
Community Bank Kulin, BSB Number 633-000. Account name: Project
SafeCom Inc., account 11564 3900. Upon request, your $20.00 donation can be an
annual membership of our Incorporated Association.
3. You can donate to us by
sending your cheque to Project SafeCom Inc., P.O. Box 364, Narrogin
Western Australia 6312. Upon request, your $20.00 donation can be an
annual membership of our Incorporated Association.
4. If you're already a PayPal
customer, you can also use our PayPal online payment facility. Simply click here to proceed.
Note: For security reasons,
Australian residents using PayPal for the first time, cannot complete
the transaction until their next Credit Card statement arrives.
Choosing this road to make donations may take considerable time,
unless you have online access to your Credit Card statements.
5. You can support us by subscribing to our free daily
News and Refugee updates. See above, or click here to
The Myth of being "illegal"
"The most powerful and destructive mythology being
perpetrated against refugees is the one deriding 'illegal' entry.
Perpetuating this 'illegal' falsehood gives currency to fear,
hatred and discrimination. It effectively diminishes the terms of the
1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol to which Australia is
a signatory. That Convention states in Article 31 that
"...Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of
their illegal entry or presence...provided they present themselves
without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their
illegal entry or presence." Even worse, this powerful myth has the
insidious effect of silencing the critics when domestic abuse arises,
such as the introduction and implementation of 'necessary' front-end
Detention, enforced mostly in outback prisons. I wonder what the
course of recent immigration events will be called by Senate
inquiries and Royal Commissions in the years to come -
The Detained Generation perhaps?"
Lyn Freeman, Project SafeCom, Perth WA
|The Cage House
Available from our website! "In
six-year-old Shayan Saeed Badraie's drawing, the stick figures
of a boy and girl standing behind a razorwire-topped fence, tears
streaming from their eyes as baton-wielding security guards hover
menacingly in the background. From this two dimensional,
black-and-white representation of life inside the Villawood Detention
Centre, came the seed for an idea that spawned The Cage House, a
script by novice film-maker Angela van Boxtel."
Angela van Boxtel's script of The Cage House won her the
Raw Nerve Prize to turn her written words into her first
For more information click on the above image.
· SMH Review
· Power Box Productions
|Long Journey, Young Lives
Sohail Dahdal originally approached me to work on
Long Journey, Young Lives because he felt that refugees was simply
not an issue at the time and he wanted to explore it. This was 18
months ago, long before Tampa and the elections. Now it's a highly
emotional and highly political debate. The refugees, the lost lives
and and our UN international obligations to asylum seekers are now
forgotten. We seem to be sadly mean spirited for a country whose
white population was built, in part, on post WW2 immigration of
thousands of displaced people from Europe - strangely like those
we are now trying to repel.
David Goldie, Producer, Long Journey, Young Lives
Explore the Documentary
|Daily News Updates
We also issue more regular free news updates,
usually biased towards the refugee issues in Australia. These
newsletters are text-only (no HTML, no attachments) and are
sent a few times a week.
To subscribe to our news
updates, click here. Your
email will receive a reply from topica.com,
the people who manage our email list. You need to click on the link in
that email to confirm your subscription: this is called a
"double opt-in" - a security design to prevent anyone from being
added to a list without their consent. Read
the archives here.
|Closing the Door
Australia is the only Western nation to impose a
policy of mandatory detention on refugees. Under [Howard government's
amendments to] the Migration Act of 1958, any refugee who arrives
without a valid visa faces detention regardless of the circumstances
of their arrival after which they must wait until their claims for
refugee status have been processed, which may take years.
The Australian Human Rights Commission and other bodies report that
detainees are subject to inhumane conditions, including mass strip
searches, chemical restraints and extended periods of solitary
confinement for "troublemakers."
|The Refugee Ribbonİ
The Refugee Ribbonİ has keenly devloped as an
Australian symbol for refugee support and a fantastic fundraiser for
refugee groups. Distribution figures stand currently at over
25,000 ribbons: a sign that a growing number of people, though
buying a ribbon, move into a space of just attitudes for refugees.
Recently I visited the WA Coroners Court in Fremantle, attending the
Sumba Lestari deaths inquest. At the lawyers' bench was, next to
Julian Burnside QC, a lawyer I had not met: she was wearing
The Refugee Ribbonİ.
"Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany
Martin Luther King Jr.
"Action is my domain, It's not what I say but what I
do that matters."
"All violence is evil, but a time may come when you
have to decide between two evils - oppression or a violent overthrow
of the oppressive regime. When the honour of God is at stake, we will
disobey iniquitous and unjust laws."
"There is not a white man in this country who can say
he never benefited from being white."
"The plethora of refugee activist groups that have
formed across the political spectrum would appear to be the
largest rainbow coalition since the Vietnam War".
Guy Rundle, The Australian 19June02 p.13
7-8 December - Rural Australians for Refugees Mudgee National "Get Together"
30 January 2003 - National People's Refugee
Summit - "We are a mass movement: we need to look like one" -
a must for everyone around
invites contributions from anyone with news, information,
and stories about Baxter DC and its 'residents'. Future plans will
include means for rapid and direct publication of news by
detainees, volunteered profiles on selected refugees, refugee diaries,
visiting and writing assistance, and staff profiles and contact details.
Enter Site here
The Great Australian Brain Robbery
- The Hijacking of the Australian Conscience.
Annual Human Rights and Social Justice Lecture, Newcastle University
access the transcript
Developing Just Refugee Policies in Australia:
Local, National and International Concerns.
Lecture by Father Frank Brennan SJ AO, delivered at the Southern Highlands Rural Australians for Refugees Public Meeting, Sunday August 25, 2002.
access the transcript
With the passing of Le Thanh Nhon a great sculptor and painter left us.
We dedicate a page to this refugee artist.
visit this page