28 April 2013


Asylum seekers are people who, because of circumstances in the countries from which they have fled, are trying to reach countries where they might be able to live safely and without fear such as they have experienced elsewhere.

To demonise people in these circumstances, which is what the media and politicians have done, is to show total disregard for human rights, and much of this in countries such as Australia, which are signatories to many of the United Nations Charters on Human Rights and the rights of people to seek and obtain - asylum in other countries.

It must never be forgotten that so many of those fleeing are from countries which have been attacked and invaded by Australia and the countries with which it is in unholy alliances.

Because the media in Australia are willing participants in demonising these people, citizens of Australia see these people - as portrayed - as queue jumpers, economic migrants and people who want to enter Australia illegally.

All of these assertions are lies and mostly are done for political gain by most politicians who are each trying to outdo the other in their viciousness against desperate and helpless people who are then incarcerated in concentration camps and treated as criminals of the worst sort when they haven't committed any crimes.

The concentration camps in places such as Nauru and Papua New Guinea - the Manus Island "detention" centre - are run by organisations employed under contract to the federal government and are renowned for the viciousness of their controls in these "camps".

On top of these human rights abuses - there is no end to man's inhumanity to men, women and children - many of the people assessed for security by ASIO and other arms of government, and "found" to be unsuitable for refugee status "because they pose security risks" are then returned to the countries from which they fled, facing arrest, torture, imprisonment and often murder.

Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan - just to name a few of those places where desperate people flee from - are countries in turmoil, having been invaded by foreign countries or have police state/dictatorship regimes and human rights abuse records where leaders of these regimes should be tried in the International Criminal Court.

Much has been recorded and written about human rights abuses in some of the countries mentioned, but for reasons which are not as yet clear, Sri Lanka seems to have escaped the media's attention until fairly recently, and when it does get mentioned, the Australian government staunchly defends it to the hilt, despite the appalling actions of its dictatorial and police state government. Memories of South Africa and the apartheid state? ....and currently Israel as another apartheid state - but we don't mention Israel!!! - it is always above reproach and one is an anti-semite if you mention the horrific human rights abuses against the Palestinians who, like the Tamils in Sri Lanka don't exist!

So to some articles which have at last started appearing in the main stream media, and here are two examples, one from Geoffrey Robertson, well known to many, dated March 2013, and the other from 28 April 2013:


Justice crushed in Sri Lanka

March 6, 2013
By Geoffrey Robertson

Commonwealth countries risk a human rights nightmare if they capitulate to the Rajapaksa regime.

Illustration: Andrew Dyson.

The Commonwealth is sleepwalking towards a human rights disaster, if it goes ahead with November's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo, where it will be presided over by Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Perhaps emboldened by getting away with murder - the army slaughter of some 40,000 Tamil civilians in 2009 - his government has now moved to destroy the independence of the judiciary. It has sacked the Chief Justice for a decision that it finds inconvenient.

Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, former dean of Colombo Law School and the first woman to be made a Supreme Court judge, is a highly respected jurist.

Last year she infuriated the government by declaring unconstitutional a bill introduced by the President's brother, the Minister for Economic Development, which would have centralised political power (especially at the expense of the northern, largely Tamil province) and would have given the minister wide-ranging powers to infringe civil liberties. So the government decided to remove her and 117 of its tame MPs introduced a bill to impeach her on 14 charges of alleged ''misconduct''.

The principle of judicial independence requires that no judge should be impeached for doing his or her duty, merely because the decision has upset the government. That is exactly what the Rajapaksa government has done in the case of Dr Bandaranayake.

Three of the charges accused her of misinterpreting the constitution. But it is a judge's job to interpret the constitution and she gave it a purposive construction with which most judges - in Australia and elsewhere - would have agreed. Indeed, with two colleagues who joined in her judgment she interpreted the meaning of a key word in the constitution by looking it up in the Oxford English Dictionary - a familiar source of linguistic enlightenment in courts throughout the Commonwealth. But not for these 117 MPs.

Before politicians sack a respected judge, they must at least afford her a fair trial. So to whom did the Speaker, Rajapaksa's elder brother, entrust this task? To a ''Star Chamber'' of seven cabinet ministers.

It sat in secret, refusing the Chief Justice's request to admit the public and refusing to have international observers. It declined to be bound by any rules about the prosecution bearing the burden of proof and it gave her no time to prepare any defence - she was presented with 1000 pages of evidence and told to be ready for a trial starting the following day.

The tribunal chairman told her expressly that it would allow no witnesses, whereupon she and her counsel walked out, despairing of any fair trial. The next day, in her absence and without notice to her, they called 16 witnesses whom she could not in consequence cross-examine.

The result was a foregone conclusion. She was found ''guilty'' on three charges of misconduct on evidence that could not stand up in any real court and could not in any event amount to ''misconduct'' under any sensible definition.

For example, the fact that her bank had addressed her as ''Chief Justice'' on her statements was regarded as an abuse of office justifying her removal. The Supreme Court quashed the Select Committee's findings of guilt, but the President refused to obey their orders.

The President sacked her and appointed the government legal adviser, who had no judicial experience, as Chief Justice in her place. Her impeachment was celebrated with a fireworks display from the Sri Lankan navy and with entertainment, feasting and fireworks supplied by the government.

The prospect of the Queen travelling as head of the Commonwealth to Sri Lanka to provide a propaganda windfall - a royal seal of approval - for the host President after his destruction of judicial independence would make a mockery of the core democratic values for which the Commonwealth is meant to stand.

Canada has already signalled it may refuse to attend what will be a showcase for the regime, but Bob Carr is determined that Australia will be there, a position that is sure to damage Australia's standing on human rights. Mauritius, an exemplary democracy, is willing to host CHOGM, and that's where it should take place.

Geoffrey Robertson, QC, is a former UN appeal judge and the author of Crimes Against Humanity. Read his report at



'Hypocritical' government ignoring Sri Lankan abuses: Greens

By Chris Johnson
April 28, 2013

Greens leader Christine Milne has accused the government of placing domestic politics ahead of human rights by refusing to boycott the coming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka.

And Amnesty International says the violations there should be more seriously considered when Australia is forming refugee policies.

Its campaign co-ordinator, Ming Yu, said a new Amnesty International report to be released on Tuesday, titled Sri Lanka - Assault on Dissent, provided ample evidence that violations were escalating.

''We would encourage the Australian government to properly consider all the credible evidence that exists on this issue and take it into account when making their asylum seeker polices,'' Ms Yu said.

''Amnesty International would like to see Australia and the whole international community insist that if these kinds of human rights abuses continue then the government of Sri Lanka not host CHOGM or be awarded the Commonwealth chair.''

The Greens leader said it was hypocrisy on Labor's part to be sending asylum seekers back to Sri Lanka when its government continued to sponsor human rights violations - and turning a blind eye to those abuses by attending CHOGM was appalling.

Senator Milne said the Australian government was taking a ''hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil'' approach to events in Sri Lanka.

Her rebuke follows Foreign Minister Bob Carr's insistence on being at the November summit despite increasing rights violations.

Senator Carr told ABC's Lateline he was not convinced the Sri Lankan government was engaging in human rights abuses.

''I think some of the stories that have been put to us, when we've checked them out haven't been sustained,'' he said.

He also pointed to evidence of improvements in the country when it came to human rights and said boycotting CHOGM would be counter-productive. ''I think the concerns we've got about human rights in Sri Lanka are best met through engagement with that country,'' he said.

But Senator Milne, who last year visited Sri Lanka and heard of some of the atrocities committed there, said the Australian government's position could not be sustained.

She said Australia should follow Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's example and refuse to attend the summit unless there were dramatic improvements in Sri Lanka.

Mr Harper does not believe claims made by the Sri Lankan government that it killed only Tamil Tiger rebels and not Tamil civilians.

He told his country's question period last week that without major reform in Sri Lanka he would not personally go to the meeting in Colombo.

''I know we are deeply troubled by the direction in Sri Lanka and the fact that Sri Lanka is, at this point, the host of the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting,'' he said.

''I know suggestions have been made of any number of countries who would be willing to host that.''

Senator Carr appeared to dismiss Canada's position and said all Commonwealth countries were expected to attend the summit.

''Apart from Canada, I can identify no other country in the 55-member Commonwealth that would not be represented at Colombo,'' Senator Carr said.

But Senator Milne said the government's excuse for not taking a stronger stance was weak.

It was trying to bring about change by engaging with Sri Lanka, which would work only if Australia was prepared to be blunt.

But the government wanted asylum seeker issues ''off its plate'' before the election and so would not properly engage Sri Lanka, she said.

''It really is a closed loop between the Australian government, the Sri Lankan government and the churn of asylum seekers, and no questions asked about what actually is going on in Sri Lanka as we speak,'' she said.

''If Australia, being on the UN Security Council, wants to be taken seriously in this region as a middle power, then we've got to be seen to be putting at the head of our agenda the strengthening of human rights.

''It should not be pushing it to the bottom of the agenda beneath domestic political considerations in relation to an election and asylum seekers.''

Prime Minister Julia Gillard did not comment, a spokeswoman saying there was nothing to add to Senator Carr's remarks.

Asylum seekers have been political footballs to politicians and human rights abuses have been ignored along the way. Concentration camps are run under contract by some of the worst organisations in the world - Serco and G4S are the two which come to mind - and everything that goes on in the camps is, as it were, behind closed doors - literally. People who have tried to go to Nauru and Manus Island to see for themselves what is going on there, find it almost impossible to get access, and this is yet another example of the way the federal government wishes to hide their disgrace from the public gaze.

They prefer to treat asylum seekers as "others" - people who are "different" from us - they are not white middle class anglos - they are - what???

Through our media and politicians we tell the Australian population that these people will take away their jobs, that they have these strange religions and customs which are alien to our "way of life" and we will become tainted by them!

The fact is, this is a country of migrants and asylum seekers and was ever thus after displacing and killing off the indigenous population and treating them with apartheid disdain to rot in their own "outback" concentration camps.

I started this petition some time ago when the federal government and its friendly opposition were vying with each other to see who could torture people who had already been traumatised by their persecution due to wars which Australia had been busy fighting in countries with which it had no right to be involved in.

People quickly lost interest in the issue because of other scandals blowing up around that time and subsequently the two concentration camps used by the Howard government were found to be useful for incarcerating those managing to get to Australia alive!

It is time to resurrect the petition and ask you to get your friends to sign it too. Thanks for your assistance in this humanitarian crisis.

Stop Australian Incarceration of Asylum Seekers


Target: Australians and International communities
Sponsored by: Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne

Australia is trying to negotiate an off-shore solution to Asylum Seekers coming to Australia in boats which are not seaworthy, and which have already been responsible for many drownings offshore. The latest attempt is the so-called Malaysian solution involving Australia sending 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia in exchange for 2000 refugees in Malaysia. Both the Australian Government and its parliamentary Opposition are demonising people fleeing desperate situations in their countries of origin, mainly because of Australian military intervention in those countries.

The total numbers of asylum seekers trying to enter Australia is a miniscule number in terms of refugees and asylum seekers around the world, and most of the people in Australia illegally have arrived by plane!

Australia is signatory to United Nations conventions on refugees but is ignoring these UN documents in its political attempts to stop the demonised "boat people" ever setting foot in Australia.

Help to obtain justice for Asylum Seekers in desperate situations.

The situation has worsened with the federal government reopening the concentration camps on Nauru and Manus Island.

Get the government to close these camps now.


To highlight the crimes committed by our governments in the name of "border protection" - lies if ever there WERE any! - come some more alarming stories from our infamous concentration camps. The following item was in The Age newspaper on 29 APRIL 2013:

Refugee advocates push to end detention

By Thomas O'Byrne
Demonstrators demand refugee rights.

Refugee advocates have rallied outside a Broadmeadows detention centre following two suicide attempts at the facility last week.

More than 200 people assembled outside the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation site on Sunday, pushing for an end to mandatory detention. Organisers said their action was precipitated by the two attempted suicides last Wednesday, one involving a 17-year-old Iraqi boy.

Among the crowd was a former asylum seeker who said public support, in the form of letters and rallies, helped his fellow detainees deal with depression and suicidal thoughts. ''I did not have a name. I was number 27,'' he said, declining to be named. ''We were dehumanised.''

Rally organiser Lucy Honan said it was unfortunate it had taken the tragedies at the detention centre to shine a light on the issue. ''We want to send a message to the two major political parties that there are members in the community for whom this is an election issue,'' she said.

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90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm