Quizzically Musing

Watching the madness

Posts Tagged ‘detention

Richard Flanagan sums it up

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Excerpt Reposted from the UK Guardian I have no personal comment for this one – Richard’s article stands alone.  Please click on the link to read the full article.

Boat tragedy: How Australians became complicit in the horror of Christmas Island

The myth that we must be protected from hordes of refugees is a weeping sore at the heart of my country’s public life

As the Australian territory closest to Indonesia, Christmas Island has in recent years become a favoured destination for refugee boats. And so it fell to the islanders to be awoken on Wednesday by the screams of the drowning as a small wooden boat carrying about 70 refugees was smashed by a wild sea into a limestone cliff.

“I saw a person dying in front of me, and there was nothing I could do to save them,” resident Kamar Ismail is reported to have said. “Babies, children, maybe three or four years old, they were hanging on to bits of timber, they were screaming ‘help, help, help’.” Lifejackets thrown down were tossed back by storm winds, the last illusion of a hope that had once borne the name Australia.


Written by Robyn Dunphy

December 20, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Then there is the stuff kept quiet …

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Modess ad from the '70s

… or as quiet as can be managed.  After all, we wouldn’t want to upset the gentle sensibilities of the masses with such trivialities, now would we?

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) posted the following shameful information on their FaceBook page.  This is nothing short of disgusting.

ASRC FaceBook post tells us:

Women at the Darwin detention facility have been waiting 6 months for knickers- yes underwear. Many women had only one pair – the one they came off the boat wearing. Ten days ago the women were finally given 3 knickers each. The women are required to go to the office and line up and ask for sanitary pads on the day that they start their periods – not before and are then given 6 pads – not a packet but 6.

Certainly not a situation that would allow these women to feel even remotely like the woman in the ad on the left!  Was this someone’s crazy idea of cost cutting?  The mind boggles.

If anyone wonders WHY I will be trying to stand for pre-selection (pending my husband’s visa grant), the above is one of the reasons why.  This is NOT how I see my country and I am damned sure it not how a lot of other people see it either.

While technically this may or may not be an abuse of any international Human Rights convention or convenant, it is an abuse of simply common decency!

Visit http://www.asrc.org.au/ to see what you can do to help!

Note: I wrote about this on November 19 on another blog but it more correctly belongs here, so slighty out of sequence.  I am ashamed of my country, but not because of my personal battle, because of what we (yes WE – we all allow it) are doing to those less fortunate.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

November 21, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Australia’s Christmas Island

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Zulu Dormitory, Christmas Island

What images does the word Christmas conjour up for you? Fun, laughter, love, family?

Yesterday it was reported that several asylum seekers have stitched their lips together at Australia’s Christmas Island detention facility.  I am not at all surprised.  When you herd people together in facilities such as that place, serious consequences are going to follow.

This facility was recently the subject of a report by the Australian Human Rights Commission, which can be found here. The photos, a couple of which is shown here, are graphic illustrations of what we are doing to those people fleeing conflicts, in at least one case a conflict in which we ourselves are involved: Afghanistan.

Not only does Australia have adults in mandatory detention, we also have unaccompanied children in detention, being denied access to education in many cases.
Tents in Red Compound, Christmas Island IDC


It is interesting to note that our nation’s desire to house asylum seekers off the mainland was essentially nothing more than a way to deny them access to the Australian legal system.  Their claims for protection could be assessed outside the legal framework.  Thankfully, The High Court of Australia recently handed down a decision which closed this little loophole and it was reported today at least 150 refugees will be granted new hearings.

We, Australia, have accepted an international responsibility to provide asylum.  Yet, according to the ASRC we take a disproportionately small number compared to other countries.  Why?  We are a rich and large nation.  We can afford to share our wealth and our good fortune.  Many refugees have made wonderful contributions to our nation, a gold medal winner at the recent Commonwealth Games being one such example from the sporting world.  There are many others.

Recently there was a suggestion that we pay asylum seekers $4,000 to go back to the very places they fled from in the first place.  What, may I ask, is $4,000 going to do?  Very little.

We insist on mandatory detention.  Why?  The ASRC can show it costs much, much less to house people in the community.  Renown psychologists warn repeatedly of the dangers and inhumanity of mandatory detention.  The UN has criticised our treatment of asylum seekers.  Yet we persist.  Why? I suggest that in no small part it is because of a vocal minority who spread misinformation, unfounded fear and vilification and that sells papers.

Christmas Island.  What images does the word Christmas conjour up for you? Fun, laughter, love, family?  Father Christmas and presents?  Perhaps the odd uncle or aunt who over indulges at the family celebration?  For our detainees, the people we as a nation choose to imprison, the word will be forever tainted in their memories.  What do you think?

Photo credit: AHRC Report : “Immigration detention on Christmas Island 2010

Written by Robyn Dunphy

November 20, 2010 at 9:37 am