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21.11.17

Newsletter for 21 November 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Market Stall - Valla Beach Sat 2nd December
Next Roadside Demo - Hogbin Drive Toormina Thursday November 23rd 2:30pm
RAR annual get together Sunday 3rd December
Manus Island standoff continues

Bellingen market report

Our market on Saturday in Bellingen was a huge success in every way. We were out in force – a total of fourteen supporters  helped out at various times throughout the morning -  and we interacted with hundreds of market-goers. Normally at our markets we hope to get between 50 and 100 signatures on our petition. On Saturday, people were literally queuing up to add their signatures and to express their anger and dismay about the cruelty and lack of compassion of our politicians.  We collected an amazing 300+ signatures, which is unprecedented, and we sold more than $250 worth of merchandise. Our success was not just a result of our very active presence, handing out leaflets to everyone who would accept them, though that was clearly very important. It was surely also about the fact that, during the past two weeks, we have finally had significant coverage on television  and in the media about the terrible situation on Manus island, something which the government has sought to hide from public view. The Australian people have at last  been presented with some evidence of the cruelty of our government’s policy, and they don’t like what they see. All the more reason for us to keep up the pressure. The tide may be turning!
Our next market, which will be our final one in 2017, will be at Valla Beach market on Saturday 2nd December, from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. If you can help out for an hour or two, then please let Mike know by emailing him at:mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.

Next roadside demonstration: Thursday 23rd November , Toormina, 2.30 to 4.00 pm

A reminder that our next roadside demo is this Thursday, in Toormina. You will find us at our usual spot on Hogbin  Drive, opposite what used to be the Sawtell nursery, about 75 metres from the roundabout. Please come and join us if you can to help us keep up the pressure on our politicians. We have lots of banners and placards to share.
Our final roadside demo for 2017 will be in Coffs Harbour, next to The Big Banana on Thursday 7th December from 2.30 to 4.00 pm.

Meeting and lunch: Sunday 3rd December from 10.30 am

Have you booked your spot yet?
A reminder that we are planning a meeting and social get-together on Sunday 3rd December at 39, Rogers Drive, Valla Beach. This is an invitation to all our 500+ supporters, and we hope that a good number of you will want to attend. There will be the opportunity to discuss what we have done and achieved in 2017, and to explore activities for 2018. Following the meeting, we’ll have a relaxing lunch together on the back deck. Please bring a plate to share. If you are intending to come along, then it’s important to let Mike know by emailing him at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.

The Manus stand-off continues

It is now three weeks since the PNG authorities cut off the water, food, services and medical support for the detainees in the Lombron detention centre, in an effort to coerce the men into relocating to Lorengau. The physical and mental health of the detainees must be deteriorating as each day goes by. The New Zealand government has repeated its offer to take 150 refugees, but the offer has again been turned down by the Australian government, which on the one hand acknowledges that the two sovereign governments of PNG and NZ can negotiate an agreement to resettle refugees in NZ , but in the next breath hints darkly about possible repercussions. Sadly, the PNG and NZ governments seem  to have backed down in the face of the veiled threats issued by minister Dutton.
Meanwhile, hard on the heels of the letter from Doctors for Refugees, which we reported on last week, the Australian Medical Association’s federal council has voted unanimously to call on the government to grant access to the Manus detention centre so that doctors can assess the men’s health, well-being and living conditions, stating that: “with a worsening and more dangerous situation emerging on Manus, the federal council believes that urgent action and answers are needed”.
If you haven’t yet made contact with politicians to protest at the government’s cruel intransigence (and the opposition’s support for government policy), it’s certainly not too late, and only takes a couple of minutes. Simply tell them that:
  • the treatment of the men on Manus is cruel and unconscionable.
  • there is ample evidence that the Lorengau township is not a safe place for the refugees, and that they are right to be afraid.
  • the New Zealand offer of resettlement should be accepted immediately.
  • the Australian people have a right to know what is happening in relation to the possible resettlement of refugees in the US.
  • all offshore detention centres should be closed immediately and the refugees and asylum seekers should be brought to Australia for processing and resettlement.
Telephone numbers:
Prime Minister Turnbull: (02) 6277 7700 and (02) 9327 3988
Opposition Leader Shorten: (02) 6277 4022 and (03) 9326 1300
Minister Dutton: (02) 6277 7860 and (07) 3205 9977
MP Hartsuyker (02) 6277 4482 and (02) 6652 6233


Check out the index of subjects on our blog  http://bellorar.blogspot.com.au 
It includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians and newspapers.

This newsletter is sent to >500 recipients

(482 likes)

Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam


The National RAR web site is at  www.ruralaustraliansforrefugees.org.au 
The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook


14.11.17

Letter from Doctors for Refugees - Manus Island

From: David Berger <daveberger@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Nov 7, 2017 at 9:17 AM
Subject: Re: Newsletter for 7th November 2017 RAR Bello and Nambucca
To: Refugee Group <bellingen.rar@gmail.com>


Doctors for Refugees sent this to all parliamentarians last night. 

Dear MP,

Immediate action required to prevent humanitarian catastrophe on Manus Island

As you know, a major humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding on Manus Island. Six hundred male refugees and asylum seekers are occupying the former Regional Processing Centre (RPC). Outside sits the PNG Defence Force, which is preventing food supplies, purchased by well-wishers, from entering the facility. The men have been told to move to three locations in or near the regional capital, East Lorengau. Two of these are not ready for habitation. All three are insecure and these men have legitimate fears for their own safety. PNG locals have demonstrated their opposition to the move to the town in the last week with a vocal protest outside the centre and the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary Police Commissioner, Gari Baki, stated in a media release in late October 2017 that the safety of refugees is ‘not to be taken for granted given the tensions that are being expressed by the locals on Manus Island’.[1][2] Paradoxically, the former RPC, with no access to food, clean water, sanitation, electricity or adequate medical care is currently the ‘safest’ place for these men to be.

However, the former RPC is not safe. These men have now been without access to the fundamentals necessary for life for over six days. In PNG’s tropical climate we must expect that serious consequences will start to occur this week. We can expect severe skin and respiratory infections, dysentery, malaria and other illnesses to start to take hold. If no action is taken immediately to alleviate this situation, we can expect deaths to start occurring very soon. 

On the evening of 4th November 2017 a man with a suspected heart attack in the former RPC sought assistance in Lorengau Hospital. This man was discharged from the facility without having an ECG or blood tests and returned to the former RPC. Thirty six hours later these essential investigations still had not been performed. With this level of medical support, it seems there is little hope for any refugee who becomes seriously unwell on Manus Island, whether they are in the former RPC or relocated to East Lorengau.

If the situation deteriorates further and the PNG Defence Force decides to clear the centre then there is a risk of many deaths through violent action. This is a military force which has demonstrated tremendous antipathy to the refugees, which fired indiscriminately into the RPC causing multiple injuries earlier this year and which has no training in crowd control.[3]

This situation is a direct consequence of the Australian government’s arbitrary, indefinite incarceration of hundreds of innocent men in a hostile environment on a remote island in a poor country, unequipped in all respects to look after them. It must finally take adequate responsibility for the welfare of these men. The duplicity of the Australian government in this matter is eye-watering. On the one hand, the representations of Doctors for Refugees and others about the welfare of these men are referred on by the Australian government as ‘a matter for the PNG government’. On the other hand, we hear that Prime Minister Turnbull has once again turned down the New Zealand government’s offer to shelter some of these men.[4] If the Australian government can dictate what happens to them then it is evidently responsible for their welfare and in fact PNG Immigration Minister, Petrus Thomas, explicitly stated last week that Australia will remain responsible for the welfare of these men when the Australian-funded centre closes.[5] All pretence to the contrary must now stop.

Amnesty International and the UNHCR have been condemning the detention and conditions of these men for years and this was first termed a situation amounting to torture over two years ago.[6] Today, things are exponentially worse and we reiterate: we are heading for many deaths in the coming days and weeks unless urgent action is taken by Australia. Action to alleviate these men’s situation needs to be taken today to prevent deaths. As a start, they need food and water today.

You, as an Australian parliamentarian, must realise that at stake are these men’s lives and Australia’s international reputation as a Western democratic nation and that only you hold the power to influence the situation. Whether by your action or inaction to date it is you who is directly responsible for what is happening. If you do not act now, by speaking, lobbying and voting appropriately then whatever happens to these men will be on your conscience.

For the sake of humanity and compassion we urge you to act immediately. The world is watching you.

Yours sincerely,

Dr David Berger, Executive Committee Member
Dr Barri Phatarfod, President
Dr Paddy McLisky, Secretary
Dr Igal Augarten, Treasurer
Doctors for Refugees


Newsletter for Tuesday 14 November 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Roadside Demo - Hogbin Drive Toormina Thursday November 23rd 2:30pm
Next Market Stall - Bellingen Sat 18th November
RAR annual get together Sunday 3rd December
Manus Island standoff

Roadside demonstration report
A great turnout for last Thursday's roadside demonstration, and lots of positive responses from passing motorists. Sadly, the weather gradually deteriorated and our soggy crew had to finally call it a day a short time before the scheduled finish time. Our next roadside demo will be on Thursday 23rd Novemberfrom 2.30 to 4.00 pm on Hogbin Drive, Toormina, opposite what used to be the Sawtell nursery. Please come and join us if you can.
Next Market: Bellingen, Saturday 18th November
Our next market stall will be this coming Saturday at the Bellingen Community market, from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. As usual, we'll be handing out leaflets, encouraging people to sign our petition and selling our merchandise. If you can join us on the stall for an hour or two, then please let Mike know by emailing him at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.
Meeting and social: Sunday 3rd December from 10.30 am.
A reminder (see last week's newsletter), that we are planning a meeting and social get-together on Sunday 3rd December at 39, Rogers Drive, Valla Beach, starting at 10.30 am. The event is open to all our 500+ supporters, and we do hope that we will get a good turnout. We'll discuss what we've achieved in 2017, plan what we'll do in 2018, and then enjoy one another's company over lunch. It would be helpful if you could bring a plate to share. If you are planning to attend, then please let Mike know by email at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.
Manus island stand-off
At the time of writing, more than four hundred detainees continue to refuse to leave what remains of the detention centre. The PNG government is determined to remove them to the three East Lorengau facilities, whilst our government continues to blame everyone but itself for this humanitarian catastrophe. In recent days, the Doctors For Refugees organisation has sent a detailed letter to every member of parliament, setting out the realities of the terrible state of affairs, and making clear that is the government's responsibility to care for the refugees and asylum seekers. They say: "On the evening of 4th November 2017, a man with a suspected heart attack in the former RPC (refugee processing centre) sought assistance in the Lorengau hospital. This man was discharged from the facility without having an ECG or blood tests....Thirty six hours later these essential investigations still had not been performed. With this level of medical support, it seems there is little hope for any refugee who becomes seriously unwell on Manus island, whether they are in the former RPC or relocated to East Lorengau."  The letter goes on to point out:" The situation is a direct consequence of the government's arbitrary, indefinite incarceration of hundreds of innocent men in a hostile environment on a remote island in a poor country, unequipped in all respects to look after them. It must finally take adequate responsibility for the welfare of these men."
The full text of the letter will be available shortly on our blog. Please consider phoning politicians to protest at this ongoing catastrophe of our government's making. 
Telephone numbers:
Prime Minister Turnbull: (02) 6277 7700 and (02) 9327 3988
Opposition leader Shorten: (02) 6277 4022 and (03) 9326 1300
Minister Dutton: (02) 6277 7860 and (07) 3205 9977
Luke Hartsuyker: (02) 6277 4482 and (02) 6652 6233



Check out the index of subjects on our blog  http://bellorar.blogspot.com.au 
It includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians and newspapers.

This newsletter is sent to >500 recipients

(482 likes)

Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam


The National RAR web site is at  www.ruralaustraliansforrefugees.org.au 
The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook