Index

Click on subject of interest shown on the right under the heading "labels" to see all relevant posts


To look at letters (and some replies) sent to politicians and newspapers, scroll down the index on the right hand side and select the appropriate heading.

Note the blog allows multiple labelling and all letters to politicians are under "letters to pollies".




14.2.17

Newsletter for 14 February 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Belllingen and Nambucca Disticts

Roadside Demo Report
Reza Barati
Medical care in offshore detention





Roadside demonstration report

We held our first roadside demonstration of 2017  by the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour last week. As always, we received lots of positive support from passing motorists at this busy spot. What was disturbing, though, was the significant increase in the number of negative responses, which took a variety of forms. It seems clear that over recent months, with the rise of populist demagogues , and the election of racists to our parliament, it has become legitimate to exercise one’s “right to be a bigot”, as Senator Brandis put it.  The Coalition government remains silent on the issues,  and the Opposition acquiesces in this race to the bottom. All the more reason for groups like ours to continue to carry the torch for a more compassionate and principled policy in relation to refugees. A big thank you to the seven supporters who turned up to the demo.
Our next roadside demonstration will be in Bellingen, adjacent to the Library on Waterfall Way on Thursday  23rd February at 3.00 pm. It would be great to have a few more people joining us.

Reza Barati

Three years ago, on 17th February 2014, Reza Barati, a  23 year old Iranian asylum seeker, was brutally murdered by a group of G4S guards, whose job it was to protect him.  Eventually, in 2016, two local guards were convicted of his murder and sentenced to  five years in jail. The judge gave them a lenient sentence on the basis that two other guards involved in Reza’s murder – an Australian and a New Zealander  - had left the Island and had not been arrested or charged. Their identities are apparently known to the authorities, but they remain at large. Our group was established soon after Reza’s death. We were deeply shocked by the incident, and by the Minister’s attempt to blame the refugees for the death and the many injuries inflicted on asylum seekers on that fateful night.  We initially had about 40 supporters. That number has grown over the past three years to more than 500, reflecting as it does the very significant community anger about our government’s cruel and inhumane asylum policies. We need to keep up the fight for the closure of the offshore centres and for the permanent resettlement of all the genuine refugees who currently languish in these two hellholes.

Medical care in offshore detention centres

The level of care for asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island is yet again under scrutiny in parliament.  The latest of many enquiries relates to the death of Faysal Ishak Ahmed, who suffered a seizure inside the Manus Island detention centre on 22nd December 2016, after months of complaining to doctors about his deteriorating health. He died in a Brisbane hospital two days later.  Faysal had sought medical help at least 13 times in the two months prior to his death. So concerned were other detainees about his poor health that they wrote a letter to the medical staff in which they pleaded for effective intervention to help him. They were ignored.  The sad truth is that the clinical opinions of doctors at the offshore detention centres are often overruled by bureaucrats in Canberra , who actively discourage the transfer of sick patients to the mainland. The president of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine,  Prof. Anthony Lawler writes: “ACEM considers there is no evidence that the healthcare provided in regional processing centres is at a standard which would be acceptable or expected for any patient in Australia.”
The healthcare services in offshore detention centre are provided by International Health and Medical Services, a for-profit organisation.



Roadside demo at the Big Banana last week







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 >480 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

7.2.17

Newsletter for 7 February 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Valla Beach Market Report
The Trump Visa Bans
The Refugee Swap Deal - What is happening?
Next roadside demo - Big Banana Thurs 9th Feb




Valla Beach market report

The Valla Beach Market last Saturday was hot and relatively quiet but our stall was well stocked with volunteers, merchandise, and visitors. It is always gratifying to see people wander past, see the banners, and make a beeline for the petition. Most people need no convincing that our current policies on asylum seekers need changing. It is encouraging to know that so many people share our views and want change. 

Our next market will be on Sunday 26th February at Coffs Harbourside market, from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm

Trump bans entry to the USA from seven Muslim-majority countries

The recent ban announced by the US president is deeply troubling for the world, feeding in, as it inevitably does and as it is intended, to the deep-seated xenophobia which is rapidly becoming mainstream in the USA, in much of Europe and in Australia. The ban seeks to paint all people of the Muslim faith as potential terrorists, to be feared and mistrusted. The ban includes a temporary halt to all refugees and a permanent ban on people fleeing the conflict in Syria. Many world leaders have criticised the actions of the president, but our own prime minister has been silent on the issue.  Not so minister Scott Morrison, a strong Trump supporter, who boasted that the strong action taken by the US president is a sign that the rest of the world is finally catching up with Australia’s successful border protection policy. Getting tough with the most vulnerable people in our world is as easy as it is deplorable and we should continue to speak out against it as best as we can.

The Australia-USA refugee swap. Deal or no deal?

We have had a week of complete confusion in relation to the “deal” to exchange our refugees and asylum seekers for an unknown number of people from South America who have fled violence in their home countries. We know little about the proposals, other than from the US president and his spokesperson, who have stated at various times that the president is willing to “consider” taking 1250 people from Manus Island and Nauru, and that they will be subjected to “extreme vetting”. There are more than 1800 refugees and asylum seekers in these two locations. In addition there are another 300+ who have at various times been brought to the mainland for medical treatment and who remain here as a result of successful intervention by various refugee organisations, but who face being forcibly returned to offshore detention at the whim of the minister. In the meantime, these desperate people have their hopes raised, then shattered on an almost daily basis. We are causing them immense harm, and they have done no wrong. It is time for our Prime Minister to close the offshore detention centres and to bring the people here for processing and resettlement. In the last few days, in an unprecedented move, more than 70 organisations from across the country, led by the Refugee Council of Australia, have come together to call for an immediate evacuation of the offshore detention centres. You can read the joint statement by clicking here:............ This is an important initiative which we want to support in every way we can.

Roadside Demonstration at The Big Banana: Thursday 9th February. 3.00 – 4.30 pm

Our first roadside demonstration of 2017 will take place by the Pacific Highway, beneath the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour on Thursday 9th February. Wouldn’t it be great to send a strong message to our local member of parliament that we are determined to keep up the fight for the closure of offshore detention centres! Please try to join us if you can. We have lots of banners and placards to share . We passionately believe that the roadside demos, and the markets, are a great way to keep up the pressure and ensure that the terrible plight of our asylum seekers is not hidden away, as the government would wish. If you can help, please email Mike at :mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.  

BREAKING: Refugee movement comes together to call for immediate evacuation of offshore camps
In an unprecedented move, over 70 organisations from across the country, led by the Refugee Council of Australia, have come together to call for an immediate evacuation of the offshore detention camps. 

The joint statement comes after a week of chaos regarding the possibility of a US resettlement deal, with Donald Trump's administration (and Twitter account) releasing multiple conflicting statements regarding the fate of the hundreds of men, women and children trapped in limbo. Many of the people imprisoned on Manus Island and Nauru are from countries currently excluded from entering the US under Trump's travel ban. 

Although Malcolm Turnbull maintains that the deal is still on, it was revealed this week that there is no minimum requirement of people to be accepted. As such, the deal could technically go ahead without a single person being resettled. 

This uncertainty has caused unthinkable mental anguish to those trapped on Nauru and Manus. These people have already endured physical and sexual abuse, torture and trauma and many have taken, or attempted to take, their own lives.  Directly after the announcement of the travel ban, one teenager tragically attempted suicide. 

It's high time that this race to the bottom ended.  People's lives are at stake. 


And remember - in a race to the bottom there are no winners.






Valla Beach Market Stall

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 >480 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

31.1.17

Newsletter for 31 January 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Diastricts

Report on meeting with Luke Hartsuyker MP
Valla Beach Market Stall - Sat 4th Feb
Next roadside demo - Big Banana Thurs 9th Feb



Report on our meeting with Luke Hartsuyker MP

Last Tuesday Sue, Peter and Mike had a 30-minute meeting with our Federal MP in order to present him with our RAR petition and to discuss with him the appalling treatment of asylum  seekers on Manus Island and Nauru. In truth, it would be a serious overstatement to suggest that we engaged in a discussion with Mr Hartsuyker. The sad truth is that, in spite of our best efforts to get a reaction from him, he sat in silence until the final few minutes of our allotted time. Only then, when pressed to react to the facts that we had put before him, did he speak. He restated the Coalition’s border protection policy and the government’s success in stopping the boats and saving lives at sea.  He steadfastly refused to be drawn on any of the issues that we had raised and was unwilling to acknowledge the reality that the government’s policy is inflicting untold damage on innocent people, is causing great damage to Australia’s international reputation, and is immensely costly for Australian taxpayers.

On Wednesday, we issued a press release, which we sent to the local press in Bellingen, Coffs Harbour and Nambucca Heads.  An article based on the press release was published on the online edition of the Bellingen Courier Mail almost immediately. You can read the article by following this link - http://www.bellingencourier.com.au/story/4426526/hartsuyker-stands-by-coalitions-asylum-policy/?cs=483

The press release reads:
PRESS RELEASE
Hartsuyker stands by Coalition’s asylum policy

A delegation representing the 500-strong local Rural Australians for Refugees group met on Tuesday 24th January with our Federal MP Luke Hartsuyker. The purpose of the meeting was to present him with a petition, signed by some 400 local people, which calls on the government to close the offshore centres on Manus Island and Nauru. The two centres have a history of inflicting untold harm and suffering on the detainees, who are held there indefinitely, at great financial cost to the Australian taxpayer. These people have committed no crime. They have fled wars and persecution in their home countries to seek safety for themselves and their families, as is their right under international law. The three-person delegation spent half an hour talking to Mr Hartsuyker – who remained passive and silent throughout – about the inhumanity, immorality and illegality of punishing men, women and children through a deliberate policy of cruelty aimed at deterring others from reaching our shores. They reminded Mr Hartsuyker about the countless reports and accounts of the conditions for asylum seekers in offshore detention, all of which paint a clear and consistent picture of a system which is deliberately designed to harm people and to break their spirits.

At the end of the meeting, when asked to comment, Mr Hartsuyker reiterated the Coalition’s policy of protecting our borders, stopping the boats, and saving lives at sea.  He steadfastly refused to be drawn on the reality of the cruelty and suffering inflicted on asylum seekers in offshore detention, where self-harm, physical and sexual abuse are daily occurrences, and where suicides and preventable deaths seem to be the acceptable price to be paid to help to “keep us safe”. He also refused to entertain the idea that other, more humane, courses of action might be preferable.

A spokesperson for the group, Mike Griffin, commented: "We explained to Mr Hartsuyker that we have long since lost count of the number of people who approach us at our market stalls to tell us that the government’s cruel policy on asylum seekers makes them feel ashamed to call themselves Australian. Sadly, Mr Hartsuyker was not interested. It appears that moral leadership and principle are woefully lacking in the current political climate.”

Next Market Stall: Saturday 4th February

Following the success of our recent market in Bellingen, we are now planning for our next market stall at Valla Beach on Saturday 4th February. It would be great to see some new faces, as well as welcoming old hands! If you can help for a while between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm, then please let us know by emailing: bellingen.rar@gmail.com .It’s a great opportunity to have a chat with fellow supporters and to engage with the market goers, who are always overwhelmingly supportive of our work.

Roadside Demonstration at The Big Banana: Thursday 9th February. 3.00 – 4.30 pm

Our first roadside demonstration of 2017 will take place by the Pacific Highway, beneath the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour on Thursday 9th February. Wouldn’t it be great to send a strong message to our local member of parliament that we are determined to keep up the fight for the closure of offshore detention centres! Please try to join us if you can. We have lots of banners and placards to share . We passionately believe that the roadside demos, and the markets, are a great way to keep up the pressure and ensure that the terrible plight of our asylum seekers is not hidden away, as the government would wish. If you can help, please email Mike at :mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.  




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 >480 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

30.1.17

letter to Luke Hartsuyker ...welcome others to share their culture..."

Dear Mr Hartsuyker

In 2001 the Norwegian ship Tampa rescued from the ocean, according to  the ethical code of the sea, a few hundred mainly Afghan asylum seekers.  When the ship sailed over the horizon towards Australia, then Prime Minister John Howard did not see it as an opportunity to extend a helping hand to those who had fled misery.  He saw it as a chance to win more votes in the up-coming election by appealing to baser instincts such as xenophobia, anxiety and the mean refusal to share the goodness most of us enjoy as a result of our forebears' immigrating here. 

Meanwhile, in the NSW central west electorate of Calare, the Independent incumbent, Peter Andren, refused to side with the Coalition on this issue and wished to welcome the refugees.  He said he must follow his conscience & do the right thing, even if it cost him votes.  The typical Calare voter is a cattle farmer, not a latte-sipping leftie or a bleeding-heart greenie.  However, in the election, Peter Andren's vote soared.

Uniting a country by fear-mongering and vilifying those fleeing war, suffering and persecution is not guaranteed to win votes and harms a nation's soul and its reputation.  Your impassive behaviour during your meeting with representatives of our local RAR group might lead to the interpretation  that you have bought into the party line that ethics can be sold for the Pyrrhic victory of staying in power.

You appear to be proud of your Dutch heritage and culture.  Cannot you welcome others to share their culture and to benefit the way your family has from what was once a great and generous-spirited nation?  Please don't stand by passively while the qualities that made Australia a nation in which we could all rejoice are eroded to meanness and selfishness.

Yours faithfully

Mary Forbes


Eungai Creek 

25.1.17

Press release after meeting with Luke Hartsuyker 24 Jan 2017

Press Release meeting with Luke Hartsuyker

PRESS RELEASE
Hartsuyker stands by Coalition’s asylum policy

A delegation representing the 500-strong local Rural Australians for Refugees group met on Tuesday 24th January with our Federal MP Luke Hartsuyker. The purpose of the meeting was to present him with a petition, signed by some 400 local people, which calls on the government to close the offshore centres on Manus Island and Nauru. The two centres have a history of inflicting untold harm and suffering on the detainees, who are held there indefinitely, at great financial cost to the Australian taxpayer. These people have committed no crime. They have fled wars and persecution in their home countries to seek safety for themselves and their families, as is their right under international law. The three-person delegation spent half an hour talking to Mr Hartsuyker – who remained passive and silent throughout – about the inhumanity, immorality and illegality of punishing men, women and children through a deliberate policy of cruelty aimed at deterring others from reaching our shores. They reminded Mr Hartsuyker about the countless reports and accounts of the conditions for asylum seekers in offshore detention, all of which paint a clear and consistent picture of a system which is deliberately designed to harm people and to break their spirits.
At the end of the meeting, when asked to comment, Mr Hartsuyker reiterated the Coalition’s policy of protecting our borders, stopping the boats, and saving lives at sea.  He steadfastly refused to be drawn on the reality of the cruelty and suffering inflicted on asylum seekers in offshore detention, where self-harm, physical and sexual abuse are daily occurrences, and where suicides and preventable deaths seem to be the acceptable price to be paid to help to “keep us safe”. He also refused to entertain the idea that other, more humane, courses of action might be preferable.
A spokesperson for the group, Mike Griffin, commented: "We explained to Mr Hartsuyker that we have long since lost count of the number of people who approach us at our market stalls to tell us that the government’s cruel policy on asylum seekers makes them feel ashamed to call themselves Australian. Sadly, Mr Hartsuyker was not interested. It appears that moral leadership and principle are woefully lacking in the current political climate.”

Bellingen and Nambucca Districts Rural Australians for Refugees.

Contact: Mike Griffin, 39, Rogers Drive, Valla Beach NSW 2448. Tel 6569 5419

24.1.17

Newsletter for 24 January 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Valla Beach Market Stall - Sat 4th Feb
Fire at Sea - Film showing
Meeting with Luke Hartsuyker MP
What people are saying about government policy
Crowd funding project to help refugees


Bellingen market report

Our market in Bellingen on Saturday went really well. The threatened rain didn’t materialise, the crowds arrived and we collected about 100 signatures on our new national RAR petition, which was a great result. A big thank you to our supporters who turned up to lend a hand. We also did  a brisk trade in our Boat People merchandise – could that be related to a recent promotional video, we wonder? As usual, lots of people expressed their dismay at the ongoing cruelty of our government’s asylum policy  and were very supportive of our efforts to expose the facts about the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees on Manus and Nauru. Let’s not forget that the supreme court of PNG ruled last April that the Manus detention centre was illegal and must be closed, and yet to date nothing has changed.
Our next market will be at Valla Beach on Saturday 4th February. Please put the date in your diary and if you can help for an hour or two, please email us at:bellingen.rar@gmail.com. We would greatly value help between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm.
Fire at Sea: a documentary by Gianfranco Rosi. Jetty Theatre, Friday 27th January at 4.30 pm

In 2015 the renowned documentary film maker Gianfranco Rosi spent several months on the Italian island of Lampedusa documenting the arrival of thousands of refugees who had made the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean sea  to flee from persecution and starvation in their home  countries. The resulting film is an on-the-spot, humane and timely survey of Europe’s refugee crisis. It has won the Golden Bear Prize for best film, the Amnesty International Film Prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the Berlin Film Festival.  It is described as “Essential viewing for all Australians”. Tickets are $16 full price and $13 concessions. You can book your tickets on line, or pay at the door.
Meeting with Luke Hartsuyker MP.

We have finally secured a meeting with our local Federal member of parliament to present our petition and to discuss the Coalition’s asylum policy. The meeting will be today, Tuesday 24th January at 4.00 pm. Mr Hartsuyker has agreed to meet with a delegation of three RAR members: Sue Kitson, Peter Sobey and Mike Griffin. Our focus will be on  the cruelty and inhumanity of the treatment of asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru and on the Australian government’s complete disregard for international law. We will report back to you in next week’s newsletter.
What people are saying about the government’s policy

“If the protecting of our borders requires the incarceration of babies, the sexual abuse of children, the rape of women and the murder of men, then we are of all nations the most deprived”.  Father Rod Bower. Gosford Anglican Parish Church.
“If we take the definition of torture to be the deliberate harming of people in order to coerce them into a desired outcome, I think it (the detention regime) does fill that definition”. Dr Peter Young.
“Medical professionals argue that the detention centres are “designed to damage” people, and that the illnesses, injuries, and deaths are the predictable, expected outcomes of the regime”. Amnesty International. October 2016.

Crowd funding project to help refugees

Hi and thank you for taking the time to firstly read this email and, second, to hopefully to open the attached link, and  have a look at what I am trying to achieve.
What started out as a simple conversation with Cheryl Nolan who runs North Coast Settlement Services in Coffs Harbour, quickly blossomed into an idea of what can be an easy and practical solution to a complex problem while building on life skills and developing autonomy for Refugees in the Coffs Harbour region.
I was speaking with Cheryl as part of an assignment I was doing for studies in Community Services and she talked about the how time management and getting to appointments is a major issue for newly arrived Refugees in Coffs Harbour.  As and example, not attending Centrelink appointments for set meetings frequently results in payments being cut off. Attending courses, legal and other meetings and medical appointments all fill the days of new arrivals.  Understanding and dealing with the complexities of the requirements placed upon them is fraught with the difficulties of English as a second, third or even fourth language; previous, very negative experiences of government officials; and coping with the overall experiences of being a refugee newly arrived in Australia.  
With all this in mind,  Cheryl and I talked about creating diaries that can be used to build individual autonomy within the community through developing   time management skills as well as providing a resource for contact information, relevant community services, health services, support groups along with basic translations in all relevant languages.
To this end, I am now passing on to you a link to "Chuffed" - a crowd funding site, with the aim of raising the $3500 to pay for 500 diaries to be distributed free of charge to clients of North Coast Settlement Services, and STARTTS (Service for the Treatment And Rehabilitation of Trauma and Torture Survivors).

Your generous donation to this project would be greatly appreciated.  If you are comfortable to do so would you please forward this link to friends and family.


Kind regards

Rowena McGregor






Bellingen Market Stall

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.

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Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam


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

17.1.17

Newsletter for 17 January 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Bellingen Market Stall - Sat 21st Jan
Letter from Tanya Plibersek MP
Human rights watch report card 2017

Our next market: Bellingen, Saturday 21st January

A reminder that our next market is this Saturday in Bellingen.  John and Mike will be setting up the stall at 7.00 am, and we are looking for helpers from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. If you can spare an hour or so to give a hand, then please let Mike know at:mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.  We will be collecting signatures on a new national RAR petition in addition to selling merchandise, handing out new leaflets and talking to market goers. It’s a great opportunity to interact with the public and to continue to publicise  the terrible reality of our government’s asylum policy. You will find us near to the live music stage and the food stalls, at pitch C 48. Please drop by to say hello if you are visiting the market.
 
Letter from Tanya Plibersek MP

During the Christmas break, we finally received a response from Tanya Plibersek, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, to our October letter about the plight of asylum seekers and refugees. It is a lengthy response, which seeks to differentiate Labor’s policy from that of the Coalition. Clearly, there are differences between the two groups’ positions, but critically, the Labor party remains wedded to the policy of boat turn-backs and offshore detention which has become a policy of indefinite detention over the years.  The letter , which you can find on our blog, ends as follows: “Once again, thank you for taking time to write to me, and for your advocacy on this important issue. Please pass on my best wishes to all in Rural Australians or Refugees.”

It is fair to say that Tanya Plibersek’s letter is quite different in tone and content from the  response we received from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, which you can also find on our blog.
 
Human Rights Watch Report Card 2017

Last week, Human Rights Watch published its annual update on the state of human rights around the world, and once again Australia came in for severe criticism over its asylum policy. The governments of Australia and PNG are criticised for the fact that no steps have been taken to date to close the Manus Island detention centre, in spite of the fact that the PNG supreme court declared it to be illegal under the country’s constitution.  HRW calls for the centre’s  closure and for the immediate resettlement of detainees in Australia or a suitable third country. They report: “ Refugees and asylum seekers on Manus have suffered enough; it’s time to let them move on with their lives in safety and dignity.” The report goes on to describe Australia’s policy of offshore detention as “draconian”, stating that people are held in abusive and dangerous conditions.

There is no chapter on Nauru, but HRW’s Australia director, Elaine Pearson, says: “There has been an absence of accountability for violence and harassment faced by refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, and in fact senior officials have simply denied such abuses took place rather than investigating allegations. More broadly, there has been an erosion of democracy and the rule of law.”


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 453 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

10.1.17

Newsletter for 10 January 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Welcome
Bellingen Market Stall - Sat 21st Jan
Roadside demonstration - Big Banana, Thurs 9th Feb
USA refugee resettlement
Assisting asylum seekers

Welcome back!

We hope that you have all enjoyed the break from normal routines in recent weeks  and we wish you all a happy new year. Let us hope that 2017 turns out to be a better one for our asylum seekers and refugees in offshore detention centres and on the mainland. We plan to keep up the fight for a just, humane and compassionate resolution to the torment that our government has been inflicting on refugees in recent years. Perhaps you have made a resolution to become more involved in our activities this year.  If so, we very much look forward to meeting you at one of our 16 markets planned for the year or at one of our many roadside demonstrations. We, and the asylum seekers and refugees languishing in detention, need all the help that we can muster in order to keep this terrible situation in the public eye.
Our next market stall: Bellingen market, Saturday 21st January

Our first market of 2017 will be in Bellingen on Saturday 21st January. Please consider helping out on the stall for a while between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm, or just drop in to say hello and to sign our petition. If you can help out, please let Mike know by emailing him at :mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com. As usual, we’ll be selling our merchandise, handing out leaflets, talking to lots of people and collecting donations for the Asylum Seekers Centre.
Our next roadside demonstration : Big Banana, Coffs Harbour, Thursday 9th February.

We have to delay the start of our roadside demos owing to  the intervention of Australia day and another unavoidable commitment. We’ll have a new banner to unfurl, so it would be great to have two new pairs of hands for it’s first outing. We’ll be located by the Pacific Highway adjacent to the Big Banana from 3.00 pm until 4.30 pm on Thursday 9th February. Please come and join us and help us spread the message that Australians do care about the refugees and asylum seekers still trapped on Nauru and Manus after all this time.
Will the USA refugee resettlement survive the Trump presidency?

There has been a great deal of speculation about whether or not the deal between Obama and Turnbull will survive under a Trump presidency. Leaving aside the basic sordidness of the proposals, we are reading reports from the USA this week that the arrangements are by no means secure. Texan Republican Brian Babin is adamant that the deal will not go ahead. He has told Fairfax Media:  “ I am confident President-elect Trump will do everything in his power to put an immediate stop to this secret Australian-US deal that should have simply never happened in the first place.”
There has only ever been one moral and lawful solution to the issue. The refugees and asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru should be brought to Australia and should, if found to be genuine refugees, be resettled here.

Assisting asylum seekers in Nauru and Manus
For people languishing in Manus and Nauru their phones are often the only link they have with their families. If you would like to help with a contribution of phone credit please follow the Facebook link below for more information. 
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1646607628911452/


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 453 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