CAPSA newsletter November 2023
Dear CAPSA Community,
Thank you as always for your continued support. In recent news, the Australian government has confirmed that there are 11 people who have been transferred and detained in Nauru. Also, the men who remain in PNG will likely be transferred from there in the coming weeks, but until this occurs many are currently also at risk of eviction with no access to services. In more positive updates, the 22 women walking from Melbourne to Canberra have completed their Walk for Freedom. These women are advocating for permanent protection of thousands of people in limbo.
In the remainder of this newsletter, you will find other recent updates, a list of upcoming events and actions including CAPSA’s National Week of Prayer and Action, and recommended reading, watching and listening.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us with your stories, thoughts or community actions via firstname.lastname@example.org.
In hope and solidarity,
The CAPSA team
11 People have been sent to Nauru for the first time in 9 Years
- In September, the Guardian reported that 11 people who had arrived by boat had been transferred and detained in Nauru. Last week, the Australian government confirmedthis was the case
- It was only in June 2023 that the last refugees were transferred from Nauru under Operation Sovereign Borders (with the exception of two people remaining in the Island nation), and marks the first time in 9 years that someone has been transferred to Nauru to be detained
- Among the 11 people now detained in Nauru is a 17-year-old boy, confirming concerns from advocates of a child being detained, despite the huge #kidsoffnauru campaign to successfully evacuate all children out of detention in Nauru in 2019. The child’s motherwas also on board and is being detained
- There have also been very concerning reports regarding serious self-harm from one of the adult men who have been detained
- Despite offshore detention being under Australia’s responsibility, Nauru is currently facilitating the processing and services
- CAPSA is very concerned about the detainment and the health and wellbeing of the 11 new people in Nauru, including a child and continues to call for offshore detention to end permanently. CAPSA issued a statement via our social media, which can be viewed here
“We urge the Australian Government to immediately remove the people newly detained on Nauru into appropriate accommodation in Australia, and to provide them with health care, social support, and access to a fair and timely asylum procedure.” CAPSA social media post. You can view our full social media post
The last refugees in Papua New Guinea to be evacuated
- The men who remain in PNG from Australia’s offshore detention policy are all likely to be transferred from PNG in the coming weeks
- This update has come following concerns for the welfare and safety of the men who remain in PNG, as the Australian government has not been paying for their housing and services to the PNG government and PNG-run services which the Australian government is responsible to fund
- Many of the men are facing risks of eviction and are not able to access any services or supports at this time as a result
- CAPSA is concerned for the welfare of the men on PNG without access to secure housing and services at present, and calls for the fast and safe transition of all refugees off PNG. CAPSA has recently released a statement on social media
“We also urge a smooth and swift transition of those currently remaining in Papua New Guinea to new safe locations, with access to appropriate health care and social support.” CAPSA social media post. You can view our full social media post here
Papua New Guinea to investigate concerns of corruption from the offshore refugee program funded by Australia
- Recently, the Guardian released information of concerns of corruption and mismanagement of its Australian-funded refugee support programs providing welfare support to the refugees remaining in PNG from Australia’s offshore detention policy
- These programs have been funded by the Australian government related to the PNG Humanitarian Program. It is alleged that millions of dollars of funding has been potentially misused
- Following these reports, PNG have now stated that these concerns of corruption will be formally investigated by the Port Moseby government
- You can find the full original story by the Guardian here
Refugee Women Action for Visa Equality End their walk for Freedom
- On 18th October, the 22 Iranian and Tamil women who walked 640km from Melbourne, arrived in Canberra
- As women on short term bridging visas, their plea to the government was to provide permanence to approximately 10 000 people like them and their families. They have been in Australia for up to ten years having fled their own countries, and still do not have permanent residence
“I left Iran and came to Australia in 2013 because of the lack of freedom and safety for women in Iran. I now have three children who were born in Australia but don’t have access to Medicare and my 4-year-old twins can’t attend childcare.” Samira Zadeh, member of the Refugee Women Action for Visa Equality. Reported by the ASRC
“Visa limbo is breaking our hearts”. Rathi Barthlote and Geetha Ramachandran, members of the Refugee Women Action for Visa Equality. View their full story published by the Guardian here
- During this time, Thienushan Chandrasekaram, a Tamil person seeking asylum and cricketer rode 1400km from Brisbane to Canberra, completing his Cycling for Freedomin time to meet the 22 women as they completed with Walk for Freedom
- Thienushan has been on a temporary visa himself since 2013, and is also calling for permanent protection of all those on long-standing temporary visas
- There have been some developments this year to onshore detention policies, such as giving permanent protection to those on Temporary Protection Visas and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas earlier this year, as well as recently announced plans for reform of building a fairer and faster onshore visa system. However, as the Refugee Women Action for Visa Equality and Thienushan Chandrasekaram can attest, people are currently still waiting in limbo
- CAPSA continues to call for permanency for the 10 000 people who have been waiting on bridging visas for over 10 years
- To support and follow their incredible action, you can follow Refugee Women Action for Visa Equality here, sign the petition here, or donate to the campaign here
Other News and Updates
- The UN reports that the world is seeing the highest number of refugees since recording of data has begun in 1975. There are currently 114 million refugees currently, or 1 in every 73 people of the world’s population have been displaced
- On 13th October, the UN reported that there are at least 423 000 people who have been displaced in Gaza and this is likely to rise
- The situation in Sudan continues to involve mass displacement of people, with the UN reporting that over 5.8 million people have been displaced since April 2023, including, including 4.5 million internally displaced and 1.17 million escaping across the border. It is now the “largest internal displacement crisis in the world”
- Pakistan has begun arresting and deporting Afghan seeking asylum back to Afghanistan after ordering many to return ‘voluntarily’. Over 200 000 Afghan people seeking asylum had have already returned to Afghanistan ‘voluntarily’
- Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project, a project providing direct support as well as advocacy to people seeking asylum, reports it is struggling to be able to provide support with its limited funding: “BASP is now at the stage when the level of support we have been giving, and that is needed, is unsustainable”. To provide support or donate to BASP click on the link here
Upcoming Events and Actions
Table Talk – with People Seeking Asylum – hosted by JRS Australia 8th November, Cloister Hall, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta. This is a free event which allows anyone in the community to hear from and connect with those with lived experience. Click the link here for details on this free event.
Kaldor Centre Conference 2023 Sydney 20th November – Sydney. Kaldor Centre’s annual conference, this year it will be exploring “Learning from the future: Foresight for the next decade of forced migration”. In person at the University of NSW. This is an in-person event. View here for more information or to purchase a ticket.
Migration, Refugees and Statelessness Interdisciplinary Conference 2023 16th November – Melbourne. The Melbourne Social Equity Institute through the University of Melbourne is hosting this one-day conference, “exploring migration, refugee studies and statelessness”. This is a free, in-person event held at the University of Melbourne. To register for a ticket follow the link here.
Eyes Open Wide – an exhibition of paintings by Fran Sheahan. Opening event 6:00pm Friday 17th November, gallery open 17-26th November 10:00am-2:00pm daily – Melbourne. Artist and CAPSA’s very own volunteer Fran Sheahan will be running her art exhibition, with 50% of the art sales being donated to the Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project. The exhibition is held at Good Shepherd Chapel Gallery, St Heliers St Abbotsford VIC.
The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Rauf
From the founder of Making Herstory, an organisation mobilising men, women and children to tackle the abuse and trafficking of women and girls in the UK and beyond. A book for children, it tells the story from a child’s perspective on the refugee crisis.
To purchase the book, view the link here.
Cruel Care: A History of Children at Our Borders by Jordana Silverstein
Cruel Care tells a story of government, politics and the emotions that drive decisions. It asks why Australia has treated child refugees with violence and why governments say that the cruel acts they perpetrate are a form of care.
To purchase the book, view the link here.
Bazigaga – Short film directed and written by Jo Ingabire Moys
As a child, Jo Ingabire Moys witnessed the brutal murder of her family in Rwanda. Thirty years on, her BAFTA-nominated film Bazigaga represents her trauma, telling the story of two refugees who flee the genocide. The language of the film is in French.
View here for more details of the film.
Please Explain podcast – Inside Politics: Was Peter Dutton as tough on borders as he seemed? Hosted by the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age.