October Newsletter 2021
Firstly, thank you again for your continued support. Over 200 people attended our recent webinar ‘A Call to Prayer and Action for Afghanistan’ and we were inspired by the continued compassion and dedication of this community.
As the issues and challenges faced by those fleeing the violence in Afghanistan or abandoned by Australia on PNG and Nauru continue to worsen, we can be ground down by the lack of change. However, action events such as the webinar remind us that we are moving, albeit slowly. As Pope Francis encourages, the CAPSA community – along with so many others – is standing in solidarity, becoming an “ever wider we”, rather than an “us and them”. We live in hope that compassionate change is possible and that we work for it together.
Federal Government signs deal to continue immigration detention in Nauru indefinitely and end offshore processing in PNG
- Australia has confirmed that it will end offshore processing in PNG and Manus Island after eight years. From the start of January next year, the PNG Government will have “full responsibility” over the 124 refugees and asylum seekers who remain there, says Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews.
- Refugees and asylum seekers who remain on PNG will be given the option to either stay in PNG and be offered a “permanent migration pathway”, relocate to Nauru or will be required to find resettlement elsewhere. Refugees left in Port Moresby, many who have been trapped in Australia’s offshore processing regime for over eight years, say that “nothing will change for us…we will still suffer”.
- Advocates fear for the safety and security of detainees who stay behind, as PNG is currently experiencing incredible strain following multiple COVID-19 outbreaks and a low vaccination rate of just 2%.
- Australia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nauruan Government to maintain “an enduring form” of offshore processing, now making it Australia’s only third country immigration detention.
- Secrecy continues to shroud Australia’s offshore immigration policies, as the text of the new agreement has not been made public, with Savitri Taylor reflecting in her recent Conversation article that “the deliberate opaqueness is intended to make it difficult to hold the government to account for the human and (financial) costs.”
Action for Afghanistan
- CAPSA’s involvement in the Action for Afghanistan campaign continues as people affected by the crisis in Afghanistan are facing ongoing violence and persecution
- Our recent webinar ‘A Call to Prayer and Action for Afghanistan’, held during National Week of Prayer and Action 2021, brought together over 200 members of the CAPSA community to hear from expert speakers and take practical actions online. If you would like to watch the webinar or find out how you can take action, see here.
- Advocates and organisations continue to call on the Australian Government to increase humanitarian intake from Afghanistan by 20,000 places. You can get involved with Action for Afghanistan’s ‘20k Tuesday’ social media campaign and post your support for people seeking safety from Afghanistan.
- Thursday 14th October marks 20 years since Australia joined the US-led war in Afghanistan, known as ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’. Advocate Arif Hussein explains why Australia must match its commitment to Afghanistan by providing at least 20,000 additional humanitarian places.
- A Senate Inquiry into Australia’s engagement in Afghanistan has been referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, which plans to make an interim report on 29 November 2021. Submissions closed on 8th October and public hearings began on 11th Keep track of the inquiry here.
Other news and updates
- Through Freedom of Information requests, researchers have found that vaccination rates in Australian immigration detention centres are 20% lower than the national figures.
- Three members of the Murugappan family, also known as the Nadesalingam family, have been granted 12 month bridging visas, but must remain in Perth, as the youngest daughter Tharnicca remains in community detention.
- The Federal Government has said that they still require health checks of Afghan visa applicants prior to having their applications finalised before exiting Afghanistan.
- The Migration and Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Information Provisions) Bill 2020 is currently before the intelligence and security committee of parliament. There is concern from legal and human rights groups that this law would create a “regime of alarming secrecy”, as it would allow the cancellation of a person’s visa without them knowing why.
Upcoming Events and Actions
- ‘Whose move? Addressing migration and displacement in the face of climate change’ – Kaldor Centre Virtual Conference, 19-21 October 2021 – register here
- Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia, Group Mentorship Program, Upcoming Information Sessions – https://refugeesponsorship.org.au/what-we-do/group-mentorship-program/
- Refugee Action Collective (Vic) Online Forum: ‘22 years since the first TPV: why refugees need permanent visas’, see the Facebook event here
- ‘What’s next for Afghanistan’ by Hava Rezaie, Hayat Akbari, Zaki Haidari, op-ed in Eureka Street 28th September 2021, read it here
- ‘Escape from Manus: The untold true story’ by Javiet Ealom, a powerful novel detailing how one man escaped the prison of immigration detention on Manus Island. Purchase and read it here
- Looking for a new film or documentary to watch during lockdown? Check out this list compiled by the team at Refugee Week, watch here
- ‘Leaving Place, Restoring Home’, a podcast episode by the Kaldor Centre discussing their latest report in collaboration with the Platform on Disaster Displacement, listen here, read the report here.
- ‘Climate Change and Migration: Myths and Realities’, a podcast episode by Green Wave looking at ‘how our changing environment is making people move’, listen here and