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Posts from the ‘Upcoming events’ Category


Film screening


The story of detention on Nauru last time

6pm Monday 22 October
NSW Teachers federation building 23-33 Mary st, Surry Hills (walking distance from Central station)

Under the Howard government journalists were banned from entering Nauru. But in 2003, SBS Dateline’s Bronwyn Adcock managed to gain entry to the island nation.

After detention centre guards abandoned the camp following a protest by detainees, she slipped under the wire with her video camera and was invited into the camp by detainees, gaining unprecedented access to film the conditions inside detention.

As the Gillard government reopens the same camp used on Nauru last time, this report gives a unique insight into the conditions faced by asylum seekers on Nauru.

Read more


Building Bridges art exhibition and fundraiser

Important announcement: Event postponed

Unfortunately, the exhibition has outgrown the capacity of the venue chosen to house the event. We will be holding the exhibition at a far larger venue in late November and will make an announcement shortly as to where and when.

Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) and Refugee Art Project (RAP) are jointly hosting this special exhibition of works donated by a diverse range of emerging and established artists who are proud to support refugee activism and refugee culture. All funds raised will be equally shared between RAC and RAP.

Image: Deborah Kelly, ‘And For My Next Trick’, 290mm x 365mm, original collage from vintage and contemporary sources with Swarowski crystal on Italian cotton paper in mid-century Danish frame with convex glass, 2010 – just one of the artworks available at this fundraiser auction.

As parliament meets to debate offshore processing…



1pm Sunday August 12, Sydney Town Hall

Tell Gillard and Abbott:
We want a full inquiry into all boat sinkings
End mandatory detention and free the refugees

Following the latest asylum seeker boat tragedies, there is a clamour for a solution to deaths at sea. But both political parties insist on proposing offshore processing to “stop the boats”. Labor simply prefers its Malaysia Agreement while the Coalition prefers re-opening Nauru. Gillard has so far failed to get Tony Abbott to agree to vote for new legislation to revive offshore processing. But she wants to try again when parliament resumes on August 14, and has set up an “expert committee” to propose a “solution”. This rally will be held just before parliament resumes. We need to raise our voices to say that any form of offshore processing is no solution, and that violating asylum seekers’ rights is not the way forward.

Download the poster here to stick up at work or near where you live or

Share the Facebook event here

Organised by Refugee Action Coalition


RAC forum

Deaths at sea, people smuggling and border security:



Author new book Reluctant Rescuers on ‘border protection’ and A Certain Maritime Incident on SIEV X
Author The People Smuggler: The Oskar Schindler of Asia?

6pm Monday August 6, Teachers’ Federation building
23-33 Mary St, Surry Hills (near Central station)

The Gillard government claims offshore processing to “stop the boats” can save lives. But in fact it is Australia’s regime of criminalising people smuggling, which forces refugees to take unsafe boats, and the instructions to customs that their aim is to stop boats, not detect and rescue those in trouble, that have cost lives. This forum hear from two speakers who have investigated how.

Tony Kevin’s new book Reluctant Rescuers can be purchased online at

Read a review of Robin de Crespigny’s book The People Smuggler here


No deportations to danger

Sign our online petition to stop deportations to Afghanistan and Sri Lanka (click on link)

The Australian government is currently attempting to deport Afghan Hazara asylum seeker, Ismail Mirza Jan, to Afghanistan. Never before has an Afghan national been forcibly removed from Australia to Afghanistan.

Ismail Mirza Jan

This would be a new low in Australia’s refugee policy, with the Labor Government sinking even further than the Howard Government in pursuing deporations to danger. Even high-ranking ministers in the Western-backed Afghan government have questioned Australia’s right to forcibly repatriate Afghan asylum seekers from Australia. If Ismail is deported, this will open the way for the deportation of scores of Afghan, and potentially other, asylum seekers – back to war torn countries, impending danger, or even a death sentence. Two Tamil asylum seekers, Emil and Vithuran, too were only saved from deportation by last minute legal action in December.

Deportations to death
The Gillard government risks repeating the disastrous record of the Howard government–which deported Afghans back to danger and death. There was a similar freeze on Afghan asylum seekers imposed by the Howard government in late 2001 when the US invaded Afghanistan. Following the invasion, Afghan asylum seekers were deported from Nauru.

Last year the Sydney Morning Herald investigated the fate of refugees from the Tampa, who were turned away from Australia by the navy in 2001. Mostly Hazaras, 179 of them were sent back to Afghanistan. Ten years on, “Up to 20 have been reported killed, dozens more have disappeared.” Of those that have survived, “most live on the fringes, in refugee camps or separated from family in unfamiliar cities.”

One, Sawar, had been home in his village in Ghazni province just a week when a group of men, “took him from his house… dragged him outside and choked him to death with barbed wire.”

Abdul Azmin Rajabi saw his nine and six year old daughters Yalda and Rowena killed as a consequence of his being targeted four months after he was returned.

Ismail’s case

In November the government began moves to deport a 27 year-old Hazara Afghan asylum seeker, Ismail Mirza Jan, from Villawood detention centre to Kabul, Afghanistan. This would be the first forced deportation since the Memorandum of Understanding signed last year.

Ismail fled Afghanistan in 2001, after his father was killed. His province, Wardak, remains notoriously dangerous for Hazaras. Like so many other Hazaras, Ismail has been told he can return to Kabul, but Ismail is not from Kabul. Besides the danger, Ismail has no family, no community ties, no social support and no hope. Neither Ismail nor any other asylum seeker should be returned to Afghanistan.

Further information

Deported to Danger reports produced by the Edmund Rice Centre (ERC)
The ERC has produced two detailed reports investigating the fate of asylum seekers deported by the Howard government, including many to Afghanistan. They are available online at or visit

A Well Founded Fear
A documentary film has also been produced based on the work of the ERC, which screened on SBS in 2008

The Tampa: ten years on
The Sydney Morning Herald investigation ten years after on the Tampa is online at


Auburn public meeting

Ten years after the Tampa, Stop the Malaysia solution

Why we need to welcome refugees

Najeeba Wazefadost (Hazara Women of Australia)
Refugee recently released from detention
Mark Goudkamp (refugee activist who recently visited Malaysia)

3pm Sunday August 28, Australian Turkish and Kurdish Community Centre, 50 Susan St, Auburn
Food served from sunset.

A public meeting hosted by Refugee Action Coalition—all welcome


Rally against first deportations to Malaysia

No to the Malaysia solution

Rally 5pm Friday August 26, Sydney Town hall

The first boat of asylum seekers the Gillard government hopes to deport to Malaysia under its refugee swap deal are now being held on Christmas Island. The first asylum seekers are planned to be sent back either Sunday or Monday, with single men sent first. There are 18 children, including as many as 14 unaccompanied minors. The government says there will be no “blanket exemptions” to stop them being sent to fend for themselves in Malaysia.

Disgustingly, the government has upped the number of Federal Police on the island to 70, and has declared its willingness to use force and “do what was necessary” to send refugees back to Malaysia. These 54 refugees, mainly Afghans, Iraqis and Iranians, should not be sent to Malaysia. Join this protest to condemn the Gillard government’s efforts to press ahead with the “Malaysia solution” and demand the deal be scrapped.


World Refugee Day rally

It’s time to end mandatory detention

Rally and march
12pm Sunday June 19
Sydney Town hall

The World Refugee Day Rally is being organised by a broad range of refugee activist and advocacy groups, including ChilOut, Labor for Refugees, Balmain for Refugees, the Edmund Rice Centre, the NSW Greens, the Refugee Action Coalition, unions and others.

We are inviting everyone who supports refugee rights to come together and rally on World Refugee Day, Sunday June 19 to make it clear to the government:

It’s time to END Mandatory DETENTION!

Click “Read more” for how you can help to build the rally or email jemima.mowbray [at] for info

Read more »



Media Release February 15, 2011

Refugee supporters will hold a protest outside Villawood detention centre (on Miowera Road) on Wednesday 16 February starting at 4.30pm, to show support for the survivors and to press the demand that the Minister for Immigration not return the survivors to Christmas Island.

Christmas Island survivors are being held overnight at Villawood and relatives are being allowed to visit for a few hours on Wednesday, ending at 4.00pm.

It is unclear when the Department of Immigration plans to return the survivors, but its original plans scheduled the survivors for return on Wednesday.

“Our hearts go out to the survivors. We will be pressing the Minister to allow the survivors to stay in Sydney and to bring those still on Christmas Island to the mainland as a matter of priority. The suffering of the survivors is undeniable. Their welfare and any hope of recovery requires a compassionate response from the government,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“No amount of counselling can hope to deal with the psychological trauma of detention on the island that claimed their loved-one’s lives. On Christmas Island, since the tragedy, Seena, the orphaned nine year-old Iranian boy has taken to meeting and watching newly arrived asylum boats in the hope that his parents will be on the ‘next boat’.

“Can anything justify such suffering for another day? What has happened to ‘children out of detention’ or detention being ‘a last resort’? It is time to end mandatory detention and let the survivors stay in Sydney.”

For more information contact Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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