Asia-Pacific July News Roundup

This is a compilation of the tweets by the Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator of the International Detention Coalition. For live updates, follow @IDCAsiaPacific


 

Regional: Briefing Paper Improving Refugee Protection in Asia-Pacific: How Australia can make a practical difference from Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), with input from the Asia-Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) argues that not only is it essential for Australia to be involved in regional cooperation but it can start now with constructive bilateral steps to achieve immediate improvements in the lives of refugees.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue SeaA 52 minute documentary looking at the circumstances and decisions that lead someone to become a ‘boat person’, is available for free or a nominated donation. With asylum seekers and refugees in the Asia-Pacific region caught in a politically saturated environment, the documentary aims to shift the dominant conversations, by introducing “the human faces behind the most controversial issue of our time”.

Explore SBS Australia’s fantastic interactive resources looking at core asylum seeker and refugee issues in the Asia-Pacific region, and providing useful tools to challenge politically charged myths about people seeking protection.

After entering Australian waters, Vietnamese asylum seekers returned by plane in the dead of night, while advocates fear for their safety.

Indonesia: Refugees and asylum seekers denied effective legal protections. Indonesian Civil Society Network for Refugee Right Protection (SUAKA) explore Indonesia’s domestic legal framework regarding asylum seekers and refugees arriving at, or transiting through the country, in detail.

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Australia: Peak bodies, health and welfare professionals and refugee rights organisations have expressed grave concerns over news laws which threaten detention centre staff with jail for speaking out about asylum seekers’ welfare at the offshore detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island. Although the government claims that whistle blowers will be protected by existing laws under the Public Interest Disclosure Act, lawyers and doctors have rejected these assurances.

Over the past month, there has been consistent community opposition to the Border Force Act 2015. An open letter from over 40 current and former health workers at Australia’s detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island, was addressed to PM Tony Abbott, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Labour Opposition leader Bill Shorten, stating: “We challenge the department to prosecute”. Doctors, nurses, teachers, psychologists and social workers have organised a series of headline-generating rallies across the country, in major cities and regional centres.

Amnesty International Australia marks the legislation as a “clear act of censorship”, and states that the “suppression of information about human rights abuses committed in Australia’s offshore detention centres serves no clear security purpose, but instead serves only to protect a controversial but central policy of the Australian government”.

The World Medical Association has echoed the Australian Medical Association in calling for the Federal Government to dump the new laws. Doctors and child health workers in New Zealand have also condemned the Act. The devastating treatment of asylum seekers detained on Nauru and Manus Island, signals the necessity of enabling professionals working in these centres to “tell the truth”.

Myanmar rescues 102 migrants stranded on an island for nearly a month, sends them bac to countries of origin.

Malaysian Government releases 252 Nepali workers from detention.