Guided by Justice and Compassion

  • Farewell to the wonderful Kath

    Farewell to the wonderful Kath

    Mountain Activist off to Bourke
    Bourke has gained a treasure, while the Blue Mountains, especially the Refugee Support Group Detention Centre visiting team, have lost Kath Sneddon, one of their great stalwarts. Refugees in Sydney have lost a great advocate.
    Kath’s cheerful energy has lightened many a depressing day at the Villawood Detention Centre while her home cooking and great free range stuffed eggs were a great favourite with home sick refugees stuck in indefinite detention – until Minister Dutton’s Border Force decided home cooked food was a security risk!Read more

  • Australia built a hell for refugees on Manus. The shame will outlive us all – Richard Flanagan

    Australia built a hell for refugees on Manus. The shame will outlive us all – Richard Flanagan

    So this is what we have come to as a nation.
    The wretched of the earth, because they were no longer safe where they lived, sought to come here. With a determined cruelty, we kidnapped and imprisoned them in Pacific lagers. These lagers became synonymous with the idea of hellholes because it was important to our government that they be – ­and be known as – hellholes.
    On this policy of deterrence, as it was called, which had as its declared purpose to make innocent human beings suffer indefinitely, we spent billions of dollars. To this end we had truck with vile regimes such as Sri Lanka’s. And to this end we began forsaking our democratic rights.Read more

  • Australians of the Year call for doctors to be allowed into former Manus Island detention centre

    Australians of the Year call for doctors to be allowed into former Manus Island detention centre

    Twelve former Australians of the Year have written an open letter pleading with the Prime Minister to allow medical professionals access to asylum seekers inside the recently closed Manus Island detention centre.

    “It’s really likely that deaths will occur in the coming days and weeks so something needs to be done,” mental health expert Professor Patrick McGorry said.
    “There’s a great concern about the safety of these men from both a medical and a psychiatric point of viewRead more

  • Dutton to use Dogs on Asylum Seekers

    Dutton to use Dogs on Asylum Seekers

    The Migration Amendment (Prohibiting items in Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2017 now before the senate, will allow Dutton’s Border Force to use dogs, have increased powers to strip search detainees and go through their possessions without a warrant. The minister will have unfettered power to ban what ever he decides is a “prohibited thing” in detention centres (especially mobile phones). This Bill entrenches institutionalised brutality. It needs to be stopped.
    Find out what you can do?
    Put in a submission to the Senate Inquiry. Find out how.Read more

  • Susan Templeman’s speech on Australian Border Force Amendment Bill 2017

    Susan Templeman’s speech on Australian Border Force Amendment Bill 2017

    “The Turnbull government has introduced an amendment to Parliament to remove strict secrecy provisions governing Australia’s immigration detention system. The move has been described as “a major victory for refugee advocates who challenged the laws in the High Court”.
    Immigration Minister Peter Dutton introduced amendments to the 2015 Australian Border Force Act that previously threatened detention centre workers with two years in prison if they spoke out about neglect or abuse.”
    Susan Templeman MP Member for Macquarie spoke on this Bill.Read more

  • Candle-Light Vigil for Hamed

    Candle-Light Vigil for Hamed

    The Blue Mountains Community reached out to the grieving family of Hamed Shamshiripour in Iran on Saturday night in Leura. The church was full as the community gathered to express their grief and sadness at the tragic death of asylum seeker Hamed Shamshiripour on Manus Island.
    Candles were lit and placed under a framed photo of Hamed. Prayers and meditation framed the evening as people were given the space to share their feelings. Several poets read out their moving poetry, scripture was read and many people wrote messages that will be translated and sent to Hamed’s family in Iran with the poetry and photos of the beautiful candlelit space.

    The vigil was organised by Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group and the Leura Uniting Church. Read more