Guided by Justice and Compassion

  • Walid Zazai speaks from Manus to the Palm Sunday Rally 2018

    Walid Zazai speaks from Manus to the Palm Sunday Rally 2018

    Walid Zazai speaks from Manus
    31 December 2017 As the clock ticked towards midnight, I felt both dread at another long year and hope for what seems unimaginable to me – freedom.
    Hello everyone, my name is Walid Zazai. Thank you for asking me to speak again.

    Much has changed since last year’s Palm Sunday Rally.
    On 7 August 2017, Hamed Shamshiripour died on Manus.On 21 September 2017, 24 Manus men left PNG for the US, thefirst to be resettled under what Donald Trump called a ‘dumb deal’.
    On 29 September 2017, Rajeev became the sixth Manus Island refugee to die in the last four years. His death follows those of Reza Barati, Hamid Kehazaei, Kamil Hussain, Faysal Ishak, Ahmed & Hamed Shamshiripour.
    November 2017 is a month I hope one day my memory will erase.Read more

  • A letter from Manus Island to be read on Palm Sunday

    A letter from Manus Island to be read on Palm Sunday

    Imran, a refugee on Manus, has written this letter on behalf of the refugees and asylum-seekers on the island to coincide with Palm Sunday rallies across Australia. Dearest Friends, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to everyone joining the rally on Palm Sunday, and of course, to those who support us in myriadRead more

  • Friday essay: the Chauka bird and morality on our Manus Island home

    Friday essay: the Chauka bird and morality on our Manus Island home

    Michelle Nayahamui Rooney grew up on Manus Island and returned to her home in November 2017. Here is the story of her childhood, what Manus island means to her as she tries to explains what the detention centre has done to this community.

    “My poem Chauka, yu we? started as an angry reaction to the appropriation of the Chauka and the inhumane treatment of asylum seekers. As a scholar and as a Manus Islander, I have tried to reason through the historical, political, social and moral issues that gave rise to the detention centre. At the same time I am left angry, sad and guilty…”Read more

  • The increasingly deranged diary of a detention centre visitor

    The increasingly deranged diary of a detention centre visitor

    If the Department of Home Affairs was trying to stop detention centre visits with its new, punitive visitation procedures, then it may have worked.
    Last month the Department of Home Affairs changed the visitation protocols for Australian detention centres, provoking outrage and hunger strikes among detainees.
    Here, Rebekah Holt attempts to navigate the new system for her weekly Sunday visit.Read more

  • Update on situation in Villawood over visitor restrictions

    Update on situation in Villawood over visitor restrictions

    An update from one of the BMRSG visitors after going into Villawood on 24 January. “Everyone is upset about the authoritarian and rigid rules about visitors, no games allowed in, no cooked food 7 days notice for visitors and only one detainee per visitor plus random strip searchers after meeting a visitor. Only 3 of our detainees came out to visit with us this week out of 6 but we did invent some fun games and had a good time, Very few families came into the compounds this week as the processes and forms are complex and hard for people for whom English is a second language.”
    Also some background information as to who is in Villawood. Who are 501s?Read more

  • Hunger strike starts over immigration detention visits restrictions

    Hunger strike starts over immigration detention visits restrictions

    Over two hundred detainees at two detention centres, Villawood in Sydney and Maribyrnong in Melbourne, have declared a hunger strike in protest at visiting restrictions recently announced by Border Force. The detainees have been on hunger strike for more than 24 hours, since the morning of Monday 15 January.

    Posters declaring the changes would apply after 22 January went up unannounced in the centres, last week. Detainees only found out about the policy when told by their visitors.

    Under the restrictions, visitors will have to give five days’ notice of any visit, fill in a five-page form, with actual visits restricted to one on one. Visitors will also be required to have 100 points of ID when they attend the detention centre to visit.Read more