Guided by Justice and Compassion

  • 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

  • BRING THEM HERE OFFSHORE DETENTION: THE SUFFERING CONTINUES

    BRING THEM HERE OFFSHORE DETENTION: THE SUFFERING CONTINUES

    While the Detention Centre on Manus Island was forcibly closed by the PNG Government there are still more than 600 men detained in unsafe conditions on Manus Island.
    There are approximately 340 people – men, women and children – held in the Nauru detention centre, including 43 children. A further 750 people have been released into the tiny Nauruan community, including more than 100 children. They have temporary visas, very limited rights, and they cannot leave the island.
    Read this concise update of what is continuing to happen on Manus Island and Nauru by the Bellingen and Nambucca District RAR. Jan 2018.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

  • 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

  • Meeting with Shadow Minister for Immigration, Shayne Neumann

    Meeting with Shadow Minister for Immigration, Shayne Neumann

    On Thursday 3rd August a delegation from  BMRSG  met with the Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection,  Shayne Neumann and our local member Susan Templeman at Lawson Community Centre to raise our concerns about the treatment of people seeing asylum both within Australia and in Nauru and Manus.
    We put the case for on-shore processing of those on Manus Island and settlement in Australia. We especially focused  on those people suffering health issues due to their detention and those people seeking asylum  with family ties and support networks in Australia. We raised concerns about the treatment of those in  inside Australia: indefinite detention, random removal to  detention centres in other states and people in the community who are living in limbo on temporary visasRead more