News / Asia

Hundreds Rally to Demand Freedom for Australia Refugees

x
Phil Mercer
Vigils have been held across Australia to demand the release of more than 50 refugees who have been classified as a threat to national security.  The detainees have all been granted asylum but are being held on the orders of Australia’s intelligence services.
 
“Free Ranjini, free the refugees!  Free Ranjini, free the refugees!” protesters shouted.
 
From Perth to Brisbane, and from Sydney to Melbourne, hundreds rallied in support of 56 refugees who are considered to be a security risk.  Most were Tamils from Sri Lanka, while others have fled Iran, Burma and Afghanistan.
 
Friday marks one year since one of the refugees, a pregnant Sri Lankan called Ranjini, was detained along with her two young sons in Melbourne by immigration authorities.
 
Campaigners said the mother-of-three has suffered psychological stress as she attempts to cope with a baby born in detention as well as two increasingly unsettled older children.
 
Australia’s national security service, ASIO, does not have to tell the refugees why they are seen as a potential threat.
 
Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition says some detainees did have dealings with the Tamil Tigers, or LTTE - a group designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States. But he says they pose no danger to Australia.
 
“My discussions with those people, on the evidence I have seen from ASIO, yes, I am 100 percent sure that these people are not any kind of threat in the way that people normally think," Rintoul said.  "We are not talking about bombs in supermarkets.  The LTTE is not a proscribed organization; it has got no history of violent activity outside of Sri Lanka.  It is very difficult to see, you know, what kind of information that ASIO would have, which would indicate otherwise, and in any case I have said over and over again, if the government has got that information let us see it publicly.”                    
 
Although they have been granted asylum, most of the refugees have been incarcerated in Australia for between three and four years.  Officials will not say why they were granted protection only then to be branded a threat to national security.
 
Adverse security assessments cannot be challenged, but after pressure from campaigners the government has allowed the refugees’ cases to be reviewed by former federal court judge, who can make recommendations but has no power to free the detainees.
 
The government in Canberra has insisted that any refugee deemed to be a security risk would not be released from custody.
 
Advocates insist that such intransigence has prompted suicide attempts, hunger strikes and other forms of self-harm by the detainees, who could face months or even years in detention.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kamil from: Australia
May 10, 2013 2:48 PM
these are Islamic terrorists... most are from the Middle East who see Australia as easy and soft target. Most of the people who are parading for the integration of these scumbags are Muslims... that goes to show you that there is no difference between Muslims - there is no distinction between Muslim "moderates" and Muslim radicals... they want to destroy us from within... just like they did to Britain... have you been to London recently???

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More