Psychologists for Peace

Refugee Issues News

Sydney launch of Human Rights Overboard – Tuesday 11 November, 7 pm

Human Rights Overboard draws together, for the first time, the oral testimony and written submissions from the People’s Inquiry into Detention.

Written by Linda Briskman, Susie Latham and Chris Goddard with a foreword by Julian Burnside.

Join us to celebrate this significant event as Kate Gauthier hosts John Highfield and Linda Briskman in a panel discussion at Glebe Café and Church.

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Time: 7.00 pm
Venue: Glebe Café Church 37-47 St Johns Road Glebe NSW

Drinks and nibbles will be provided.

RSVP is essential so email or call Zhi on (02) 9571 73231 by Monday, 3 November for catering numbers.

A Well-Founded Fear – SBS Wednesday November 19, 8:30 pm

International law says that asylum seekers shouldn’t be returned to danger, but the Australian Government never finds out what happens to the asylum seekers it rejects. A Well-Founded Fear follows Phil Glendenning, Director of the Edmund Rice Centre for Social Justice, as he tracks down several rejected asylum seekers to find out how they are faring. These asylum seekers were former Nauru detainees during the infamous ‘Pacific Solution’, where the Australian government used an inferior and non-reviewable assessment process. Phil’s search takes him through Afghanistan, Syria, Turkey, Iran and Canada. Some asylum seekers were killed after being sent back from Nauru, others are missing and feared dead.

A Well-Founded Fear was launched in July at the Sydney Film Festival to great acclaim, and will be screened on SBS on Wednesday 19 November at 8:30 pm. Please spread the word to your friends and encourage them to see it, because the Australian public has a right to know what their government is doing.

A Just Australia's work continues

Since the election of the new government, AJA has been very busy working hard to achieve justice for refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. We've seen some very positive changes - the end of the Pacific Solution - and some agreements for more change by ending TPVs and granting workrights for some asylum seekers in the community.

But so far these are only tentative agreements and there is so much more that needs to be done to achieve better policy and fairness for refugees - those already in Australia and those who will no doubt arrive in the future. A Just Australia has targeted seven areas to work on:  

  • Viable and humane alternatives to prolonged detention
  • Reform of detention centre management, oversight and conditions
  • Better conditions for asylum seekers in the community
  • Enactment of the ALP agreement to abolish Temporary Protection Visas
  • An end to excision and the use of the Christmas Island detention centre
  • Legal reform for visa processing and appeals systems
  • Continued influence on Australia's political parties so they adopt policies that will deliver just and compassionate treatment of refugees and asylum seekers

For more information on AJA's work go to

ASRC: Just a Fair Go Campaign

In Australia thousands of asylum seekers are forced into a life of poverty
and despair. Most people seeking asylum are NOT allowed to work or have
access to health care or an income. Asylum Seekers are being left
homeless, hungry and without hope by the Howard government as a result of
their policies. All asylum seekers want is a fair go. Our Just a Fair Go
Campaign aims to end destitution for asylum seekers.

Join ASRC's fight to gain a fair go for asylum seekers in Australia. Their
website has a huge amount of information on this issue for you to read,
from myth busters, to personal asylum seeker stories, to reports on the
issue for you to download. The take action section of the campaign
provides you with six avenues to advocate on behalf of asylum seekers and
show your support for this cause.


For full details go to:

Support for the Women of Afghanistan (SAWA): Urgent appeal for
financial support


Support for the Women of Afghanistan (SAWA) funds the entire budget of
Baseman Shamed High School for girls, a school run by the Revolutionary
Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) in Kiewa refugee camp near
Peshawar. Two weeks ago RAWA was notified that Kiewa camp will be
demolished by the end of the month. This will mean the end of Baseman
Shamed High School and also the end of Raga's Mallala Clinic.

RAWA is currently considering options for replacements of these
outstandingly successful institutions. The humanitarian situation in Kiewa
camp has been better than in other camps, thanks to Raga's determined
support. RAWA now feels a responsibility to assist its inhabitants when
they return to Afghanistan but is desperately short of funds. This is
therefore an URGENT APPEAL for financial support.

For more information, and to assist the appeal, please visit SAWA's


Oxfam and A Just Australia release report, 'A Price Too High', on
Australia's Pacific Solution policy.

The Oxfam and AJA report, 'A Price Too High', says that since the Pacific
Solution was introduced six years ago, the Government has spent $1 billion
— more than $500,000 a person — to process fewer than 1700 asylum seekers
on Nauru, Christmas Island and Manus Island. It argues that the policy
creates a two-tiered processing system, one for people within Australia
and one for people offshore — which opens the way for discrimination and
breaches of the international Refugee Convention.

For further information and to download the full report, go to either the
AJA or Oxfam websites:  

RAS expert database

RAS is in the process of creating a database of refugee and asylum seeker specialists across a range of disciplines. If you would like to be included in this database please send a brief outline of your academic and professional background to Postgraduate students are also invited to submit their details for the database. This database will be housed on the RAS website.


Clean up your act- A Just Australia

A Just Australia have developed ten steps to clean up Australia’s Migration Act.
For more information go to:  

Christmas Island Detention Petition

Over 7,000 signatures have been collected for a petition calling for an end to construction of an 800-bed Immigration detention centre on Christmas Island.
The petition can be downloaded at:

Further information about the Christmas Island facility is included on the Refugee Action Collective website at

ECT for Asylum Seekers

Long term detainees in psychiatric hospitals whose mental state continues to deteriorate in detention are now being threatened with Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). During the course of ECT most patients will experience forgetfulness and loss of short-term memory especially around the time of treatment.

“Asylum Seekers in their interrogation by Immigration Department (DIAC) officers are expected to remember every detail of their lives and the reasons why they fled their country. In order to validate their stories, they are expected to be able details such as how many people were in the room in which they were tortured, all physical details of the room, times, dates of events etc." says Pamela Curr of the ASRC. "If their memories have been obliterated by ECT, how can they validate their stories, how can they make DIAC and the Refugee Tribunal believe them if they can't remember what happened."

For more information contact Pamela Curr at the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre

People’s Inquiry Into Detention Report

The People's Inquiry into Detention successfully launched 'We've boundless plains to share: The first report of the People's Inquiry into Immigration Detention'. The report can be viewed at: Please feel free to circulate it widely.  This first report highlights journeys to detention and the detention experience. The final report, to be released in mid 2007, will expand on these themes and will also include information on the processing of asylum claims and the aftermath of detention.

“Acting from the Heart” book

In Acting From The Heart, "....over 50 people who reflect the diversity of this movement describe how and why they became involved." For some, the 'refugee issue' has become a defining personal stance, one which has engaged and divided families and communities. Acting From The Heart shows the hardship and commitment behind this extensive grassroots political movement. Stories, poems and political cartoons by Australia's foremost, award-winning cartoonists, make up this powerful and provocative book.

For more information and to order, go to: