Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Rohingya: Refugee Crisis in Colour (by Ali MC)

Source Yarracityarts, 

In 2016 Ali MC visited Rohingya refugee and internally displaced peoples’ camps in Myanmar and Bangladesh to take portrait photos of people living there.

His aim was to document the living conditions and the historical and political events that led them to being forced into this situation. He also sought to portray Rohingya as a people with pride and determination, despite their adverse living conditions.
The Rohingya are defined by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, and live in both Western Myanmar and Bangladesh. They are not recognized as citizens of any country, and are forced into camps and isolated villages with strict restrictions placed on their daily lives. The photos in this exhibition were shot with medium format colour film, using a Fujifilm GA645 camera, and were taken at considerable risk – Ali was even arrested in Bangladesh in the process, detained and questioned by the Bangladeshi Army.
Ali MC has been involved in the arts for nearly twenty years, as a photographer, writer and musician. He is motivated by the social and political situations of people throughout the globe, raising awareness of human rights issues through the arts.
Please note, due to unforseen circumstances, the photography workshop scheduled for Sunday 14 May at Reading Room, Fitzroy Town Hall has been cancelled.
Exhibition opening hours:
Mon and Thurs 10am – 6pm
Tues and Wed 1pm – 8pm
Fri 1pm – 6pm, Sat 10am – 3pm, Sun 2pm – 5pm
Rohngya: Crisis in Colour is part of the City of Yarra’s Locale Exhibition Program and presented as part of the 2017 Human Rights Arts & Film Festival.
Photograph by Ali MC.

Some photos from 7 May 2017, 

presentation by Ali McKeich (a musician/ photographer/ writer and Human Rights Law Masters student, and working at the Aboriginal Legal Service)
Mayor of City of Yarra Amanda Stone for opening speeches

and live video link up with brother Zayed in the Rohingya refugee camp. Big thank you to
Flick Mashuro (case support worker)
Rob Healey (from ASRC)
Ro Habib Asn (Habib, spokesperson for ABRO, author of Taboo Burmese and blogger)
Ronan Lee (researcher on Rohingya, phd candidate and former member of Queensland Parliament ), 
Kon Karapangiotidis and Julie 'Jones' Beveridge for helping out..

 and everyone who took the time to learn about the Rohingya situation and donate some money.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

ABRO participates at Amnesty International’s panel discussion on Myanmar

by Admin,

Australian Burmese Rohingya Organization (ABRO) joined the panel discussion of Amnesty International (AI) at the Donkey Wheel Foundation, 673 Bourke Street of Melbourne on 26 April 2017.

Topic:- Myanmar- Has anything changed?  The event was facilitated  by Jane Connolly and joined by Amnesty Myanmar researcher Elise Tilley, Amnesty International Melbourne branch chairman, Habib from Rohingya community.
Participants include  Ronan Lee (former member of the Queensland Parliament, PhD candidate, Deakin University), Ishka members, member of Fred Hollow Foundation and academics.

Elise has conducted many human rights missions to investigate restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, cruel reprisals against human rights defenders, discrimination against the Rohingya and others in Rakhine State as well as other areas.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

ABRO joined the Australian Myanmar Institute March Seminar

by Admin,

Australian Burmese Rohingya Organization joined the Australian Myanmar Institute March Seminar at William Macmahon Ball Theatre, Ground Floor of Old Arts Building at Parkville, The University of Melbourne on 27th March 2017.

The seminar update on "the Rakhine conflict and ‘Rohingya’ issues"
A series of issues have been raised including the ongoing humanitarian crisis, the inquiry commissions, citizenship issues, and solution. 

In the last few months, UN agencies, Nobel Peace Prize laureates and even the Pope have all condemned violence against the Rohingya. Accusations of state crimes, crimes against humanity and even genocide have been common. Three Investigation Commissions have been convened by the government, military and policy respectively, and former UN Secretary-General Mr Kofi Annan has been appointed to lead one. This update will examine what has happened, the current situation and try to begin to understand why is it happening … and consider where next, taking account of all perspectives.
Speakers include:
Dr Anthony Ware, Senior Lecturer in International and Community Development from Deakin University will present “An update on the Rakhine conflict and Rohingya’ issues”
Also providing discussion will be:
Dr Costas Laoutides, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Deakin University, and co-author with Anthony of “Myanmar’s ‘Rohingya’ Conflict”

Mr Ronan Lee, PhD candidate (Deakin University),

Mr Habiburahman,(well known as Habib) Spokesperson and founder of Australian Burmese Rohingya Organization (ABRO), Habib is co-author of Nous, les Innommables – Un tabou birman.
Anthony and Costas are co-authors of the soon-to-be released book Myanmar’s ‘Rohingya’ Conflict.
For more information about AMI, please visit:
Our special appreciation may go for AMI, organizers, facilitators, speakers and all attendants. 

Saturday, 25 March 2017

UN rights council passes resolution to investigate abuses in Myanmar

Source, 24 April

[JURIST] The United Nations Human Rights Council [official website] passed a resolution [materials] Friday to investigate potential human rights violations in Myanmar. The fact-finding mission will be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council with the purpose of establishing the facts and circumstances of the alleged human rights violations [UN report] by military and security forces. The resolution calls for Myanmar to continue its efforts to eliminate the statelessness and discrimination of ethnic and religious minorities, such as the Rohingya minority. The resolution also calls for the government of Myanmar to take measures to ensure a return of all the refugees who had to leave Myanmar that is safe, secure, and in accordance with international law. In response to the resolution, Myanmar said that they were committed to finding a solution to the situation in the Rakhine State, but the country disassociated itself from the draft as a whole.

This resolution comes after the UN Special Rapporteur, Yanghee Lee, on March 14th called for [JURIST report] an international investigation into the crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the Myanmar government against the Rohingya minority population. In February, Lee called for [JURIST report] Myanmar to end the persecution of the Rohingya minority. Also in February, Myanmar officials stated [JURIST report] that they would investigated alleged police crimes against Rohingya Muslims. Furthermore, earlier in February, the Human Rights Watch endorsed [JURIST report] an investigation into the abuses against the Rohingya population, specifically the sexual abuses against women. In January, a prominent Muslim lawyer was shot and killed [JURIST report] outside an airport in Myanmar, which led to condemnation from a UN expert on the human rights situation in the country. Earlier in January, the UN sent an envoy [JURIST report] to assess the human rights situation with regards to vulnerable minority populations in Myanmar.
Posted in Paper Chase

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Springvale bank fire: Asylum seekers' lives precarious, say advocates

Source Theage, 20 Nov
They live on little more than $30 a day. Many speak little English and are not permitted to find permanent work.
Asylum seekers on bridging visas in Australia live a precarious existence, and most live with the anxiety of uncertainty for years.
Sister Brigid Arthur, co-coordinator of the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project, said she worried for the welfare of all involved in Friday's Commonwealth Bank fire at Springvale, in Melbourne's south-east.
But she called for compassion for the alleged attacker Nur Islam, saying government policies had "put people's lives on hold, not given them any kind of certainty or security about their future, and has them living in poverty and isolation".
Mr Islam, 21, a member of Myanmar's persecuted Rohingya minority, came to Australia by boat as an unaccompanied minor.
He is on a bridging visa after spending time on Christmas Island and at a detention centre in Queensland.
Sister Brigid said many Rohingya arrive traumatised after persecution. They speak little English and many are unable to find work.
Mental health problems were exacerbated by "huge anxiety" for the future, with some yet to receive a letter from the federal government inviting them to apply for asylum. 
Even then, it could take years to process their application, to decide whether they can stay or be deported.
The government had removed most legal funding, so asylum seekers relied on pro bono help. 
Asked what life is like for asylum seekers, Sister Brigid said: "I think extremely precarious. They suffer a lot of isolation, they are poor because they get 89 per cent of Newstart for an income to live on, not much more than $30 a day." 
Friends of Mr Islam and members of Melbourne's Rohingya community told Fairfax Media that nothing could justify the unprovoked arson attack last Friday. 
But while the refugee had become increasingly erratic over the past few months, there were few signs of an impending tragedy as Mr Islam ate fish curry with his six Myanmarese house mates last Thursday evening.
One of Mr Islam's friends said he was under mounting strain after being asked by his family to send money back to Myanmar to finance an older sister who was recently hospitalised.
Founder of the Australian Burmese Rohingya Organisation, Habib, said more than 90 per cent of community remained on bridging visas – some for as long as four years. 
Few were willing to discuss their frustrations over fears they could jeopardise their applications for permanent residency.
"The government policy keeps changing all the time, which is causing uncertainty," Mr Habib said.
"Most of us want to just settle and begin our new lives, but we are in legal limbo."
Mr Habib last met with Mr Islam about three weeks ago at a Springvale restaurant and occasionally saw him at a mosque in Noble Park. 
Usually referred to by his nickname Habib Nga Dat Byar, Mr Islam was unsettled and had few friends, according to Mr Habib.
"We can only guess what sort of mental state he was in, but obviously his problems had nothing to do with the bank or the innocent customers," he said.
Fadak Alfayadh​, advocacy director for Refugees, Survivors and Ex-Detainees, said the alleged Springvale culprit may not be a bad person.
She said constant rejections could "push people to breaking point", with asylum seekers having to cope with financial, employment, housing, legal and health problems, as well as anxiety over their visa status.
Ms Alfayadh has seen comments on social media "saying that maybe we should impose a ban on refugees because, 'see what they do', but people don't understand what that person went through." 
David Manne, executive director of free legal service Refugee Legal, said we shouldn't jump to conclusions about what caused Friday's tragedy.
We should seek to understand "what's led to this, and also what measures could be put in place for people who do reach a point of such desperation".
"The pressures people are under with this [applying for asylum] process are immense."
Mr Manne said asylum seekers lived "every day with this profound uncertainty about the future" but the erosion of their rights and the increasingly punitive aspects have "only added to the immense pressure people are under".
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