No fear, only hope: Melbourne lauded by UN’s refugee chief for its openness

Daniel Flitton; 28/2/09; (4 Items)

“OLA,” the man cried in a surprised greeting. The bargain shops crowded along Footscray Mall are hardly a usual hang-out to find a high-flying ex-prime minister. Especially one from Portugal. But Henrique Sa — who has lived in Australia for 19 years — noticed the former leader of his homeland and knew him from pictures on television, so rushed across to shake his hand.


Push boat people back: Malaysia
February 28, 2009
The Malaysian Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, has called for Burma’s Muslim boat people to be pushed back if they attempt to land on any South-East Asian shores in search of asylum. Mr Abdullah also criticised Burma and Thailand on the issue of the Rohingya asylum seekers, which has escalated into a problem for the region and sparked international concern. Thousands of the stateless Rohingya have fled Burma as well as refugee camps in Bangladesh.
Burma’s refugees barred; 28/2/09;,25197,25115862-5013948,00.html

Mixed Signals on Immigration Enforcement
Jennifer Svetlik & Allison Johnson; 26/2/09
Washington, D.C., is sending mixed signals about how to enforce immigration law, and immigrants and their families are suffering the consequences. On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security executed the first work-site immigration raid of the Obama administration. Twenty-eight workers, including three mothers, were chained and arrested in a manufacturing plant in Bellingham, Washington, as part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations. News reports now say DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano wasn’t aware of the raid until Wednesday and has now called for a full investigation in her department. Her public position is that work-site enforcement needs to be focused on the employers. Apparently, ICE officials in Washington state didn’t get the memo. This scenario has played out in the Obama administration, which promised change when it comes to immigration reform. Raids separate families and create fear in communities, and our president has said so himself.

From Under a Leaky Roof – Phil Sparrow; Fremantle Arts Centre Press;2005
Interviews – JK, 11 October 2002 (Hazara; Dari)
: And since you were released you have lived here?
JK: Yes, I came straight here and have stayed in this apartment. Where would I go? Here is a good place, the city is near, it’s a good place for my boy.
PS: And since being here, have you seen any trouble — for example, any prejudice, any bias, or any trouble from other people here? Do they ever give you any trouble?
JK: I did have some trouble. When I was living in that other apartment, there was some pressure and trouble, to do with me being a refugee. I was with my boy in that apartment. I was very grateful, you helped us in that place. But at nights I couldn’t sleep. There was so much trouble I was having, the cars passing, I couldn’t sleep, my boy couldn’t sleep.
I went to the person in charge and asked to change my room. I said, ‘Brother, please give us a new room.’
And after a few days he got back to me and what he said was very discouraging.
He said, ‘You should stay here, you can’t go any other place,’ and so on, and so on. I explained about the difficulties we were having — that my son was sick.
Eventually I went and got some medicine, to help me sleep. Now we have been here a few months and have got used to it.
But that person gave no attention to me, he just pressured us.
And that has been how it is each time I go to the office downstairs, the response is, ‘Go away! Don’t bother us! If you don’t like it here, take a room some place else.’
PS: Now it’s a little better?
JK: The difference is because of the medicine I am taking, to help me sleep and for depression … Several times also, people have missed appointments with me …
doctors have not been there when I made appointments.
PS: Perhaps your friends or people you know have mentioned problems … maybe they have had difficulties in finding work or accommodation, or experienced discrimination — from landlords, in the street.
JK: I know that some people have encountered problems. When they reveal that they are on a temporary visa, they aren’t able to find work, or are not taken for positions.
PS: I have heard similarly from a colleague, who spoke of the difficulties from landlords, when people on TPVs tried to rent houses …
JK: Yes, that is so. I have also seen that. I found a job, the boss told me to come on a particular day, then, when it came to starting, he wanted to see my visa and asked, ‘Where are you from?’ and I said, ‘Afghanistan,’ It turned out he himself was from Israel. And I never heard from him again, it was discouraging.