refugees are non-persons
refugees are non-persons
article by Mark Forbes,
Kerry Taylor, The Age, Australia, April 18 2002
taking photographs that could
"humanise or personalise" asylum seekers was banned by former
defense minister Peter Reith's office, the Senate inquiry into
children-overboard claims was told yesterday.
defense officials said Mr Reith's staff did not want
to allow photographs to create sympathy for asylum seekers.
the director of defense communication strategies, Brian
Humphreys, told the hearing that Mr Reith's media adviser, Ross
Hampton, ordered last September that military photographers
not take pictures of asylum seekers. the military was
given guidelines to ensure "no personalising or humanising images"
later, defense media liaison director Tim Bloomfield
described government restrictions preventing any military comment
on last year's asylum seekers operation as a form of censorship.
evidence also revealed that the Prime Minister's department
was told that claims that photographs purportedly showing children
being thrown overboard were false the day after the pictures
were released. Prime Minister John Howard has claimed
he only heard of "some doubts" about the photographs a month
the navy director of operations, Commander Piers Chatterton,
told the hearing that he told the Defense Force's prime ministerial
liaison officer, Commander Stefan King, on October 11 that the
photographs - released by Mr Reith as proof of the overboard
allegations - were in fact taken during a rescue from a sinking
ship. commander Chatterton said he passed on the details
as "official information". he had expected the story to be corrected,
but did not know what action Commander King took.
the inquiry is now certain to call Commander King to
determine who he told of the error.
Mr Bloomfield said restrictions imposed by Mr Hampton
preventing defense officials from answering questions on asylum
seekers were "a form of censorship" preventing misinformation
from being corrected. all questions on the asylum-seeker
operation were to be referred to the minister's office, Mr Bloomfield
defense communication head Jenny McKenry said she told
Mr Reith's senior adviser, Mike Scrafton, that the photographs
his minister released last year were misrepresented. she
sent him clear evidence of the misrepresentation on October
11, she told the hearing.
the former chairwoman of the Prime Minister's people-smuggling
taskforce, Jane Halton, earlier denied she had been advised
of doubts about the claims that children had been thrown overboard.
Ms Halton said she never saw a Defense Strategic Command
report on the incident received by the Prime Minister's department
on October 8 and that it might have been destroyed.
Ms Halton also said she had never seen a defense chronology
of events that arrived at the Prime Minister's department in
early October, despite ordering it. it included a footnote saying
there was no indication that children had been thrown overboard.
meanwhile, RAAF chief Air Marshal Angus Houston denied
that excessive force had been used against asylum seekers as
claimed on ABC's Four Corners. he said cattle prods were not
issued to officers and capsicum spray was used only once when
a group of people tried to disable a boat's engine.
location of the above article]
emigrants, prisoners, slaves, disabled, enemies of war, old
people, children and women share this threat of being expelled
legal and moral rights belong to persons, so if someone
can be reduces to a non-person, then he or she has no rights.
Department of Immigration | ~ | Amnesty
International Australia | ~ | Refugee
Council of Australia | ~ | BBC:
Australia's tough asylum policy | ~ | BBC:
Woomera is the biggest and most isolated of Australia's six
immigration centres |
1951 Refugee Convention | ~ | UNHCR;
The UN Refugee Agency | ~ | BBC
Refugees Special | ~ | UNICEF:
The non-personhood of the youngest |
Europe's asylum 'soft touch'? | ~ | BBC:
New powers to expel refugees from Britain | ~ | The
Guardian: Refugees in Britain | ~ | The
Guardian: Europe's far right | ~ | The
Guardian: Blair's secret plan to crack down on asylum seekers
| ~ | The
Guardian: Refugees face instant rejection | ~ | BBC:
Danes 'to tighten' immigration curbs |
former featured nothings
- and what is not? - a story about an encounter and about
trying to differ between fact and non-fact ... (May-02)
not to be born - the French parliament has passed a bill
that states that "nobody can claim to have been harmed
simply by being born". the extraordinary bill was a response
to a conviction by the French supreme court that is said to
have established the right not to be born ... (April-02)
children - who were born out of nothing during the 31 days
of Mars 2002 ... (Mars-02)
I Know / Something I Donít Know - by Graham Gussin ...
nothing of cyberspace - this virtual reality in which we
now are taking part ... (January-02)
nothing of terror and response on terror; - the World Trade
Center - Afghanistan and on ... (December-01)
at ROOSEUM, Malmö's Center for Contemporary Art, 3 November
- 16 December, 2001. works by 35 artists exploring notions
of invisibility, imagination and dematerialisation (November-01)
every tent; the other!
- consisting of two Irish green, empty tents, one raised outside
Atelier 35 in Bucharest, and one inside the gallery space (October-01)
UK, raising tents
- containing, among other things, a motorway, ten tents, a text
discussion and an internet diary (September-01)
is gratefully accepted!