Newsletter of February 2019

Sudanese Refugee Pockets International Human Rights Award

Abdul Aziz Muhamat

Source: Michael Green/The Wheeler Centre

 

Sudanese asylum seeker and activist Abdul Aziz Muhamat won the Martin Ennals Award for exposing the inhumane conditions on Australian off-shore detention centres of refugees, as the Guardian reported.

While being stranded on Munus Island where he spent the past four years, Aziz has been revealing the conditions of the camp, his journey from the war-ridden country, and the deteriorating physical and mental health conditions of refuges detained by Australia via a podcast published by the paper.

“This award sheds light on the very cruel refugee policy of the Australian government,” noted Aziz in a statement. “The conditions that we are living there are absolutely indescribable ... inhumane and cruel.”

Brian Dooley from Human Rights First said migrant rights were infringed globally. “Defending those rights is increasingly difficult and dangerous,” Dooley, who is one of the Swiss-based award jury members, said. “Aziz is a modern-day human rights defender fighting for justice in one of the harshest places in the world.”

Despite widespread criticism, Australia’s offshore processing of asylum seekers continued, and Aziz would return to Munus after receiving the prize in Geneva.

New Documentary Brings Sex Predators on Australian Farms to Light

Several backpackers say they were subjected to sexual taunts while working.

Source: 88 Days

 

Filme maker and former backpacker Katherine Stoner exposed the ugly side of farming industry by gathering travelers’ account of being sexually harassed while working in Australia, reported by the Warwick Daily News.

"We've heard of so many backpackers who have gone through similar experiences - they've heard farmers being racist or verbally abusive," noted Stoner as she commented on her new film 88 Days. "I have even heard about instances of backpackers being physically assaulted by farmers."

Stoner, then 18, was subject to sexual abuse herself as she got tapped with garlic leaves on the legs and touched on the bottom while working as a farm worker.

The film also shed lights on the squalid living conditions at some of the hostels that accommodates farms workers, and the worryingly high death rate among the workers.

Caltex Franchisee Fined for Stealing from Workers as Dodgy Bosses Could Face Jail  

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Federal Circuit Court delivered a judgment in February where Mohammad Arif Rana and his company got fined over 77k for underpaying migrant workers and falsifying pay records, as the Sydney Morning Herald.

 

The Judge found Mr Rana failed to provide payslips to staff members Mr Rafique and a Mr Bajwa from 2011 to 2015, created false recording and put down penalty rates.

 

“Any employer who deliberately frustrates our audits by using false records should take note that higher maximum penalties now apply, and prosecution in a criminal court is possible for the most serious cases,” Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said.

 

The Labor Government in Victoria has pledged to criminalise wage theft, while the NSW Labor did the same if they were to win the upcoming state election, the Courier Mail reported.

 

 

 

For comments and inquiries, please contact the Migrant Workers Centre on mwc@vthc.org.au or Sam Jiayi Liu, Media and Communications Officer, on jliu@vthc.org.au

 

8 March 2019