Religious ties to Australia required for Syrian, Iraqi refugees fleeing Islamic State

This article was published by Middle East Eye on August 30, 2014.

If you walk a block almost anywhere in Lebanon, you will come across Syrian refugees. Mothers sit on cardboard boxes begging, while the discoloured hair of their children belies their malnourished state. With Syrian refugees expected to exceed one third of Lebanon’s four million population by the end of the year, witnessing their plight is entirely unavoidable. Twelve thousand kilometres away in Australia, however, the streets are clear of the misery of Syria’s three-and-a-half-year war, as are the minds of many of its politicians and constituents.

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Australia: Child refugees’ moral ‘blackmail’

This article was published by Al Jazeera English on August 20, 2014.

A young girl in Australian immigration detention has tried to hang herself with her hijab while the government attempts to hide the increasing toll its policy of mandatorily and indefinitely jailing asylum seekers is having on the mental health of children.

At a recent hearing of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s inquiry into the treatment of children in immigration detention, the former head of mental health services for detainees, Peter Young, elicited gasps when he revealed the Immigration Department asked him not to report on the rates of mental disorders among children. Young said the department was “concerned about what the figures are showing”.

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