Rapper MIA urges Australian airlines to refuse forced deportations of Sri Lankans

The deportations are part of Australia’s harsh immigration policies relating to asylum seekers and refugees, particularly those who have arrived in the country by boat, and thousands are being detained in a network of facilities on Australia’s mainland as well as offshore. “By refusing to participate in the forced deportation of fleeing asylum seekers, airlines have an opportunity to play an active role in protecting human rights.”MIA’s voice adds to those of more than 60 people, representing business, human rights groups, unions and academia, who have signed a public statement calling for companies to respect human rights, and say that ignoring international law can damage a company’s reputation and risk its financial interests.Qantas is now the subject of intense lobbying by unions, advocacy groups and the public, to follow the actions of some overseas airlines and boycott migrant deportations. UK-based Virgin Atlantic said in June it would no longer assist the home office in deporting people classed as illegal immigrants.Brynn O’Brien, executive director of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), told Guardian Australia there was a business risk for airlines such as Qantas in accepting contracts from the government to fly out those being deported.This included domestic legs of international flights and involuntary transfers between detention facilities.“Movement between places of detention, we hear from refugees, legal representatives and advocates, is a tactic that’s routinely used to make things difficult for people in the detention system,” she said.“Forcible transfer, whether on domestic or international flights, looks pretty similar – people accompanied by guards, often in handcuffs.”The Sri Lankans were returned to their country via a charter flight, but the Iraqi man is believed to have been flown out on a commercial jet from Perth and eventually to Baghdad.It’s not known which airline he was assigned to, as there were several flights leaving that night, but Qantas has pointed out that it does not fly to Middle East destinations.Sarah Dale, principal solicitor, Refugee Advice and Casework Service (Racs), said the deportation of the Iraqi national despite a court date revealed that there were no legal protections in place to prevent removals, “and airlines are participating in the removal of someone who has not had their rights afforded”.A last-minute and unexplained transfer from a Sydney detention centre to Perth has also been questioned by the family of another Iraqi man, 22, who took his life this month.Regarding its position on the deportation of asylum seekers, a spokeswoman said Qantas understood it was a sensitive issue.“Our position is that the federal government and the courts make decisions on complex immigration matters, not airlines.”O’Brien said cooperation by airlines left them open to the risk of protests by the public – such as the one by Swedish student Elin Ersson in Gothenburg – and the problem of airline employees having to respond to them.“This is an issue for investors – we have a small shareholding in Qantas and approached them in our capacity as shareholders doing due diligence. They haven’t been forthcoming with information,” O’Brien said.Keren Adams, the director of legal advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, said, “the argument we’re putting to investors is they need more information about what Qantas is actually doing so it can assess their risk management processes.“The Australian government’s refugee policies have been internationally condemned as putting lives at risk.“Businesses, including airlines, that actively facilitate and profit from this system are complicit in abuse and risk exposing themselves to serious reputational liability.” “If the Australian government won’t treat refugees and asylum seekers with dignity and fairness, then it falls to the rest of us to make sure that they are given the best chance to rebuild their life in peace.”MIA is a UK-born artist and activist, who was raised in Sri Lanka and India with her mother and Tamil activist father, who helped found the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students. MIA returned to England with her mother and siblings as refugees after the family was displaced. Rapper MIA has called for Australian airlines to stop assisting with the forced deportation of asylum seekers, amid a campaign for the industry to take a stand on human rights, The Guardian reported.In recent weeks, at least 12 Sri Lankan asylum seekers have been deported from Australia, and at least one Iraqi national as well, who was deported despite a pending court date for an appeal. “The stories of how children, women and men are treated when they seek asylum in Australia are horrifying,” MIA, whose real name is Mathangi Arulpragasam, told Guardian Australia. “If the Australian government won’t treat refugees and asylum seekers with dignity and fairness, then it falls to the rest of us to make sure that they are given the best chance to rebuild their life in peace.”MIA is a UK-born artist and activist, who was raised in Sri Lanka and India with her mother and Tamil activist father, who helped found the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students. MIA returned to England with her mother and siblings as refugees after the family was displaced.She recently released a documentary, and has continued to advocate against the mistreatment and abuse of Sri Lankan Tamils, and refugees and migrants. She has now moved her sights to Australia’s frequent deportation of them. “Deportation is not an option. In the case of Tamils in Sri Lanka, several organisations including the UN have outlined ongoing torture and intimidation of the community. Thousands of Tamils remain unaccounted for or forcibly disappeared in Sri Lanka. read more

Kinder Morgan president says BC pipeline benefits fair conservative

Kinder Morgan president says B.C. pipeline benefits fair, conservative VICTORIA – Duelling reports about job-creation numbers and oil spill cleanup costs for the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., have prompted the company to defend the benefits it has forecast for the project.Kinder Morgan’s president Ian Anderson said estimates of a high number of jobs in British Columbia during the proposed expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline are based on fair and reasonable assumptions.He also justified the company’s liability insurance coverage for an oil spill as “more than enough.”But Anderson said he has yet to fully review a Simon Fraser University study that forecasts one-third fewer jobs and concludes the company has not set aside enough cash to handle a major environmental incident.“Clearly, the SFU study has used a different set of assumptions than what our work has,” Anderson said Wednesday during a conference call with reporters. “I’ll be most interested in looking at that to determine what’s most reasonable. We think what we have done is fair and reasonable and in many respects conservative.”Kinder Morgan’s application last year to the National Energy Board included an analysis by the Conference Board of Canada that estimated 36,000 person-years of employment in B.C. while the pipeline was being built.The NEB is the federal regulatory body that will conduct the review process of Kinder Morgan’s application to proceed with the project. The Conference Board of Canada is an Ottawa-based think tank.“I’m open to considering those (SFU assumptions) and looking at the impact of those,” Anderson said. “Most certainly our views on that study will be public shortly.”The university’s Centre for Public Policy Research teamed up with a California-based consulting firm to examine the estimated impacts of the project.It estimated the pipeline expansion will create only about one-third of the projected jobs — 12,000 person years — and B.C. government coffers will reap a small benefit, with most of the benefits going to Alberta and oilsands producers.Kinder Morgan’s proposed $5.4-billion expansion would nearly triple its capacity to ship petroleum products to 890,000 barrels a day, enabling crude exports to Asia through the Vancouver area.The SFU report expresses concern about Kinder Morgan pegging the top cost of an oil spill at $100 million to $300 million. It said a large spill in a highly populated area such as Metro Vancouver could cost up to $5 billion.Anderson said Kinder Morgan’s estimates of a worst-case spill scenario contained in its report are reasonable, at a cost of $350 million. He said the company’s liability insurance coverage reaches to $750 million.He said an incident in 2007 where city workers ruptured the Kinder Morgan pipeline and sent oil spewing into a neighbourhood cost $21 million to clean up.“It’s our job, and those who are in the marine community’s job, to ensure that those risks are as absolutely low as possible, and they can be managed effectively,” Anderson said.He said he expects the B.C. Supreme Court to rule Monday on an injunction application the company made to prevent protests at a test-drill site on Burnaby Mountain.“I know we have opposition and I know that not everybody supports the project,” Anderson said. “I expect and welcome as many voices and opinions as possible. The court case is about us lawfully trying to carry out our studies on Burnaby Mountain that have been authorized by the National Energy Board.” by Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press Posted Nov 12, 2014 3:31 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Michael Owen returns to Brock as new Dean of Education

Brock University’s next Dean of the Faculty of Education will be a familiar face to many people around campus.Michael Owen fulfilled several senior academic administrative roles during his first tenure at Brock (2000-07), and on August 15 he will return as Dean of a Faculty in which he was once a professor.Over the past three decades, Owen (BA, Carleton; MEd, University of Alberta; PhD, University of Toronto) has served in academic leadership positions at universities in Ontario and Saskatchewan.  For the last seven years he has been at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), where he served as Vice-President, Research, Innovation & International and, more recently, Interim Dean and Dean of the Faculty of Education.His first tour of duty at Brock began in 2000 as Director of Research Services, after having led the same portfolio at Ryerson University and University of Saskatchewan. He would also serve Brock as Director of the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (2001-03), Associate Vice-President, Research and International Development (2004-07); and a tenured professor for graduate and undergraduate studies in the Faculty of Education.Owen said he welcomes the opportunity to return to the region and to Brock.“The Faculty of Education at Brock University is a leader in teacher education and educational research in Ontario and Canada,” said Owen. “It is an honour to return to Brock to lead a team of highly dedicated and talented faculty members and staff who, individually and collectively, contribute to the scholarly life of Brock and the Niagara region and to advancing Brock’s mission to the cultural, social and economic development of Niagara and Ontario.”This week’s announcement, which completes a recruitment search spanning numerous months, was made by Provost and Vice-President Academic, Tom Dunk.“We are very pleased to have someone with such extensive experience in academic leadership re-joining the Brock community,” said Dunk. “Michael’s deep knowledge of the Ontario university landscape will benefit the Faculty of Education and the entire University in challenging times for post-secondary education.”Owen will succeed David Siegel, who is stepping down after serving as Interim Dean of the Faculty of Education since April 2015. During his term, Siegel helped create an administrative makeover plan for the Faculty of Education, which is expected to be introduced in the summer of 2018. read more