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Edmund Rice Centre

15 Henley Rd
(PO Box 2219)
Homebush West,
NSW 2140
AUSTRALIA

Ph:  (02) 8762 4200
Fx:  (02) 8762 4220

Int'l Ph: +61 2 8762 4200
Int'l Fx: +61 2 8762 4220

Email: erc@erc.org.au

Located just 100 metres to the south of Flemington Railway Station. Link to new location on Google Maps

Brisbane Annexe

5 Abingdon St
(Postal: 84 Park Rd)
Woolloongabba,
QLD 4102

Ph 1: (07) 3103 7376
Ph 2: (02) 8090 1976
Fax: (02) 8762 4220

Staffed part-time
 - please call for appt

 

media releases publications research submissions resources ERC event photos

Announcements

Migration Agents: achieve professional development whilst volunteering at ERC in 2014

The Edmund Rice Centre is approved by the Australian Government's Migration Agents Registration Authority ('MARA') to provide continuing professional development (CPD) for registered migration agents.

As a migration agent you may gain your required CPD points by working in a voluntary capacity with ERC. Volunteer agents will be supervised by migration agents with over 10 years' experience.

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Just Comment Vol 17 No 1: Roma people

Roma people… stigmatised, discriminated against and still no homeland

Roma people have faced stigmatisation, discrimination and marginalisation for centuries in Europe - enduring wars, a lack of cultural understanding, prejudice and hardship.

With over 500,000 killed by the Nazis, they remain forgotten victims of 20th century genocides, where as survivors they were refused assistance and compensation.

And yet exclusion, prejudice and poverty have continued. Average life expectancy in Europe is 10 to 15 years less than for other Europeans. Roma communities occupy the lowest rung of the economic ladder of European residents with over 75% living below the poverty line.

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ERC Just Comment Vol 17 No 1: Roma people

ERC Media: Asylum visa freeze 'petty' -- 4th Dec 2013

“The Government’s decision to suspend the granting of new permanent protection visas for asylum seekers is a new low in Australia’s treatment of some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” Edmund Rice Centre director, Phil Glendenning said today.

“By capping onshore protection visas at just 1,650 places, the Government is condemning refugees who have already been found to be owed protection by Australia, to a life of fear and uncertainty on bridging visas,” he said. 

“This policy announcement from the Government, in response to the defeat in the Senate of their attempt to reintroduce Temporary Protection Visa legislation, is a petty act. This is partisan politics at its worst,” Mr Glendenning stated.

“Australians would rightly be ashamed of a Federal Government that is so willing to inflict cruelty and punishment on people fleeing persecution and torture, simply in order to teach their political opponents a lesson.

Read more

ERC Media Release: Asylum visa freeze petty -- 4 Dec 2013

Just Comment Vol 16 No 5: The Majuro Declaration

The coral atolls and other low-lying islands that dot the Pacific Ocean are just a few meters above sea-level. These islands will experience a higher sea level rise than other parts of the world and Pacific peoples are already exposed to the adverse effects of climate change, something that is not of their own doing.  Pacific Island nations cannot afford to wait any longer; that is a luxury belonging to developed nations.  They are compelled to attend to their very survival.

The plight of Pacific peoples was given a strong shake-up on the fifth of September this year by Pacific Island Leaders gathered at the 45th Pacific Islands Forum representing fourteen South Pacific Islands spread throughout a vast area of 3.5 million square kilometres of ocean: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

In Majuro, capital of the Marshall Islands, Forum members, together with Australia and New Zealand, signed the “Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership.” The significance of the document lies precisely in the firm political leadership of the Pacific Islands. Now, stepping up to even greater leadership, they “commit to being Climate Leaders.” Because “to lead is to act” they make a compelling case for others to follow their lead.

Tired of waiting for others to “go first,” the Pacific’s plucky new approach recognises that developed countries have other agendas, but at the same time “if the Pacific Islands disappear… it will be too late for everyone else.” This echoes the assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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ERC Just Comment 16.5 Majuro Declaration

ERC Media: Salvadoran advocate says 'No!' to death from OceanaGold mine (ASX: OGC) -- 11 Nov 2013

A plea to Australia: Put life & dignity before gold & profit
Edmund Rice Centre: 'A difficult courageous story from El Salvador – but one that inspires.'

"Courageous and determined," is how Edmund Rice Centre Education Officer Sean Cleary describes visiting grass-roots environmental advocate from El Salvador, Ms Vidalina Morales. "The story that Vidalina brings to Australia from her community is frightening and outrageous, but also inspirational - to hear how the people of these rural worker communities have been able to unite to confront a multi-national mining company and so far, to forestall the threat that this gold-mine would pose to their water-supply, to their farm-lands, to their lives and to the lives of their children," Mr Cleary said.

Vidalina has arrived in Australia to commence today a two week speaking tour "Water Not Gold" to raise awareness of the threat posed to the people of her village by the plans of Australian mining company OceanaGold to reopen production in a long-abandoned gold mine in El Salvador’s Cabañas province.  

"El Salvador is a tiny country” affirmed Vidalina. “It is one of the most densely populated countries in the Americas which has led to a major problem of deforestation and this in turn has led to serious shortages of water in our communities."

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ERC Release: Advocate says 'No!' to mining death from Oceanagold Corp (ASX: OGC) -- 11 Nov 2013

ERC Publication for Educators: Asylum Seekers and Refugees Education Resource

The focus is on real people and their stories

The Edmund Rice Centre's Asylum Seekers and Refugees Education Resource provides activities for students which are practical, engaging and focused on increasing awareness about human rights and advocacy.

The Education Resource, available to download at no cost, offers 35 cross-curricular activities, adaptable to all year levels in secondary school. Some activities can also be used with primary classes, students with special needs and with community groups.

Students are encouraged to think about asylum seekers and refugees with compassion, to move their understanding from the head to the heart.
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Promotional flyer of the new schools resource on asylum seekers

ERC Advocacy: Open letter to PM - Asylum seeking is NOT 'illegal' -- 6 Nov 2013

The Edmund Rice Centre has joined with a broad national coalitions of organisations calling for action from Prime Minister Tony Abbott to end the deliberate misrepresentation of asylum seekers that is being perpetrated by Government Ministers and MP's.

The  coalition of 138 not-for-profit organisations has called for Prime Minister Abbott to stop the Government’s characterisation of asylum seekers arriving by boat as “illegal maritime arrivals”.

A joint letter, coordinated by the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) and supported by non-government agencies, faith-based organisations and community groups, has been sent to Mr Abbott. ERC director, Phil Glendenning was last month re-elected as President of the Refugee Council.

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Open letter to PM: Asylum is NOT illegal

ERC Media: Call on PM Abbott to visit low-lying Pacific nations

[PCP Media] Islanders call on Abbott and Bishop to visit low lying Pacific nations
Sydney, Thursday 3rd October 2013
Australian Islander Community seeks stronger climate action in line with latest IPCC Report.

“Australia’s commitment to reduce our emissions by 5% below 2000 levels by 2020, is by no means an adequate response to the evidence,” said Pacific Calling Partnership spokesperson Maria Tiimon Chi-fang speaking at a community gathering in Sydney.

“Nor is it appropriate or sufficient given Australia’s support for the Majuro Declaration on Climate Leadership, launched in September at the 2013 Pacific Island Forum.”

“I urge Prime Minister Abbott to reconfirm his support for the Majuro Declaration, and substantially reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.

"Cutting 4.5 billion from the overseas aid budget, as well as cutting out key climate change policy infrastructure in Australia, makes me question the Australian Government’s commitment to the survival of our Pacific Island nations.” said Ms Tiimon Chi-fang, community outreach officer for the Pacific Calling Partnership.

“I call on our Australian Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister to visit my home country,” Ms Tiimon Chi-fang, now an Australian citizen, said.

“Not until they can see the human face of climate change will they fully understand the consequences of their inaction for my people.

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PCP Media Release

Just Comment Vol 16 No 4: Sanctions

Sanctions are not an alternative to war. They seem invisible, but their effects are highly visible. Deliberately crippling a nation’s economy is nothing less than war. With the imposition of sanctions ordinary Iranians are increasingly caught in the crosshairs.

Sanctions actually lead to increased repression and corruption as well as sow the seeds of further alienation between the people of Iran and the United States. Australia joined with the United States in imposing sanctions against Iran with the aim of preventing it from acquiring nuclear weapons.

It is not true that sanctions are ‘targeted.’ The true nature of so-called ‘targeted’ sanctions in Iran was revealed before the escalation of sanctions. U.S. and European Union sanctions ‘seriously endangered the lives of tens of thousands of patients, particularly children, suffering from special diseases.’

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ERC Just Comment 16.4 Sanctions on Iran

Just Comment Vol 16 No 3: Climate Justice

To our North and East of Australia lie the Pacific Islands, a vast region that is at the forefront of human induced climate change.

Within this collection of archipelagos and atolls lie Kiribati, Tuvalu, and the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), whose people have seen the quality of their lives deteriorate from the impact of rising sea temperatures and tides. Human induced climate change is the cause, and is exacerbating existing human development issues that face the atolls.

That the world needs to reduce its emissions can no longer be in doubt if these island nations are to remain intact, both as a collection of land and as cultural groups, by the end of the century.

Australia, as the highest per capita greenhouse gas emitter in the world and their neighbour, can and must do more to lead the way in reducing emissions.

At our current rate, we are likely to see a rise in sea levels of 0.6 metres and 4 degrees in temperature by 2100.  This is a fearful prospect for our low lying neighbours.

Read more

ERC Just Comment 16.3 Climate Justice

Religious Leaders publish Open Letter on Climate Change

Prominent religious leaders in Australia have endorsed an Open Letter on Climate Change drafted by the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change. They are calling upon Australia to be a part of the global solution to climate change, in order to avert a dangerous potential 4° C rise in global temperatures. Many of the key signatories came together for an official launch in Sydney on 4th July 2013.

“We are spiritual people but our spirituality is meant to change the way we live, how we respond to the social issues society is grappling with," said Keysar Trad, spokesperson for the Grand Mufti of Australia.

“Everyone can take part in lifestyle changes - such as reducing their consumption; switching to GreenPower; and installing solar hot water," said Jacqui Remond of Catholic Earthcare. "We can also let our political leaders know about the change we want to see.”

“The gifts of Creation given to us are meant to be used wisely, and in a way which leaves a world which continues to provide for the needs of future generations,” stated Brian Brown, moderator of the Uniting Church's NSW and ACT Synod,

The Open Letter on Climate Change is available of the website of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change - ARRCC.

Read the Open Letter: website of ARRCC

ERC Media: Climate change’s forced migration needs new solutions -- Thurs, 18th April 2013

Sydney, Thursday, 18th April 2013
Climate change’s forced migration needs new solutions

Edmund Rice Centre: ‘There is still time to plan and act to prevent a crisis-like scenario.’

The crisis responses necessary and available to refugees will not be an answer to future displacement caused by climate change, said Phil Glendenning - Director of the Edmund Rice Centre, and President of the Refugee Council of Australia - today.

“The issues associated with climate change displacement are complex and need to be taken very seriously by the international community. However, while those affected by climate change may need, and should receive, international assistance, they are not refugees under international law,” RCOA President Phil Glendenning said.

Responding to an article in the UK newspaper, The Guardian, Mr Glendenning said that he has not called for those affected by climate change to be recognised as a “new category of refugee”.

“Refugee is a legal term that comes with specific rights and obligations and only applies to those who are residing outside of their country of origin and who have a well-founded fear of persecution,” he said.

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ERC Media: Coalition's Asylum Seeker proposal rejects rule-of-law -- Thurs, 28th Feb 2013

Sydney: Edmund Rice Centre: ‘Classic example of lowest-common-denominator politicking.’

The Edmund Rice Centre this morning strongly criticised coalition proposals for special legal arrangements for asylum seekers who are living in the community whilst their refugee status is being determined.

“Australia as a nation has always believed in the rule of law,” said Edmund Rice Centre director, Phil Glendenning.

“The latest call by Coalition immigration spokesperson Scott Morrison is a classic example of ‘lowest-common-denominator politicking’.”

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ERC Media release

Just Comment Vol 16 No 2: Palm oil -- the 'threat' in our shopping trolley

It is little known the extent to which palm oil is a part of our everyday diet. In our supermarkets, pharmacies and convenience shops it is almost impossible to purchase products free from palm oil. It is used in ice cream, chocolate, biscuits, crackers, chips, margarine, fruit juice, batters, soap, toothpaste, laundry powders, detergents, cosmetics, pet food. It has also been touted as a biofuel – although palm oil-based diesel actually increases greenhouse emissions.

In Colombia human rights advocates have demonstrated that the murders and violence committed by the Colombian Armed Forces' under their 'paramilitary strategy' whilst rationalised as 'depopulating' counter-insurgency work has the real aim of the taking of lands from peasant communities in fertile coastal plains in order to establish massive palm oil plantations to generate export dolllars for corrupt Colombian generals.

In Malaysia and Indonesia, where rainforests are being cleared, the impact on wildlife is catastrophic as the habitat of endangered species is being torn down, the livelihoods of indigenous communities destroyed, and seriously contributes to the warming of the planet. Palm-oil diesel was until recently hailed as a safe, renewable alternative to petroleum, but it has been found that the peat swamps in Indonesia and Malaysia – drained and burned to allow plantations of palm oil trees – released 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year into the atmosphere, or 8% of the world's fossil fuel emissions.

The unsustainable expansion of the palm oil industry may seem a remote problem, but its solution might be the shopping trolley. The consequences of its growth have not been grasped by the industry. Consumer pressure, industry leadership and political incentives are required to permanently place these tropical rainforests off limits.

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Just Comment 16.2 -- Palm oil

Just Comment Vol 16 No 1: Jeju Island - assault on island of peace

The US has over 1000 military bases around the world, including 82 in South Korea alone. China - against whom this expansion is directed - has no significant military bases outside its borders. Yet, most Australians and Americans are unaware of the United States increasing its military presence in Korea, Japan, and the rest of the Pacific – including Australia.

Nor are they aware of Jeju Island, 80 kms south-west of the Korean Peninsula. Many of the people of Jeju are attempting to non-violently resist the construction of a new naval base in the small fishing and farming village of Gangjeong. For Korea, the island is becoming ‘the spearhead of the country’s defense line,’ a reckless 500km from China. A naval base at Gangjeong will increase military tensions and will be an obstacle to peace in the East Asian region, so this resistance represents a larger drama being played out against the forces of empire.

U.S. foreign policy is undergoing a major ‘pivot’ to the Asia- Pacific region that already takes in Guam, Australia, Okinawa, and the Philippines. It has been called ‘America’s Pacific Century’.

Gangjeong, at the forefront of a U.S. strategy of increased militarisation, is designed, under the pretext of defense against North Korean expansion, to counterbalance China’s growing economic and military sphere of influence. This will put U.S. military might on China’s doorstep!

The failure to prevent the base construction could also impact the rest of the world as well, as China sees such projects as a threat to its national security. What is occurring on Jeju Island is becoming one of the most critical struggles to avoid a potentially devastating war in Asia.

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ERC Media: Australia's foreign aid diverted to on-shore asylum programs -- Wed 19th Dec 2012

The Edmund Rice Centre has rejected the Government’s decision to divert $375 million dollars of foreign aid - to be allocated to the living expenses of asylum seekers on-shore in Australia.

“The funding commitment to foreign aid was $5.2 billion, but under this change $375 million will now be diverted to cover the living costs of asylum seekers within Australia. So in real terms this is a cut of just over 7%.”

“The precedent set in this matter is of great concern. This measure has opened the door for future ‘reductions-by-slight-of-hand’ in the foreign aid budget – such that we may see other domestic expenditure items being ‘re-categorised’ as ‘foreign aid’,” he said.

“Australia’s aid budget must be for poverty eradication, not for resolving the Government’s political need to achieve a budget surplus. The poor of the world should not have to pay the price of this Government’s political ambition to produce a minimal surplus. Our aid budget is not for fixing Australia’s domestic political issues.”

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ERC Media release: Australian foreign aid diverted to on-shore asylum programs

ERC International Human Rights Immersion: Central America -- July 2012

A formation program for people wishing to develop new and profound perspectives to their existing frameworks and commitment to social justice & reconciliation. The program will emphasise the use of a rights-based approach in development work and in systemic advocacy for social justice.  
  
The immersion aims to foster engagement with the international partner organisations visited, and to bring about transformational education for justice. International immersion experiences develop a new and internalised sense of our world, and of structures of inequity within it, from the perspectives of the economically excluded.    
   
El Salvador & Guatemala: Within processes of post -conflict social reconciliation, few places provide better examples of the use of programs of ‘recovery of historic memory’ as human rights strategies to confront structural impunity and to build social justice.  In our visit to the region we will meet with people who have risked all in the struggle for social justice in these countries. These are people who continue to be willing to put their lives on the line for the construction of a better society.

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ERC Human Rights Immersion - July 2012

A Well-Founded Fear -- Nationally televised documentary on Asylum Seekers

 
Sign the on-line petition to reopen the cases of Asylum Seekers that Australia has "deported to danger"
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Latest News: (1) Teacher Resource: Asylum Seekers & Refugees -- (2) PCP Media: Islander climate call to PM Abbott -- (3) Just Comment 17.1: Roma People

 

Recent Publications from ERC

Asylum Seekers - Schools Resource

ERC Asylum Seekers and Refugees Education Resource Student Activities

ERC's publication Asylum Seekers and Refugees Education Resource provides activities for students which are practical, engaging and focused on increasing awareness about human rights and advocacy. 

This 52 page resource is available for download at no cost, and offers 35 cross-curricular activities, adaptable to all year levels in secondary school. Some activities can also be used with primary classes, with students with special needs, and with community groups.

Students are encouraged to think about asylum seekers and refugees with compassion, to move their understanding from the head to the heart.

Read more 

Doha Diary: PCP at COP18

26th Nov - 7th Dec 2012
COP18 progress reports from PCP delegates at Doha conference on UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Donate to support ERC's work

URGENT! Support our work for asylum seekers.

Update: ERC Director, Phil Glendenning, recently returned to Australia from Afghanistan after 10 days interviewing returned asylum seekers again in Kabul.

ERC is redoubling our efforts to find a third-country resettlement option for those returnees from Australia with whom we have been able to make contact. We need financial support to achieve this.

Such work uncovers high levels of risk for the deportees (and for our researchers). Research publications are available here.

Listen to Phil speak of the visit to ABC Radio National's Phillip Adams.

Please donate now so that this work may continue. Your donation is tax deductible!

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