Sail 4 Justice recognises and asserts the sovereignty of First Nations people. We wish to pay our respects to the First Nations peoples on whose land and seas we travel and sail. We pay respect to the Elders past, present and emerging and to the strength of the Indigenous communities in ongoing struggles for self-determination.
We are asking you all to join or to support the Flotilla for Justice that launched from so-called Melbourne in May and is leaving Australia from Gimuy/Cairns in July 2019. We are taking to the seas and our destination is Manus Island.
All refugees on Manus Island, Nauru and onshore are political prisoners. The Australian government and private corporations are committing gross violations of human rights, so we are sailing to bring the world’s attention to their torture and abuse of refugees. We are sailing in spite of the borders enforced by this government, because we reject their authority. Australia’s border policing and refugee policies are premised on the notion of Australia’s jurisdiction over this land. However, this country was occupied illegally, under the legal fiction of terra nullius – empty land. To this day, Australia has no treaty with the original sovereigns of this land. As uncle Robbie Thorpe says: “Indigenous people never ceded sovereignty over Australia. The Australian government has no legitimate right to grant or refuse entry to this country.” The Freedom Flotilla will be traveling with the Kangaroo skin engraved with an important message from Arabunna Elder Kevin Buzzacott. The engraving, depicting people of all colors gathered around the sacred fire, will be accompanied by ashes from the tent embassy and water from Uncle Kevin’s traditional country surrounding Lake Eyre. These gifts are to be presented by First Nations and West Papuan Flotilla participants upon our arrival to Manus. The ceremony will include the gifting to the men on Manus of Original Nation passports sent by Uncle Kevin as well as a fire, dance and song performed as an act of resistance to overcome the walls of racism and the politics of greed that keep us divided. We will carry with us messages of solidarity as well as practical donations.
On our journey we will visit many communities who continue to struggle for social and environmental justice to stand with them, support their fight and bring attention to their causes. We recognise that the destruction of lands and oceans in the Pacific region is deeply connected to the histories of colonisation in the region. We aim to highlight issues faced by Original Nations in the areas that we will visit, including Indonesian occupation of West Papua and the ongoing genocide of the West Papuan peoples. The ongoing land theft and dispossession of Indigenous people severs the human relationships to land and oceans that are based on mutual care and sustainability. Colonialism brings with it the logic of rampant capitalism, growth and profit, enforcing ever new tactics of environmental exploitation. For centuries it has imposed artificial borders that have carved up Indigenous nations and their lands. Globally, the ongoing impacts of colonisation and imperialism create conditions such as war, global wealth disparity and environmental changes that force people to flee their lands. We are faced with climate changes, rising oceans, pollution and loss of diversity, among many issues. There are currently millions of environmental refugees. It is projected that climate change will create the world’s biggest refugee crisis in the next decade.
In the wake of new PNG PM Marape's visit to Australia, when he and PM Morriscum declared that "no one is in detention", Izzy went to Manus Island and spoke with local, Jerry Polei, whose father was opening his land to West Papuan refugees 50 years ago.read more
We met with West Papuan refugees living in Port Moresby, some of whom at Rainbow Camp are facing eviction. They have been here since the 80s and are still being moved on and living in poverty with no access to health care or education. The current uprising and military crackdown in West Papua could trigger a next wave of West Papuan refugees into Papua New Guinea. Australia needs to take a hard look at its involvement in the ongoing genocide in West Papua and extend a hand to help the West...read more
Original Nations Passports destined for PNG traveled from Narrm, up the east coast of so-called Australia, and were signed by Aboriginal Elders on the way, including Uncle Kevin Buzzacott and Uncle Lyle Davis. Some of these passports were presented to asylum seekers in Port Moresby. Original Nations Passports have been accepted as travel documents before, and a couple of the asylum seekers talked with Izzy about what could happen next. Three weeks ago, Kaaveh was taken to Bomana prison, where...read more
In this video diary, Izzy reflects on some of the psychological ramifications on asylum seekers of Australia's torture regime in PNG. Also - on 19th July, "6 years too long", Kaaveh protests at the Australian High Commission. Next up - a longer piece digging deeper into the experiences of West Papuan refugees in Port Moresby.read more
On day 2 in Port Moresby, Izzy delivered some gifts to asylum seekers and talked with Kaaveh, an asylum seeker from Iran. Kaaveh is one of a group of men who have refused to participate in the process to claim asylum, as they were illegally trafficked to Papua New Guinea, and thus are identified as "negatives" by the australian government. Kaaveh was moved from Manus to Hodava Hotel in Port Moresby and has since been taken to Bomana prison, referred to in this video. The australian government...read more