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.
On Tuesday, Lazy Jack and her crew sailed past Shoalwater Bay on the central Qld coast. It was a quiet and pleasant sail, showing no indication of what will be taking place at the Shoalwater Bay military training area over the next few weeks. The Talisman Sabre joint military exercises will occur there from July 11-24 - "a biennial, bilateral Australian and United States training activity". This will include a very different kind of flotilla to our's - the latest military media release...read more
If arriving by boat makes one a boat person, Captain Cook was a boat person too. Why do we uncritically celebrate some historical boat arrivals whilst criminalising others? Next year, the Australian government will spend $48.7 million commemorating the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook's landing at Australia aboard the Endeavour. This will include $6.7 million to reenact the voyage up the east coast in a replica ship. The Sail 4 Justice journey retraces some of the same journey, as evidenced...read more
Many asylum seekers have languished in australian detention prisons for years, and have understandably lost hope in us. The result of the recent election is devastating for refugees on Manus, Nauru and those detained onshore. A growing number of men on Manus have attempted suicide and engaged in self-harm. Instead of showing compassion, the Federal Government responded with plans to repeal the Medevac bill, which was to provide much needed healthcare. Right now, Sail4Justice is on its way to...read more
If you wish to contribute materials to go directly with us to Manus on board the flotilla of boats, we have received a list of specific requests: USB, SD cards, Hard drives Smartphones (functioning and complete with chargers and batteries) Laptops (functioning and complete with chargers and batteries) Painkillers Basic First Aid items Prescription glasses You can send these things to us in Gimuy/Cairns (contact us for address) and we will take them with us to Manus. Alternatively, you can...read more