Welcome to the
Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN)
We are a community-based network of volunteers supporting and advocating for asylum seekers in Darwin, Australia’s least populated capital city - Australia's 'detention capital'.
Over 700 men, women and children are currently at the Wickham Point detention centre, with hundreds more passing through each year. People with serious medical conditions and heavily pregnant women are brought here temporarily from Manus Island and Nauru. Others are kept in Darwin long-term, many with complex issues. Most have mental health conditions.
We welcome all those who support asylum seekers to join with us.
DASSAN works in three main areas: support, community awareness & advocacy.
For more information come along to our next meeting, join our Facebook community, email us or receive weekly updates
WEEKLY UPDATE 17th August
Allegations of abuse and mistreatment continue to come out of Nauru, with reports of water boarding and 'zipping' of asylum seekers - given by a former Security guard on Nauru, and a story last week (featuring DASSAN's advocacy worker Tash Blucher) showing footage of Wilsons guards joking about shooting asylum seekers - in the words of Dr David Isaacs " These are people, ordinary people, and we're treating them with incredible cruelty.'
And on Manus Island developments appear to be moving to a disturbing new phase as, according to the allegations, the authorities devise methods, in violation of international legal obligations, for detainees with refugee status to be returned to the countries from which they have fled.
Last week The Department of Immigration and Border Protection released its July monthly update on Operation Sovereign Borders, with the Miniister for Immigration giving a press conference confirming that 633 people were turned back. The Minister also confirmed that last month, 46 people from Vietnam who had sought to reach Australia by boat had been returned to Vietnam. Three of those returned are reported to remain in police detention in Vietnam
Coming up this week - tonight our regular social gathering for visitors, at the Trailer Boat Club, 5pm onwards. All welcome - this is a place to meet other visitors and find out more about visiting people in detention?
This Saturday DASSAN is joining with MyNT and ChilOut to present a Human Rights Summit: Freedom Beyond Borders - with workshops and the opportunity to hear from young people who are youth ambassadors of children in detention.
Together we can create change.
The DASSAN Team
URGENT call for a moratorium on:
transfers to Nauru and Manus Island
Dear friends, the Immigration Department recently confirmed that they intend to continue returning asylum seekers to Nauru and Manus Island despite government reports which indicate high levels of danger in both locations.
Given the evidence of abuse on Nauru as identified in the Moss report we find this absolutely unacceptable.
We need you to act today!
- what you can do
1) Write to politicians - The Minister for Immigration, the Opposition spokesperson on Immigration, our local senators Warren Snowden and Nigel Sculliion, our local member Natasha Griggs and ALP candidate Luke Gosling.
Tell them you do not support sending vulnerable people including babies who are only months old to Nauru, nor single men being returned to the guards in Manus who caused the injuries for which they were brought for treatment in Darwin
Details of how to do this including a letter template can be found HERE
Make sure you request a response to your letter. Please also send a copy to your local Senators.
YOUR SUPPORT IS NEEDED NOW every email or letter counts!
2) If you haven’t already joined our visitor program, you can visit people in detention at risk of removal. This ensures they know they are supported. It also means that we can keep track of what is happening for them. Contact email@example.com
3) Consider donating to our advocacy fund - we need financial resources to support high court actions working to stop these transfers. Donations to DASSAN, Bendigo Bank, BSB: 633-000, Account Number :143875664 - please write 'advocacy major appeal' in donation details
4) Write to newspapers, comment in the media, talk to friends - help balance the fear and misinformation with facts.
Asylum Seeker Education Workshops for Schools Educational workshops are now being offered to schools through the Asylum Seeker Legal Education Project run by Multicultural Youth NT (MyNT) in collaboration with DASSAN. This project delivers educational workshops to school students with the aim of increasing understanding, empathy and compassion towards asylum seekers. Workshops are delivered to schools free of charge. If you’re interested in having a session run at your school please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. This project is supported by the Northern Territory Law Society-Public Purposes Trust.
EVENTS coming up in NT
HUMAN RIGHTS SUMMIT : FREEDOM BEYOND BORDERS.
Saturday August 22, CDU Casuarina, 8.30am-4.30pm
UN Youth Northern Territory’s first independent Summit in Darwin, providing a safe environment for young people to explore and gain insight into asylum seeker issues.
The Human Rights Summit on Asylum Seekers is a full-day event held on August 22 for students in Years 10 – 12, presented in partnership Multicultural Youth NT (MyNT) and in collaboration with ChilOut and Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN).
The nation-wide debate on asylum seekers and refugees will be put into perspective through interactive workshop sessions, arming participants with knowledge to form an informed opinion about the issue. Participants will also hear from other young people who are youth ambassadors of children in detention and learn about the actions they can take as an individual.
To Register go to HERE: https://unyouth.org.au/event/hrs-asylum-seekers/hrs-asylum-seekers-registration/
E-Team film screening - Sunday 27th September - Browns Mart Theatre @ 2pm and 7pm - $10 and Sunday 4th October - CDU Palmerston Campus @7pm - $10 - outdoor screening - BYO Bean Bag/ Picnic Rug or Deckchair
When atrocities are committed in countries held hostage by ruthless dictators, Human Rights Watch sends in the E-Team (Emergencies Team), a collection of fiercely intelligent individuals hired to document war crimes and report them to the rest of the world. Within this volatile climate, filmmakers Ross Kauffman and Katy Chevigny take us to the frontline in Syria and Libya, where shrapnel, bullet holes, and unmarked graves provide mounting evidence of coordinated attacks conducted by Bashar al-Assad and the now-deceased Muammar Gaddafi. The crimes are rampant, random, and often undocumented, making E-Team's effort to get information out of the country and into the hands of media outlets and criminal courts all the more necessary.
For more information check out the FB event page.
Come to a meeting:
Next DASSAN Meeting
(First Monday of the month - except public holidays)
When: 6:00pm Monday 7th September
Where: Nightcliff Uniting Church
21 Cummins Street
More info HERE
There are more people in detention in Darwin wanting visitors than we have visitors available, so WE NEED YOU!
Next Visitor training - please contact email@example.com
More info HERE
Visitor Social Gathering
All welcome to our monthly social gathering for visitors - a chance to get together informally for support, debriefing and a sunset drink!
Trailer Boat Club, 5:30 - 7pm,
Third Monday of the month
NEXT: 21sr September
Attend a Vigil
Friday: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Outside Immigration Department 48 Cavenagh Street Darwin
Sunday afternoon: 4:30pm - 6:00pm
At the entrance of Blaydin and Wickham Point Detention Centres outside of Darwin.
More info HERE
Nightcliff Market - every Sunday
Volunteer on the market stall, our shopfront and information desk. A vital contact point to the public.
More info HERE
Help DASSAN support asylum seekers
Please support our fundraising appeal! You will enable us to continue to expand our advocacy work to help the hundreds of desperate asylum seekers now locked up in Darwin.
The needs of asylum seekers in detention in Darwin are Urgent.
Please find details on our donations page HERE
Are you a fundraising professional? DASSAN needs you!
Are you experienced with developing fundraising strategies and campaigns, have a track record of finding and obtaining grants, or a history of successful events? Or maybe you just have lots of rich friends! If you have expertise in any fundraising area - or know someone who does - and would like to help make a difference for asylum seekers, we would love to hear from you. We have managed to raise enough funds to hire a much-needed advocacy coordinator for the next 6 months and now need to start thinking ahead to make the position ongoing. We know there is a lot of support out there and want to set up a fundraising committee to make it happen - will you be a part of it? More information or ideas contact Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org
Letter writing program co-ordinator We receive letters for people in detention from all over Australia. Are you interested in helping coordinate this program? More info - email email@example.com
Children in detention project DASSAN has been working closely with the #saveasha campaign. We are looking for a Darwin based person who can assist with donations and support to babies and their families in detention in Darwin. More information firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seeking office space DASSAN is looking for office space !! For the last 4 and a half years DASSAN has worked from wherever we can - borrowed meeting rooms, parks, churches, cars, cafes, short term spare desks ( a BIG shout and and thank you to NTCOSS for the last 9 months of giving us a desk and so much support)
We need a space big enough for people to work and volunteer from - if you have any ideas please contact email@example.com