Attempted suicide on Manus Island

Issue 
A Perth protest in June which called for an end to mandatory detention. Credit: Alex Bainbridge

The Refugee Action Coalition Sydney released this statement on September 1.

A 25 year-old Burmese asylum seeker attempted suicide at Manus Island on August 31.

The emergency unfolded over almost four hours as the man climbed onto the roof of Delta Compound around 3pm and made attempts to hang himself using bed sheets and electrical cable, before making a final attempt to jump just before 7pm.

More than 50 Transfield and IHMS medical personnel were mobilised during the emergency.

The man tied electrical cables to the sheets to try to prevent staff from using Hoffman knives to cut him down. He had the bed sheet tied around his neck when he was caught on the roof at about 6.45pm. He was handcuffed and shackled before being taken off the roof to the new high security area next to the medical centre.

On the eve of the renewal of the Transfield’s multi-billion dollar contract to manage offshore detention centres, Transfield’s chief executive Graeme Hunt, suggested that investors in Transfield could get “tours” of the detention centres.

Spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition Ian Rintoul said: “Now might be a good time for Transfield to open Manus Island to the media, as well as fund managers, so the stark reality of detention on Manus Island can be revealed. The truth is that Transfield Services’ profit is based on blood money from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

“The Senate report has also lifted the lid on Transfield’s complicity with abuse of woman and children on Nauru.”

Meanwhile, there is still no confirmation of the fate of the third Iranian asylum seeker who was scheduled to be removed from PNG last week. The Supreme Court has extended the injunction against removals until September 7, the date of the next directions hearing in the Supreme Court constitutional challenge to the Manus Island detention centre.

Threats of deportation have now been made against asylum seekers on Manus Island, who have refused to make applications for asylum in Papua New Guinea. There are around 200 people who have refused to make protection applications in PNG because they were forcibly taken to PNG after seeking protection in Australia.

The Supreme Court action in PNG will test the lawfulness of their transfer to and detention on Manus Island.

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