The Refugee Rights Action Network WA (RRAN) organised a commemoration on February 17, the 6th anniversary of the death of Kurdish-Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati, who died while imprisoned by the Australian government on Manus Island.
Sarah Ross, from RRAN, recounted what happened on the night of February 16–17, 2014, when she received a call from asylum seekers inside the detention centre who had been attacked by locals, including security guards. They beat Berati to death and left many others with permanent injuries.
Ross emphasised the importance of amplifying the voices of the refugees and asylum seekers imprisoned in offshore detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru. She described how the government, led by Scott Morrison as immigration minister, lied about events on the night. It was left to activists to get the news out about what had happened to the men on Manus Island.
The 2015 documentary Nowhere Line: Voices from Manus Island by filmmaker Luke Schrank, was also shown. It depicted an interview with one of the men imprisoned on Manus Island in the aftermath of the February 2014 attacks.
Attendees discussed asylum seekers’ continued resistance on Manus Island and Nauru and the steps the refugee rights campaign needs to take.
RRAN WA will be taking part in the Annual Walk for Justice on April 5.
[RRAN meets every Monday night from 6.30pm at the Borloo (Perth) Activist Centre, 15/5 Aberdeen Street, Northbridge.]