Refugee activists from the Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance (WACA) hung a banner off the Channel 7 building in Melbourne’s Docklands on June 23.
The Channel 7 building is in direct line of sight of the Border Force headquarters in Customs House, where operational matters in Manus Island and Nauru refugee detention camps are managed.
WACA spokesperson Zianna Fuad said: “WACA staged this action to call on the federal government to repeal the Border Force Act, evacuate the camps immediately, bring them here and end the illegal indefinite detention of refugees.
“The federal government and its refugee detention industry contractors have again sought to avoid being held to account with their proposal to settle the Manus class action compensation case out of court.
“In proposing the settlement, the government denies all liability for the mistreatment and false imprisonment of people on Manus Island.
“Some of the claimants themselves have asked, what good is a few thousand dollars when they remain in unsafe conditions and in fear of deportation back to the danger they fled? What good is hush money to people denied freedom and safety?”
By holding people in detention, the federal government is breaching Article 14.1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution”.
The action took place during Refugee Week, and included a call for the sacking of immigration minister Peter Dutton and the closure of all onshore and offshore detention centres.