Papua New Guinea

The Refugee Action Coalition released the statement below on March 11. *** Refugee advocates are warning of new dangers of attacks on asylum seekers if local staff are re-introduced into the Manus Island detention centre. Local and national PNG staff and police have been excluded from the detention centre since the night of February 17 when 23-year-old Reza Berati was killed and at least 77 others brutally bashed.
Two important things were revealed when immigration minister Scott Morrison was finally forced to admit he had been wrong about most of the facts when one man was killed and at least 70 others were injured on Manus Island on February 16. The first was that asylum seekers who rang and messaged advocates, supporters and friends in Australia in a panic over the outbreak of violence, saying that G4S security guards and angry locals were brutally attacking dozens of people, were telling the truth.
When refugees are being killed and injured by thugs hired by the Australian government to run its offshore refugee detention camp in Manus Island, PNG; when Australia's foreign minister Julie Bishop pressures Cambodia (one of the poorest countries in the world) to take asylum seekers off Australia (one of the world's richest countries) surely it is time to say: NOT IN OUR NAME! And this is what thousands of people did over the weekend of February 22-23 in more than 750 vigils, called by internet campaigning network GetUp.
Many see Australia as a small power dependent on British and then US power for protection, but it is important to note that Australia has its own imperialist agenda it pushes the Pacific region. From the late 19th century to today, Australia's ruling class has been finding ways of extending its influence on nearby countries. It has even succeeded, if only temporarily, in gaining colonial possessions. This began even before federation in 1901, as the new capitalist class, having accumulated capital from the gold rushes in the mid-19th century, was looking for outlets for investment.
All around the country this week there have been angry snap protests against Abbott Liberal-National Coalition government's cruel policies towards asylum seekers. This follows the death of one asylum seeker and several injuries in violence in an Australian offshore immigration detention camp on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.
The consequences of the inhumane policies by successive Coalition and Labor governments to make life as unbearable as possible for asylum seekers are unfolding on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.
Violent clashes have once again erupted between local people, police and company security guards at the giant Porgera gold and silver mine in Papua New Guinea's highlands, operated and largely owned by the Canadian corporation Barrick Gold – the world's biggest gold mining company.

As a mother and her baby fight to avoid the “rat-infested” Nauru refugee camp, a Fairfax-Nielsen poll showed half of Australian voters disapprove of the Coalition government's refugee policy. The poll also showed Prime Minister Tony Abbott has come to the end of what has been described as the shortest “honeymoon period” of a PM in history. Abbott's popularity took an unprecedented dive — with a personal approval rating of 1%, believed to be fuelled by his attitude to the “diplomatic stand-off” with Indonesia over substantial spying allegations.

Prime minister Kevin Rudd’s announcement of the “PNG solution” — where refugees who arrive in Australia by boat will be denied resettlement and sent to Papua New Guinea — has sparked the largest refugee rights rallies in Australia since John Howard was in power, as well as opposition from within PNG itself. On August 2, 2000 students at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) held a protest against the proposed plan.
Kevin Rudd's astounding announcement that all boat arrivals "from now on" would never be resettled in Australia, and subject to a jerry-rigged offshore dumping deal with the Papua New Guinea government has shocked many. Every asylum seeker that arrives by boat for at least the next 12 months would be sent to Papua New Guinea, with no cap on the number. In exchange, Australia would pump money into PNG's government for apparent health and education reforms.

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