UN urges ban on sending children to Manus Island

Saturday, February 9, 2013
Children live in tents on Manus Island.

A highly publicised report by the United Nations' refugee agency labeled conditions in the Manus Island refugee camp “unlawful”, but stopped short of pushing the government to close it completely.

The report was released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on February 4 after a visit to the detention centre over January 15-17. It principally called for the release of children from the “closed” detention camp. It said the Australian government's regime of “arbitrary, indefinite detention” with no legal framework was “deeply troubling”.

Children were “showing signs of the trauma of both their boat journey to Australia and the on-going detention on Manus Island, as well as the worries and stresses being expressed by their parents 'rubbing off' on them and causing additional anxiety”.

“When viewed against the applicable international legal standards, it is clear that the current situation for detained children is profoundly unsatisfactory and UNHCR is therefore of the view that it is not currently appropriate for children to be transferred to Manus Island.”

It said no further asylum seekers should be sent to the island until the UN refugee agency's recommendations were in place.

UNHCR regional representative Richard Towle said on February 4: “Asylum-seekers are distressed and confused about their situation. They are in closed detention, without a process in sight. They feel they have been forgotten.

“The hot and humid weather made the temporary accommodation very uncomfortable. Due to heavy rain at the time of UNHCR’s visit, some areas were extremely muddy and in some places there were large amounts of standing water.”

An immigration department spokesperson told Fairfax that conditions in the camp were “in line with the living standards and amenities for local PNG residents on Manus Island”. Refugees are currently being housed in refurbished shipping containers, tents and have little amenities.

The spokesperson said Australia would “work constructively” with the UN refugee agency, but “it should be recognised that UNHCR has a long-standing position of opposition to offshore processing”.

The report avoided criticism of offshore processing. It did not call for the almost 40 children now held on Manus Island to be returned to Australia and processed in the community.

It said: “For those children already transferred to Manus Island, steps should be taken to accommodate them completely separately to any single men who are in or close to the Centre and, at a minimum, the family compound should be transitioned to a genuinely 'open' centre without further delay.”

Rudimentary suggestions such as more “freedom of movement” and “escorted visits and excursions” were also proposed in the report.

It also highlighted the fact that no refugees sent to the camp have been able to lodge any claims for protection. The report said the Australian government should “proceed with urgency to put in place a full refugee status determination process” — to prevent further trauma.

Greens Senator and immigration spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young, who also recently visited the centre, revealed that some asylum seekers held in the camp have already been determined to have genuine refugee claims by the UNHCR and hold refugee cards.

But the immigration department said, “As claims assessment has not yet commenced in either Nauru or PNG, it is not possible to verify claims made by some people that they have been found by UNHCR to be refugees.”

Related article: Coalition unveils new plans to persecute refugees

From GLW issue 953

Comments

Our suffering continues

We are refugees, men, women and children come to Australia by boat after that we lost everything in our homelands from the security and safety of all help us to live in dignity and to maintain our lives and our lives we ventured to reach Australia.
And actually we got to Australia hoping to find what we have lost in our home but we unfortunately run into the harsh realities faced by refugee through the unjust resolution, known as the resolution of 13 March, which was moved to the island of Manus in Papua New Guinea and to decide on asylum requests from outside Australian territory, which constitutes a violation of international conventions and treaties signed by Australia, including the United Nations Convention on refugees that this procedure will send some of the refugees and they are few, not exceeding 250 people and keep the largest number within Australian territory enjoying contact with society and the continuity of life as we do not know what will happen to us and what's around us and can throw to deter people from coming to Australia as punishment for us because we want a new life and what our sins in this???
Thus, the basis of humanitarian and moral and legal recourse as well as refugee protection will be seriously undermined and that the United Nations High Commission for refugees which expressed concern about the decision to move the refugees and families including children to the island of Manus in the absence of an appropriate legal framework, procedures, adequate resources in the State of Papua New Guinea to submit their applications.
We explained in our initial maltreatment and the circumstances in which we live and the deteriorating mental state which led to an increase in suicide attempts continued through our presence in the detention centre in the middle of a forest full of poisonous insects, and dangerous snakes and that we have seen with our own eyes and rampant infectious diseases, especially malaria, which we do not know what is the warranty of infection if we turn every day pills.
Knowing that this island was used to isolate the criminals and drug traffickers and were exiled to criminal cases.
It is the second serious displays of our lives at risk and who is not, and is the location of the island and prone to tsunamis and this is what actually happened on 6 February 2013 where panic, panic and fear and the crying of children among the refugees and staff alike when it was suddenly let us know there risk of tsunami for us and I will explain you later with another message from this painful event.
Demands:-
1. delivery our voice to all humanitarian organizations, including Amnesty International and the media to find out what happens at the detention centre on the island of Manus of serious violations of the rights of refugees.
2. know our kellagaen and our legal procedure undertaken by the Australian Government direction and especially families and children sent to the camp.
3. If the Australian Government could accept kellagaen, we appeal to the international community and United Nations organizations to get us out of this place to any other place that has the security and stability of other countries respected human rights.
We reiterate our thanks and appreciation for your interest in us hope you help us as much as possible.
A group of refugees on the island of Manus in Papua New Guinea.

The sufferings of the refugees on the island of Manus

The sufferings of the refugees on the island of Manus
The utmost respect for all of our cares and tries to lift the suffering us even if a single word.
After he was transferred from the jurisdiction of the Australian island of Manus, Darwin and ill-treatment received and refused to live on this island, deteriorating health and psychological wounding all significantly which generated most of the suicides and a sit-in and hunger strike and refused to live in the island and not to sign any formal or informal paper to the reality of living on this island wemasaui and painful way to madness or slow death and does not have any sense of humanity and dignity and human rights But this reality to be exiled or imprisoned and even those not fit to be and doesn't also have protected their friendly animal that spreads the deadly infectious disease.
Having applied the law of 13 July 2012 on the few oppressed group and did not apply to big totals in the thousands now living in Australia and enjoy their freedom and dignity and mingle with society in various colors and marching through the reverse of our humanity and we live every moment of the day that passes we become a nightmare in the US cannot uproot the helping hand and requesting you to save from this hell and the cruel suffering of every kind, contrary to what we were unhappy we dream of living Free and secure and build the future of our countries we fled for fear of murder and persecution to a country that brings us together and give us security for us and our families who we left them in our live psychological pressure and fear and dream to live as other people's lives.
Unfortunately, our situation is getting worse day after day and our suffering is something after something so live in refugee camps could not resist to sit as well as sleep to the continuous high temperatures and the emergence of a large number of snakes and insects that generated our fear so as not to appreciate the accommodation and you know the reality of living in the middle of the forest of expect any danger confronting us like what happened on 12/13/6 pm are us urgently evacuate immediately for a tsunami coming at us and we were close to Open closed doors and escape from this catastrophe and do not know where to go and where to protect ourselves central island could go in a jiffy with limited possibilities for officials of the camp and all this happens under the attention of the Committee of the Red Cross inspect the location is the best witness to what happened and reality of the island and the moment we fled from the place which they associate with us families and children we have seen tragic cases of panic and alarm and crying children everywhere and causing chaos because of the expectation of Tamuz One is the biggest tragedy of the refugee in the isolated island by first aid necessary to reduce natural disasters?
Despite these unfortunate and harsh conditions were brought up from their powerless refugees during the past days which have caused chaos and suffering in the camp from where the limited size of the camp and that no more than 800 meters, led to a significant shortfall in services and the lack of cold water for drinking as well as delayed periods of food that the restaurant is small and always crowded and involving families and young people and beyond wait more than two hours for a meal. And more than half of the number of refugees to obtain dial-in the absence of adequate devices with the knowledge that the camp did not have any kind of activities that might occupy a lot of free time.
It is reasonable that this setting is brought to a camp not simple living supplies only a camp and catering?
Is this the right of refugee rights if he has rights here because we did not see anything of this alleged rights?
What is our destiny and end our way?
Even jailed imprisoned in jail is better than this place and waits his fate because he knows what is his destiny. Maybe we are actually living unknown destiny terrifying and oppressive laws we measured
I wonder is this a penalty punished them because we want to live as the rest of humanity?
Or we disagree?
Please ... Please ... Please. Help us as much as possible

* A group of Iraqi refugees on the island of Manus in Papua New