The refugee “debate” in Australian media and politics is rarely concerned about facts or evidence. Tony Abbott can call refugees “illegal” and be quoted uncritically in the news. Bob Carr can name himself a “humanitarian” in national media and keep a straight face. Headlines like “Swamped by boatpeople” are so common that the public eye just glazes over and accepts it as the truth.
Nauru camp detainees have made allegations of brutal beatings by security guards, as newly leaked documents from the Salvation Army detailed the early “chaos” of the camp. A protest of recent arrivals that began on June 25 was met with a violent crackdown by guards that reportedly left six Palestinian men unconscious. The protesters were mostly Palestinian, Sudanese and Lebanese refugees. They had just learned from Australian officials that assessment of their claims for protection would be delayed.
Australian foreign minister Bob Carr is nothing if not committed to humanitarian causes. And anyone supporting humanitarian causes cannot be anything but especially concerned about the situation facing the people of West Papua. And so it was that Carr bravely spoke out against the “cruel” forces oppressing the long-suffering Papuan people: the international solidarity movement with the Papuan people's struggle against Indonesian occupation and for self-determination.