Kurdish refugee Farhad Bandesh, who is detained on Manus Island, addressed the Palm Sunday rally in Newcastle by phone. Here is an edited transcript of his speech.
The Australian Financial Review has revealed that the federal Coalition government awarded a $423 million security and cleaning contract for three Manus Island refugee detention centres to Paladin Group, a company that, at the time, was registered to a Kangaroo Island beach shack.
Just days after the latest — and largest — round of #KidsOffNauru protests, the federal government has said all children will be removed from Nauru by the end of the year.
Twelve people have died in Australian offshore detention centres in the past five years as a result of murder, suicide and medical neglect, according to Angelica Panopoulos from the Refugee Action Collective (Victoria).
No Friend but the Mountains, written by Kurdish journalist and human right activist Behrouz Boochani who has been jailed on Manus Island since 2013, stands out among the genre of prison literature.
Another person who came to Australia seeking safety and security died on Manus Island on May 22. The Rohingya man is the seventh person to die on Manus Island since Labor re-established offshore detention.
The man died after jumping out of a bus — it is being reported as a suicide. Doctors for Refugees had been calling on the government to bring him here for more than a year as he suffers from epilepsy.
“Political hostages” is an apt term to describe the situation of the several hundred men on Manus Island, Greens Senator Nick McKim told a forum hosted by the Refugee Action Coalition in Sydney on April 29.
McKim gave an insight into the siege on Manus Island detention centre in October and November last year. Aziz, one of the refugee leaders on Manus Island, spoke via video, detailing the desperate situation the men are living in today.
Medical students and professionals are taking inspiring action, in defiance of the Australian government, to assert that health is a human right as the crisis on Manus Island and Nauru rapidly worsens, writes Zebedee Parkes.
“We have a system of detention for people arriving by boat which is deliberately designed to cause harm,” psychiatrist Dr Peter Young told a rally of hundreds of medical students in Sydney on April 7.
Thousands of people rallied across Australia for refugee rights at the annual Palm Sunday rallies on March 25. Melbourne had its largest rally in years as people called on the government to close down the detention centres, bring them here and let them stay. Walid Zazai, one of the men on Manus Island, sent this speech to refugee activist in Australia. The speech was read out at Palm Sunday rallies across Australia.
More than 100 people marched in Northcote on March 10 in support of refugee rights. The rally was called by the Refugee Action Collective to focus attention on refugees in the context of the Batman by-election.
Aziz Muhammad, who has been imprisoned on Manus Island for 5 years, spoke to the rally via skype. He spoke of the “terrible” conditions on Manus Island. The three camps where refugees are living are overcrowded. There is no proper medical care. Mental health is deteriorating, as people see no hope. Refugees have been badly beaten by local people.