Manus Island and Nauru detention centres

Don Khan, a Rohingya refugee who was brought to Australia under the defunct Medevac law, told a rally that he had still not been given specialist treatment, reports Chris Slee.

Thousands of refugee rights activists, in more than 20 protests around the country, filled streets chanting “Six years too long, bring them here” on July 20.

Many asylum seekers had hoped a Labor government, having supported the medical evacuation law (Medivac) and agreed to accept New Zealand's offer to resettle 150 people a year, would mean an end to six years of torture. The election result has killed that hope, writes Zebedee Parkes.

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.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s “I stopped these [boats]” desk trophy is symbolic of his government’s callous disregard for human rights. But you can be sure that Morrison won’t be stopping the Nauruan government from kicking Mؘédicins Sans Frontières (MSF/Doctors Without Borders) off Nauru.

Within days of Nauru’s decision that MSF’s mental health services would “no longer be required”, news came through that an Iranian detainee on Nauru had self-harmed by swallowing washing powder.

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.

The Australian Border Force is an authoritarian and undemocratic body that does not serve the interests of ordinary people in Australia. It should be abolished.

Five years since the reopening of the refugee torture centres on Manus Island and Nauru, the results are clear. Refugees have suffered cruel and unusual punishment which has: not saved lives at sea, not “stopped the boats” and not benefited ordinary Australians.

“Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here” is a chant that has been synonymous with the refugee rights movement in Australia since I became active some years ago.

That was a time when putting children in detention was, to some extent, something to hide — not a policy to win support from your voting base.

The fate of more than 600 people rescued at sea by the Doctors Without Borders rescue ship Aquarius is one more example of the impact of right wing populism on human rights in Europe today.

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.

Refugee activists outside the Sydney Insitute.

The dishonorable Minister for Home Affairs, Immigration and Border Protection was invited to speak to the right wing “think tank” Gerard Henderson’s Sydney Institute on May 16. A group of determined refugee activists turned up to greet Dutton when he arrived.

“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.

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