Manus Island

Refugee Action Coalition released this statement on January 16.

***

Manus Island detention centre is engulfed in the largest protests in a year, as more asylum seekers join the hunger strike.

Sudanese asylum seekers in Mike Compound joined the hunger strike protest late on January 15. There are now around 300 on hunger strike in Mike Compound alone, and around 170 in Foxtrot.

G4S was labelled “fundamentally flawed” in 2005, when its operation of onshore detention centres led to the wrongful detention and mistreatment of Australian resident Cornelia Rau, as well as the detention of Naomi Leong from birth until she was three years old, and several cases of “unsafe and inhumane” treatment of refugees.

Every day, Manus Island detainees negotiate rocky ground strewn with coral, rotting shower blocks and “filthy” living conditions.

They do this mostly in rubber thongs. A cut foot is likely, septicemia possible and a heart attack followed by a coma and brain death?

Wait a minute, let’s go back.

More than half a million Iraqis have been displaced and hundreds killed after the fall of Iraq's second largest city of Mosul to Islamic fundamentalists. But even as the crisis in Iraq dramatically worsens, Australia is refusing to offer any reprieve for the thousands of Iraqi refugees in its care.

World Refugee Day is dedicated each year to raising awareness about the more than 43.7 million refugees and internally displaced people around the world. The United Nations and non-government organisations usually share refugee stories and make pleas for compassion and empathy.

But in Australia, refugees and asylum seekers are treated like the enemy in a war: the target of a highly resourced, military-led “deterrence” strategy complete with arbitrary detainment, detention camps, guards to terrorise them, forced deportations and the violent suppression of those who protest.

The Australian government’s review of the February violence on Manus Island leaves critical questions unanswered and does not call for the detention camp to be closed.

Robert Cornall’s 107-page administrative review, released on May 26, includes a detailed account of 23-year-old Reza Berati’s death and identifies a Salvation Army employee as instigating the attack.

Iranian asylum seeker and aspiring architect Reza Berati was beaten to death inside the Manus Island detention camp more than two months ago, during what former employees of the detention centre described as “inevitable bloodshed”.

Now, the five witnesses who say they can identify those who allegedly kicked, punched and beat the 23-year-old until he succumbed to massive head injuries, have been receiving death threats from local security guards.

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.

Don't Let it Go (Urthboy Flip)
Sietta x Jaytee
Elefant Traks
Released March 6, 2014
Free download

Hip-hop artist Urthboy has hit back at Australia's asylum seeker policy with a free song released online. The rapper drops some radical rhymes over a beat that originally appeared on the new album by bass-heavy Darwin duo Sietta, which was released on his label Elefant Traks this month.

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.

Pages

Subscribe to Manus Island