The smuggling of cameras inside detention camps on Nauru and Manus Island by the ABC's Four Corners has added to pressure on Labor to answer for the shocking conditions in which men, women and children are being held. Footage that was aired on April 29 showed rows of muddy tents, derelict amenities and ablution facilities and image after image of people who are losing the will to live.
Hunger-striking refugee 35-year-old Omid Sorousheh's desperate plea to be recognised as a refugee in Australia has been treated with contempt by immigration minister Chris Bowen, despite clear indications that he was close to death. Omid has been on a hunger strike for 50 days on November 30. That day it was reported he had been finally airlifted from Nauru and returned to Australia.
Refugees held in indefinite detention on Nauru shared the following letter on their Facebook page on October 26. They addressed it to human rights commissioners, communities of oppressed people and “world independent news channels”. It has been published with minimal edits. ***
Refugees held in the Nauru detention camp have authored several letters detailing the conditions and despair they are now experiencing in the detention camp, where hunger strikes, self-harm, and disease and ill-health have erupted in just a few weeks. Three letters are republished below with minimal edits. *** October 22: Nauru refugee camp today at 10am in charge of all interviews held with representatives.
More than 200 refugees held in a "tent city" on Nauru held a protest on October 14, saying they were horrified with the lack of health care, hygiene and entertainment at the camp. They said that "no immigration officials, no human rights organization" have arrived to hear their claims for asylum, sparking fear and doubt about how long they will be held on Nauru. The statement below was released by the Sydney Refugee Action Coalition on October 15. ***
Petty politicking over whether refugees should be illegally deported to Malaysia or to Nauru forced the Australian government to abandon its policy of “offshore processing” of refugees on October 13. Since the “Tampa election” in 2001, competition between the two main parties over who can most mistreat the small number of refugees arriving in Australia by boat has been at the centre of Australian electoral politics.