Manus Island

More than 100 asylum seekers in detention on Manus Island have signed an appeal to Europeans for help. They say that just like the asylum seekers in Europe, they have fled war and persecution and like them they need safety and resettlement. They request European countries “to urge the Australia government to cease the illegal detention of us…”

Almost 1000 refugees and asylum seekers are indefinitely detained on Manus Island and a similar number, including families with children, are on Nauru.

Profits have soared for the operator of Australia's detention camps for asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea on Manus Island and on Nauru.

Broadspectrum, which used to be called Transfield Services, announced it had trebled its net profit for the first half of the year to $25.1 million.

Broadspectrum has been awarded a 12-month extension on its contract providing operational, welfare and security services to asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island. It has told investors it is the "preferred tenderer" for a new five-year contract it hopes to sign this year.

Racism and homophobia are on the rise. Millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) and sex and gender diverse identifying (SGDI) people face life-threatening persecution.

About 2.7 billion people live in the 76 countries that criminalise homosexuality. The death penalty for homosexuality is applied in Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen. In China, several hospitals use electric shock therapy as “anti-gay treatments”.

Chasing Asylum
Directed by Eva Orner
Selected cinemas

Chasing Asylum is a new documentary that shows the Nauru and Manus Island detention centres for the “Hell on Earth” and “human dumping grounds” they are.

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.

Carol Hucker worked on Manus Island as a counsellor for International Health and Medical Services (IHMS) and as a case worker for the Salvation Army from June 2013 to July last year.

She has allowed Green Left Weekly to publish her account so that people can become more aware of what is happening on Manus Island. She said: “It is my hope that through this brief account the men on Manus will not be forgotten.”

This is the second part of a multi-part series and covers September 2013.

* * *

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.

By the time Manus Island detainee Hamid Kehazaei was transferred to Australia he was already brain dead, documents produced at a pre-inquest conference show. He was transferred from Port Moresby in a comatose state and confirmed dead on arrival at Brisbane’s Mater Hospital.

Kehazaei was transferred from Christmas Island to in September 2013. On August 23 last year he was given intravenous antibiotics for a leg ulcer. When it had not improved two days later a request for urgent removal to hospital was made. This was not approved until the following day.

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.

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.


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