I no longer add to the diary because this blog has been referred to the ICC and they have taken what they need from the site.
What they need to add to cases now is personal testimony.
18th July 2016
I am changing gears.
To date I have joined many others who use Facebook as a platform to campaign for the humane and speedy processing of the asylum claims of people incarcerated in on and offshore facilities or in community detention.
Despite many valiant efforts of advocates, both government and opposition ignore community outrage and doggedly continue breaking international law.
I cannot continue banging my head against a brick wall so have now established a blog on which I will use diary entries to document information for use in any future trial of the perpetrators or in defence of those of us who protested against the crimes committed by our government and its agents against asylum seekers.
I invite you to join me in this next step towards holding our government responsible for their criminal behaviour.
You are welcome to add your name to the Witness list or to add items either to the Diary or Archive by filling in the communication box at the bottom of the relevant page.
If you wish to help shape or comment on the process please contact me on the Contact page.
Thank you for caring and I look forward to hearing from you.
5th October 2016
NEWS REPORT: PNG’s foreign minister Pato met with Australia’s foreign minister Bishop to ask for help settling the refugees in Manus. It seems that Bishop came up with the illegal idea that it is ok to imprison refugees if they are not in the naval base. More garbage to be contested in court to try to further delay what is inevitable – that the men will have to come to Australia; Behrouz Boochani has explained why hoping is a revolutionary act; Australia only wants Christian refugees; Australia must not hand the welfare of refugees over to Nauru wrapped in a paper bag stuffed with money; Peter Dutton employs 22 people to monitor our posts on Facebook 24 hours a day. Hi, Border Farce, go get a real job you filthy spies; Labor’s Lisa Singh says ‘#BringThemHere; Send a question to Q&A.
Australia’s political prisoners held in Nauru’s asylum seeker gaol for 1172 days have peacefully protested the abuse of their human rights for the 199th consecutive day.
1. PNG minister says ‘refugee transit centre’ on Manus Island will remain open (ABC, 4 October 2016. “The Supreme Court of PNG was not saying that there is a particular detention centre where it’s unlawful to hold refugees and there’s others where it is lawful to detain or hold refugees. It’s not saying that at all,” Human rights lawyer David Manne disputes Pato’s stand on Manus detention centre.
2. Papua New Guinea asks Australia for help resettling refugees from Manus Island. Papua New Guinea has again asked Australia for help resettling more than 500 refugees who have said they are not safe in the country and do not want to live there. PNG’s immigration authority has ruled the men have a “well-founded fear of persecution” in their homeland and are legally owed protection. It is illegal under international law if a refugee is sent to any place “where his (or her) life or freedom would be threatened” – known as refoulement.
3. Bishop talks Manus Island closure with PNG. ‘Rimbink Pato raised the plight of 560 refugees in PNG who do not want to resettle in his country and are seeking to be sent elsewhere, during his meeting with Ms Bishop in Canberra on Tuesday.’
4. For refugees kidnapped and exiled to the Manus prison, hope is our secret weapon. Behrouz Boochani explains ‘Why is hope dangerous?’
5. Syrian refugee intake focused on Christians. Australia proves once again that we are ruled by bigots country.
6. Advocates warn against handing refugee settlement contract to Nauru government Concerns are growing that the government could be considering funding the Nauru government and to shift away from refugee specific services to a more general Nauruan community welfare.
7. Q&A. Ask a Question: Screening on ABC TV Next Monday, 9.35pm AEST, 10 October 2016.
8. Peter Dutton spends $8 million on spin doctor army. The department says it has 82 communications staff, 22 of whom are dedicated to its “24/7 media operations”, including social media.
9. Resolution vital for refugee detention: Singh Labor Senator Lisa Singh says Australia should consider resettling asylum seekers currently in detention on Nauru and Manus Island in Australia. ‘If they (the government) cannot find a positive country to settle refugees that are in off shore detention facilities, then they are going to have to going to have to look at our own country,’ she said.
~ Australia’s political prisoners held in Nauru’s asylum seeker gaol for 1172 days have peacefully protested the abuse of their human rights for the 199th consecutive day.
~ Behrouz Boochani on Manus Island: “During the past three years, the only ‘laws’ applied to us have been force and dictatorship… We are like people smitten with plague, left on isolated islands. This time they have said to us that we can obtain a visa for another country and leave here. We understand that this choice is simply more propaganda … For us there is no way ahead towards the future and no way behind to the past’ (For refugees kidnapped and exiled to the Manus prison, hope is our secret weapon. (Behrouz Boochani, The Guardian, 3 October 2016 https://www.theguardian.com/…/for-refugees-kidnapped-and-ex…)
~ PNG says ‘refugee transit centre’ on Manus Island will remain open (Video Duration: 7min 2sec ABC, 5 October 2016. http://www.abc.net.au/…/png-says-‘refugee-transit-c…/7903388) David Manne, the executive director of Refugee Legal, discusses the fate of the hundreds of asylum seekers with Beverley O’Connor. Months after a supreme court ruled that Australia’s detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island was illegal, a Papua New Guinean minister has said the country will close one of its facilities, but keep another “transit centre” open.
~ Asylum seekers are being made to attend ‘status resolution interviews’ with an Australian immigration department staff member where they are enticed to abandon their protection claims with inducements of money and immediate passage home, staff say. Photograph: Eoin Blackwell/AAP
~ What do you expect for more than $8m+? (Australian Border Force Commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg blamed a “clumsily worded” press release for suggesting people would be stopped for random visa checks. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen)
~ Bishop and Pato exchange gifts.
1. PNG minister says ‘refugee transit centre’ on Manus Island will remain open (ABC, 4 October 2016 http://www.abc.net.au/…/png-to-keep-refugee-facilit…/7903020
Papua New Guinea’s Government says it will close Australia’s offshore detention centre on Manus Island, but keep another asylum seeker facility open.
In April, PNG’s Supreme Court ruled the Regional Processing Centre was unconstitutional and ordered its closure.
Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato, who is in Canberra to discuss the future of Manus, said there are two facilities on the island.
Mr Pato told the ABC’s Pacific Beat program the court order applied only to the Lombrum naval base facility, not the larger centre at Lorengau.
“We have a refugee transit centre for [the] purpose of resettlement in Papua New Guinea, and to all those who do not want to be settling in PNG — there’s about 560 of them — that centre is not affected by the court order so that’s where they will be held,” Mr Pato said.
“The court order related to, and arose from, circumstances which were concerned with the naval base on Lombrum, which is where all asylum seekers are held for the purpose of refugee status determination.
“Following the determination, after all the reviews and everything else is completed, there is another centre which is called the East Lorengau Transit Centre which is not affected by the court order because there, that transit centre houses refugees who have been determined to be genuine refugees under the Vienna Convention and who would be resettled in PNG or elsewhere.”
Unlawful to hold refugees: lawyer
But executive director of Refugee Legal, David Manne, said the PNG Government is misinterpreting the Supreme Court’s decision.
Audio: Human rights lawyer David Manne disputes Pato’s stand on Manus detention centre (Pacific Beat) http://www.abc.net.au/…/png-to-keep-refugee-facilit…/7903020
“The Supreme Court of PNG was not saying that there is a particular detention centre where it’s unlawful to hold refugees and there’s others where it is lawful to detain or hold refugees. It’s not saying that at all,” he said.
Mr Manne said in the context of the ruling, it was made “very clear” there are no laws in PNG that regulate or restrict the rights and freedoms of asylum seekers.
“Indeed and that to hold and restrain and to detain a refugee lawfully in PNG is unconstitutional or illegal, means that to do so in this transit centre or any other place in PNG, would again fall foul of the law.”
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has said April’s ruling would not alter Australia’s border policies.
Of the nearly 900 people in the detention centre on Manus Island, about half have been found to be refugees.
2. Papua New Guinea asks Australia for help resettling refugees from Manus Island (Ben Doherty, The Guardian, 4 October 2016 https://www.theguardian.com/…/papua-new-guinea-asks-austral…)
After more than three years of ‘processing’, just 24 refugee men have been resettled across PNG, minister says
Papua New Guinea has again asked Australia for help resettling more than 500 refugees who have said they are not safe in the country and do not want to live there.
After more than three years of “processing” at the Manus Island detention centre, just 24 refugee men have been resettled across PNG, its foreign affairs minister, Rimbink Pato, told the ABC.
But more than 560 men who have been found to be refugees by PNG’s immigration authorities remain in detention.
PNG’s immigration authority has ruled the men have a “well-founded fear of persecution” in their homeland and are legally owed protection. It is illegal under international law if a refugee is sent to any place “where his (or her) life or freedom would be threatened” – known as refoulement.
Pato told the UN last week his country needed international help in resettling the refugees and said he would raise the issue of more help from Australia in a meeting with his Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop, in Canberra on Tuesday.
“These 560 people do not want to resettle in PNG and that’s why I was … explaining to the membership of the UN … that there was a need for help in the settlement of the persons who did not want to settle in PNG,” he said.
“If the world was able to help, then we are looking to the international community. And of course we would need Australia to help us.”
The men on Manus Island have been told there is no third-country resettlement option for them – they must either resettle in PNG or return to their home country.
Australia has consistently told asylum seekers and refugees that they will never be moved to Australia.
Detainees inside the Manus Island detention say they are unwilling to settle in PNG because they feel they will not be safe there.
Kamran, an Afghan refugee who fled the Taliban in his homeland, was brutally assaulted with an iron bar by a gang of men in Manus’s main city of Lorengau in August. He said other refugee friends had been assaulted on Manus too and that they feared resettlement.
“We are all very scared. After three years of this I am exhausted. I fled my country looking for safety. I still haven’t found it.”
Some of the refugees already moved to cities like Lae have been assaulted, robbed and left homeless just days after leaving detention. Some have made their own way back to Manus and tried to break into detention, where they feel safer.
Inside the Manus Island detention centre, refugees have told the Guardian that security staff are preparing to separate asylum seekers from refugees into separate compounds. Forcible deportations of those found not to be refugees will begin “within a month” according to island sources.
Refugees say they believe they will be forced out into the PNG community – likely to islands other than Manus – within the next few weeks.
3. Bishop talks Manus Island closure with PNG (Sky News, 4 October 2016 http://www.skynews.com.au/…/bishop-talks-manus-island-closu…)
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has met with PNG counterpart to discuss Manus Island detention centre closure.
The pending closure of the Manus Island detention centre was on the agenda when Foreign Minister Julie Bishop met her Papua New Guinea counterpart.
Rimbink Pato raised the plight of 560 refugees in PNG who do not want to resettle in his country and are seeking to be sent elsewhere, during his meeting with Ms Bishop in Canberra on Tuesday.
Mr Pato told the ABC he was also seeking free visas on arrival arrangements for PNG citizens travelling to the mainland, in light of Australians being granted that measure earlier this year.
4. For refugees kidnapped and exiled to the Manus prison, hope is our secret weapon. (Behrouz Boochani, The Guardian, 3 October 2016 https://www.theguardian.com/…/for-refugees-kidnapped-and-ex…)
Why is hope dangerous?
Central to the policy of exiling refugees to remote islands is the shattering of hope for a future, it is the breaking of people.
Hope is like a secret code enabling refugees to be resilient and to resist the ever-mounting pressure to return to their country of origin, even as life there is impossible.
To achieve this goal, the minister for immigration and border protection, Peter Dutton, appears on TV screens every now and then reiterating that refugees on Manus Island will never come to Australia and will be settled in Papua New Guinea.
The governing system of the prison on Manus and the companies working to implement this are focused on impacting the mind and spirit of refugees in a systematic manner to destroy our hopes for a future.
During the past three years, they have endeavoured to shatter our hopes by any means and to carve into our minds that there is no way ahead, there is no safe future for us.
The immigration officers arrive in the prison every week and repeat: “You have to live in PNG.” This is reinforced by security officers, case managers and through notices attached to the bulletin boards inside the prison.
In recent days the immigration officers have frightened us again as after the supreme court hearing that says that the prison is illegal, they have officially declared that we have to live in PNG or return back to where we came from.
They have declared that we will not have any future. However, what is different is that this time they have said to us that we can obtain a visa for another country and leave here.
We understand that this choice is simply more propaganda.
This is one of those choices that, in practice, is not a choice because none of the refugees have the ability to apply for a visa for another country when they are kept in the Manus prison.
We ask the Australian government: “If a country like New Zealand accepts us and we are granted a visa, will the Australian government permit us to go there?” When New Zealand offered previously, Australia refused.
During the past three years, despite all the pressure imposed by immigration on me, I have not submitted my protection case to the PNG government. But it was suddenly announced to me that I had been conferred refugee status and that I have no choice but to live in PNG.
When I asked for reasons as to why and how they concluded I was a refugee they responded by saying that they had collected my personal information from media and PNG had agreed with Australia that I would receive a positive refugee finding.
What becomes glaringly obvious in this is that any claim to this being a real refugee assessment process is false. My rights to offer my case for refugee status have been taken from me, my human rights to make decisions about my life have been stolen.
What shocks me is the fact that the social media accounts of refugee advocates are monitored? – they are spied upon
It’s clear that the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection monitors the Facebook pages of refugee advocates, as revealed by the department’s head, Michael Pelluzzo, to Senate estimates. Such monitoring is followed up by investigations and the information collated is recorded. Those records were provided to the Senate in an attempt to back up the department’s routine accusations that advocates are giving “false hope” to refugees on Manus and Nauru.
I came across my name among the names of other advocates in these records provided to the Senate, along with a copy of one of my Facebook posts that detailed the time I climbed a tree in Foxtrot compound in the Manus prison in protest.
I do not want to respond to the monitoring of my Facebook page, rather what shocks me is the fact that the social media accounts of refugee advocates are monitored – they are spied upon.
One of the fundamental and basic rights of a free and democratic society is respect for freedom of speech; that every citizen has the right to express their political thoughts and views, whether it be on Facebook or in any form of media.
When DIBP accuses advocates of providing hope to 2,000 refugees incarcerated in Manus and Nauru prisons they are indicating that giving hope to prisoners is wrong and is against a law.
If we ask why the DIBP spends money and time on investigating those who provide hope, we can understand that the concept of hope itself is seen as dangerous.
The Australian government, accompanied by the PNG government, has kidnapped us and kept us in limbo, acting against international laws, and denying us access to any court that may bring us justice. The high court of Australia legalised our exile, and the PNG court has not been able to bring justice to us.
We are people effectively deemed outside of any law.
During the past three years, the only “laws” applied to us have been force and dictatorship. We are like people smitten with plague, exiled from a civilised society and left on isolated islands.
For us there is no way ahead towards the future and no way behind to the past.
From the Australian government’s point of view, we do merely and solely have two choices, but we are human and our rights as human beings tell us there is a third choice as well, the choice of resistance against torture.
5. Syrian refugee intake focused on Christians (Sky News, 4 October 2016 http://www.skynews.com.au/…/syrian-refugee-intake-focused-o…)
Treasurer Scott Morrison has said the majority Australia’s intake of Syrian refugees will be Christian.
Treasurer Scott Morrison says Australia’s special intake of 12,000 Syrian refugees is focused on resettling persecuted minorities which are overwhelmingly Christian.
The former immigration minister says resettlement arrangements have not changed since the intake was announced under the Abbott government in September last year.
‘The reason for that is simple, those minorities can never go back to that part of the world,’ Mr Morrison told Ray Hadley on 2GB radio on Tuesday.
6. Advocates warn against handing refugee settlement contract to Nauru government (Refugee Action Coalition, 29 September 2016 http://www.refugeeaction.org.au/?p=5422)
Refugee advocates have warned the Australian government against handing any refugee settlement services contracts to the Nauru government or Nauru-run businesses.
The concerns have risen since the Australian-run Connect Settlement Services indicated that it was pulling out of Nauru on December 7. Connect was contracted by the Australian government to provide services for refugees living in the Nauruan community.
The government is yet to announce a service provider to take over the Connect contract. But concerns are growing that the government could be considering funding the Nauru government and to shift away from refugee specific services to a more general Nauruan community welfare.
A Connect representative told Connect workers on Nauru that the Connect board did not believe it was ‘appropriate for an Australia-based company to be in Nauru forever’, and that its settlement services job ‘had been completed.’ The representative told the meeting that the services need now were about ‘on-going welfare needs’, and that settlement services were not what was needed when people were living in the [Nauru] community ‘independently’.
However the representative later told the meeting was that Connect understood that refugees were in a ‘desperate situation’ and were ‘desperately unhappy’.
The comments are in line with Connect’s moves made over recent months to increase the number of locals working for the company and for it to be seen as concerned with welfare in the Nauruan community rather than provide services for refugees.
There have also been growing concerns that Connect was complicit with the Nauruan government and had resorted to calling the Nauruan police in accommodation disputes – resulting in some refugees being jailed.
“That Connect is quitting Nauru is unequivocally a step forward,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“But replacing Connect with a Nauruan company would be a serious blunder. Refugees already regard the withdrawal of Connect as something that will leave them even more vulnerable to human rights abuses on the island.
“It’s time the desperate situation described by Connect is ended. The government should use Connect’s 7 December end-of-contract deadline to close Nauru and bring all the asylum seekers and refugees to the mainland.”
Judith Reen, ex Nauru Save the Children worker also voiced her concerns, “It is well documented that Nauru is a hostile place where refugees can be verbally abused, assaulted, raped and robbed with impunity, with no hope of crimes being properly investigated. To date, not one crime committed by a Nauruan national against a refugee has resulted in arrest or prosecution.
“It is frightening to think that the responsibility for refugees would be with a government that enforces a media block-out, in a country that where there is clearly system-wide failure in law enforcement and which lacks adequate protections for the most vulnerable.”
For media comment contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713
7. Q&A. Ask a Question: Screening on ABC TV Next Monday, 9.35pm AEST, 10 October 2016. Streamed live on ABC iview (http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/ )
Panellists: Shen Narayanasamy, No Business in Abuse & LetThemStay Campaigns; Khalid Koser, Migration and Border Policy Project, Lowy Institute; Jim Molan, Co-author of Operation Sovereign Borders; Jane McAdam, Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law; and Huy Truong, Refugee & Entrepreneur.
Shen Narayanasamy is the Human Rights Campaign Director at progressive advocacy group GetUp! She leads the No Business in Abuse campaign which targets corporate involvement in the mandatory detention of asylum seekers and #LetThemStay, which aims to prevent the deportation of hundreds of asylum seekers to Nauru.
Shen’s background is as a human rights lawyer and advocate working in Australia and across the Asia-Pacific on issues of economic justice and land rights.
Dr Khalid Koser is an international expert on migration and security. He is Executive Director of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Migration, and editor of the Journal of Refugee Studies.
He is currently a Non-Resident Fellow in the Migration and Border Policy Project at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, Non-Resident Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution and Extraordinary Professor in Conflict, Peace and Security in the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences at the University of Maastricht.
General Jim Molan (retired) has been one of Australia’s foremost military servicemen. In 2004-05 he was Chief of Operations of the multinational force in Iraq and subsequently, following his retirement from the army, he co-authored the Coalition’s refugee and asylum policy.
His long, varied and challenging career began when he joined the Army in 1968. He was appointed Chief of Operations in Iraq during a period of continuous and intense combat operations. He controlled all operations of all forces across Iraq and was subsequently praised in the highest terms by the US Ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte. ‘Molan excelled as a soldier and as a soldier diplomat in the complicated political and military environment of Iraq…he provided wise counsel and strong leadership,’ the Ambassador wrote to then PM John Howard.
Jim also saw operational service as the commander of the Solomon Islands evacuation force, and in East Timor. He has been both a soldier and a diplomat, serving for five years with the Australian Embassy in Jakarta (he is a fluent Indonesian speaker) as Defence Attache. As a soldier he has been an infantryman, a helicopter pilot and a commander of units from the level of platoon (30 men) to division (15,000). He also commanded the Australian Defence Colleges which includes the Defence Force Academy. For his contributions in Iraq he was awarded the Legion of Merit by the US government and the Distinguished Service Cross by the Australian government.
He retired in July 2008. Since then, Jim has been an author, speaker and commentator on military and strategic affairs. In his 2008 book Running the War in Iraq he gives an insider’s account of what modern warfare entails in the most controversial conflict of modern times.
Jim was the co-author of the Coalition’s refugee and asylum policy leading up to the 2013 election and launched the policy with Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison. After the election, he was appointed the PM’s Special Envoy for Operation Sovereign Borders.
Jim was a NSW Liberal candidate for the Senate in July 2016.
Jane McAdam is an internationally-recognised expert in the field of refugee law. She is Scientia Professor of Law and Director of the Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at the University of NSW and is the academic lead of UNSW’s Grand Challenge on Refugees & Migrants. She is also editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Refugee Law, the leading journal in the field.
Jane is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, a Research Associate at Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Centre, an Associated Senior Fellow at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute in Norway and a Senior Research Associate of the Refugee Law Initiative in London. She was a non-resident Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC from 2012–16.
Jane publishes widely in international refugee law and forced migration, with a particular focus on climate change and mobility. She has published nine books, including Climate Change, Forced Migration, and International Law and The Refugee in International Law (with Guy S Goodwin-Gill). She serves on a number of international committees, including as Co-Rapporteur of the International Law Association’s Committee on International Law and Sea-Level Rise; on the advisory committee of the Platform on Disaster Displacement; and on the advisory board of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion. In 2015 she was named as one of Australia’s top ten Women of Influence, winning the ‘global’ category of the Australian Financial Review/Westpac ‘100 Women of Influence’ awards. In 2013 she was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Jane holds a doctorate in law from the University of Oxford, and first class honours degrees in law and history from the University of Sydney. In 2017–18 she will be a Visiting Fellow in the Harvard Law School Human Rights Program.
Huy Truong arrived in Australia in 1978 as a boat refugee and has since developed a diverse business career as a management consultant, venture capitalist, corporate executive and entrepreneur.
Huy was a pioneer of the Australia e-commerce industry as the founding CEO of Wishlist.com.au where he was awarded the Australian Financial Review Ecommerce Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000. He is currently CEO and co-owner of the Australian Life Insurance Group (ALI Group), and a director of two other companies in building materials and transport.
Prior to ALI, Huy founded private equity fund Yarra Capital Partners, now part of Trawalla Group, was a venture partner with CHAMP Ventures and was CEO of Jurlique International and CEO of Carter Holt Harvey Tissue as well as a consultant with Boston Consulting Group.
He has graduated with an Economic Honours Degree from Monash University and a MBA from Harvard Business School.
Huy is married to Cathy and they have three daughters. He has a particular interest in supporting refugee causes and more broadly contributing back to his adopted country.
8. Peter Dutton spends $8 million on spin doctor army (Adam Gartrell, SMH, 1 October 2016 http://www.smh.com.au/…/peter-dutton-spends-8-million-on-sp…)
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s army of spin doctors and communications staff is costing taxpayers more than $8 million a year, and his department is also spending up on external media consultants.
New figures show the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is spending $1 million on media staff and another $7 million on public relations, media monitoring and internal communications staff.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s department has 82 communications staff, 22 of whom are dedicated to its “24/7 media operations”. Photo: Stefan Postles
The department says it has 82 communications staff, 22 of whom are dedicated to its “24/7 media operations”, including social media.
A response to a question on notice from Labor – submitted in February but only answered in recent weeks – says the department also had eight non-permanent communications staff earlier this year.
Australian Border Force Commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg blamed a “clumsily worded” press release for suggesting people …
Australian Border Force Commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg blamed a “clumsily worded” press release for suggesting people would be stopped for random visa checks. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
The communications staff salaries, ranging from $60,000 to $115,000, are believed to cost $8.4 million. This doesn’t include superannuation, leave, allowances or any other associated costs.
The figures also don’t include Mr Dutton’s three ministerial media officers.
“Communication, both internally and externally, is an essential component of any large organisation,” a department spokesperson said.
“In an organisation of about 14,000 staff, the percentage of communication staff – less than 0.6 per cent – is smaller than average.”
The spokesperson said the number of media and communications staff had largely remained the same since the department merged with customs as part of the Abbott government’s Operation Sovereign Borders in 2014.
The Coalition has been notoriously secretive about its border protection activities, saying it will not comment on “on-water matters”. It is also secretive about what is going on inside the detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island.
But the department is also spending big on external media training for its top executives.
Government contracts reveal the department has paid company Talkforce Media more than $225,000 for “media training for SES staff” – its top tier of employees – and a series of workshops since the end of 2015.
“Such training is essential given the department’s expectation that SES are able to speak to media on issues pertaining to their duties,” the spokesperson said. Talkforce also engages with the department’s media and communication staff as part of their professional development.
The department started using Talkforce after the embarrassing Operation Fortitude debacle in Melbourne last August.
The department’s frontline agency, Australian Border Force, spoiled a police operation in Melbourne by suggesting it would be stopping people for random visa checks, sparking a public backlash.
ABF commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg blamed a “clumsily worded” press release that mischaracterised the agency’s role. But critics lampooned the agency on social media and labelled it Border Farce.
Talkforce trains clients to deal with “difficult media situations” and manage “controversial issues and close media scrutiny”.
Its full-day workshops include mock television interviews that teach clients “how to take control of an interview, even when under pressure”.
This all comes on top of another $1 million the department has spent on external “media monitoring services” over the last 12 months.
9. Resolution vital for refugee detention: Singh (Sky News, 2 October 2016 http://www.skynews.com.au/…/resolution-vital-for-refugee-de…)
Labor Senator Lisa Singh says Australia should consider resettling asylum seekers currently in detention on Nauru and Manus Island in Australia.
Senator Singh spoke to Sky News from New York where she attended a UN refugee summit saying any resettlement resolution with a ‘positive outcome’ would be welcomed.
‘If they (the government) cannot find a positive country to settle refugees that are in off shore detention facilities, then they are going to have to going to have to look at our own country,’ she said.
‘They cannot continue to leave them there. ‘The Papua New Guinea government have said they are closing down Manus Island. So the question still remains, what is the Turnbull government going to do about this issue?
Senator Singh said Australia needs to ‘play our role’ in the New York declaration that has come out of the refugee summit.
‘Under that principle, of shared responsibility, we do our part,’ she said.
‘If that means taking refugees from Costa Rica, then so be it, but we need to also resolve what’s going near our own shores.’
I am feeling a big boost of hope regarding Manus.
I think we are on a big winning streak here.
Something is afoot. Big changes in the wind.
PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato has made it known PNG does not want to force men to settle in PNG.
Why is Pato in Canberra? Why is he talking about Manus to Julie Bishop and not Mr Potato Head? Is it because Bishop has not been saying ‘never come to Australia’? Is this how the LNP hopes to save face?
Why did Laura Tingle say that a big change is coming? (EDITED: See video below)
I wonder is this the beginning of the end, not only of Manus, but of Dutton and Turnbull.
ha ha ha, yes stupids in Border Farce, especially you Mr Michael Pezzullo, it is time for hope again. Go get a real job and stop wasting time reading Facebook.
2nd October 2016
30th September 2016
28th September 2016
Today immigration came to us and said that their plan is that those people with negative refugee status must move to Mike prison in the next few days. This would be a big change in our lives. All of their processes are illegal and the refugees gave their cases to PNG under pressure. Also some people have been given negative refugee determinations because they have refused to give their cases to PNG as a protest.There is a big question about why their process takes more than three years.
25th September 2016
REFUGEE RIGHTS NETWORK WA
One of our RRN members writes:
Australia’s policies are not saving lives at sea. They are killing people. They are killing people in offshore detention, be that by murder or suicide. They are killing people in onshore detention, by suicide. They are killing people in the community, by suicide.
They are killing people by handing them back to their persecutors.
They are killing people by forcing them to take even greater risks to seek asylum than getting on leaky boat to come here.
“Secure borders” are not the means which enable us to save people’s lives. They are the means to prevent people seeking asylum at all.
“Secure borders” does not mean maintaining public support for a pitifully small contribution to resettling refugees. It means encouraging hostility and resentment towards people seeking asylum. It promotes the idea that people who need refuge are a threat.
“Secure borders” means that if you are a person who seems like you might apply for asylum once you’ve arrived by plane with a visa, then you won’t get the visa in the first place. Thus leaving you with no other option but to cross borders without permission. “Secure borders” means funding human rights abusing regimes like Sri Lanka to prevent people from even fleeing that country in the first place.
“Secure borders” means bribing boat crews to take people back to Indonesia, when they were not even trying to come to Australia at all, but intending to seek asylum in New Zealand. “Secure borders” means funding transit countries like Indonesia to use violence and detention to warehouse people.
“Secure borders” means Australia spending more on deter and deny policies than the UNHCR budget globally for refugees. “Secure borders” means perpetrating acts of piracy at sea and sending people straight back to the country that they’ve fled from, without ever having considered their claims for asylum.
“Secure borders” mean conspiring with PNG to circumvent and undermine their own constitution and illegally lock people up for years. “Secure borders” means effectively protecting murderers and paedophiles from accountability for their actions because protecting the policies from criticism is more important that protecting women and children from being raped in offshore detention by guards paid for by Australia. “Secure borders” means the use of violence in all it’s varied forms, to restrain the movement of people even when their lives depend on it. But it’s only ‘secure’ with respect to these people.
“Secure borders” does not mean that your job can’t be sent off shore. Nor does it mean that rich people can’t get visas to go where ever they want to for however long they want to. Nor does it mean that capital can’t come and go irrespective of the economic consequences. Corporations can move from one jurisdiction to another to minimise tax liability. Goods can come and go with minimal or no scrutiny, even when that movement might involve importation or exporting illegal ad harmful products, like asbestos containing building materials.
No “secure borders” only means that people, irrespective of whether or not their lives depend on it, can not cross borders unless the state deems it serves some other interest other than a humanitarian one.
Think about that.
The pain just ripples out and out. #closethetorturecamps #bringthemhere#mercyforrefugeesonmanusandnauruandciandonshoredetention
I would not dare to imagine the suffering our friends on Manus, in PNG and on Nauru are going through but @Malcolm Turnbull we are hurting for them. have mercy ffs!
‘Oh wounded soul
I dare not dwell into
The crevasses of your darkness
I bleed on the edge and try
To send down some light
To lift you, gently, out
And dare to hope’ – Evita Story
17th September 2016
Damned Wilson guards are at it again on Manus.
They seem to have invented yet another ‘rule’ and it’s causing distress.
Usually the men sit under the marquee and wait for their turn to queue for medications.
It seems that Wilson guards don’t like the guys to have a bit of comfort.
Now they are not allowed to sit and wait under the marquee.
Now they have to wait outside in the weather, unprotected.
If the men are on medications, then they are already not well. Why torture grown men like this? Sounds like schoolyard bullying to me.
I would like to know more about this. Is it still happening today?
If it is just once because somebody made a mistake, then the guard can apologise and all will be forgotten.
If not, then it is time to complain to the ABF and see if Wilson Security will cop a fine.
I think the shelter in this is picture is what the men mean by ‘the marquee’. Lynne Murphy
Australia’s approach to asylum seekers sets a dangerous precedent for the world. If replicated elsewhere, it will result in growing tides of men, women and children pushed up against closed borders. It will create a future in which people simply do not flee persecution at all – in which they remain where they are to suffer whatever fate may befall them in countries not willing or able to protect them. We believe Australia can be a more compassionate and constructive global player, and as the Prime Minister prepares to address the UN Summit on Refugees, this is our chance to prove it. UNICEF
16th September 2016
15th September 2016
NEWS REPORT: Gillian Triggs is pleading with Turnbull to shift from a deterrence based to a rights based approach to asylum seekers; DIPB was found to employ un… Lynne Murphy
Refugees on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island have received a response to their letter to the International Criminal Court in July.
Protest by refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island.Protest by refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island. Photo: Supplied
The letter, signed by over five hundred of the asylum seekers and refugees, asked the ICC to investigate alleged torture by the Australian Government at the Manus regional processing centre.
In April, PNG’s Supreme Court ruled that the roughly 900 men held for offshore processing on Manus were detained illegally after being forcibly transferred there by Australia in the past three years.
Despite the ruling the governments of PNG and Australia are yet to reach a plan or resettlement outcome for those on Manus in order to close the offshore centre.
Meanwhile, reports from some of those held on Manus still depict a system of physical and psychological ill-treatment among overcrowded compounds or dormitories.
The men had fled from countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Myanmar.
The conditions that is happening in here, are exactly crime against humanity Refugee letter to the ICC
In their letter, they urged the ICC to help take any legal action to release the men from “this torturing limbo”, a reference to the ongoing mental impact on them due to the uncertainty of their future under Australia’s offshore processing system.
“The conditions that is happening in here, are exactly crime against humanity,” read the letter. “As you know the article 7 of International Criminal Court lists 16 individual crimes . You know how many of them were and are happening in here.”
In its response to the refugees letter, the ICC said the court had limited jurisdiction and can only hear cases under certain conditions.
However it has said that the correspondents should review the guidelines around the ICC’s jurisdiction and its Rome Statute, and if their case meets the conditions, they should submit it.
A Kurdish Iranian refugee on Manus, Behrouz Boochani, said he was convinced there was enough evidence to make a challenge against the Australian government for breaking international law by detaining the men.
He added that despite April’s PNG court ruling, the men on Manus don’t have access to a court in PNG or Australia and that international courts offer the only way for the refugees to seek justice.
Behrouz Boochani said the refugees would continue to “fight the system of torture” he and the others held on Manus have been subjected to.
14th September 2016
Dear friends, this extraordinary report ‘Pathways to Protection’ has just been released by the Human Rights Commission. To read it is to become far more effective as an advocate for asylum seekers at a crucial moment in the debate—both on the urgent and immediate need to end the agony of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island—and on the longer term policy alternatives that will allow asylum seekers in limbo in Australia and elsewhere in the region, a more humane pathway to protection, which is their basic human right. The report is compassionate, informed, comprehensive, thoroughly researched and based on an extensive consultative process. Read it and spread it far and wide. Arnold Zable
13th September 2016
Last Thursday one of the Australian refugees in Manus detention center was arrested illegally/kidnapped by png police from inside the camp. He’s helping 3 different lawyers for 3 different court trials against Australian & png government worldwide.
During his arrest, he was threatened to be beaten to death & was searched without a warrant by chief police officer. Then his cell phone was taken by Australians for further spying on his connections.
Then, he was put in custody without bail by local police . He was denied representation by a lawyer, so he started to hunger strike until today when he was bailed out for 250. Australian dollars. Anne Moon
12th September 2016
The Senate has narrowly backed Tasmanian Labor Senator Lisa Singh’s call for an independent children’s advocate to protect the rights of asylum seeker children.
The left winger was supported 35-33 on a four-part motion on Thursday, but whether Senator Singh gets what she wants will be up to the Turnbull Government.
Senator Singh moved that the Senate note a large cache of documents had been made public about the treatment of asylum seeker children on Nauru …..and that they…
The Federal Circuit Court of Australia has ruled that the material on Facebook page of an applicant is “information” that is “evidentiary material”. The ruling has come in the case of a Bangladeshi national seeking the grant of Protection visa in Australia.
The 36-year-old male Bangladeshi petitioner’s application for a protection visa had been earlier declined by a delegate of the Immigration Minister in July 2014.
The applicant who arrived in Australia on a visitor visa… Anthea Falkenberg
“And I think after this length of time, three years, the pervasive sense of hopelessness that people feel is really corroding their ability to function day to day and that’s now flowing into an impact on the children. So as a consequence, given the advice that’s been provided, on numerous occasions, and the serious concern we had, we felt it was important for us to emphasise the risks associated with the current situation and the imperative to find credible and decent third country resettlement options for asylum seekers on Nauru.
EMMA ALBERICI: What’s drawn you to the conclusion that there is a risk of imminent deaths of these people on Nauru and Manus? Is it from reading the so-called Nauru Files, the 2,000 leaked incident reports, or from your own personal observations?
PARIS ARISTOTLE: It’s not from reading the Nauru files it’s from my own personal observations, drawing on 28 years of experience, last time there was a situation like this on Nauru Minister Amanda Vanstone had tasked myself and one of my staff to go to Nauru and to provide a report on the mental health status of that group. That was about three years in and we found very similar scenarios then.
The issue is Emma that in establishing these arrangements they were meant to be interim and short term and they were precursors into building a wider regional protection framework. It was never envisaged that we would leave people there for very long periods of time without giving them a sense that we were working towards providing them with a decent resettlement outcome.
We need to send them to countries that have the services that refugees need to deal with past experiences of trauma and persecution, the ability for children to go through school and undertake an education, the ability to work, and to live permanently and settle and rebuild their lives. Now whichever country can provide that in total is all we’re really asking for. It doesn’t in the end have to be in Australia.
We knew on the advisory panel that if we could get a decent arrangement and make it work with Malaysia then we were likely to be able to draw in Indonesia as well as Thailand and Pakistan, and we would have been away with building a proper regional protection system that could stabilise populations, process them, take care of them during that process, and provide them with an outcome.”
The regional processing framework proposed by the Gillard government wasn’t able to get support in the Parliament, Tony Abbott, Dr No, was the Leader of the Opposition at the time. JG
MEN OF MANUS. .This is very important for you all to see and share amongst all your communities.
This is shameful
An example of the nutritious food served to the Men of Manus.
They are regularly served rotten fruit and meat that smells so bad no one can eat it.
Every day someone will say to me ” I’m so hungry ” it’s almost as common as “I’m tired dear Anne ”
There are many men who have symptoms of malnutrition.
This is what we the tax payers of this country pay $7000 + per man per day.
Not only is it cold hearted cruelty
It’s fraud !! Anne Moon and Kerry Munroe
10th September 2016
The Labour CoalitionLike Page
A retired senior Royal Australian Navy officer has hit out at the Federal Government’s stop the boats policy as “morally corrupt and totally indefensible”. ~January 2014
Join the change here: www.tlcp.net
A voice from #Nauru:
Lifeless voice half story
Always read story books but never thought people will read my life story .
My words will not satisfie you untill “you” become “me” and i become “you ”
When u heard that some local attack again on refuge u will just scroll page but never understand what was the situation with that refugee during attack?
Last night i was talking with family some local guys come and grab my mobile phon and they punch my stamic and my nose i was unconscious nd faal down they shouted on me *fu** refuge* go back where u come. they have knifes nd reazer blades they asking for money otherwise i will kill u
I was in severior pain in my stomach they kick again on my stomach they bring knife near to my nick and told me i will behead you i thought my last time come frount of me my wife picture and my family pictures come i try to run but they kicked my kidney site ( i am kidney patient my kidney have stones) everything seems black i beg to them pls dont hurt me i have a family but they show not mercy the lough more nd more that time i realy hurt is this people human ?
Is this their perents fault ?
Or their culture ?
They take my money nd bike nd mobile then run away
I was more then 1 hour in ground can’t stand up bcz of severior pain kidney nd stomack after some time i get up nd call from someone phon to police
Police told me ok we coming
2 hours i was waiting but the police not come
I go by my self to the doctor the doctor give me 2 penadol nd say we no have bandage u buy from super market i told them pls i am so thirsty give me some water pls they said we no have water u buy from chines shop
Is this Malcolm turnbull *out standing care*
U guys think y my story name is half story bcz half is done half when i die in offshore its will compleat. Lynne Murphy
NEWS REPORT: The standard of care in on-shore detention is well below what is necessary for the health of detainees as proven by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). Considering that IHMS and Immigration have been grossly negligent in onshore detention, imagine what horrors will be exposed later this year when ANAO releases its current audit of IHMS on Manus and Nauru; Even in the Japan Times, the Australian public’s ability to turn a blind eye to the evidence of tort…
7th September 2016
5th September 2016
4th September 2016
3rd September 2016
Interesting NEWS and an UPDATE from Manus, for those who were denying the Australian slavery trade with PNG.
The Aussie Immigration has got a new offer.
“We help you to get your refugee status if you received negative, instead you accept a working position in East New Britain in Rabaul in a British sugar plantation farm”.
Salary? 3 Kina per hour, which is the minimum wage in PNG.
Means 220 Kina(110A$) every fortnight.
Refugees, minimum wages and a British sugar plantation company?
Doesn’t it all this mean a modern slavery trade? Jimmy Taylor
A message from Anglican Parish of Gosford: Dear Asylum Seekers on Manus Island, Nauru, and Mainland Detention Centres: We are so sorry. We know you are very tired, and many of you are so filled with despair that you may not be able to find hope anymore. We ask you to please hold on. We and many, many compassionate Australians of good will are fighting for you. We will never give up…. we will never rest until you are free and safe. This is our promise to you. Fr Rod.
Dear friends, this is the truth, and there are millions of us who are on your side.
2nd September 2016
he Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will discuss the Prime Minister’s refusal to support an official fact-finding visit to the Nauru Regional Processing Centre.
“The Prime Minister has refused to support my request that I be allowed to visit Nauru to see first-hand the conditions in the Regional Processing Centre, and instead has claimed that this is entirely a matter for the Nauru Government,’’ Mr Wilkie said.
“The Prime Minister’s response is deeply misleadi…
CROUD FUND ANYONE ?
” A protester who refused to take her seat on a plane until an asylum seeker headed for deportation was removed has been asked to pay Qantas…
A young Man from Manus who has had enough cruelty.
I am so sorry for myself, other transferees and some good Wilson guards..
One of the most nasty officer, his name is Jussci, who has the long curly hair. He is from Behavior Management Team ( leader). Everybody known him. Everybody fearful and hate him as well..
He came back and working in Manus Island now. He wasn’t in here for about five months, before i heard that he already resigned and studying in Australia, but unfortunately he does back to here.
He is a very very nasty man for us and his colleagues, that’s why some of the good officers are also upset with him and some officers were resigned, he just good for ABF and Wilson company.
He making a small matter for becoming big matter, then he does police reporting very well.
He is still young and he doesn’t has life experiences but he can does tortures very well.
Especially I do worrying now, because if we have any small problem, he might be reports and informs to No brain PNG police officers.
Im hoping that All peoples are secure staying in here.” FAY SMITH
I ask the question: WHY ARE WE GETTING INFORMATION LIKE THIS COMMUNICATION ON 31 AUGUST 2016 if what is said in the Correcting record below is correct.
A LETTER FROM A FRIEND ON NAURU
Hallo my friend I write about my thoughts today.
I used to believe that it was only my country, a third world country, that cheated and treated people very badly. Now I know that Australia is no different.
We have now been told that nothing will happen for us until March but we cannot survive until then.
We hear people screaming and know it is not real. Some adults are now wetting their beds, some have panic attacks, some nightmares and some have totally lost their minds and memories.
One mum said to me “I can no longer be a good mother to my son because I am numb. I have lost all feeling towards him. I am cold. I cannot imagine what will happen by March.”
I am like the others I also can’t cope. Other countries see this place as a prison but the Australian government still sees it as a processing centre and that we are making up stories about what is happening to us.
They are so out of touch that I feel sorry for them as well as for us.
It is terrible when a mother can no longer find enough love to hug her child. We are so tired and powerless that we have lost all hope and capacity to love.
How can the Australian government do such things to us.
Please let others know how we suffer.
The Saturday Paper’s article “The dysfunction of offshore detention on Nauru” (27 August 2016) recycles a number of false claims the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has repeatedly and consistently refuted.
In addition, concerns about the perceived new focus of the Department, and the alleged conduct of the Australian Border Force (ABF), have been raised in reference to events, decisions, policies and procedures that pre-date the creation of the new DIBP, and the stand-up of the ABF on 1 July 2015.
The general assertion there has been a ’clean out’ of SES of the former Department is also untrue. Changes to senior staffing arrangements are a normal part of the public service, especially during agency consolidation.
As has been previously explained in testimony before Senate Estimates, at the time of integration all SES in the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) and DIBP underwent a capability assessment. Following this review, the Department took the opportunity to replace specialist skills where critical skill gaps were identified. The SES of the new Department is now made up of roughly one third ex-ACBPS, one third ex-DIBP and one third who have joined our workforce.
The article’s suggestion that the new Department has “disdain for resettlement and nation building” is also untrue and, frankly, ridiculous. Last year, the Department issued more than seven million visas to visitors to Australia for a wide range of purposes, while delivering one of the most generous humanitarian resettlement programmes in the world. It also conferred citizenship on more than 130,000 new Australians. Again, the Department’s position on these matters has been outlined in the Annual Report, Corporate Plan, and speeches made by senior leaders.
Claims that the ABF is “another armed force established without discussion” ignore the fact that then Australian Customs Service officers with an operational requirement were armed in 2005, following amendments to the Customs Act 1901. The merger of ACBPS with the Department, and creation of the ABF, was announced by the then Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison, in May 2014, more than a year in advance of the merger on 1 July 2015. Legislation was introduced and debated in the Parliament, resulting in the passing of the Australian Border Force Act 2015and consequential amendments. These amendments maintained the provision contained within the Customs Act 1901 for officers to carry arms in certain circumstances.
The Department also rejects claims by a former Save the Children (SCA) worker that reports made by either that organisation or others were ignored. The Department established the Moss Review in late 2014 specifically to look into allegations of abuse and all of Mr Moss’s recommendations have been adopted.
Claims ABF officers “laughed” at reports of attempted suicide are both false and offensive, as are claims transferees are treated as “criminals”. All individuals are treated with respect, care and dignity and all allegations of inappropriate behaviour are immediately forwarded to the Department for investigation.
To clarify another point, rather than being “terminated” as claimed, SCA’s contract expired on 31 October 2015. Following a competitive process, other service providers successfully tendered to provide similar or identical services.
The article fails to note the support provided by the Department to the Government of Nauru to make available extensive mental health, medical and educational support to transferees and refugees in Nauru. All transferees at the Nauru RPC, which is an open centre, have access to health services delivered by the health service provider, International Health and Medical Services (IHMS), at the IHMS RPC Health Clinic. Refugees can access services at the IHMS Settlement Clinic.
In addition, the Government of Nauru ensures that all transferees and refugees have access to health services at the Republic of Nauru Hospital, which the Australian Government has, with the agreement of the Government of Nauru, upgraded with purpose-built surgical facilities, a six-bed inpatient ward, primary and mental health consultation rooms, a new x-ray building, temporary clinic and pathology buildings, at a cost of about $13.4 million.
The Department’s assistance to the Government of Nauru includes the provision by health service providers of 60 health professionals and nine administrative staff in Nauru, delivering services across the regional processing centre, the Settlement Health Clinic and the Republic of Nauru Hospital. The Department has also appointed a Chief Medical Officer, who provides expert medical advice to the Department’s Secretary and the ABF Commissioner on a wide range of clinical health care matters.
The Australian Government is also supporting the Nauruan Department of Education by investing $8.6 million to support best-practice education and a further $11.1 million for the expansion of Nauru’s primary school.
Contrary to claims attributed to the former SCA worker, the Australian Government is committed to the protection of children and has supported the Government of Nauru to develop its own Child Protection Framework, including two dedicated child protection social workers in Nauru.
The Department established a Child Protection Panel to strengthen its child protection arrangements.
In recent years, there have been two parliamentary inquiries into regional processing circumstances in Nauru and PNG as well as numerous independent commissions, reviews and inquiries.
Independent scrutiny is also performed by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as well as government agencies including the Commonwealth Ombudsman and Australian National Audit Office.
It is disappointing The Saturday Paper, along with some other media outlets, continues to make claims that have been consistently refuted. Another such claim is the suggestion that the ABF Act prevents discussion of conditions in regional processing centres. This is incorrect. The ABF Act does not prevent individuals from speaking out about matters of public interest.
The Act protects sensitive operational information from unauthorised disclosure; it does not restrict anyone’s ability to raise genuine concerns about conditions should they wish to do so through appropriate channels.
Media contact: Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244
1st September 2016
Photo – arrival on Christmas Island.
Cruelty in Australia’s offshore detention camps
by Julian Burnside | Apr 3, 2016 | Asylum Seekers, Human Rights |
STATEMENT OF “WITNESS G”
”I, [WITNESS G] of [ADDRESS WITHHELD], resident in Australia, can give evidence as follows:
I arrived on Christmas Island [in mid September 2015].
There is identifiable and dysfunctional tension between Border Force who manage the centre, Serco who run the centre and Immigration who make all the decisions. This enormous discord and resentment and creates enormous incompetency and faulty service delivery as a result. I arrived at the centre after lengthy correspondence with Immigration to be told Serco were not aware of my application to visit.
I was then questioned by a Border Force Superintendent who questioned what political or advocacy group I was a part of?
I visited the centre on three days [and spoke to a number of detainees]The detainees told me they were woken in the middle of the night in their previous I DC (immigration detention centre) by a group of men, Border Force officers, who are geared up for violence. They are taken from their beds in underpants, pyjamas – one man said he made the entire trip in one shoe. They are handled with extreme force and any resistance is met with violence and verbal abuse. One very small and young detainee was shoved to the floor and his head was hit. He still had the scar on the side of his face.
Removal From Mainland To Christmas Island
They are put on a plane and arrive at various airports where they are held until transported to Christmas. One detainee was handcuffed for 12 hours straight and still has problems with his wrist as a consequence. When they arrive on Christmas they find many of their belongings missing: personal photos and mementos, watches, rings, clothes and shoes.
Detainees Are Abused By Guards
I was told by the detainees of ongoing physical and psychological abuse. Detainees spoke of the kindness of some Serco staff members, but said these ones are in the minority. They are regularly called cunts, arseholes,- they are told “Get the fuck out of here” “Shut the fuck up”
Consistently they are told “Its your fucking fault you’re here”. One notorious staff member they all spoke about – stands in people’s faces and says “Fucking hit me ….. I dare you”.
One detainee asked me with complete genuineness “Why do they need to speak to us like this ….. we always do what they ask”.
Another staff member was consistently named as being particularly racist and sadistic.
The Emergency Response Team, whom I personally saw on their way to trouble look like a football team. Muscled up and tattooed …. with skulls and overtly negative messages in some of their tattooing. All the detainees spoke about the extreme violence they experience at the hands of these people.
Detainees have had their teeth broken, bruises, split lips, and cuts while being managed by these people. This crew also use abusive and threatening language and I found them extremely menacing in my brief interaction with them. I wouldn’t want to be in their hands for anything.
lf you speak out, or defend a friend – you are threatened with consequences. These start at the most extreme Red Section where detainees spend up to a week (one detainee spent 4 days here during which time he started to cut him and tear at himself). This space has a metal door with a cement bed, a toilet, a camera and a light that stays on 24 hours. Food is passed through a grate.
After a period of time you are let into White 1. This is a basic camp bed, camera and lights – but you are allowed out for 30 minutes into a caged yard every day. If you question or argue with staff in this section you are returned to the Red section. One detainee told me the only way to survive this is to disappear into yourself. I ask him what this meant and he said “I just leave myself and stop talking because this is what they want” This man spent 2 months in White section and he also self-harmed extensively during this time.
If you continue to comply you are then moved in White 2. All the detainees spoke about a woman [name suppressed] who decides your punishment. They all said she is sadistic and often looks in on them and laughs. I personally witnessed her become enraged when she was locked out of her office – and her response was frightening. She was unaware I was sitting in the visitors’ room with the door open, and she screamed and kicked and pulled at the door. I was so uncomfortable with her behaviour, I coughed to let her know I was there. . . . .
A man sat outside the room and took notes of everything I and the detainees said. Each visit a Serco officer sat outside in the doorway listening to our conversations.
The staff are jaded and institutionalised – and in the isolation that is Christmas Island have transcended the normal behaviours one would expect of people working in custodial care. There were numerous staff members on our plane and it is very evident there is a big drinking culture and many of the people working at Christmas are poorly educated and ill-equipped to deal with the social nuances of the population of Christmas. Many of them see all the residents at the centre as criminals and one staff member told me the asylum seekers broke our laws by coming there on a boat in the first place.
A frightening culture of cruelty, punitive responses, physical and verbal violence has been allowed to flourish and individuals are being damaged in ways they will spend the rest of their lives living with. I have no hesitation in stating the isolation and lack of community visitors has created a palpable redneck lawlessness that derives its validation from poorly conceived concepts of nationalism and truly … a base and ugly form of jingoism.
Every detainee I saw was broken … cried … and beyond despair. They just looked to be completely deadened. One said to me “It doesn’t matter what happens ….. I’m already dead”
30th August 2016
EDITED: Nauru explains why they banned the three: two unwelcome because they criticised Nauru; one unwelcome because Nauru thinks they might be a terrorist, probably because they were born in Syria.
BREAKING NEWS: The visit by six Danish parliamentarians has been cancelled at the last minute. They are in Australia and ready to set off when the politicians were advised that Nauru cancelled three of their visas: two were politicians who did not support off-shore processing an…
Another VICTOM of Austalian System,
Another our friend from detention ,
He was from my country :
” A refugee from persecution and torture in Iran ”
He was just 27 , he released himself from ozi prison and torture ,
He has taken his own life today , in Australia,
He’s name : Saeed Hasanloo
Ben Moghimi, a young Iranian Christian, wrote this last night, on the third anniversary of his internment on Manus Island. Most of us refugee activists know Ben as an optimistic young man, with a great sense of fun, and as a beautiful, caring friend to Mehdi, who is a Little Person, one metre tall, whose internment has been particularly painful and difficult, and who is also from Iran.
But last night, the pain of losing three years of his young life to the camp on Manus was very harsh for Ben – and for everyone who loves him. Ben’s English, after three years of study, is excellent, and requires no editing, so these are his words:
Tonight is my 3rd Anniversary in Manus island Detention centre. This night three years ago, was my first of the saddest nights of my life, I didn’t know where was, I didn’t know what I was doing here, I thought I had reached the end of the world. And some nights I thought I’d die here. But I didn’t, I’m still here.
Everyone was looking around, because everything was strange and shocking. Standing in line for hours and hours for one meal. It’s hard to describe more than this for me, but one of the case workers in The Salvation Army said ‘Ben, you will be free soon from here, you are here only for processing because this is a processing centre, you will go to Australia soon’. I believed her because unfortunately I trust quickly. I think she believed it too.
I started to learn English, I told myself I have to Learn English. I couldn’t even talk or write any English so I practised and practised and practised then I learnt. I had hope in those first days when she told me that. I thought I won’t die here, I won’t stay here for ever, but unfortunately, maybe without meaning to, she lied to me. Now three years passed with only darkness in my life, but I am still here, at least I learnt how to talk and write English. Some of us have not survived.
Hard to explain to people outside. Try to remember all the things you did in past 3 years.
I have spent three years moving from cage to cage, three years feeling like animals in a Zoo, three years seeing discrimination, three years seeing high fences, being in the same place everyday, three years seeing hate in the eyes of Aussies here, three years feeling like a criminal. These could have been the best three years of my youth? But they are lost. Three years waiting to see the light in the middle of darkness, three years waiting to see safe and warm time around family, three years living without any good quality food, three years waiting for freedom. Three years sleeping under a fan with no privacy, three years seeing different kinds of harm self-harm, three years seeing young people get old for no crime. Three years as a human rock – to stop boats. Better they die in their country than alone here on Manus. Three years here for no crime.
Three years later and my wish did not change.
I hope I have my freedom soon.
News report: See Article 1 for an eye-opener on the real costs of off-shore processing. Off-shore detention costs are greater than Australian state health budgets and total about $5 billion annually; Meanwhile Turnbull says he has prepared budget that aims to save about $6.1 over four years. He says it is a fundamentally moral budget because it saves our children from debt. I propose that cutting off-shore processing will save $5 billion EACH YEAR, and this does not include t…
29th August 2016
BREAKING: CHRISTIAN PASTORS AND NUN OCCUPY PM TURNBULL’S OFFICE, RISKING ARREST
Seven Christian leaders have entered Prime Minister Turnbull’s office in Sydney and begun praying for the closure of offshore detention centres in the wake of the leaked ‘Nauru Fles’.
They are determined to remain until the Prime Minister announces plans to bring all refugees and people seeking asylum to Australia. They are willing to risk arrest in order to demonstrate the depth of their convictions on this urgent matter of fairness and compassion.
LIVE UPDATES on Twitter: @LoveMakesAWay, #LoveMakesAWay
The group includes a Catholic nun, and Priests and Pastors from a range of Christian churches. They are part of Love Makes a Way, a nationwide movement of Christian priests, pastors and other church leaders who have so far conducted 31 civil disobedience actions, with over 170 people being arrested for peaceful protest.
“We are engaging in civil disobedience today because the evidence of abuse and trauma on Nauru and Manus Island is overwhelming” said Sister Susan Connelly, from Saint Mary Mackillop’s Josephite order. “We need to bring the asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island to Australia now, before any more harm is done, especially to the children.”
Rev John Barr, Vice President of the NSW Ecumenical Council (the umbrella council for 16 Protestant and Orthodox Churches), said “Churches, medical bodies and refugee experts have all urged the Government to close the camps and bring them here, but they have refused to listen to reason. I hope our action today will cause the Prime Minister to think again. If he does bring the asylum seekers here, he can be assured of the tremendous support of the church community.”
Rev Michael Palmer is an Anglican Priest in Mr Turnbull’s own electorate. He said “it saddens me that Mr Turnbull has followed in the harsh footsteps of Mr Abbott. I believe he knows what he needs to do to make things right, he just needs the courage to act. I hope our presence today helps give him that courage.”
During their prayer vigil, the eight protesters will be reading out incident reports from the Nauru Files, the largest set of leaked documents published from inside Australia’s immigration detention system. They are a set of more than 2,000 incident reports from the Nauru detention centre, written by guards, caseworkers and teachers on the remote Pacific island. They set out every reportable “incident” on the island. Such events include attempts at self-harm, sexual assaults, child abuse, hunger strikes, assaults and injuries.
The Department of Immigration has reported that 98% of refugee claims processed on Manus Island have been successful; on Nauru the figure is 77%. There are 1313 people currently held across the two detention centres.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTOS/VIDEO: Hi resolution photos and video will be available for media use shortly at https://www.flickr.com/photos/lovemakesaway
IT IS DAY 163 OF PROTESTS ON NAURU AND DAY 109 ON MANUS BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE SPENT 1136 DAYS IN DETENTION.
“The ill-treatment of refugees on Nauru is not only morally wrong, but it violates countless principles of international law. Ensuring that a child’s best interests are a primary consideration is not a choice, but an obligation. Ensuring that no one is subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is not a social nicety, but a fundamental legal duty. Australia cares much about international law when it involves whales or our territorial sea, yet seems largely indifferent when it involves people’s lives.” Jane McAdam is Scientia Professor of Law and Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW Australia. Michele Feinberg
A REALITY CHECK & WARNING
I am concerned that many Australians are behaving in a very similar way to the German’s when faced with the horror of what Hitler did to the Jews.
They are simply turning their backs.
As Germany became less able to hide what was happening in places like Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec and Bergen-Belsen the German population focused their attention on their own affairs and simply denied what was happening in the camps.
Will we as a nation simply do the same?
Recent news reports have exposed over 2,000 incident reports on Nauru alone that highlight the use of violence, torture and sexual abuse. These have simply been ignored. Many other abuses and breaches of duty of care obligations and protocols for the treatment of any prisoner in the detention centres are dismissed by our government.
Despite wide disclosure here and abroad most of the Australian populartion simply looks away.
I believe that we must find a way of informing fellow Australian’s that they as voters and citizens hold responsibility for what is done in their name.
Please circulate this post as widely as possible and more importantly ask any and every fellow Australian the questions.
1. DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING IN DETENTION CENTRES?
2. DO YOU KNOW THAT TURNING YOUR BACK ON SUCH BEHAVIOUR WHEN YOU KNOW ABOUT IT MAKES YOU COMPLICIT?
3. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO LET YOUR GOVERNMENT KNOW THAT THEIR ACTIONS BREACH INTERNATIONAL LAW AND MUST STOP? Jill Parris
28th August 2016
Manus men. Be careful. Sign nothing.
1. Border Force are asking men to sign for a third country. Dutton says there is no third country. Sign nothing. Wait. If Border Force suggest New Zealand, they are lying. Maybe Cambodia or Vietnam or Malaysia will agree to take you. Don’t sign.
2. There are strong rumours that men with positive status will be moved to East Lorengau. Be very careful: Fire drills and evacuations might lead to forced removal to East Lorengau. Do not go outs… Lynne Murphy
PEN CHAIR AKNOWLEDGEMENT
As part of our campaign to bring Behrouz Boochani to Australia, Behrouz is being honoured at this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival—an empty chair will be present at a number of sessions, representing his absence, as a writer, because of his imprisonment and confinement on Manus Island, and the torture of his ongoing indefinite detention. And because of his courageous witnessing and reporting of the detention of fellow inmates on Manus. Yesterday, th…
26th August 2016
Thanks to Anthea Falkenberg for sharing this recently updated report from Kurdish Iranian human rights defender Behrouz Boochani, who fled Iran and sought refuge in Australia – and, ironically, has spent the last three years reporting Australia’s human rights abuses against refugees in Australia’s concentration camp on Manus Island.
The Manus prison has secret corners with solitary confinements.
For those people who follow the changes of Manus prison, Oscar,…
25th August 2016
From ‘New Matilda’
Peter Dutton’ s insistence that the Manus island refugees settle in PNG is a complete farce and he knows it. Why he persists in repeating this nonsense beggars belief as surely DIBP knows full well that PNG is neither safe nor suitable for anyone to settle in let alone refugees with no money nor kinship ties. Stop the lies Minister and end the suffering of these men and fly them back to mainland Australia NOW!!!
Eminent Australians have called for compromise from activists on the turnback of refugee boats. It’s never going to happen, writes Mark Goudkamp, Sadie Grant Butler and Nick Riemer.
24th August 2016
While hundreds of Australians took to the Canberra streets to demand that offshore camps close, we were told Danish politicians from across the political spectrum are to visit Nauru. They are looking at Australia’s off-shore detention as a model for Europe; Labor’s Georganas wants to get a group of cross-party back-benchers to quietly pressure the government to stop the insanity of indefinite and offshore detention; There is nothing in the Australian media about the court cas… Lynne Murphy
I just recieved these photos from Portmoresby hospital. The immigration is transferring about eight patient refugees from port moresby hospital to Manus prison by police force. The immigration had kept them for about three months and all of the refugees claim that they did not receive any medical treatment but were kept imrisoned in a small room. These guys had such bad experiences while they were in the portmoresby. firstly the protest against the government was near their place and i remember that they had such scary days during that time. Secondly a guard beat one of them very badly and during the third time an armed robber held two of them as a hostage for about half an hour. Some of them self-harmed and several times they held a hunger strike. Now they are transferring them like criminals.
I have a question? Why were they held in such a bad place for about three months and received no treatment? Why do they torture some pationt refugees and use their sickness as a tool to put pressure on them?Finally – and this is an important question – why are they transferring them like they are criminals? Behrouz Boochani
23rd August 2016
Here is a link to our Facebook campaign page: Bring Behrouz Boochani to Australia. This is an initiative of PEN Melbourne, backed by PEN Sydney.
A Kurdish-Iranian journalist and writer, Behrouz Boochani has been held on Manus Island for over 3 years. His case is both specific and emblematic of the fate of asylum seekers in indefinite detention—recognised by UN conventions as a form of torture.
“A parliamentary delegation from Denmark will visit the Pacific island of Nauru and hopes to gain rare access to Australia’s offshore detention centre to consider whether such controversial immigration policies could be adopted in Europe.
On Saturday a cross-party group of Danish politicians will visit Nauru and are seeking access to inspect the detention centre, according to reports by Danish radio station 24syv.
The visit follows the publication of the Nauru files by the Guardian, which highlighted devastating trauma and abuse inflicted on children held in offshore detention in the largest cache of leaked documents released from inside its immigration regime.
It also follows a challenge put forward by Australia’s opposition leader, Bill Shorten, to the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to join him in visiting Nauru and inspecting detention centre conditions.”
“A parliamentary delegation from Denmark will visit the Pacific island of Nauru and hopes to gain rare access to Australia’s offshore detention centre to consider whether such controversial immigration policies could be adopted in Europe.
On Saturday a cross-party group of Danish politicians will visit Nauru and are seeking access to inspect the detention centre, according to reports by Danish radio station 24syv.
The visit follows the publication of the Nauru files by the Guardian, which highlighted devastating trauma and abuse inflicted on children held in offshore detention in the largest cache of leaked documents released from inside its immigration regime.
It also follows a challenge put forward by Australia’s opposition leader, Bill Shorten, to the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to join him in visiting Nauru and inspecting detention centre conditions.”
A comment on a post about the repatriation of dear Kamil Hussain by Mubashir. (Thank you).
It is easy to speak out once you have been laid off, made redundant or you have collapsed under the sheer horror of it all. I never went to Nauru or Manus because it is not possible to care for or support a person who is in a concentration camp. I never went because to go would indicate a tacit support for institutionalised abuse of the worlds most vulnerable citizens. I never kidded myself that at least by going, I could somehow make a difference, as so many people I have spoken with somehow fooled themselves into believing. I am sure that many of my colleagues who did go knew that too, but were enticed by wages 3 times higher than they could make here and long periods of rest between their two week blocks on Nauru. Many trips to Bali were taken during downtime. A total boycott by social workers, teachers, medical staff, lawyers and psychologists would have been more effective when this horror was reintroduced. A boycott would have also honored the codes of ethics that many of us sign up to when we elect to work with vulnerable people. The Government cannot continue to run these hellholes without you, they cannot maintain the facade that any duty of care is being upheld. When shit goes wrong, it is always the carers who are scapegoated, blamed and given the sack. When prisoners self harm they have been “coached” by you. The Salvation Army bore much of the blame following the 2014 Manus riot in which they people they were supposed to have cared for were wounded and killed. Doctors leave in disgust only to be replaced by new ones, same with the social workers and teachers. What would happen if we all just refused to go? Fay Smith
Tonight she does not need to ﬂy free far above her her body and watch. She is safe.
After years of therapy Beth rarely revisits the frigid fear. She seldom hides behind the outward smile used to keep family, neighbours, teachers and the community of kind and curious at bay. She can simply be; sit and contemplate what has brought the fright once more.
It’s the eyes that come to her in the silence.
Will DSV031 ever let go the horror.
Beth has watched for three years as her government ignored, condoned; or even encouraged the humiliation, harassment, physical and sexual abuse of any in Australia’s offshore detention facilities; including children. They must be stopped. She can no longer stand by as her government continues.
There simply must be a better way. Jill Parris
I note that on last night’s ABC Q&A, Labor’s Shadow Health Minister answering questions from Tony Jones on offshore detention and processing said:
CATHERINE KING: If you’re going to have offshore processing and, yes, Labor agrees with offshore processing – as difficult as that it is, we agree with that – but we don’t agree with people being harmed in this way. It is not okay.
TONY JONES: So was it the Labor Party’s plan to leave these people… Frank Brennan
Perth people – we are calling on ALL Australians of good will and conscience to join us in protesting the continued torture of women, men and children in Australia’s camps on Nauru and Manus Island.
Don’t be ashamed to tell your children and grandchildren what YOU did at this dark time in our history, when the politicians who presided over this cruelty are judged by the International Criminal Court.
Australians are already being judged a cruel and selfish people, who have not… Marilyn Beach
NAURU: WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY?
I was a teacher at the Nauru Regional Processing Centre for 15 months until November 2015. Incident reports I wrote recounting events I witnessed are amongst the leaked Nauru files. I witnessed death threats made to my students by local guards; I witnessed a large guard lift and throw a student to the ground and a metal rail; I witnessed my students endure daily verbal abuse; I witnessed the appalling treatment of rape victims; I witnessed countless injuries from assaults in the community… the government has again attempted to absolve itself of responsibility, claiming that the well-being and safety of those on Nauru is a matter for the Nauruan Government …What do think is the responsibility that Australia… that the Australian Government has for the refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru? Christina Coombe
22nd August 2016
NAURU: WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY?
I was a teacher at the Nauru Regional Processing Centre for 15 months until November 2015. Incident reports I wrote recounting events I witnessed are amongst the leaked Nauru files. I witnessed death threats made to my students by local guards; I witnessed a large guard lift and throw a student to the ground and a metal rail; I witnessed my students endure daily verbal abuse; I witnessed the appalling treatment of rape victims; I witnessed countless injuries from assaults in the community… the government has again attempted to absolve itself of responsibility, claiming that the well-being and safety of those on Nauru is a matter for the Nauruan Government …What do think is the responsibility that Australia… that the Australian Government has for the refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru?
What do you think?
Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court has confirmed that both the PNG and Australia governments are responsible for closing the Manus Island offshore processing centre.
A three-man Supreme Court bench today discharged an inquiry in relation to seeking to enforce April’s ruling that holding people against their will on Manus is illegal, and that the centre should be closed.
Amid claims by Australia that it was not responsible for the centre or the resettlement of any refugees there, a series of hearings since April saw Chief Justice Sir Salam Injia giving direction for the closure of the centre.
PNG Immigration has been given until the end of October to finish the processing of refugee status determinations for all of the roughly 900 men detained on Manus.
Today, the bench said that the court had already confirmed that both governments are jointly responsible for complying with the ruling.
This effectively paves the way for lawyers representing the refugees and asylum seekers on Manus to pursue enforcement applications for their release, and to have them returned to Australia as well as to seek compensation.
Hi everyone, as of this morning all of these actions have been completed. By my count, that’s 56 actions – amazing!
When we started planning this we were hoping we could organise around 14 actions (about half of Sydney’s Federal electorates).
But you all didn’t know when to quit! You kept emailing us wanting to know if you could host your own action. And the result was that we held four times more actions than we had hoped for. These actions targeted more than a third of this nations’ MPs, including the Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader, the Treasurer, the Immigration Minister, and the Shadow Immigration Minister.
We’ve had contact from a few MPs to thank us for running these actions, since it gives them support to keep advocating for people seeking asylum inside their Parties. Those thanks belong to you! For every action organised, for every paper doll hung. Thank you!
This is not the end, of course. There’s still so much more to do. It is really important that we don’t take the pressure off when we’ve made so much progress and the message is starting to get through.
Stay in touch my signing up to our email list (http://lovemakesaway.org.au/email-updates/), and we will keep you updated about what’s next.
Matt, for the LMAW crew
MEDIA ALERT: THREE ex-Nauru teachers speak out
Sunday 21 August 4-6pm
Gaelic Club, 64 Devonshire St Surry Hills
A very special public forum put on by Teachers for Refugees will feature three former Save The Children teachers on Nauru.
Secondary school teachers Evan Davies and Judith Reen and primary school teacher Jennifer Rose have all featured in The Guardian’s coverage of the damning Nauru files. Their presentation will include rarely seen photos and video footage revealing the appalling and demeaning conditions faced by refugees at the Nauru school and elsewhere on the island.
Evan said, “We have a responsibility to speak up. We have an obligation to reveal the disturbing things that we know and what we have seen.”
Judith Reen: “On Manus and Nauru, squalid living conditions are inflicting maximum misery and discomfort. The companies involved will not self-report abuses committed by their own staff.
“Moreover, the Nauru Police Force (NPF) are ill-equipped to investigate crimes or abuse. And it is entirely inappropriate for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) to divest its responsibility. In reality, this is an Australian-run facility.”
Jennifer said the kids’ deterioration was distressing: “That’s a terrifying thing to see. Children who are previously happy unable to get out of bed for a week at a time because they are just depressed. I’ve taught in Australia, I’ve taught in the UK and I’ve never seen children in that state of depression.”
Rachael Jacobs from Teachers for Refugees said: “These teachers’ defiance of the Federal Government’s Border Force Act is an inspiration for educators in Australia, not least those of us who teach refugees and migrants”.
Mark Goudkamp, also from Teachers for Refugees, added: “Their voices are adding to the groundswell demanding that the offshore camps be closed and the refugees be brought to Australia. Teachers will have a large contingent at the 27 August protest, starting Sydney Town Hall at 1pm. We also plan to initiate days of school based actions as part of the campaign to #BringThemHere”.
The Age’s most strongly worded editorial yet.
“There is an obvious solution to this ridiculous and inhumane stand-off, and that is to bring people from the isla…
It is for your kind information that the dead body of late Kamil Hussain a Pakistani refugee of Manus Island has now been buried yesterday to rest in his birth town Parachinar Pakistan for ever. He was died in Manus Islands weeks ago.
Parachinar Welfare Society Victoria Inc thanks all of the donors who helped and supported the repatriation of late Kamil Hussain. It was a very tragic death. It is very sad that a young man who was struggling to survive and find a safe future ends with a death. He has now reached to his final destiny. Thus a journey of a refugee now ends. Now the Australian Government also does not need to protect him any more.
This is the result of your help and support that his family received his dead body.
We also request you to recite Sura Alfatiha to rest his soul with peace in Paradise, “Ameen”.
From the Sydney Morning Herald:
‘Doctor Zaher Sahloul has seen many of the Syrian war’s youngest victims and their unspeakable injuries. Yet one of the images most seared into his memory is a simple picture drawn by a seven-year-old boy from Aleppo.
It shows Assad regime helicopters dropping barrel bombs on children below. Those that are still alive are weeping and in pain but the ones who are already dead look serene and at peace. Marylin Beech
Statement by Behrouz Boochani about PNG Supreme Court hearing 22 August
The PNG Supreme Court will hold a Full Bench hearing on Monday 22 August. The hearing is expected to go only one day, but it could be longer. We may not get the decision on Monday. The court may take a few days to write its judgement.
The hearing has been called by the PNG Supreme Court Chief Justice for the purpose of clarifying the orders made by the Supreme Court in April that the Manus Island detention centre was unlawful and must close. It is empowered to deal with any outstanding issues about how Manus will close and what will happen to everyone who was taken to Manus by Australia. So it is an important hearing.
The court will hear submissions about which country is responsible for the Manus detention centre and for the asylum seekers and refugees that have been on Manus. It is expected that the court will make “ancillary’ orders that will outline how the detention will close and what will happen to everyone on Manus.
Ben Lomai, on behalf of Manus refugee and asylum seekers will be asking the court to make the following orders:
(i) that both Australia and PNG government close the Manus detention centre with 48 hours;
(ii) That there be a further hearing with 7 days of the court to consider compensation and the payment of damages for the human rights breaches suffered by detainees on Manus Island;
(iii) To declare that PNG is unable to comply with its obligations according to the Refugee Convention (this includes finding that PNG is unable to resettle anyone from Manus)
(iv) That the PNG government make all necessary arrangements for the transfer to Australia of all refugees, asylum seekers and detainees who wish to be transferred;
(v) That, for those, who do not wish to return to Australia, the PNG government make all arrangements to transfer people within 7 days, to a third country capable of offering a durable solution.
I’ve just listened to a presentation at the Gaelic Club in Sydney from three brave teachers who taught in Nauru and Manus with Save the Children. It was a harrowing tale of sorrow as they struggled to teach and support the children. They impressed me with their sense of justice, their professionalism and simply their human kindness. They cared so much for the children whom they said were lovely, sweet kids who so much appreciated going to school. Now the school is shut down.
They had to fight against the Department every step of the way; all their demands for better treatment of the children went unanswered. They are the people who wrote the reports in the Nauru Files, and they said the government has always been aware of what was in those files; those files were all sent to Canberra.
Even though I was familiar with the facts, I still had sobs building in my throat as I listened to their first hand accounts. They risk jail to talk about it, and job loss, but they all felt compelled to speak out.
They were scathing of conditions on Nauru, not only for the refugees but for the Nauruans themselves. One teacher said it was a corrupt dictatorship, and that no public money had been spent on infrastructure or amenities. It was all falling down, there was asbestos sheeting flapping in the wind everywhere, they had sold all their fishing rights, the phosphate was finished, and there was no agricultural land left. Their only income is foreign aid from Australia and the money they get for hosting the detention centre.
The detention centre is a jail built in a disused quarry where the temperature is always over 35 degrees, and it floods when it rains, and it rains a lot.
A Doctors4Refugees spokesman also spoke, and he was impressive too, as he spoke about how difficult it is to look after patients in detention when they are forbidden to discuss their cases with other health workers.
I wish everyone had heard them talk; if we aren’t shocked yet, when will we be? Rhyll McMaster
21st August 2016
IT IS DAY 155 OF PROTESTS ON NAURU AND DAY 101 ON MANUS BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE SPENT 1128 DAYS IN DETENTION.
“This isn’t just about sexual abuse. It’s about the sanity-sapping uncertainty, and tedium and tension of life under indefinite detention, which quickly amounts to systemic abuse. And Peter Dutton is in charge of the system.” Lenore Taylor, The Guardian
DO YOU CARE EOUGH ABOUT CHILDREN’S LIVES TO TURN OFF SPORT
Meredith Bergman, her little sister Verity and a friend ran onto the field of the old Sydney Cricket Ground. Verity grabbed the ball and kicked what the media described as ‘the best kick of the season”. 🙂 (14:00).
Our growing protest movement against the Australia’s cruel immigration policies has almost won. We will close Manus and Nauru, the political prisoners will come to Australia. Indefinite and mandatory detention and TPVs will cease to exist. Fast-track processing of asylum claims will be abandoned, fair procedures introduced and the Refugee Review Tribunal reinstated. Assistance will increase for Indonesia and Malaysia to expedited claims assessments and the boats will be stopped because refugees will fly with visas to Australia. And racism will reduce as an Australian imperative. We’ve done it before and are doing it again.
To encourage tired political prisoners and activists, I have been researching other times that a few committed people have helped change the world. The best evidence found so far are effective the Vietnam Moratorium movement and the anti-apartheid movements. But that’s not what this post is about.
I found this amazing must-watch video of the Springboks tour of 1971. Watch the video. See some of the best rugby footage ever.
“The sports tour of the Springboks stopped a long time ago. It’s a travelling police circus. The last thing it is, is a rugby tour.” (16:22).
“1971 was the last time we played against Australia.” Former captain of the Springboks. (16:30) Lynne Murphy
RISE UP AUSTRALIA
Last night I attended a dinner at which Julian Burnside spoke. So eloquent. How can one argue that a child is illegal? How can we buy this utter insufferable lie for to do so makes us complicit.
Julian reminded us that we were one of the world leaders who after WW2 drafted conventions to ensure that refugees fleeing persecution would never again traverse the world unable to find asylum. Now both government and opposition conspire to kidnap, persecute and torture the brave souls who head for Australia as the closest country to offer them sanctuary.
He asked the question “why should other countries who each take in refugees help us out?”
We have heard all this before and yet we voted in a mean government who robs our tax dollars to sustain their cruelty. We must act to stop them!
I told Julian I was the child of refugees who had left South Africa because of Apartheid then I asked “What should we do?” His reply was that he was not sure but then as I pushed he smiled
“perhaps a sports boycott”
Well come on Australia I am not a great organiser but I will surely work with others to do this if it helps shift our corrupt leaders.
If I were in South Africa I would raise my old arm at this point and yell
Here I am not sure wha our cry for freedom is so I must make do with
“COME ON AUSIES OI, OI, OI!” Jill Parris
Dutton is fighting for his political career now. He knows it is all over. He knows not what to do. He has no plan, no escape from what he knows is coming. Manus and Nauru will close and the people will come to Australia.
When he appointed Dutton as Immigration Minister, Turnbull handed his enemy a poisoned chalice.
Set up by Turnbull, Dutton will fall and he will fall hard.
Dutton will wear all the blame for the failure of the policy to use desperate refugees as political pawns.
This was always to be. Lynne Murphy
Onya, Andrew Wilkie – Independent for Denison! Keep up the pressure 👊
” Mr Wilkie wrote to Mr Turnbull on Friday requesting official access as he also steps up a campaign to have the International Criminal Court investigate Australia’s asylum seeker policies.”
Show Andrew Wilkie support with lots of post likes 🙂 Or pop over to his page.
‘Our national shame of using genuine refugees as human repellent to permanently deter asylum boats making their way to Australia has to stop.’
‘For three years thousands of men, women and children have lived in a perpetual state of uncertainty, confined to Nauru under an indefinite detention regime we don’t even inflict on convicted criminals. Rapists and murderers at least know the terms of their confinement.’
The Australian – 20 August 2016
20th August 2016
I am gonna lock myself in my room and get this high court case done this weekend: Open and public court hearing, arbitrary and capricious application of the law, arbitrary detention, refoulement, child abuse, creating the conditions of life with the intent to destroy, vilification, INDIRECT DISCRIMINATION…
I expect to be beset on one side by corrupt racist lawyers, protecting corrupt racist system and their mates and on the other side by Pauline Hanson’s mob….SO i will need the good people of Australia from the middle to help whistleblow this s75 Notice to show Case and Notice of Constitution……
The Guardian FOI court challenge with Commonwealth: I certainly agree with Guardian (lawyers) on the point that the boat turnbacks does not (or no longer) involved national security. The LNP government concerns primarily is to cover-up the bi-lateral boat turnback agreement (see the analysis report on #3). The Guardian has been following upon the reported case of RAN incursion into Indonesian territorial waters on April 2014. The extra-ordinary effort to cover up the bi-lateral agreement may be reflected upon LNP government and AFP chasing upon the source of the leak (see Guardian reporter’s note #2). I suggest PDF copies of analysis report on the LNP Cover-up and Turnback should be forwarded to those barristers and judges, which they might like to taken it into account. — Solidarity, U Ne Oo, Sydney.
Nuns 4 Refugees!
“The churches have been given direct first hand reports of sexual abuse and assault for more than two years now and we have been giving the det…
The Guardian FOI court challenge with Commonwealth: I certainly agree with Guardian (lawyers) on the point that the boat turnbacks does not (or no longer) involved national security. The LNP government concerns primarily is to cover-up the bi-lateral boat turnback agreement (see the analysis report on #3). The Guardian has been following upon the reported case of RAN incursion into Indonesian territorial waters on April 2014. The extra-ordinary effort to cover up the bi-later…
NEWS REPORT: Dutton seems to believe he can perpetrate any cruelty without needing a law, as in deciding that refugees who are citizens of other countries will never come to Australia; The Australian Council for International Development tells Turnbull to counsel minister Dutton to cease making false allegations against child protection agencies and move swiftly to remove children, women and men from further harm on Nauru; Australians set up a thin veneer of respectability, c… Lynne Murphy
19th August 2016
18th August 2016
YES , refugees can speak for themselves. But is the Parliament of Australia listening? It is they who determine laws and policies which torture innocent human beings…n
From Manus prison:To the Australian people, the Australian High Commission, the Ombudsman, the Australian Commission for Human Rights and all other relevant bodies.
I am writing this letter from inside Manus prison as a refugee who has witnessed assault, death, sexual abuse and torture here.
The Australian government has kept us here in this remote island for more than three years and is controlling this prison secretly, operating behind the cover of PNG and controlling us and all information with high security.
During the last three years International organisations like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the UN Special Rapporteur for the Convention Against Torture, amongst others, have published reports about Manus prison conditions describing in detail how the Australian government has tortured us in Manus.
I am writing this letter in this moment when more than 8000 pages of documents about Nauru have been published and which international media and human rights organisations have covered widely.
I would like to ask you to investigate Manus prison. I am asking that all documents and reports all the companies involved in running this place – to name a few, Broadspectrum, Wilson Security, IHMS – be released. These documents should be published widely, and made available to the Australian people so they know what is exactly happening in Manus prison and what your government has made it. Investigations into the reports and documents should be thorough, independent and transparet. The results of proper investigations will make clear who is right, who is telling the truth – the International organisations or the Australian government who keep the truth smothered in secrecy.
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Victoria Regional Meeting Inc.
Reg. No. A0016299T
PO Box 2168, GPO, Melbourne 3001.
PEACE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE NETWORK
We are a group who continue to be exercised, alarmed and ashamed of our country’s treatment of Asylum seekers. We are especially concerned about the recent release of documents about the ill-treatment of those on Nauru. As Australians, we feel both indignation and shame. We are strongly concerned as well for children, whom we see as also being punished by being kept in such horrific conditions.
We are writing to both our political parties, as we feel both hold responsibility for this current situation, and respectfully ask you to consider this as an opportunity to not only address wrongdoings within our detention system, but also to bring together those with experience and expertise to consider future responses to those seeking asylum.
There are Human Rights lawyers, academics and those within the churches with expertise, as well as others, who could be part of a national consultation and could offer more acceptable ways to resolve these matters. Many of us have heard measured and informed people speaking, whom we feel sure would have much wisdom to offer in order to look for solutions. We are certain that if there is a will by those we have elected, these issues can be addressed.
We look forward to your reply.
On behalf of the Peace and Social Justice Network (email@example.com)
News report: “Nearly a thousand men on Manus have endured dirty, cramped conditions, inadequate care and violence. Finally, it is time to let them move on with their lives in safety and dignity,” – Elaine Pearson, Australia Director for Human Rights Watch
1. Manus must be closed and all Manus prisoners must be returned to Australia Refugee Action Coalition, August 17, 2016. “It is time to free all the Manus refugees, in PNG and Australia, and to provide the protection they ne… Lynne Murphy
17th August 2016
When will we start adding all this up and talking openly about the SEXUAL ASSAULT OF MEN incarcerated in Manus? Sexual assaults have been reported to me by very scared men for 3 years now. The silencing project of this kind of abuse works and we who know of it know this is just the tip of a pre-Climate Change iceberg. We have known of it for quite a while as these links and others attest. Lets start talking about it. And support this man who has gone public. It is a HUGE ACT OF COURAGE. As Eaten Fish says: NO MEANS NO. Janet Galbraith with Andrew Marlton.
Nothing new to see here, really, people.
Lying little creep. Keep up your efforts.
“The Manus Island regional processing centre is set to close following a meeting between officials from Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Australia.
In November 2013, the Chief Lawyer for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection confirmed in a Senate Estimates hearing that it is not illegal for asylum seekers to enter Australia’s Migration Zone without a visa. Refugees and asylum seekers who came by boat to seek protection in Australia have not broken any law, of Australia or internationally. That is why no asylum seeker currently interned by Australia has been charged with an immigration offence.Why don’t the staff in Peter Dutton’s office know this? Marilyn Beech
16th August 2016
I write on behalf of OXN249. This is a fictitious number used to protect her identity but also used to remind people of the inhumanity of our offshore detention centres.
I received this unsolicited message last night. Please help.
I have rewritten the message for clarity.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
“I write from Nauru. We are really tired and can’t cope any more. It gets harder every day. I have tried to stop taking sleeping pills several times but stared again yesterday because life is a nightmare.
You have forgotten us and can not imagine how weak we are now. If you spent just a few hours with us you would understand. Living with only the possibility of planning for the next 24 hours is killing our spirit. There are only 1700 of us but many people against us.
Why is your government fighting with us. How many victims will be enough? Omid, Rakib, Hodan -why do you not understand? Are your hearts made of rock? Now because of the torture and abuse our mental health is at risk.
We are so sad when we see only 1600 people at a rally in support of us. Thank you to those who keep up the fight but to the others our hope is in your hands. Please find it in your hearts to fight for us. Remember us the men women and children. Think of us as your brothers sisters and children.
We are not bad, we fled wars to find sanctuary. Most of us are educated, humans just like you. Don’t forget us. Give us a chance. Let us leave.”
PLEASE STOP. HEAR THIS HEART FELT PLEE AND JOIN THE FIGHT FOR THEIR FREEDOM.
News report: Court next Monday will hopefully find that the Manus men must be taken away from the dangers of Manus; The Senate will probably produce another time wasting report on the evils of detention; Rudd and Abbott knew that Manus OPC is illegal; Can the laws help the political prisoners on Manus & Nauru?; Labor tells Dutton to get a wriggle on but offers no constructive advice and Lib/Lab is dealing with the devil in Nauru; Border Force enjoys on-water activities so muc… Lynne Murphy
While Immigration Minister Peter Dutton insists that crimes allegedly committed in the Nauru centre should be dealt with by the island’s under resourced local police, his department routinely asks Australia’s top law enforcement body, the AFP, to probe who is disclosing information from inside the camp.
Leaks about alarming incidents at the Australian-funded facility add fuel to domestic and international claims the Government has abandoned its human rights obligations by all…
An unprecedented one hundred and three former staff previously and currently employed in offshore processing centres on Manus Island and Nauru have today issued a statement warning that the only way to secure the safety of refugees and asylum seekers in these locations is to bring them to Australia immediately.
Those who support this view include doctors, teachers, case workers, managers and social workers from Broadspectrum (formerly Transfield), Save the Children, IHMS, Salvation Army and other contracted workers with first-hand experience across both Manus Island and Nauru Regional Processing Centres.
They strongly believe that the establishment of another Senate Inquiry in response to the release of the Nauru files is quite simply not enough. “This has reached crisis level and requires an immediate response.” said Toby O’Brien, former Child Protection Officer with Save the Children. “The evidence is already overwhelmingly clear.”
Many of the former staff have already made submissions and given evidence to a number of inquiries, investigations and reviews. “We’ve given evidence and it’s been ignored.”
15th August 2016
How much longer must I keep this diary.
I ache with anger, humiliation and horror.
You my government have stole so much of what I hold dear.
How many must face what is for them a haulocast before you take responsibility for your actions.
If we wait too long we will loose all shreds of what was a wonderful free democracy.
Alyssa is uniquely qualified to comment on the
She wrote some of them.
The leak is giving her the opportunity to speak out about the reality behind the documents – the people suffering terrible abuse because of Australian government policy.
LNP have now engaged the attention of the world with their policy toward asylum seekers, particularly those on Manus and Nauru.
I have dealt with refugees since 1972 when I was first posted to Pakistan as an Australian Diplomat. All of my postings after that involved dealing with refugees. From 1995-2000 I was a member of the Refugee Review Tribunal.
The so called ‘policy’ put forward by both major parties is puerile, impractical and cruel. Refugees must be processed on Indonesia and brought to Australia in groups following health checks and basic language training. Yes such a policy would lead to an increase in numbers but nothing that Australia could not handle.
Regional resettlement is not an option, it has failed.
Turning back boats is illegal under both Australian and International law. Using people as deterrance is morally reprehensible. The so called expert committee that recommended both should be ashamed of itself.It was weak and played to flawed domestic imperatives.
Australia has signed Conventions and put into law protocols for the proper treatment and processing of asylum seekers. These must be adhered to for legal as well as moral reasons. We are undermining everything we claim to stand for as a nation. John Howard, the man with a shrivelled notion of what is right and wrong, who lived by ‘whatever it takes’, has a lot to answer for. He began the rot and federal politicians since have followed on. Gutless. One of the most collective acts of moral cowardice since white South Africans implemented and ran the cruel and foul system of separate development between blacks and whites known as Apartheid.
In practical terms alone the governments asylum seeker ‘policy’ is unworkable in the long term for reasons now all too apparent. It is a by product of bad government. Australia can do better than this. It must do better than this. We are dealing with people on Manus and Nauru, that fact seems to have escaped Turnbull and Shorten, not to mention dopey Dutton. Bruce Haigh
We don’t need another LONG inquiry. The detainees just need these hellholes closed and they need to be brought to mainland Australia. Helen Fox
The voices of measured sensible reason!!!! This cruelty MUST end!! man’s inhumanity to man!!! I THOUGHT THAT AUSTRALIA WAS ABOVE THIS EVIL BEHAVIOUR!!! I was WRONG!!! Bring on the GREENS they are the BEST!!!!! in EVERY way.
Tony Abbott’s has admitted he should have backed the Gillard Government’s people swap deal with Malaysia whilst in opposition, saying it would have avoided the current scandals in offshore detention camps.
Opposition frontbencher Stephen Conroy said if the 2011 proposal to send 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia in exchange for 4000 genuine refugees had eventuated, there would have been no need for the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres.
“There were 600-odd deaths (at sea) after the Malaysia solution was rejected and all of the problems that have now emerged at Nauru and Manus would not have happened.”
The Malaysia deal was quashed by the High Court and Mr Abbott as opposition leader refused to back the Labor government’s bill to override the decision. Greens leader Richard Di Natale said the billions of dollars spent on Manus Island and Nauru detention centres would be better spent setting up and operating processing centres in source and transit countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia to stop people making boat journeys. Is Tony trying to wriggle away from any blame for the abuse that has gone on?
CURRENT NAURU STAFF: ‘It’s gotten worse. Children have been so traumatised it’s interrupting their development. There are women who have been sexually assaulted and are too terrified to leave their homes. People with complex medical problems not receiving treatment.’
The voices of measured sensible reason!!!! This cruelty MUST end!! man’s inhumanity to man!!! I THOUGHT THAT AUSTRALIA WAS ABOVE THIS EVIL BEHAVIOUR!!! I was WRONG!!! Bring on the GREENS they are the BEST!!!!! in EVERY way.
14th August 2016
Retweeted Kon Karapanagiotidis (@Kon__K):
Oct 2014-March 2015: Oz Gov sent AFP 6 times to #Nauru
To investigate allegations of child abuse
To find whistleblowers
Surely someone must be found to be responsible for the lies and prosecuted for it. And above all we must dismiss Wilson Security as an acceptable contractor for any government services. But hang on, it would take some testicles to do this, and these appendages are seriously lacking in our present government. Eveline Goy
SUMMARY: Seven drunken Manusians surrounded three Hazara refugees and demanded phones & money. One refugee escaped but the other two were savagely beaten with an iron bar, even after collapsing to the ground. A local man saved them. Australians Daniel Webb & Matthew Abbott took photos only to be arrested by PNG Immigration.
While some locals are accepting of the refugees, others are hostile and violent towards them. The situation is made worse by criminal acts committed with… Lynne Murphy
Is Australia legally responsible for offshore processing centres? Or are PNG and Nauru responsible for the people sent to their respective offshore processing centres?
In my opinion, the fact that OPC ‘incident notifications’ are sent to Comcare Australia irrefutably proves that Australia is responsible. Because notifications must be sent to Comcare (Australia) then Manus and Nauru offshore processing centres are recognised as Australian workplaces under Australian laws. Lynne Murphy
12th August 2016
Two nigts ago some local men violently assaulted and injured two refugees in Lorengau town. This happened at about 6 PM. The refugees were bleeding and almost blacking out in the police station and the police sent them to hospital, and then to the IHMS. They have injuries in the back of their heads, their stomachs and hands. Although they have lost much blood, I found out that they are OK now in IHSM. They were hit by metallic pole for no reason.
This is the second time in two weeks that refugees have been attacked in Lorengau. Two weeks ago local men injured an Iranian man in Lorengau town. The Iranian man claimed that the local men were drunk and attacked him. Behrouz Boochani
11th August 2016
The Nauru Files in numbers….
JulianBurnside concerned overseas friend has suggested an international trade ban she wont buy anything australian now
Refugee Action Coalition
ADVOCATES CALL FOR IMMIGRATION MINISTER’S RESIGNATION AFTER SHAMEFUL COMMENTS ABOUT NAURU SELF-IMMOLATION
The Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, has once again shamed himself and disgraced his office with unsubstantiated, ill-considered and offensive claims about refugees.
The Minister is quoted as telling 2GB radio, “Some people have even gone to the extent of self-harming and people have self-immolated in an effort to get to Australia. Certainly some have made false allegations.”
“The Minister has no evidence that any of the self–immolation attempts on Nauru had anything to do with ‘an effort to get to Australia’; None at all. He is seeking to trash the memory of Omid in particular.
“It is a disgraceful attempt to cast aspersions on refugees and to shift attention away from his responsibility for the abuses that continue on Nauru. In light of the revelations and his comments, he should apologise and resign,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. ”
“Peter Dutton’s comments are reminiscent of those he made during the election campaign asserting that refugees were ‘illiterate and innumerate’. Dutton is rapidly becoming the Donald Trump of the Turnbull government – willing to say anything that might get a headline, buy some votes and promote the government’s anti-refugee policies,” said Rintoul.
“Dutton well knows that the government’s own Moss review confirmed the reports of physical and sexual abuse that were uncovered in 2014. That review also exonerated the Save The Children staff who were the authors of many of the reports.
“Peter Dutton and Malcolm Turnbull know the reports are true.
“There are victims of rape and sexual assault whose mental and physical health has seriously declined because of the assault and medical neglect that have suffered on Nauru and because Dutton turns a blind eye to the truth of what is happening on Nauru.”
“Unlike Don Dale, where Turnbull thinks he can use a Royal Commission to shift the blame onto the NT government or onto NT prison staff, a Royal Commission into the abuses on Nauru could only point to the complicity and the responsibility of the Australian government.”
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713
QUESTION: #Manus guards enjoying a beer. What is wrong with this picture?
ANSWER: Manus is a ‘dry’ facility. Workers are not allowed to drink beer.
* The immigration department insists the Australian operator of the Manus Island detention centre has always maintained a strict drug and alcohol policy.
* Mr O’Neill (Papua New Guinea Prime Minister) said the centre was supposed to operate a dry policy and criticised centre operator Transfield Services and Wilson Security for not enforcing the rules.
* “Service provider staff are subject to testing for alcohol consumption to ensure compliance with the drug and alcohol policy,” a department spokeswoman told AAP on Thursday.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said ‘It was important to ensure people acted within the law’ Lynne Murphy
How to contact the Nauru files reporters securely and confidentially
Here are two options for people who want to contact Guardian Australia using more secure forms of electronic communication to avoid most common forms of online tracking
The Guardian takes the protection of journalists’ sources seriously. It runs a SecureDrop server, and the Nauru files reporters can be contacted via Signal on smartphones.
Wednesday 10 August 2016…
The horrifying trauma and abuses contained in the more than 2,000 leaked Nauru files published today by the Guardian are “just the tip of the iceberg”, the former Save the Children workers who wrote many of them say.
“Imagine everything you read about Nauru and Manus was being perpetrated by Daesh not you.”
OUR GOVERNMENT IS VIOLENT
I am so angry I must write or explode.
How many times must we listen to our Prime Minister blatently lie to us.
He knows what is happening to asylum seekers in detention on Manus and Nauru. His own departments have known about it for years, and abuse is increasing not decreasing.
We know the Gillian Triggs report of abuse was sent to the government.
We know Amnesty International has clearly stated that people are abused on Manus (http://www.abc.net.au/…/amnesty-condemns-australia’…/6261348)
The government has been given this information by politicians, doctors, lawyers, teachers, social workers and many more.
STOP LYING AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY MR TURNBULL.
YOU ARE PAID TO GOVERN NOT TORTURE. JILL PARRIS
More than 2,000 leaked incident reports from Australia’s detention camp for asylum seekers on the remote Pacific island of Nauru – totalling more than 8,000 pages – are published by the Guardian today. The Nauru files set out as never before the assaults, sexual abuse, self-harm attempts, child abuse and living conditions endured by asylum seekers held by the Australian government, painting a picture of routine dysfunction and cruelty. Anne Moon
9th August 2016
The Supreme Court today (8 August at 9:30 am) has ordered the re-empelment of the 3 members from the original 5 members’ bench that constituted the Namah’s Supreme Court Reference, to hear full submissions from Counsels on the issue of ‘legal responsibility’ of resettlement of the asylum seekers. The hearing has been scheduled for Monday 22 August at 9:30 am. Parties are at liberty to address the Court on any issues which may be pertinent to supporting their arguments on the enforcement of Order 6 of the 26 April Supreme Court Orders, which declared the Australian Offshore Processing (Detention) Centre on Manus Island unconstitutional and ordered it to be closed. The State and Immigration lawyers indicated to the Chief Justice that PNG Government was solely responsible for the resettlement of the asylum seekers and the eventual consequences if any, that would have arise from the aftermath of the resettlement. We, however differed and re-enforced our position that the 26 April Orders has discharged PNG Government’s obligations to the asylum seekers. Therefore, after the 26 April Orders, the Australian Government was solely and legally responsible for the resettlement of ALL the asylum seekers. These were the positions taken by each parties today and therefore arguments will be pursued during the hearing to support their respective positions.
As a house keeping matter, the Chief Justice has tasked the Supreme Court Registrar to compiled the Application Books with the concurrence of all parties, in preparation for hearing on the 22 August.
I will post the news articles tomorrow for more information on the case.
Thanks, Ben Ben Lomai
Recent news from the PNG supereme court today 8 Agust..The chief justice of the PNG Supreme Court has set a Full Bench Hearing for the 22 August at which all matters associated with Manus Island can be raised.
This is likely to be the same full bench that found in April that the Manus prison was unlawful.
The chief justice said that the original orders were too vague. We will have the chance to argue that there must be specific orders for the release of everyone on Manus and for them to be returned to Australia.I think this is a great news because the court will make decision soon. Behrouz Boochani
Excerpts from from the refugee Convention
Other rights contained in the 1951 Convention include:
• The right not to be expelled,
except under certain, strictly
defined conditions (Article 32);
• The right not to be punished for
illegal entry into the territory of a
contracting State (Article31);
• The right to work (Articles 17 to 19);
• The right to housing (Article 21);
• The right to education (Article 22);
• The right to public relief and
assistance (Article 23);
• The right to freedom of religion
• The right to access the courts
• The right to freedom of
movement within the territory (Article
• The right to be issued identity
and travel documents (Articles 27 and 28).Anne Moon
This is so wrong!
Australia, you are being played for fools.
In so many, many arenas, but almost all involving basic human rights, freedoms and the quality of your lives.
This government is corrupt to the point of now being willing to commit billions of dollars to convincing both their own constituency and their vulnerable offshore hostages that the falling-down, proven-criminal, internationally-denounced horrorshow shambles that is its offshore detention racket, can somehow continue for another 14 months!!
For everyone’s sake, and for our future, get up and SAY SO. Anthea Falkenberg
Read more: http://www.afr.com/business/ferrovial-forced-fo-run-nauru-manus-detention-centres-until-late-2017-20160805-gqlr2i#ixzz4GhvAta1G
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Make sure that Peter Dutton knows, and that the whole world knows he knows, that this man is very sick and might die the same death as Hamid Khazaei. (May he rest in peace). You can send a message to Peter Dutton and/or comment under his posts at https://www.facebook.com/peterduttonmp
I said this:
Dear Mr Dutton. There is a man with the same type of illness as killed Hamid Khazaei in Manus Island. His disease is at an advanced stage, and it was only a few days after this stage of the illness that Hamid Khazaei died. Please do not let this man die too. http://www.julianburnside.com.au/shocking-medical-conditio…/
6th August 2016
This makes me angry
Global survey by Amnesty International ranks Australia as fifth most welcoming population, with two-thirds happy for refugees to settle in their cities
The attitude is in stark contrast to government statements this week. The immigration minister Peter Dutton argued that many refugees are uneducated and illiterate, and that accepting more into Australia would see them take jobs from Australians or burden the country’s welfare system.
But more than half of Australian respondents to the Amnesty survey said they would welcome refugees into their neighbourhoods, and more than one in 10 would welcome a refugee to live in their home. Anne Moon
5th August 2016
4th August 2016
I believe there is a memorial service happening on Manus at 9.30. I will spend this time in silent contemplation of Kamil Hussein’s life.
To his friends in Australia, I invite you to join us. Distributed via Lynne Murphy
The men in Manus are upset, are trying to negotiate a solution with little success.
Family in Pakistan have said that they want the body brought home for burial.
Please, do whatever you can to have this stopped. Contact media, use Twitter, share this post, contact Members of Parliament and Senators (see link below for details).
The problems are that Australia will not accept responsibility for men sent to Manus, even after they die. And Manus Island does not have the facilities to care properly for the deceased, their only suitable refrigeration is broken. There is a new IHMS (medical) facility in Manus detention that has proper refrigerated storage facilities. We need his body to be be transported there.
Today Australia showed it arrogance by first not turning up to the summons to court by a sovereign country.
And then not accepting responsibility for the body of a man brought to that same country illegally.
The lack of respect for everything most people believe to be decent and right is unbelievable.
So please everyone call Dutton, Turnbull and Shorten and any media outlets you can.
Someone has to show that we are human !! Imagine if this was your family member.
A news from PNG Supreme court case.
Australia did not turn up for the court today. the lawyer for the png immigration said he had no instructions. The chief justice has adjourned the court until Monday to determine which country is responsible for all the transferees. He will empanel a full court next week to determine which country is responsible. We of course are arguing that Australia and png are jointly responsible, and that people were unlawfully sent to png. This determination by the court should open the way for rhe lawyers to argue for the specific orders we have been seeking – the release of everyone and their return to Australia. Behrouz Boochani
To the Honourable President of the International Criminal Court ,
Miss Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi
We, detainees in Manus Island, are writing to you to explain our condition and request. This letter is also our complaint about what is called crime against humanity and that is happening in here. We know senior barrister, Julian Burnside, and International lawyer , Amal Clooney and others were and are investigating crime against humanity in offshore detention of Australia. We appreciate them very much.
We have been detaining in a closed detention for more than 3 years. Any bad physical and mental condition that can be imagined, have happened for us. Killing, suicide, dying, serious injured in body like losing eye, serious damage in mind like severe depression, and a lot of different problems that we experienced in detention. All detainees are suffering from PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some of them never back to normal life forever.
IHMS stands for International Health and Medical Services. This organisation have also been working for Immigration policy of Australia. Many of the staff in IHMS don’t work according to the Hippocratic Oath. Hamid Khazaei, an asylum seeker in Manus Island, died because of lack of antibiotic, the Hippocratic oath, and also lack of Human Rights Charter in this detention.
Manus Island is a remote Island in PNG. According to the International law, when Australia sent asylum seekers to offshore, the condition of detention must be the same with Australia. In other words, the condition of detention in offshore and onshore must be the same. But, Manus Island is a malaria zone. Many detainees have contracted to malaria. Some of them are suffering from high humidity and for example they have been using nasal sprays because of asthma. Local people attacked to us in February 2014 and killed one of us, Reza Barati. In fact, it is not offshore processing, but offshore torturing. The government brought us here to torture and force to return to our origin country or to go to East Lorengau.
After the ruling of Supreme Court , our condition got worse. We have been living in limbo more than 3 years. Now, another limbo added to our previous limbo. In other words, we are also waiting for decision of PNG Supreme Court these days. The condition in here is in breach of PNG’s constitution and in breach of our personal liberty. So Supreme Court announced that here is illegal and unconstitutional and must be closed but there is no deadline for them to close here. It has caused that another limbo added to previous limbo. At the moment, 3 months passed from the ruling of Supreme Court and detention is still running. Immigration department is going to continue the processing by the end of October, 2016. Breach of our personal liberty and continuing of detention !!! What does that mean? We are exhausted and tortured people for 3 years, not normal people. This deteriorating condition are going on and governments don’t care that some human have been detained for more than 3 years.
The conditions that is happening in here, are exactly crime against humanity. As you know the article 7 of International Criminal Court lists 16 individual crimes . You know how many of them were and are happening in here.
In terms of being free to go out, we should say that many people don’t go out. They don’t feel free and freedom in PNG. Some people who go out, that’s because of exhaustion in their minds and bodies. Why don’t they sign to go to East Lorengau? Why don’t they want to resettle in PNG? They go out to freshen their minds and bodies. They go out because they have been hated by condition of detention. It never means they are happy to go out. Some of them have been exposed to a large number of assaults and robberies when outside of the detention centre which PNG police force have not investigated or prosecuted anyone. They can’t bring items inside the camps that they buy from outside. Inside the compounds you see a lot of chaotic situations for anything, Internet, phones, serving foods, items in canteen, etc. In fact, immigration has started new tortures against us. There is no independent investigation to see what is happening inside the detention. In Port Moresby sick refugees, who have gone for treatment, have been attacked by a group of armed men.
All of us respect PNG and its nation, but we don’t want to resettle in PNG. PNG is not qualified for resettlement of refugees at the moment.
According to 19 July 2013 rule, that signed between Australia and offshore countries, PNG and Nauru , anybody that came to Australia by boat , must be sent to offshore processing countries. Not only did anybody send to offshore countries, but also many of them remained in Christmas Island and went to Australia around 2 years ago. In other words, people who went to Australia from Christmas Island at the end of 2014 , had come to Australia after 19 July 2013. They must came to offshore for processing because they were from our same boats. Australian government broke 19 July 2013 rule for them but we are still detaining in Manus Island for 3 years. As a matter of fact, we are detaining in detention around 2 years more than our boatmates. It is totally unfair.
As Tony Abbott Announced we were and are some part their policy to stop the boats. Malcolm Turnbull have been continuing that policy. In election campaign of Australia, 2016, Malcolm Turnbull said if we resettle them in Australia, then boats would start to come. It 100% means that we are here as a hostage not for processing. Because of this hostage-making policy, the number of 636 people, who accepted as refugee, are still detaining for a long time. Is it 1951 Convention for refugees? When the reality of detention is not for processing but for torturing or for hostage-making, why will it have to continue? Australian government wanted to make an example of us to show to others not to come to Australia by boat. They made and are making this sample in cruellest way.
We took refuge in Australia. Australian government with cooperation of PNG government, brought us in here by force. They brought us to PNG like criminals. You can investigate how they brought us in here. As Supreme Court of PNG announced, here was and is completely illegal and unconstitutional. We know all responsibilities about us is for Australian government. In many media, Petter Dutton announced that PNG government is responsible for detainees of Manus Island. In other words, they are refusing to do their international obligations.
As you know, there are 28 countries that participate in UNHCR Resettlement Programme. Australia is one of them. PNG is not one of them. We don’t want to resettle in PNG. Unlike the claim of Australian government we don’t want to impose ourselves to Australia meanwhile they are not happy. When they aren’t happy to accept us, so we are not happy to come to Australia too. Any of 27 remaining UNHCR Resettlement Programme countries are good for us. Peter Dutton and Malcolm Turnbull always publish that transferees just want to resettle in Australia. It is totally ridiculous. We said before and are saying now that we just took refuge in Australia because at that time we didn’t have any other choices.
Some people are starting to go to hunger strike and some of them have gone. They don’t have any other choices meanwhile it causes to torture them more and more.
To sum up, both Australian and PNG government are avoiding to perform the ruling of the Supreme Court. Both of them have been broking internal and international law from the time we came to Australia. At the moment we are also writing two other letters to the Honourable President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs and the Honourable Member of Parliament and Governor for West Sepik Provincial, Mr Belden Namah. We would like you to please cooperate with them. We are interested to be your clients to do everything that is in favour of us. Please take any legal action to release us from this torturing limbo. Even criminals know how long their prison will take. We appreciate very much.
The number of signatories are 291 and the number of signatures are 873 in three letters.
We are looking forward to hearing from you.
Detainees of Manus Island
August of 2016
We expect all CC to please share our voice to all over the world, to all people and organisations that care about refugees and asylum seekers.
The Honourable Member of Parliament and Governor for West Sepik Provincial, Mr Belden Namah.
The Honourable President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs.
The Green Party of Australian leader, The Hon Richard Di Natale.
Opposition Leader – The Hon Bill Shorten.
Secretary-general of United Nations – The Hon Banki moon.
The United Nations organisation in the United States and Geneva.
The UNHCR organisation in Canberra.
The President of Refugee Council of Australia.
The Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul.
The solicitor George Newhouse.
Barrister of the NSW Bar and High Court of Australia, Jay Williams.
Refugee Lawyer David Manne.
PNG lawyer Ben Lomai.
The Honourable Chief Justice of Supreme Court of PNG, Sir Salamo Injia.
High Court of Australia.
Parliament of Australia.
Chief Minister of The Northern Territory.
Chief Minister of Australian Capital Territory.
Premier of New South Wales.
Premier of Queensland.
Premier of South Australia.
Premier of Victoria.
Premier of Western Australia.
Doctors for Refugees in Australia.
The President of the United States – The Hon Barack Obama.
The Prime Minister of Canada, The Hon Justin Trudeau.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand.
The Chancellor of Germany.
The Prime Minister of United Kingdom.
The President of France.
The government of Japan.
The government of South Korea.
The government of Norway.
The government of all countries that participate in UNHCR Resettlement Programme.
The Guardian News.
The ABC News.
The Radio Newzealand ( RNZ ).
The New York Times.
Many Media and newspapers in all over the world.
Attached: Signatures and identification numbers of men in Manus. Lynne Murphy
3rd August 2016
One of the consequences of othering, is that many seem to think that it won’t happen to them. This tendency permits governments to get away with increasing the extent of controls on our society and quashing dissent. Along with this we have the barbarity that is being meted out in places that are largely hidden from view: offshore processing, detention centres, remote communities, prisons and even the homelessness that is hidden in plain view.
Pastor Niemoller’s famous quote should never have been forgotten after the atrocities that occurred during WWII – sadly it seems it has:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
We need more people to wake up and speak out! Ian Law
Dear Minister Dutton,
I could not believe my ears today when I heard you sanctioning Amnesty International for their report on Australia’s breaches of human rights on Manus. http://www.amnesty.org.au/refugees/comments/33587
You can not have it both ways sir. Australia cannot abuse the human rights of innocent asylum seekers and condemn the world for reporting this.
You are simply not God.
Dr. Jill Parris.
2nd August 2016
I am hearing some very sad and distressing news.
One man from #Manus has drowned in a waterfall in Lorengau.
A beautiful man, loved by all.
Rest in peace dear soul.
I am so sad for all his friends in Manus.
And the many people in Australia who loved him so much.
I won’t put his name here because I do not know if his family has been notified.
The court has asked for representatives of the PNG and Australian governments to attend the court on Thursday to explain their positions regarding resettlement. We do not expect the court to make a final decision on Thursday. Behrouz Boochani
1st August 2016
PNG Supreme Court hearing, 2 August
There will be another hearing of the PNG Supreme Court on Tuesday 2 August in Port Moresby. This hearing will discuss the next step for the court following the court’s decision that the Manus Island detention centre is unlawful.
In April, the court ordered that the Australian and PNG governments had to close the Manus detention centre. But the Manus prison has not been closed.
The court is now considering making orders to close the centre. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court asked for statements from five refugees as a basis for establishing guidelines for the centre to be closed.
Those five statements have been lodged with the court. The statements said clearly that people did not ask PNG for asylum and people did not want to resettle in PNG.
On Tuesday, 2 August, the PNG government will reply to these statements. It is not likely that the Chief Justice will make specific orders about closing the centre on Tuesday. We expect that there will be another adjournment and one or two more court hearings before there are final orders for everyone.
The Supreme Court has already ruled that Manus Island is illegal and that human rights have been breached.
Our lawyers will be arguing that everyone was transferred to PNG unlawfully and that any refugee assessment in PNG is also unconstitutional. So the decisions of the court will affect everyone whether they are positive, negative, double negative, or if they have not made any application in PNG.
The lawyers will seek orders that, unless individuals decide otherwise, everyone should be released, and returned to Australia, and that compensation is paid to everyone who has been imprisoned on Manus.
We won’t get a decision on Tuesday, but it should be clearer from the court when the final decisions are going to be made. We might still have to wait a few weeks.
We reserve the right to go back to the full bench of the Supreme Court if that is necessary. Behrouz Boochani
” I am halfway through reading this well researched book about the treatment of asylum seekers on manus and nauru and it is gut wrenching. Really, it needs to be on people’s “must read”..unless the intent is to do an ostrich to protect oneself from the dark side of bloody Australia.”
30th July 2016
Manus men: You must be very very careful when near Wilson guards. WALK AWAY. DO NOT LISTEN TO WILSON GUARDS.
Do not speak to them. Do not listen when they insult you. Make them invisible in your mind. They want you to be arrested by PNG Police. They are being trained to make you angry so you will be arrested.
Wilson are your enemy. Stay away.
Because of the court case, big pressure is put upon you to settle in PNG, return to country or go to gaol. DO NOT LET THEM WIN.
If you are found guilty, then you will have a criminal record. It means that when you come to Australia they can keep you in detention and deny you a community visa.
DO NOT GET ARRESTED, PLEASE.
And if you see Wilson speaking to anybody, take a video for evidence.
* Urgent message from Manus:
Please read carefully and please share and EXPLAIN this to your Manus friends.
Wilson guards are now trained (in their weekly training or, if not, within their own groups) to provoke detainees in a way that detainees touch them or get involve in actions that can claim they were assaulted.
All of the guys on Manus must be aware that the PNG police is in control of Wilson now and they will cooperate with Wilson to prepare documents and evidence to make detainees guilty and put them in prison. Lynne Murphy
Nauru Hospital, Costs millions and my local vet wouldn’t work in it. But of course it’s good enough for those who are lost in Australia’s illegal treatment of refugees.
Australia the only country to promote the torture of children!!
Mr Rintoul said the offer was increased from $10,000 after Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court ruled the detention of asylum seekers was illegal in April.
“It’s a huge amount of money to try to coerce people to return home,” he said.
“There’s no one who has taken up the offer so far.
“There certainly are some people, not because of the $20,000, but because of the long delays and the frustration now with the court decision, who are considering that.”
There are around 1,000 asylum seekers in detention on Manus Island off the coast of Papua New Guinea.
The Government said some support was available to asylum seekers, but did not specify the amount.
“Limited support is available to assist people return to their home country including with travel arrangements and reintegration which includes some financial support,” a Department of Immigration and Border Protection spokesperson said.
“The level of assistance provided is based on individual circumstances.
“Transferees in Regional Processing Centres have voluntarily returned to their countries of origin.”
PHOTO A bathroom in the Manus Island detention centre Foxtrot compound.
SUPPLIED: IAN RINTOUL
Asylum seekers suffering ‘appalling human rights breaches’
Mr Rintoul said the offered to return home was increased to $10,000 in 2014, after Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati was killed during a riot inside the Manus Island detention centre.
He said even after the offer increased “very few people” have accepted money to return to their home countries.
“It’s a clear indication that the vast majority of people who are on Manus Island are genuine refugees with genuine fears about persecution in their home country,” he said.
“They have suffered appalling human rights breaches for almost three years on Manus Island.
“The Government is offering large amounts of as an inducement for them to return home and they can’t get people to accept it.
“It’s one of the clearest indications that people are motivated by genuine fears.”
Mr Rintoul said detainees on Manus Island must be resettled on Australia.
The Manus Island detention centre has received criticism from human rights groups and staff for poor living conditions.
When the ABC was allowed inside the detention centre in March — the first time since it re-opened in November 2012 — journalists witnessed broken glass panels, bullet holes, tightly packed dormitories and filthy toilet and shower blocks throughout the centre.
I’ve just got a distressing contact from a detainee on Manus. He has been on a stable medication for sleeping and depression, no more and no less, for a long time now since he was interned on Manus. These meds are addictive and yet essential to the detainees stability and wellness.
The contact is saying that IHMS have stopped all sleeping medication to the detainees. You can’t just go off this medication. You must go off it gradually.
This ceasing of his medication smacks of an attempt to cause him and the other detainees great anxiety and destabilization before the court hearing next week. Three nights of no sleep will serve as a volatile situation in the lead up to the court case.
I feel helpless in assisting him from Australia. Is there anything anyone on this list can do to assist to diffuse this (?fabricated) situation? Gabrielle M Rose
This sort of medication cannot just be stopped. This is malpractice
Here, in the neighbourhood of the people who stare for twenty-four hours solely at walls and metal, the presence of animals is a virtue; That flock of birds gliding at night under the dramatic moon creates a magical and striking scene in our minds; So to the orchestra of frogs that have no home except a lagoon that clings to the ocean; Shunning the ocean as they grow old, the eldest crabs sink into the damp mud under the fences and after a while drift into a deep sleep; Slithering under the fences curious snakes sometimes enter the prison like strangers and usually lose their lives for their innocent trespass; When the unique fish-eating eagle with a white neck dives into the ocean bed it catches a big fish; Colourful parrots love to hold their family, gathering on the tallest coconut trees. Here animals are the finest elements in the mind of a lonely prisoner who has no interests but the sky, the ocean and the jungle, all beyond the fences. – Behrouz Boochani, Manus Island Behrouz Boochani
29th July 2016
I took this photo with my friend Aziz and Ian Rintoul from Refugee Action Coalition. Ian is a wonderful man we have worked with during the last three years. We spent such an amazing day together in Manus. We talked a lot about Manus prison and how they have tortured people and also talked a lot about how we can work together in future. Ian came to the court in Port Moresby and it was like a surprise the he could come to Manus and find out and understand closely how the Australian gov is torturing people and what they are doing in this island. I found him as a great man and when he got me in his hug I felt him as a strong and kind father and knew we can do more effective work together about Manus. I’m sure that the Australian immigration knew that Ian was with us but they did not have this power to make trouble for us. Behrouz Boochani
Nauru OPC 3 1105 day’s in detention .
Where’s the Royal Commission into the illegal Incarceration and torture of children and refugees in Nauru ! Taking on the Border Force
Australia’s dirty policy deal finally comes unstuck
Sarah Gill, The Age, July 27 2016.
As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull gets down to business this week, one of the policy fiascos his government has diligently ignored for the duration of the election campaign – the illegal detention of asylum seekers in the Australian-built facility on Manus Island – is in the final stages of slow motion collapse.
Coalition ministers and leaders across the political spectrum may have averted their eyes from the events unfolding 3000 kilometres to our north, but they won’t be able to for much longer.
Since the unanimous ruling of Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court on April 26, declaring the Manus processing centre unconstitutional and illegal and paving the way for compensation of detainees, our Immigration Minister has been working hard to pretend it’s no big deal, insisting that the whole dismal affair is basically PNG’s problem. Next week, it might be a different story though, as PNG’s Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia considers the resettlement claims of five Manus refugees – ”test cases” for over 600 detainees – some of whom are seeking return to Australia. Let’s face it, where else could they go?
That Peter Dutton is still presiding over this mess suggests a reluctance on the part of the government to abandon the official narrative, but that doesn’t matter much. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. Like it or not, if the detention of around 900 of Australia’s asylum seekers on Manus Island is illegal, then PNG has no lawful basis to keep them there. That’s the fact of the matter – and it’s not something that any number of Australian immigration officials scurrying up to Port Moresby can alter.
Dutton’s refusal to accept responsibility for these people – after having deported them, procured the contractors to physically control them and paid for the detention centres to incarcerate them – is verging on Kafkaesque, although in light of advice that those complicit in the detention regime could be liable for crimes against humanity, his disavowal is no great surprise. But while our government may prefer to take all the credit for the Pacific Solution and none of the responsibility, it’s a proposition that’s at odds with the findings of PNG’s Supreme Court – which plainly considers the detention a “joint operation” – and the view of Chief Justice Nettle of the Australian High Court, who considers Australia’s participation in offshore detention ”indisputable”.
The unfortunate truth then, is that what we’ve participated in on Manus Island – a scheme concocted by the Gillard government in 2012 and formalised through several memoranda of understandings – was founded on a violation of basic rights that are not just provided for in international law but guaranteed under PNG’s constitution.
And how ironic it is, that in seeking to dispose of this desperate human cargo we dumped them in a country with a charter of rights that Australia, to this day, refuses to legally enshrine. Not that these young men, some of whom have been locked up for more than 1000 days , have benefited much from those constitutional protections. In an attempt to subvert the rights to liberty to which these people are duly entitled, a 2014 amendment was introduced – a stitch-up between the Australian and PNG leadership – to specifically exclude them. That, too, was ruled invalid and unconstitutional, although that hasn’t put an end to ongoing calls from both sides of Australian politics for Papua New Guinea to change its laws to shore up our regional processing regime.
Is it any wonder this dirty deal rankles key elements of the PNG community? According to opposition leader, Belden Namah, the whole arrangement – contrived between successive Australian governments and PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill – is nothing less than an attempt to “vandalise and compromise PNG’s constitution to serve the policy interests of a foreign government”.
Peter Dutton’s initial solution to the closure of Manus – if it can’t be staved off with further legal chicanery – was to shift the detainees to Nauru, akin to moving them from the frying pan into the fire. Indeed, by jettisoning these people into the hellhole of Nauru, the Australian government could find itself in the ludicrous situation of compensating the Manus refugees for unlawful detention only to detain them again elsewhere. But if Dutton has since abandoned that idea, he’s more forthcoming about where they won’t go – not New Zealand, not Canada – than any genuine resettlement options.
Since the April ruling, the Manus detainees must be referred to as “residents”, as though we can rectify with nomenclature the grim fundamentals of their reality. What do these young men – overwhelmingly determined to be genuine refugees – have left to look forward to? After enduring months or years of detention, their future prospects in PNG are bleak. For the few who have attempted resettlement, assaults and death threats are commonplace; there is no accommodation, no education, no employment.
This woeful episode – an attempt to export our blatant disregard for humanity to our Pacific neighbours – is something we will no doubt come to look back on with shame. That our efforts have failed so spectacularly on Manus Island is to Papua New Guinea’s eternal credit.
As for culpability for this whole sordid affair – it may rest equally with both sides of politics, but neither is showing much of an inclination to remedy it. The reality, though, is that while a long-overdue soul searching, a moral reckoning, may not put an end to offshore detention any time soon, its days are numbered anyway. The Manus decision suggests that it’s only a matter of time before we run out of allies in the region who are unscrupulous enough to be complicit our approach to asylum seekers.
Sometimes I walk out through the gate feeling sad and hopeless. Like I could go to sleep for a week, in the hope that I might wake up from an intolerable nightmare.
Other times – today – I stride out filled with rage. Ready to kick in the door and tear down the fence.
Nine pairs of eyes around our table. Seven left inside. Seven bereft of hope. Seven filled with fear, uneasy at the not knowing. At the long list of ‘bad news’.
One hundred and twenty minutes isn’t time enough to begin even one story. We sit, and scratch off a scab, and then walk away from a weeping wound. Bear witness to a pain which feels impossible to ease.
No amount of the Panadol that they administer will make that raw ache go away.
How could they cover the stench of cruelty, that fetid scent of fear, hate, power, control. Of disregard for humanity.
Those faceless men with blackened hearts who decide the fate of good people. Their souls will forever be restless, because we know what they do. We see what they do. We hear the cries of despair from the people they are trying to destroy.
Shame on this country of mine. Clare Prichard
27th July 2016
Brilliant comment from facebook friend : I wonder why the nation is shocked. I wonder why Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison have rushed to record for the cameras how outraged they are.
If Australia can torture refugees, intern little children, lock them up for years, take away their hope, offer them no prospect of a life in safety, and continue to do so after a 23 year old man burns himself to death, and a 19 year old girl tries to do the same, why be surprised that Australians have thrown children across cell floors, hooded and shackled others, and threatened to “pulverize the little fuckers”?
If you are prepared to do this to one human being, you will do it to any human being. “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.” Australia is corrupt and rotten in its soul. It is dishonest to its marrow. Frederika Steen.
1, 2 & 3 added to show context of what is happening in Australia.
23rd July 2016
Transcript of Azita Bokan being interviewed by Richard Glover | ABC Sydney | 21 February 2014
Life on Manus .
In any normal situation people who are sick will be cared for, it’s part of being human that we care for the sick and infirm. But not on Manus, where being sick is used as another form of torture.
So in order take your regular medication, no matter how sick you are , or how frail, you must stand in the burning sun or pouring rain for up to 2 hours, 3 times a day for your medication. The consequence of this is of course that those who need the medication most are unable to wait for it, and so don’t get their medication regularly, which can have a disastrous affect on their well being.
Those who have severe mental health issues are even more badly affected by the these deliberate and calculated actions by IHMS.
To make things even more unbearable, today the people who were in the queue were not allowed to listen to music and had their mp3’s taken from them and anything else they had with them, including cigarette’s.
The cold cruelty of this regime is designed to make life even more difficult for those who we have a duty of care for.
If this has touched you in any way, if you think that this is criminal behaviour on the part of the Australian government and their hand picked thugs on Manus, Please please write , email or call your local and federal member…People are suffering the in this hell!!! Anne Moon.
This is a quote from a Facebook friend of mine who is detained on Manus Island, in response to my query about conditions:
“Dear Anthea, almost 3 of us have incurable injury by security officers and one with M-16 automatic gun bullet still in his body plus hundred more injuries from Feb17 2014 attack. You may add dozens more that are suffering from disease by environment like Malaria, asthma, etc. or joint injuries because of bad ground, plus hundreds of skin infections caused by humidity and pollution in the air(something mysterious because we still can not believe it but all of roofs are covered with dark layer. Also huge variety of mental problems from somebody that claimed to be god to serious depression that includes all of us. Being under continuous torture for 2 years most of us haven’t stepped outside for over a year! There is more but I think those are the worst ones. ” I haven’t found much of comfort to say other than that I do know people working to change the situation. Anthea Falkenberg
21st July 2016
13 SHOCKING ALLEGATIONS FROM THE SENATE INQUIRY INTO NAURU
The committee looking into conditions at the regional processing centre heard from service providers and the department of immigration.
The regime in Iran is a religious dictatorship that tolerates no dissent. It would put both North Korea and the Chinese communist government to shame in the manner in which it deals with its o
pponents. This is the country that OUR Government and its Immigration Minister Peter Dutton as well as the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop want to return refugees to. This man is indefinitely detained on Manus island having committed NO CRIME other than fleeing for his life.
Please STOP post In Stop Offshore Processing or IF YOU DON’T FREE THE REFUGEES WE WILL……All are bullshit..So Please Back Off…….
I Risk my life in Ocean to come Australia.
Now I am in Manus nearly 3 Years😞😞
I am stateless can’t go back home..Stuck in Manus …So just give me a Poison I want to Die…….Thank You Australia to Ruin my life…
Immigration officials devised a strategy to prevent offshore detainees being transferred to Australia for medical treatment because of their “propensity” to take legal action and stay here.
Documents prepared by the department for the Australian Border Force’s new Surgeon-General and Chief Medical Officer, John Brayley, show the range of measures included the department having a greater say in clinical decision-making.
After taking government last term, the Coalition abolished the Independent Health Advisory Group, leaving only its chairman, former Australian Defence Force health chief Paul Alexander, as sole adviser.
A subsequent review by Dr Alexander recommended the new role, filled by Dr Brayley, to inform senior officials and guide immigration health policies.
The review anticipated the role would also “provide enhanced clinical governance over contract management arrangements” and mitigate risks associated with sensitive, often complex health issues.
While most of the review has been redacted under Freedom of Information laws, briefing notes for Dr Brayley show the ABF emphasised the need to avoid medical transfers from detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island to Australia.
“Please note the propensity of those transferred to Australia to join legal action which prevents their subsequent return to PNG or Nauru,” state documents obtained by The Australian.
Extra medical equipment and specialist advice was being provided to detainees overseas, and “it is preferred that only those cases where the life of the refugee/transferee is in danger … are considered for transfer”.
The documents also state that, while such decisions had been made “using clinical information provided and interpreted by” the department’s contractor, International Health and Medical Services, “clinical advice and expertise from within the department and the ABF will assist in these decision-making processes”.
The new measures, and the performance of IHMS, were the only “significant issues” brought to the attention of Dr Brayley, a consultant psychiatrist, health administrator and former Public Advocate of South Australia.
Immigration health matters have caused controversy for the government, most recently in the case of several women who were reportedly raped and sought to have pregnancies terminated in Australia, not in PNG, where abortion is illegal.
In February, after a 13-month-old Nauru detainee was transferred to Australia and treated in Brisbane’s Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital for burns, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told parliament he would not allow “people self-harming to come to hospitals in this country because they believe that is the route into the community”.
Baby Asha, was released into temporary community detention despite allegations, associated with a routine police investigation revealed by Mr Dutton, she may have been deliberately burned to enable a transfer to Australia. Police found no evidence of abuse and doctors took her burns to have been the result of an accident.
She is understood to be among several hundred asylum-seekers transferred to Australia for medical treatment who could be sent to Nauru under a High Court ruling.
An ABF spokesman refused to say how many medical transfers had been undertaken since the department introduced the new measures as the figures “relate to operational activity”.
19th July 2016
Sadly, it is now three years since 19 July 2013 when Australia signed to illegally imprisoning people who legally came to Australia by boat and asked for asylum from persecution. On that day the Australian government instigated the illegal Regional Resettlement Arrangement between Australia and Papua New Guinea. Soon after, a similar arrangement was made with Nauru.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently admitted that for three years Australia has deliberately treated those asylum seekers with “harshness and some would say cruelty” for political ends.
People who have committed no crime are punished with indefinite imprisonment for the political purpose of stopping the boats. Lynne Murphy.
I came to Australia in 1971 as a non English speaking Swiss migrant Of French background and worked with immigration from 1978 to 2003. I started by implementing the multicultural agenda until things went so wrong and instead of helping people settle we became compliance enforcers and punishers. I suffer from some PTSD and many of my colleagues so do. Australians in general are at risk because like the Germans during WW2 we are watching things that are unbearable Nd traumatising. Lying to ourselves is not a help if you want to retain some mental health. It is a struggle. We desperately need to find a new form of government that was shamelessly promote caring and the support of human rightsuu. I cannot see anyone ready to deliver this in our government, now or in the immediate future. Eveline Goy
What can we do now ?
From Lynne. ” Wilson Security and Border Force are now out of control.
So many men being beaten, and it seems that mentally ill men are being particularly targeted.
Instead of treatment, they are being tortured through the IHMS system of using Wilson guards who use their fists first, and PNG second.
One mentally ill man was beaten by Wilson Guards then by PNG Police and arrested and taken to trial with no lawyer.
The only witnesses called were Wilson Guards, PNG Police, a Police employed psychiatrist and IHMS. The police psychiatrist and IHMS swore under oath that the sick man was pretending to be mentally ill. The man was not given the legal right to seek independent legal advice nor to present medical evidence in his own defence. He is too sick to be able to defend himself against his adversaries.
He now sits in a PNG prison.
One dreadful outcome of this is that his chances of securing settlement in a third country are almost nil because he now has a criminal record.
Same for all the men that are being persecuted by IHMS and Wilson guards.
If we could do so, a PNG lawyer could easily have the court findings reversed. But we need funds and contacts to do this.
And then there are the several other men who face the same cruel injustice instead of professional mental health treatment.
Wilson’s Security are acting in place of mental health nurses and doctors.
All suggestions for addressing this urgent problem are welcome. Send a personal message if you can help.” Fabia Claridge-Chang