RISE Media Release : Call to immediately bring back Refugees and Asylum seekers trafficked by Australia to Manus and Nauru (17/5/2017)

RISE members including offshore and onshore ex-detainees strongly condemn the current move by Papua New Guinea immigration officials to force refugees and asylum seekers to resettle in PNG or self-deport. This move has been made with the announcement that they will be closing down the Australian government’s Manus Island detention camp by October 31, 2017.

The re-opening in 2012 of so called “regional processing centres” in Manus Island and Nauru by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard and immigration minister Chris Bowen has resulted in 7 deaths so far. Hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers trafficked to Manus and Nauru by the Australian government have experienced abuse and neglect on these islands.

Former offshore and onshore detainee, Ramesh Fernandez says “These camps cannot be called ‘processing centres’. Australian run offshore refugee camps are a modern form of concentration camps. How do you call this a ‘processing centre’ when you get locked up 24/7, tortured and humiliated constantly. We should not forget that in November 2015 over ‪600 refugees and asylum seekers in Manus Island detention camp wrote to Australian PM and immigration minister Peter Dutton calling for mass assisted suicide‬. This is evidence that refugees and asylum seekers are unable to continue their lives in Manus.”

“Furthermore”, Ramesh Fernandez says, “due to the lack of transparency in these Australian run detention camps, refugee cases have been mishandled, unfairly dismissed and processed without proper adherence to refugee rights protocol. Providing Manus detainees with the impossible ultimatum of settling in PNG or returning to their countries pushes unfairly rejected asylum seekers as well as those who have not been rejected to self-deport to danger.”

We say enough is enough! It is the Australian government who deported our community members to torture camps in Manus and Nauru. It is not for survivors of racist, state sanctioned abuse to clean up this unlawful mess. We demand that the Australian government immediately end the cycle of torture: Close these camps permanently and bring all survivors back to Australia for resettlement with proper support services. This is the very least that should be done to compensate for damage done to our communities by criminal actions of the Australian government and its proxies.

Media Contact : Abdul Baig , 03 9639 8623
RISE : Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees