The government’s dreadful treatment of one of society’s most vulnerable groups will remain a stain on our collective memory and a mark of disgrace.
The wretched of the earth, because they were no longer safe where they lived, sought to come here. With a determined cruelty, we kidnapped and imprisoned them in Pacific lagers. These lagers became synonymous with the idea of hellholes because it was important to our government that they be – and be known as – hellholes.
On this policy of deterrence, as it was called, which had as its declared purpose to make innocent human beings suffer indefinitely, we spent billions of dollars. To this end we had truck with vile regimes such as Sri Lanka’s. And to this end we began forsaking our democratic rights.
In the camps the refugees were made to answer to numbers given to them as their new identity. Denied their names they were not even allowed their stories. Every attempt that could be made was made by the Australian government, from the petty to the disturbing, to deny journalists access to the Pacific lager. When it came to imprisoned refugees free speech became a crime: for some years any doctor, nurse or social worker in the camps who publicly reported on the many instances, now well-documented, of rape, murder, suicide and sexual abuse of refugees was liable to two years’ imprisonment.
“It is PNG’s position that as long as there is one individual from this arrangement that remains in PNG, Australia will continue to provide financial and other support to PNG to manage the persons transferred under the arrangement until the last person leaves or is independently resettled in PNG,” Thomas said.“PNG has offered refugees the option of resettlement but will not force refugees who do not wish to settle in the country … they remain the responsibility of Australia.”
A system deliberately designed to cause both physical and mental harmPhysical harm via the provision of inadequate and poor-quality food for which the Australian taxpayer was paying a great deal; $500,000 per detainee p.a., to be exact.This money was meant to be for the provision of meals, clothing, shelter, cleaning, sanitation, recreation, medical care and security. Methinks that the contractors, Broadspectrum subsequently taken over by Ferrovial a large Spanish infrastructure company, Wilson security and IHMS (Medical services) made exorbitant profits on these contracts with the Federal government. The Australian taxpayer has not been getting value for money. Time for a thorough financial audit by the ANAO.
Two men are recovering in hospital.
Sarah Smith considers Tony Abbott’s proposition that Manus Island refugees have ‘unfairly taken advantage of our nation’s generosity’.
Violence erupted when a local tried to shut down a soccer game involving detainees.
A new poll shows Australians are “bleating all they want” for the Turnbull Government to close the camps and let asylum seekers stay.
To my dear students, as of this month, I have resigned from my teaching position at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre after nearly three years teaching you.
Manus Island MP Ronny Knight has declared that two asylum seekers who say they were bashed by police and PNG immigration officials on New Year’s Eve “deserved what they got”.
Inmates ‘kicked the officers and staff out in a serious way’ for a night of protest, says Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani
Jim Molan rejected claims by Amnesty International that conditions on Nauru are the worst in the world, despite admitting he has never been there.
Two men were attacked by locals armed with an iron bar amid rising tension over the refugees’ presence on the island
The government should be ashamed that it has detained on Manus Island the few Syrians who have reached here.
The Government is allowing rape, torture, assault, and in some cases murder in immigration detention centres, the public presumed today after being left with no choice but to use their imaginations.
With reports of reality now banned, citizens have been forced to assume the worst possible atrocities are being carried out in their name.
“It’s pretty horrific what’s happening there. Sexual assault, solitary confinement, torture – it’s all possible. But I don’t really know for sure,” one man said.
The Government released a statement saying, “If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear. And we certainly wouldn’t want nothing to fear”.
The father of Reza Barati has blamed Immigration Minister Scott Morrison for the Iranian asylum seeker’s death in the Manus Island detention centre during a riot in February.
Speaking from an internet cafe in Ilam city in northern Iran, Torab Barati said his family wants his 23-year-old son’s killer bought to justice.
However, he said ultimate responsibility for Barati’s death lies with Mr Morrison.
A Senate inquiry found the cause of the riot to be a failure to process asylum seeker claims, stating the violence was “eminently foreseeable”.
It also found that the Australian Government failed in its duty to protect asylum seekers, including Barati.
Mr Morrison accused Labor and the Greens of using the report “as a blatant attempt to whitewash their own failures in government”.
However, Mr Barati said the minister needed to take responsibility.
“I do not accept this claim because my son’s transfer was done under this Government’s supervision,” he told the PM program.
“Those many thousands of migrants that came to Australia under the previous government are now in Australia. He was sent to the PNG (Papua New Guinea) camp under this man’s supervision.”
Two men are currently being held for trial for Barati’s murder and Papua New Guinean police say they are still looking for three more suspects.
Mr Barati said the family believed they should be compensated for the aspiring architect’s death.
“They should punish my son’s murderers and I should be compensated for my son’s death,” he said.
It’s a point being made by a number of international authorities… it’s clearly recognised by Reza’s family that the responsibility for Reza’s death lies with the Minister and with the Australian Government.Refugee advocate Ian Rintoul
“We have become mental, including my wife, my daughter, my young son, even myself and my mother. All of us have become mental.”
“It was his son’s dream to settle in Melbourne and become an architect. Instead, he was returned to Iran in a coffin.”
Mr Barati said 10 months after the riots, his wife is still not coping.
“I swear to god she is going mental, she is tears day and night. She has become totally dysfunctional,” he said.
“It was the Prime Minister’s decision that my son be sent to Papua New Guinea. He should pay my son’s rights, whatever they are.”
Refugee advocate Ian Rintoul called on the Government to provide Barati’s family compensation.
“It’s very telling… clearly the impact on the family is very, very obvious. And there’s the scale of the grief, and the concern at losing a son so needlessly just stands out markedly,” Mr Rintoul said.
“I think it’s also very compelling – the recognition that the Minister is responsible, that Manus Island is run by the Australian Government.
“It’s a point being made by a number of international authorities, but I think it’s clearly recognised by Reza’s family that the responsibility for Reza’s death lies with the Minister and with the Australian Government.”
A spokesman for Mr Morrison issued a statement stating that Mr Barati’s death was tragic, but offered no direct response to the accountability and compensation issues raised by Torab Berati.
Iranian asylum seeker Hamid Kehazaei is reported to have died on Manus Island from a rare bacterial infection that has a high mortality rate.
A worker on the island told Fairfax Media Mr Kehazaei died from severe septicemia after having been kept for a week on the island by the International Health and Medical Service after cutting his foot.
The bacteria was found in tropical and subtropical climates in soil and stagnant water mostly during summer, and cases of infection had been reported in Australia, south-east Asia, India, Argentina and south-east United States.
A man who said he was a former Manus Island detainee, Ali Mesbahi, told the ABC they were told to be vigilant about covering up cuts to prevent infections but doctors were not able to assess Mr Kehazaei’s condition because they were booked out.
Leaked documents, obtained by Fairfax Media and reported at the time of Mr Kehazaei’s death, revealed a pattern of medical negligence on the island, including untreated skin infections, tooth decay and tropical diseases.
Mr Morrison said the government would wait until the coroner’s report before issuing a statement about Mr Kehazaei’s death.