Refugee Action Collective (Vic)

2017 Media Releases

MEDIA RELEASE | NO AMOUNT OF MONEY CAN COMPENSATE FOR MANUS HORROR

Refugee Action Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE

NO AMOUNT OF MONEY CAN COMPENSATE FOR MANUS HORROR

The announcement of a possible settlement with Manus asylum seekers and the Australian government for false imprisonment and conditions on Manus Island that caused them physical and psychological harm is an admission that the Australian government is responsible for detention on Manus Island.

“It puts the lie to the continual claims from Peter Dutton, that Manus Island is the responsibility of the PNG government,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“No amount of money can compensate the asylum seekers sent there unlawfully for the damage that has been done to them. They, and their families, have lost almost four years of their lives. Three people have died.

“The Australian government ignored the order made by PNG Supreme Court in April last year that the Manus detention be closed.

“Now the government will pay for unlawfully imprisoning them. But there won’t be justice until the refugees and asylum seekers are brought to Australia.

“The Labor Party, too, must face up to the role that they have played as the government that negotiated an unlawful arrangement with the government of PNG.

“The bi-partisan support for offshore detention must end. We expect Bill Shorten to encourage the Coalition government to immediately bring the asylum seekers and refugees to Australia.

“No amount of money can solve the fact that refugees do not have a future on PNG, Hundreds of people will be left behind regardless of the US resettlement deal.

“The responsibilities of the Australian government for the future and the safety of those on Manus Island did not end with this court case. We expect an apology from Peter Dutton to all those the government has held illegally and we expect an apology for his lies he told when the detention centre was attacked with gunfire on Good Friday.”

 For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

MEDIA RELEASE | “WHERE’S BEHROUZ?” REFUGEE PROTEST TO MARCH TO MANUS FILM WORLD PREMIERE

MEDIA RELEASE

“WHERE’S BEHROUZ?” REFUGEE PROTEST TO MARCH TO MANUS FILM WORLD PREMIERE

Refugee supporters will march from Town Hall to the world premiere screening of “Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time,” on Sunday 11 June at the Sydney Film Festival, to call for the closure of Manus Island detention centre.

The film was secretly recorded on a mobile phone in the Manus Island detention centre over many months by Kurdish refugee, Behrouz Boochani. Boochani was found to be a refugee despite never having made an application in Papua New Guinea and has been adopted by PEN International as a political prisoner.

The screening of the film will bring world attention to the torture of daily life inside Manus Island detention centre and the Australian government’s on-going responsibility for their illegal detention.

For almost four years, refugees and asylum seekers have been illegally held on Manus Island. Despite a PNG Supreme Court order in April 2016 that the detention centre be closed, people are still held there with no future.

Boochani, has become well–known as the ‘refugee correspondent’ of Manus Island documenting the lives and conditions in what he calls “the Manus Prison.” Boochani himself has been held in the original Chauka, a brutal isolation punishment unit attached to the Manus detention centre (photo attached). He was found to be a refugee despite never having made an application in Papua New Guinea and has been adopted by PEN International as a political prisoner.

POINTS CUT

Australia Border Force has recently announced that they intend to close the detention centre by October and that Foxtrot compound will be closed at the end of June. Their latest attempt to force people out of the detention centre is a decree that the number of points that can be used at the detention centre canteen has been reduced from 50 to 39 (photo of notice attached).

“Cutting the number of points that people can use is disgraceful attempt to squeeze people out of the detention centre,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “There is nowhere for people to go. Refugees fear they will be in a worse situation if they are forced to move to East Lorengau where mugging and robberies are common and where food has to be brought in each week, because they cannot even buy enough food each week to survive.”

“Behrouz’s request to attend the film opening at the Film Festival was rejected by the Australian Border Force. We are protesting on Sunday to pose the question, “Where is Behrouz?”. It says it all, that the co-director of the film, Arash Kamali Servastani, an Iranian film director who lives in the Netherlands will be at the premiere, but not Behrouz.

“Justice and safety for Behrouz and all the asylum seekers and refugees on Manus and Nauru will only come when the government brings them all to Australia.”

PROTEST: “Where’s Behrouz?” protest, and call to bring all asylum seekers and refugees on Manus and Nauru to Australia: Sunday 11 June, 10.15am, Sydney Town Hall Square; march to premiere film screening of “Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time,” in George Street.

Speakers will include RAC, Wendy Bacon, fellow-journalist, and Women in Support of Women on Nauru.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

Manus Points notice

Media Release | FORCED RELOCATION STALLS ON MANUS ISLAND

FORCED RELOCATION STALLS ON MANUS ISLAND

The first efforts to force the relocation of refugees and asylum seekers in the Manus Island have stalled.
Yesterday (Sunday 28 May), although the government has closed the internal gate of Foxtrot compound (photo attached), five Indian asylum seekers remained in N block (photos attached).
The gate separates N block from the rest of Foxtrot compound.
The government has announced its intention to cut off electricity to N block today (Monday, 29 May).
However, attempts are underway to find accommodation for them inside the detention centre. As they are asylum seekers, they are not allowed to move to East Lorengau, which only houses refugees who have signed to accept relocation there.
Refugees who had been living in N block are now lining in Oscar compound. Despite the government’s intimidation, none have moved to East Lorengau.
The closure of N block was to be the first stage of the supposed closure of the detention centre.
But the ill-thought out announcement has stalled at the first step , and faces an even bigger hurdle if there is any attempt to force the closure of Foxtrot compound by the end of June.
Foxtrot houses around 250 mostly asylum seekers. They cannot be moved to East Lorengau and there is simply not enough room in the rest of the detention centre to house another 250 in already crowded compounds.
The government is panicked as the Ferrovial contract to run the detention centre ends in October. Neither the Australian government noir the PNG government has any plan to provide secure resettlement of refugees from Manus Island.
While local Manus province officials have ruled out any settlement of asylum seekers or refuges in the province.
There will be a further directions hearing in Port Moresby on 5 June in the long-running Supreme Court case seeking compensation for human rights breaches and “consequential orders” regarding the closure of Manus detention centre and the future of those who have been illegally held there.
There will be no rescue by the US resettlement deal either. Only 70 refugees on Manus have had second interviews and the US officials are not expected back on Manus until August.
“Typically the government has resorted to threats and intimidation as a means to resolve the mess that it has created,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“Pressure is also growing on the Australian government from the PNG government as the PNG government recognises that it has no ability to resettle the people who were dumped on Manus Island.
“There is only one secure way to ensure the safety and future of the people that were unlawfully sent to Manus and have endured almost four years of unlawful detention for no crime – that’s to bring them to Australia.”
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713
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