Refugee Action Collective (Vic)

2017 Media Releases

MEDIA RELEASE | MANUS HUMAN RIGHTS TRASHED AS REFUGEES FORCED TO MOVE 0

Refugee Action Coalition
MEDIA RELEASE
MANUS HUMAN RIGHTS TRASHED AS REFUGEES FORCED TO MOVE
Charlie Compound, where ten Rohingya, Pakistani and Afghan refugees have been living for a month has been demolished after power and water was cut off and the refugees were evicted by PNG police and immigration officials last week. (Photos attached.)
The eviction and demolition demolition are the latest moves by an increasingly desperate government to try and force people out of the detention centre to meet the deadline for the end of the Ferrovial contract on 31 October.
The ten refugees have been living in Charlie since Border Force announced that the Foxtrot compound was being closed at the end of June. They have been forced to try to find accommodation elsewhere in the detention centre defying attempts by Border Force and PNG immigration to force them to move to the East Lorengau Transit Accommodation, closer to the Lorengau settlement on Manus Island.
But there are fewer places for them in an increasingly crowded camp.
The latest notice inside the detention centre days that there are 102 days until the detention centre closes. But only people determined to be refugees are allowed in East Lorengau but it is unsafe and has even fewer services than the detention centre. There are around 60 refugees presently living at East Lorengau, but, in turn, they are being pressured to sign agreements to be resettled in PNG. Although PNG has no resettlement arrangements. The few who have signed for PNG resettlement are living precariously in Port Moresby.
Refugees have again been told that Foxtrot compound is going to be closed ‘in the next few days’. But there is nowhere for them to go.
To make space within the detention centre, refugees will have to forced to move out of Oscar and Delta compounds to East Lorengau. Yet East Lorengau, has room for only around 280 and there are over 700 refugees in the detention centre.
There are around 60 refugees at East Lorengau, who are being pressured to sign agreements to be resettled in PNG.
Any forced closure of Foxtrot would create badly overcrowded and unsanitary conditions inside the detention centre.
Neither Border Force nor PNG immigration have any legal power to use force on refugees inside the detention centre.  In April 2016, The PNG Supreme Court found that all the Manus detainees are being held unlawfully.
“Withdrawing power and water, closing down accommodation areas, ending services and activities have become the method of choice for Border Force to pressure the refugees,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“They hope by creating intolerable conditions, they can force enough people out of the detention centre. This kind of coercion amounts to further human rights abuses of people the government has no right to imprison. Such abuses that have already cost them $70m million in damages for the years of unlawful detention.
“Things are coming to a head. Minister Dutton says he wants to close the detention centre but there is nowhere in PNG to put the asylum seekers and refugees and no third country. There is no prospect of refugees from Manus being settled in the US before the deadline.
“That leaves Australia – a choice the Minister, and the Labor opposition will find the decision hard to swallow. But it is a dilemma of their own making. The sooner everyone is brought to Australia, the sooner they will get the safety and security they need. “
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713
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Messages from Manus, Filmed by Behrouz Boochani

Messages from Manus, Filmed by Behrouz Boochani 0

MEDIA RELEASE | GOVERNMENT TURNS THE SCREWS ON MANUS REFUGEES 0

Refugee Action Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE

GOVERNMENT TURNS THE SCREWS ON MANUS REFUGEES

Just days after agreeing to pay Manus asylum seekers and refugees $70 million in damages for unlawful imprisonment and for physical and psychological damage, the government has stepped its punitive program to forcible relocate the detainees.

On Friday 23 June, all gym equipment was removed from Mike and Oscar compounds (photos attached). A new notice has announced that Foxtrot Compound will be closed and that asylum seekers should move from Foxtrot to Mike compoun (photo attached).

At the same time PNG Immigration and Australian Border Force are trying to force refugees to move out of the detention centre to East Lorengau Transit Accommodation – a gated complex closer to the Lorengau settlement.

The number of points that people can use in the canteen had already been reduced from 50 to 39. But on Friday night, all canteen items were removed, except for phone cards, pens and cigarettes.

But refugees are fearful of being forced to East Lorengau. On Thursday, a Bangladeshi man had his arm so savagely hacked in a machete attack as he was robbed of his phone, money and belongings, he had to be evacuated for emergency treatment in Port Morseby. Refugees in East Lorengau are vulnerable to such attacks and the attacks on refugees are increasing.

“No one is going to voluntarily move to East Lornegau when they face such danger there. The government has no concern for the welfare of the detainees. The attempt to drive them out the detention centre is being driven by the fact that the contract for running the detention centre ends in October,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“The punitive attempt to force them into East Lorengau is also an admission that there is no resettlement in PNG.

Border Force says that moving from the detention centre to East Lorengau won’t interfere with any settlement in the US, but as yet, there is no indication of how many will ever get to the US or how long people will have to wait. The first interviews in Nauru were held seven months ago, and still no-one has gone from Nauru to the US.

On Saturday 24 June, a generator was removed from Foxtrot compound in what could be the first step to cutting the electricity from the compound to increase the pressure on detainees to move out of Foxtrot.

“The government has a duty of care for the people they put on Manus Island. Increasing the punitive measures against them, can only make the already intolerable conditions, even worse,” said Rintoul.

“Leaving them in danger is not an alternative. On Good Friday, they were shot at inside the detention centre. Outside the detention centre they are attacked and robbed. The government has also robbed them of four years and their future. They must be brought to Australia.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 7134

IMG-20170623-WA0019 Mike gym Oscar gym