MEDIA RELEASE | URGENT NEED FOR HUMAN RIGHTS OBSERVERS TO GO TO MANUS NAVY TAKE-OVER OF MANUS WILL PUT LIVES AT RISK

Refugee Action Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE

URGENT NEED FOR HUMAN RIGHTS OBSERVERS TO GO TO MANUS

NAVY TAKE-OVER OF MANUS WILL PUT LIVES AT RISK

Refugees and asylum seekers in the Manus detention centre have been given individual notices that declares that the centre will be taken over by the PNG navy after 31 October.

The notice (attached) says that after 31 October, every worker will leave the detention centre; that electricity, water, food, drinking water will be cut off; and the fences removed.

“The Australian government is creating an impossible situation on Manus and putting refugees’ lives at risk. The letters are a direct threat against the refugees,” says Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“They are leaving refugees defenceless against the navy – the people who shot into the detention centre last Easter; while trying to force them into a dangerously insecure situation near Lorengau, some of which is not even open yet.”

“We are calling for the Australian and PNG governments to cease their reckless moves to close the Manus detention centre. No provision has been made for their safety, their security, health care or their future.

“The idea that a clinic at East Lorengau can deal with the complex physical and mental issues among the refugees is worse than ridiculous. The government knows that this won’t work.

“We are urgently requesting human rights’ observers be sent to Manus immediately to oversee the situation on Manus and ensure that the Manus refugees lives are not put in danger.

“Even before the latest letter and the threat of navy action against refugees, the UNHCR had called for Australia to ‘address the imminent humanitarian crisis for refugees and asylum-seekers in Papua New Guinea’. Doctors for Refugees has stated that healthcare on Manus was ‘inadequate’ and unethical action by IHMS was creating a potentially ‘catastrophic outcome’.

“Australia has a responsibility to the people they illegally sent to PNG. They are shelling out $70 million in compensation for the abuse and negligence on Manus at the same time as they are leaving them defenceless.”

“PNG needs to stand up to Australia. Like Nauru, PNG has become a jailer for the Australian government. Urgent action is needed to bring all thew asylum seekers and refugees to Australia.”

A report from Behrouz Boochani, on Manus is pasted below.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

The Australian Border Force is threatening the refugees in Manus. Last night they put up a notice saying that Manus prison camp will close soon and they will cut water, power, food and services after 31 October. The main part of the notice is that they threaten that PNG defence forces will take over the site after that date and the fences of the detention centre will be removed. The refugees have already had a very bad experience with PNG navy soldiers, on Good Friday this year when they attacked the detention centre and fired guns into the centre around 100 times. At that time they tried to ram the fences to attack the refugees and it is only the fences that protected the refugees from that outcome. It is unacceptable to put the refugees in this situation – either move to Lorengau where they risk attack by angry local people, or be taken over by PNG defence forces who have already seriously threatened their safety. The refugees are very worried about the future and are extremely scared by this situation. They don’t feel safe because at any time the Navy may attack the detention centre again. On the other side the local people had several meetings in the past few weeks and are very angry with Australia and PNG governments because they don’t want the refugees in their community and the governments have not respected them.