Abdul Aziz Muhamat, a Sudanese refugee unlawfully held for over five years on Manus Island has won the prestigious Martin Ennals Award, presented in Geneva yesterday, 13 February.

“Australia’s treatment of refugees has again been exposed and condemned on the world stage,” said Ian Rintoul, a spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “It is fantastic that Aziz has been chosen as the 2019 winner of the Martin Ennals award. It is a fantastic answer to Scott Morrison’s scaremongering in the aftermath of the medical transfer bill being carried.

“Aziz, himself a victim of Australia’s offshore detention regime, has been recognised for his tireless efforts to defend the human rights of those being abused by the Australian government on Manus. Australia is already known for its abuses of human rights on Manus and Nauru. It will be even more infamous after this.

“It is great that the award has been made in Europe were so many politicians are talking openly of adopting the ‘Australian solution’ rather than upholding the rights of refugees in their own countries.”

Details of the award and other finalists (Eren Kskin (Turkey), Marino Cordoba Berrio (Columbia)) can be found here:

Aziz told the award ceremony,  “This award sheds light on the very cruel refugee policy of the Australian Government. It also brings international attention to the dangers and ill-treatment faced by refugees all over the world, including in countries that claim they uphold the Refugee Convention”, he declared.

Dick Oosting, Chair of the Martin Ennals Foundation, said, “The Australian Government must meet its international obligations and put an end to these inhumane practices.”

Attached are photos of (i) advertising of the Martin Ennals award on the streets of Geneva; (ii) Aziz in Geneva outside the UN headquarters; (iii) Aziz with one of the award finalists, Marino Cordoba Berrio, and the director of the ward, Michael Khambatta.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

1pm Mar 2 | Don’t reopen Christmas Island, Close all Detention Centres

When: 1pm-2:30, Saturday 2nd March 2019

Where: State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne

Facebook event here

Following the passing of the amended Medivac Bill, Scot Morrison has announced his intention to reopen Christmas Island Detention Centre. He has stated that his aim is to transfer 300 sick people back into a detention centre almost as isolated and notorious as those on Manus Island and Nauru.

Join us to demand both onshore and offshore detention centres are shut down, that sick people are provided medical care on the mainland and are housed in the community, not locked away in a different barbed wire camp.

Speakers and further information to be added

For more information contact Lucy on 0404 728 104



The news that the Medivac amendments have been carried by the federal parliament is being celebrated on Manus and Nauru, tonight.
There are twenty-five men in PIH hospital in Port Moresby that must be immediately transferred to Australia.
Most of them have been waiting many months for treatment they cannot get in Port Moresby.
Similarly, on Nauru, sick people have been wilfully denied medical treatment, sometimes cases for years.
Now the government must move quickly to respect the Parliament’s vote, end their stalling and obstruction, and transfer the sick refugees and asylum seekers to the mainland.
“Political interference to prevent medical treatment has cost lives in offshore detention.  It was shocking to see Morrison repeat the lies about medical treatment on Manus and Nauru, when the basic facilities can’t even provide proper treatment for their local people. Court orders have forced the government to transfer sick people becausee treatment was not available on Manus or Nauru,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“Defeating the Morrison government is a step forward for decency and common sense, but now we have to deal with offshore detention itself. It is offshore detention that has robbed years from the lives of everyone sent to Manus and Nauru; has robbed children of a future; and has robbed so many of their mental health.
“Offshore detention is not about ‘border protection’ ; it has always been a political football used by the Coalition government to try and keep itself in power. Labor’s amendments to the Medivac bill were concessions to the spurious arguments of the government about national security and border protection. They were not necessary, and reflect that Labor remains committed to offshore detention.
“The Medivac bill hopefully will see many sick people brought to Australia in the coming days. But the asylum seekers should never have been sent to Manus and Nauru in 2013.
“It’s time to end the horror of offshore detention and bring all those on Manus and Nauru to Australia where they can get the protection they need.”
Refugee Rallies will be held around Australia onPalm Sunday, Sunday 14 April, to to close Manus and Nauru, and call for an end to offshore detention
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713