Refugee Action Collective (Vic)

Free the refugees! Let them land, let them stay!

Category 2016 Media Releases

MANUS INTIMIDATION STEPS UP; PHONES CONFISCATED, AS COURT DECISION LOOMS

> Refugee Action Coalition
> MEDIA RELEASE
>
> MANUS INTIMIDATION STEPS UP; PHONES CONFISCATED, AS COURT DECISION LOOMS
>
> Broadspectrum (formerly Transfield) and Immigration intimidation of
> asylum seekers and refugees at Manus Island, has been stepped-up in
> the lead up to Australian and PNG court decisions that could see the
> detention centre closed.
>
> The future of the detention centre, and the fate of 260 people from
> Manus and Nauru who are presently in Australia, will be affected by
> the Australian High Court decision to be handed down on Wednesday.
>
> A PNG Supreme Court challenge to Manus that will also determine the
> legality of Manus detention centre according to PNG law, will also
> have its next directions hearing tomorrow, 2 February.
>
> In the last few days, intimidating and violent raids by the Emergency
> Response Team have been carried out in at least two of the compounds
> in the Manus detention centre. The riot squad says it is ‘looking for
> weapons’ but seems to be more interested in seizing asylum seekers’
> phones.
>
> At least four phones were taken following raids on rooms Oscar
> compound last Friday night (29 January). In some cases the guards have
> removed racks from the rooms on the grounds they could be turned into
> weapons.
>
> The ERT is also openly marching around the compounds as an open show
> of force. The detainees have been told that the room searches and
> increased intimidation will continue to the end of February when the
> PNG Supreme Court Full Bench hearing of the constitutional challenge
> is expected to be convened.
>
> Detainees have been threatened that anyone who complains or resists
> will be sent to jail or isolation units in the detention centre
> itself.
>
> Meanwhile, Broadspectrum’s preparation for an adverse court decision
> is resulting in deteriorating food quality and out of date food
> products being used as the company runs down stocks of food. Some
> Border Force staff have also been told that their future employment
> contracts cannot be guaranteed.
>
> The PNG administration has also stepped up it refugee determinations
> ahead of the court cases. Around 400, almost half, of the Manus
> detainees have been found to be refugees, but are refusing to leave
> the detention centre to live in the transit accommodation at East
> Lorengau despite losing access to the canteen, activities and have
> restricted access to the internet.
>
> “There is no excuse for the raids on Manus or the mistreatment,” said
> Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “The use
> of the ERT, the searches and confiscation of phones just add to the
> tensions at the detention centre. Immigration and Broadspectrum only
> take the phones because they don’t want the truth getting to the
> outside world.”
>
> For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713
>
> The Refugee Action Collective has called a snap protest to follow the
> Australian High Court decision – “Don’t Send Them Back”, Thursday 4
> February, 5.30pm at the State Library (328 Swanston St, Melbourne), to call
> for the Immigration Department not to return any asylum seekers or
> refugees to Nauru or Manus Island.

2pm March 20 | Walk for Justice for Refugees

Palm Sunday: Walk for Justice for Refugees

When: 2pm 20 March (Palm Sunday)

Where: State Library, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne

In 2014 nearly 10,000 attended the Palm Sunday rally. In 2015, 75 organisations endorsed the event and an estimated 15,000 people attended. We want the 2016 gathering to be bigger still. New Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has expressed ‘concern’ over abuses on Manus and Nauru, but has not made any policy changes. The Coalition government has flagged its intention to return over 200 people including 72 children to Nauru. We need to show that there is growing community concern about the current approach. A large vibrant Palm Sunday event will help to build momentum for change.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1045381425492119/

To endorse contact Chris Breen on cbreen70@hotmail.com (0403 013 183) or Marie Hapke trconcepts@netspace.net.au (0409 252 673)