Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Monday, 26 January 2015

Shut It Down

Manus Island Detention Centre

It's Australia Day, and I'd dearly love to be posting something positive and affirming about my country, which I love very much.

Unfortunately, I'd be less than honest if I did so, turning a blind eye to this resident evil perpetrated in my name.

Instead, I'll post this from yesterday's Catholic Leader.


Shut it down

Horror conditions: Asylum seekers during a hunger strike at the Manus Island detention centre. About 30 asylum seekers have sewn their lips together and 500 are on a hunger strike at the Manus Island detention centre. Photo: AAP
Horror conditions: Asylum seekers during a hunger strike at the Manus Island detention centre. About 30 asylum seekers have sewn their lips together and 500 are on a hunger strike at the Manus Island detention centre. Photo: AAP
By Paul Dobbyn

A BRISBANE refugee advocate who visited Manus Island twice last year has called on the Australian Government to close the strife-torn detention centre.
“There is no accountability; no journalists are allowed in to report what’s happening,” Romero Centre community engagement co-ordinator Rebecca Lim said.
“If Australia are doing everything right, why the secrecy?
“Also why are we spending millions in detaining these people offshore when it is so much cheaper onshore?”
Ms Lim visited Manus Island in February last year after the murder there of 23-year-old Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati.
She also visited in October for two weeks.
“Reports in the media that conditions are horrendous tallied with what I heard when I visited the island,” she said.
“There were stories of detainees receiving outdated medicine and food such as milk and dairy products.
“There were also stories of rape and sexual assault of detainees.
“It’s a prison with a hierarchy of power … the weak need protection from the strong.”
Ms Lim’s comments came in the wake of reported protests at the Papua New Guinea detention centre in recent weeks.
More than 200 detainees are now allegedly receiving medical treatment after going on a hunger strike.
Refugee advocates in contact with detainees estimated the protests have involved more than half the 1035 detainees.
There were reports of no running water being available in the centre with detainees being given bottled water to drink, wash with and to use to flush the toilets.
Ms Lim’s comments also followed statements from the new Federal Immigration Minister Peter Dutton of his “absolute resolve” to ensure “transferees will never arrive in Australia”.
Mr Dutton said he was “disturbed” by reports of the actions of some within the centre – including cases of self-harm.
One asylum seeker is believed to have swallowed razor blades, others are said to have sewn their lips together.
Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss said he wished “there weren’t tensions on those islands, but I wish the people weren’t there in the first place”.
“I wish we didn’t have a situation where people have paid people smugglers to try and come to this country to get around our immigration laws,” he said.
Ms Lim said asylum seekers were using a legal way to get to Australia.
“This is according to the UN Refugee Convention,” she said.
“The convention is designed for people needing protection who have to make their own way to a country that is offering protection.
“Entering a convention country and applying for asylum is a legitimate, and not a backdoor means, of getting protection.”

Make no bones about it, this setup recalls concentration camps run by the Third Reich. The inmates have no idea how long they will be incarcerated, or what their fate will be if and when they are released. At least there are no gas chambers, but we really don't know what goes on, because we are not allowed to be told.

Manus Island is about as far removed from Australian values as imaginable.



Anonymous said...

Has every-one forgotten that this was put into play by the Labor Party and the ball is merely being carried by the current Government. The accomodation is probably on a par with that supplied to conscripts during your time but without computers, phones etc being supplied to the diggers of the time. Tucker is on a par and the country shoppers don't even clean up after themselves.....locals do the servicing. The contractors are not permitted to be armed in any form and the "lock up" is far from being a jail. These men have the availability of selecting to go back to where they are from. They are not held against their wishes. The persons at Manus have not been assessed as refugees and are therefore not entitled to that status or the rights associated with that status.

1735099 said...

It doesn't matter who "put it into play" - it's wrong.
Locking people up behind barbed wire for attempting to escape persecution is not the Australian way.
What part of "not a jail" is a detention centre?
As for "selecting to go back where they are from" - for many, especially the Hazaras, this would be suicide.

Anonymous said...

They are not refugees by definition.....they are illegal immigrants until given refugee status. Locking people up behind wire is definitely the Australian way....ask any serviceman required to live in barracks. If you step outside the wire without a leave pass you commit an offence which can land you in a real prison. These "asylum seekers" on Manus can leave any time they like but are refused entry to Australia because they are not deemed refugees. You read selectively. Read my last line and try to address it. Your favourite people, the Hazaras....what are their numbers on Manus? Jail? Cyclone wire fencing, no armed guards, outside contractors do the cooking and cleaning, residents are permitted to mingle unless they become trouble makers, facilities for outside communications made available. Unarmed Security staff mingle with residents. Security staff reside in similar accommodation (floating barge with barracks like sleeping accommodation. Do some homework.

1735099 said...

From the refugee convention -

The Refugees Convention defines a refugee as a person who:

is outside their country of nationality or their usual country of residence
is unable or unwilling to return or to seek the protection of that country due to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion
is not a war criminal and has not committed any serious non-political crimes or acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

We're also denied information about conditions on Manus, although occasionally some gets through - https://hazaraasylumseekers.wordpress.com/tag/manus-island-detention-centre/
Many Australians share my opinions on this, as revealed by attempts to deport asylum seekers on commercial flights - http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/passengers-removed-from-qantas-flight-following-asylum-seeker-protest-20150202-133o65.html
Note the reference to "unwilling".
Even if they are found to be refugees, they are allowed to settle only in PNG.

I don't remember being behind wire when I was in the army, except at Nui Dat, but that was to keep the bad guys out, not to keep us in.
BTW, were you aware that Vietnamese asylum seekers account for about 6.1% of those detained in Australia's concentration camps? As of 31 December, 2014 there were 2757 people held in detention; 167 of those people were from Vietnam.

Charming stuff...

What was that about "homework"?

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