danger

Cambodia not safe

Dear Prime Minister,

Both the PNG and Australian courts have found that Australia is responsible for the reugees detained on Manus Island and Nauru.

Australia, along with 44 other nations in the United Nations, has condemned Cambodia for "the recent serious decline of [its] civil and political rights."

Yet Foreign Minister Bishop confirms that your Government expects the refugees detained offshore to settle safely in Cambodia, and has paid Hun Sen's corrupt government $55 million to accept them.

How do you justify sending people who have fled oppression and danger to a country which violently oppresses its own citizens?

He is only ten years old

Dear Prime Minister,

I cannot believe I live in a country where a letter like this is necessary. Your Minister of Home Affairs tried to block life-saving tertiary psychiatric care for a ten-year-old child who has been suicidal since 2013. This is the second court case Minister Dutton's department has lost recently over the acute medical care urgently needed for children detained on Nauru.

The judge ruled that Australia “held a duty of care” to the boy and his family as the entity that had placed them on the island and which ran the offshore processing centre and the regime that held them.
— Ben Doherty, The Guardian Australia

This comes after Dr Nick Martin's damning revelations of how medical care for refugees is routinely blocked.

Every clinical decision that you made was being questioned by a non-medic. I had never had that in the forces. Your expertise and your autonomy was respected in the Royal Navy but in [Australia’s] border force you did absolutely feel there was a political influence on the clinical cases.
— Dr Nick Martin

I have previously written a number of letters to you about the dangerously inadequate healthcare for refugees on both Nauru and Manus Island. What action will you take to ensure all outstanding medical treatments are delivered immediately to the refugees?

Refoulement from PNG

Dear Prime Minister,

In the Parliamentary Research Paper, 'Australia's offshore processing of asylum seekers in Nauru and PNG: a quick guide to statistics and resources,' a table shows the number of departures each month from Nauru and PNG. For the period Jan 2014 - Jun 2015 it shows the destination countries of the returned asylum seekers. However from August 2015 onwards there is no information about the destination countries. Does Australia follow up the fate of each of the returnees? If they have been returned to danger then Australia has committed the international crime of refoulement.

Refugees in PNG report that a total of 6 men have been deported to danger in Bangladesh between 4th and 20th March 2018. Will they be recorded as 'destination unknown.' Were they stateless Rohingyas? What is their fate?

Satire?

Dear Prime Minister.

Dutton went on to explain why it is so important to deport migrants the moment they show signs of struggling in their dealings with the bureaucracy that makes up the immigration department.
“This week, we opened up a job that was undeservedly given to someone who was unable to travel 1800 kilometres to Sydney and update his Visa in time. That’s one less working class family that doesn’t deserve to be living in Biloela, by birthright. If there are any other unorganised subcontintentals hiding in the 15,729 square kilometres that make up the Banana Shire … We will find you and we will send you back to the political unrest in which you desperately fled in search of a better life sweeping up cow guts.”
— Betoota Advocate

For the women of Nauru

Dear Prime Minister,

On March 8 Michele Feinberg wrote:

Today, March 8, is also International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate our achievements and hard won freedoms. When we say ‘leave no woman behind’. However, there are some women who are left behind. These are the women who our government has incarcerated for nearly five years on Nauru and in Immigration Detention in Australia. They include women who have suffered sexual and physical abuse while in our ‘care’. They include women who have given birth alone because our Government refused to allow their partners to attend the birth. They are women denied access to adequate medical care. They are women who are forced to live apart from their husbands or children. They include women denied timely and safe abortions. They are women whose health suffers because they still live in mouldy tents. They include women who have succumbed to self harm and mental illness because of our government has stolen their hope and their futures. Malcolm Turnbull pays lip service to the need to afford women safety and respect. Yet he affords this group of women neither safety nor respect. He affords them only danger, cruelty, neglect, suffering, and vilification. Ring Malcolm Turnbull (02 6277 7700) today and tell him that he has no right to partake of our celebrations while our sisters in Immigration Detention still suffer at his hands.
— Michele Feinberg
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To the person who opens and reads these letters at the PM's office: I imagine that not one of the letters I have written so far to the Prime Minister (591) has been seen by him. Please show him this one. If he won't look at it, ask yourself 'Do I want to be working for a system which allows this to happen? Should my income and career depend partly on women and children being locked up on Nauru?'

Refoulement

Dear Prime Minister,

Refoulement is a crime against humanity. Nine Bangladeshi men have been removed from Manus to Bomana jail in Port Moresby. Why are they being deported now?

Why has Australia ignored calls by UNHCR that 500 of the 2000 people detained by Australia on Manus and Nauru need a review of their refugee status? The imminent deportation of these nine Bangladeshi men, without proper judicial process, is refoulement. As Kate Schuetze of Amnesty International warns, the men must be given opportunity to appeal especially after being locked up for five years. They are Australia's responsibility.

PNG not safe

Dear Prime Minister,

Minister Dutton says that refugees on Manus are free to resettle in Papua New Guinea. Refugees say PNG is not safe, including the PNG police force.

The recent finding by PNG National Court supports the refugees' claims. The state has been ordered to pay four citizens damages for human rights breaches by the police including violence, property damage and injuries.

Australia lies

Dear Prime Minister,

On November 24 2017 Minister Dutton issued a press release which stated that the new accommodation for refugees at West Lorengau Haus and Hillside Haus in Lorengau had been fully functional by October 31 2017. Yet on February 28 2018  a Papua New Guinean construction worker was killed when a crane rolled over while lifting a generator at West Lorengau Haus.

Construction at the island’s refugee facilities is continuing despite claims made by the Australian government in November that they were near completion.
— http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/351575/worker-killed-at-manus-refugee-facility

Australia's offshore detention regime is deadly for refugees and Papua New Guineans. Evacuate now to freedom and safety.

NGV dumps Wilson Security

Dear Prime Minister,

Refugees and journalists reported serious allegations of abuse and criminal activity by Wilson Security guards in offshore detention centres. Arts activists staged a number of actions at the National Gallery of Victoria which also contracts Wilson for security services. Visiting artists at the NGV Triennial also protested directly against Wilson Security. The NGV has now ended its contract with Wilson Security.

Refugees and citizens will continue to protest against businesses associated with the illegal and inhumane treatment of refugees by Australia. End offshore detention and bring all refugees to safety and freedom now.

Refugees denied medical care on Manus

Dear Prime Minister,

Thirteen refugees who have been waiting in Port Moresby for months to receive medical treatment were dragged out of their motel at 3.30am on 23 February by PNG police and forced onto a plane back to Manus Island. Refugees on Manus have reported that there is no room for the returnees in West Haus but they have been left there even though there is nowhere for them to sleep. This is the second group of unwell refugees that have been returned to Manus without receiving medical treatment. The small hospital on Manus cannot provide anything but most basic health care and is often without drugs and basic equipment. This has been verified repeatedly by the refugees, by hospital staff, and by humanitarian agencies and other visitors. The Department of Home Affairs maintains the lie that health care is provided. Most urgently, refugees who need urgent psychiatric care are left untreated. At least two men have attempted suicide in the last week. It is only due to the constant attention and intervention by their fellow refugees that they are still alive.

Australia’s responsibility

Dear Prime Minister,

Australia’s Department of Home Affairs (formerly DIBP) claims that the refugees on Manus island are free to settle in Papua New Guinea and that they are supported to do so by PNG services. Yet nine of these men in Port Moresby were abruptly arrested by police on 20 February and forced to the airport to be flown back to Manus. As the UNHCR said in January:

Neither Papua New Guinea nor Nauru are appropriate places for local integration for the majority of refugees and asylum-seekers, particularly given their acute needs as a result of prolonged detention and harsh conditions.
— UNHCR

PNG does not even have a register of how many refugees and asylum seekers are in Port Moresby and on Manus Island.

These men are our responsibility. Bring them here.

Violence on Manus

Dear Prime Minister,

Manus Island has never been safe for the refugees. Yesterday, 16th February, there have been three separate violent incidents towards refugees. 

The first happened at the market in Lorengau as a refugee was walking in the rain:

Pakistani refugee Mumtaz Ali said a man ran up behind him.
”I thought that he wanted to share my umbrella with me,” he said.
”When I turned my face to him, he directly punched me on my face, on my right eye, right-side eye, then I fall on the ground and he started kicking me.”
— http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-17/manus-asylum-seekers-allegedly-attacked-by-png-soldiers/9456790
 Black eye after attack in Lorengau.

Black eye after attack in Lorengau.

In the second attack, refugees walking to hospital were accosted. Three locals tried to steal their mobiles. Refugees pushed them away twice. The locals tried again to attack them, a car arrived and the men were able to escape.

The third attack appears to have been organised by Australia. There is video evidence of the attack:

Ten PNG soldiers from Lombrum Naval Base attacked three refugees today. Two are seriously injured, one had his face bashed by the soldiers.
Local witnesses say that the naval personnel, who were not in uniform, were very drunk and were drinking from boxes of beer.
When local people stepped in to stop the attacks, the PNG soldiers told them that Australia had sent them to control the refugees in Lorengau Town.
— https://www.facebook.com/lynne.murphy.148?ref=br_rs

Which Australian ordered the PNG navy personnel to attack the refugees?

Why hasn't anyone been charged?

Why haven't the refugees' written complaints been addressed?

Drip drip drip

Dear Prime Minister,

Could the process of transferring refugees from Manus and Nauru to the US go any slower?

22 of the more than 1000 refugees on Nauru left for the US this weekend. Daniel Webb says:

The tragic reality is that hope for a handful doesn’t end the suffering of those left behind. It’s great that these 22 people will tomorrow wake up in freedom and safety. But over 1800 others will awake to the same painful limbo that has confronted them every morning for the last four and a half years.
...
This dark chapter in our history does not close - this painful chapter in their lives does not end - until every single man, woman and child tormented on Nauru and Manus for the last four years is finally safe. Over 1800 innocent people - 150 children - have had four and a half years of their lives ripped away from them. It is the Australian Government’s responsibility to ensure they have a future.
— Daniel Webb, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre

There must be an urgent solution to bring freedom and safety to the 742 men on Manus and the 1048 men, women and children on Nauru. Evacuate Now.

Suicidal child

Dear Prime Minister,

It has taken a Federal Court order to force the Commonwealth to save the life of a young girl. Health professionals, aid agencies, humanitarian organisations, advocates and refugees have struggled for years to get proper healthcare for the children on Nauru. Apparently Minister Dutton does not care if a child commits suicide.

Judge Bernard Murphy said:

The injury or damage the applicant may suffer if an injunction is refused — death or a further serious deterioration in her health — carries far more weight in the balance than the wasted expenditure the Commonwealth may suffer if an injunction is granted.
— http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-09/nauru-refugee-to-be-transferred-to-australia-over-suicide-risk/9416276

Sack Minister Dutton. End offshore detention. Bring all asylum seekers to freedom and safety now.

Mould and the Minister

Dear Prime Minister,

Again I ask you to reconsider your support of Minister Dutton. Today's example of mismanagement, cover-ups and endangering the health of Australians and refugees comes from Nauru. SBS News reports that the Australian constructed buildings at RPC1 on Nauru were riddled with mould and 'rotting from the inside out.' Staff who slept there suffered health problems including cognitive and neurological symptoms, chronic pain, chest infections and persistent coughs. 'Authorities at the centre' blamed these health issues on dust from passing trucks. The floor rotted through yet in a 2015 meeting between DIBP and the construction firm Canstruct the blame was laid on the RPC1 staff's 'heavy foot traffic.' A leaked email from Canstruct said their staff who knew about the extent of the mould problem were gagged.

Who authorised the original shoddy building? Who covered up the problem and delayed repairs? How much will Minister Dutton's department spend on another out-of-court settlement with the Australian employees when they sue for damages?

Sack Minister Dutton

Dear Prime Minister,

Why have you not sacked Minister Dutton yet? He has repeatedly been shown to be a liar. His department has mis-handled contracts and not accounted for billions of dollars of spending. Senior positions, such as the ABF Chief Medical Officer, are vacant. The head of the ABF, Roman Quaedvleig, has been on paid leave for undisclosed misdemeanours for 8 months.

Judging by the media statements on the Minister of Home Affairs website, he can't even employ people to write grammatically correct, coherent press statements. In a media statement dated 31.10.2017 it says:

'The constant claims of IMAs [sic] and advocates' [sic] about their situation [whose situation? The advocates'?] in Manus are nothing more than subterfuge.'

This is another lie. Most recently Amnesty International are one of the numerous agencies and individuals to disagree:

'The PNG authorities have previously failed to protect the refugees from violent attacks or hold perpetrators accountable for violence. No one has faced charges following an incident in April 2017 when the military fired shots directly into the refugee camp, endangering people’s lives. Other complaints of violence have not been independently investigated by the authorities or resulted in accountability, fuelling a culture of impunity.'

Sack Minister Dutton. And follow the urgent recommendation by Kate Schuetze of Amnesty International that 'Australia should bring the refugees to its shores, accept a New Zealand offer to take on 150 of the men and look for additional resettlement options.'

Ill Newborn

Dear Prime Minister,

On 28th January I wrote to you about baby Melvin, born on Nauru 3 weeks earlier and gravely ill. He and his mother were sent 'home' to their camp on Nauru. However the baby is still unwell, His navel is still bleeding, he cries from pain and does not sleep. His mother cannot get medication to treat him, not even antiseptic ointment to prevent another infection.

How does withholding medical treatment from a newborn benefit Australia's security?

Free the children

Dear Prime Minister,

We need to remind everyone – especially the politicians — about the plight of the children and families on Nauru. Mandatory detention is a denial of fundamental human rights.

We need to strongly reinforce the message that there are over 150 children detained on Nauru – not behind barbed wire, but they are still there, detained, robbed of their childhood and being used as political pawns. Here is a breakdown of the numbers of children in the 6 camps, as of October 25, 2017:

OPC 3 Camp – 52 children
EWA Camp – 22 children, aged from 2 to 18 years
Nibok Camp – 20 children, aged from 1 to 15 years
Anibare Camp – 3 children, aged 7 months, 2 years, 12 years
Ejoo Camp – 12 children including four 2 year-olds
Anijo Camp – approx. 51 children, aged 6 months to 18 years.

More than 150 children on Nauru. Nauru has become an island prison.
— Grandmothers against Detention of Refugee Children, Ballarat and Bendigo