asylum

On behalf of the 553rd man on Manus Island

Dear Prime Minister,

After nearly five years Australia has provided no viable or sustainable option for the refugees it forcibly transferred to Papua New Guinea.

Amnesty now for all men, women and children detained by Australia on Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Bring them all to freedom and safety now.

Take me out of fences and bars

Dear Prime Minister,

I (a manus refugee) want to share my feeling with lovely people of Australia.

I did not decide to flee my country and family but the war and situation force me to leave my country. I have known a humanitarian country called Australia which gave safety to oppressed and coerced people like me in past.

Not in my case Australian Government give me five and continue years of imprisonment for seeking asylum, unaccountable torture, suffering, wounds and cries, deaths of my friends.

I live a life where system kill my every day every hour every minutes while my same boat people released in Australian community since 2013. Two years before I got positive refugee status am still in detention.

Tomorrow 2018 will start. I am begging for mercies. Let me and people like me on Manus, go.

Take me out of fences and bars......
— A Manus refugee

Prime Minister, I beg you, let this man go. Let all the refugees detained on Manus and Nauru go to safety and freedom.

Christmas message from Manus

Dear Prime Minister,

On behalf of the poet and gardener, Mohammad Ali Maleki, here is his Christmas letter:

Dear Australians,
From detention on Manus Island, we — who came seeking asylum — wish you a peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Just as in the last four years, we are about to embark upon our fifth of pain, sorrow, torture, and the endless nightmare of detention.
We don’t know why we are in this prison. What illegality have we committed? What logic does the Australian Government use to decide upon our lives?
We light candles for our lost friends instead of celebrating New Year. We hope next year will be our last of such miserable times. We can’t go on under the torture of detention very much longer. We pray to be set free from this prison someday.
I wish Merry Christmas to all the Christian and Catholic people, especially to the good and wise people of Australia who’ve given us help in the past four years. I hope they are happy and healthy with their families.
I also wish a special Happy New Year to those Australians who do not like us; I love them too, from the bottom of my heart.
It is true that these dear people insulted us by swearing and sending rude comments, and that their words broke our hearts and made us feel ashamed. In fact, their comments hurt us much more than even the harsh difficulties of detention; their comments made our situation harder to bear. These dear people made us cry, and cry again.
But I respect their views and read their comments. Then I offer their words to the clean clear waters of the ocean to carry to its farthest point so I don’t have to see them anymore. And I forgive them with all my heart, and wish them a Merry Christmas.
— Mohammad Ali Maleki, Manus Island, PNG

More violence on Manus

Dear Prime Minister,

 At the time of the attack Islam was still suffering from a damaged arm sliced open several months ago. Photograph: Supplied from Manus Island (https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/dec/20/manus-refugee-attacked-fsecond-time-amid-tension-over-australian-centres

 At the time of the attack Islam was still suffering from a damaged arm sliced open several months ago. Photograph: Supplied from Manus Island (https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/dec/20/manus-refugee-attacked-fsecond-time-amid-tension-over-australian-centres

Joinul Islam is a Bangladeshi refugee. He was one of the 420 refugees who stayed in the former Detention Centre at Lombrun, Manus Island, after it was shut down. He chose to have no food, water, medications or shelter because he was afraid that he would be attacked again if he had to move to Lorengau. On Black Friday, 24th November 2017, he was forced to move. And his fears of violence have been proved correct: he was robbed and beaten in Lorengau.

Prime Minister, I hate to use this photo which shows Joinul Islam as a victim. But what other means do I have to plea for justice? Does Australia need to have Joinul Islam and his fellow refugees bleed so that we can feel safe?

Failure

Dear Prime Minister,

What is your response to the article titled 'Australia's refugee policy is a failure. This is not the time to shirk responsibility' by Thomas Albrecht, the UNHCR regional representative in Canberra?

In the article, Albrecht directly criticises Australia's policy to people arriving by boat as setting a 'destructive and dangerous precedent' and reminds us that 'Australia's obligation to people fleeing persecution, just as with any country in the world, is the same whether they arrive by air or sea. ... there is a false and disingenuous logic in saving people at sea, only to then mistreat them on land.'
'The consequences of open-ended mandatory detention, inadequate conditions and indefinite limbo, are devastating, yet predictable. For years now, UNHCR and others have highlighted the overwhelmingly negative toll on human lives, while the policy grinds on.'

Albrecht concludes:

The current policy has been an abject failure. A proper approach by Australia must include, at a minimum, solutions for all refugees and asylum seekers sent to Papua New Guinea and Nauru, and an end to offshore processing.

This is the time to share, not shirk, responsibility.
— https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/02/our-refugee-policy-is-a-failure-this-is-not-the-time-to-shirk-responsibility

This article is a direct challenge to Australia, by a representative of the highest authority on refugees, to immediately change Australia's policy and provide relief and care to those who are still suffering under it. Your response is needed urgently, Prime Minister.

25 are free. 903 remain

Dear Prime Minister,

Twenty five of the 928 men on Manus Island flew to USA today. PNG's deadline for closing Manus RPC is 31 October. It is urgent that Australia provides safety, freedom and rehabilitation for the detainees after 4 years in 'Manus hell.'

How will you guarantee that, Prime Minister?

Sanction Australia

Dear Prime Minister,

I wholeheartedly support the work of the members of RISE: Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees who have called for the international community to punish Australia for our treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. This is an excerpt of RISE's media statement yesterday:

Today RISE: Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees launches the Sanction Australia Campaign. Initiated and driven by a group of ex-detainees, Sanction Australia calls for international human rights bodies and the United Nations to sanction Australia for its inhumane mandatory detention policies and explicit refugee boat push back policies and to exclude Australia from participation in international humanitarian and human rights decision making processes until mandatory detention and refoulement of asylum seekers and refugees by Australia is abolished.
For the past 26 years, Australia has been progressively implementing punitive and cruel policies against people seeking asylum by boat. These policies have been maintained by successive Australian governments resulting in systemic torture and abuse of refugee/asylum seeker adults and children, and deaths in custody. Since RISE was launched in 2010, we are aware of at least 36 people who have died in Australian detention centres and many RISE ex-detainee members have witnessed deaths in detention well before this time period. “How long,” asks Abdul Baig, RISE director and ex-detainee, “do we have to continue to face such cruelty in front of Australia’s eyes? Where is the justice?”

Of all the groups of people calling for Australia to change its policy towards asylum seekers, the voices of the former refugees who have directly experienced Australia's detention regime and who still endure ongoing persecution are the most compelling.

Amnesty now for all detainees on Manus Island and Nauru, and full support and compensation for all offshore and onshore detainees, past and present.

We are ready to die

Dear Prime Minister,

This is Nauru. Australia illegally imprisons refugees here and tortures them. Listen to the voice of one of the young women who is surviving there. She says:

We are ready to die
— 'Maryam', a 19 year-old detainee on Nauru
What is the point of surviving at sea if you are dying slowly and painfully every day. I wish I was dead in the sea.
— 'Maryam', a 19 year-old detainee on Nauru

This is our responsibility. What are we doing about it?

End offshore detention #407

Dear Prime Minister,

Claire Higgins' article for the Lowy Institute reminds Australia that we used to have a humane and responsive policy towards asylum seekers. During Malcolm Fraser's Liberal government of the 1970s detention was considered abhorrent by Australians. Fraser's then Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Lou Engledow, concluded that detaining asylum seekers would "not stop boat arrivals nor produce a final answer." He described both detention and the idea of turning boats back as a "challenge to our humanity."

When Vietnamese asylum seekers were sailing into Darwin harbour in the late 1970s, newspaper editorials advised against holding people “behind wire fences patrolled by guards.”
...
Australia once ... [had] compassionate and humane reception procedures. ... UNHCR observers in the late 1970s [noted] how Australian authorities brought refugee boats into the harbour, sharing food and other supplies with the new arrivals. At the local quarantine station, asylum seekers could cook their own meals and assist in running the facility, which the UNHCR said was “a psychological benefit” ... The UN refugee agency noted high quality medical treatment was available ... and that staff showed “a high degree of compassion, interest and preparedness to help which are clearly of benefit to those arriving in a new environment.”
— Claire Higgins, https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/australia-s-long-history-offshore-detention

Prime Minister, the majority of Australians urge you to return to the previous Liberal party policy of humane treatment of asylum seekers. End detention now and allow asylum seekers to settle in peace and freedom in Australia.

End offshore detention #406

Dear Prime Minister,

I support Amnesty International's campaign to protect vulnerable refugees detained on Manus Island. Amnesty asks that Australia does the following:

  • Immediately bring all asylum seekers and refugees to Australia;
  • Ensure that all those granted refugee status have the right to settle in Australia or another country;
  • Stop any actions or policies that put refugees on Manus Island at risk of further harm;
  • Ensure adequate medical care for all refugees and asylum seekers suffering injuries and trauma;
  • Urge the Papua New Guinean authorities to open an independent, impartial investigation into the death of Hamed Shamshiripour and other refugees on Manus Island, and into the reported attacks.

What steps are you taking to meet Amnesty's call to protect the asylum seekers in offshore detention?

Save them. Save Australia.

Dear Prime Minister,

What would you do if you were illegally imprisoned and tortured for four years with no sign of release and you heard that people in the country which caused your suffering were in need? Would you give your last $30 to them? That is what Walid Zazai, a young Afghani refugee on Manus Island, has done. He is worried that the hundreds of refugees sent to Australia for medical treatment will be forced to go back to Manus Island and Nauru now that Minister Dutton has cut their $200 per fortnight payments and evicted them from housing. Walid Zazai wants to help save them from the hell he knows all too well there.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/09/01/manus-refugee-donates-his-only-money-to-aussie-refugee-appeal_a_23193165/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/09/01/manus-refugee-donates-his-only-money-to-aussie-refugee-appeal_a_23193165/

Do you endorse this decision of Minister Dutton, whose concept of cost-cutting is to save at most $120,000 per person per year by forcing them back to offshore detention which will cost instead $573,000 per person per year? Every reason of logic, humanity and economics says end offshore detention and bring all the men, women and children detained on Manus and Nauru to safety and freedom.

Twentieth day of peaceful protest on Manus

Dear Prime Minister,

Today is the twentieth day of protest by the men trapped in the Manus RPC. Despite everything they have endured at the hands of Australia they are still peaceful.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=116054635723421&set=pcb.116054729056745&type=3&theater

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=116054635723421&set=pcb.116054729056745&type=3&theater

Please honour Australia's obligations as a signatory of the UN Refugee Convention and as a democracy and bring all detainees on Manus Island and Nauru to freedom and safety now.

End offshore detention.

Dear Prime Minister,

Every day, evidence rolls in about Australia's pointless, cruel, barbaric offshore detention system. The refugees stuck in its limbo have written, spoken, made art and films about the atrocities on Manus Island and Nauru. That should have been more than enough evidence for a humane and civilised country to immediately abandon the regime and compensate its victims. But Australia has ignored the evidence and deliberately refined the system of torture there to inflict physical and mental illness, to remove all services including electricity and water and to refuse refugees' attempts to resettle safely.

Human rights agencies, the United Nations, legal and medical organisation, religious groups, government agencies, the audit office and activists have produced reams of documentary evidence that supports the refugees' evidence against offshore detention. They also go further, and reveal the planned brutality, the disregard for humanity, for morality and for accountability.

Former Manus Island social worker, Alice Krupa, has published a thorough, appalling account of the planned systematic breaking down of the asylum seekers, of the strategic restriction to medical care and the repeated and intentional disregard for basic human rights and international law. Ms Krupa describes the dreadful decline and mistreatment of Hamed Shamshiripour leading to his preventable death. And still Hamed's fellow detainees are enduring the terrible conditions which killed him. We have no option but to act now. It is unconscionable to witness this and for it still to continue. Bring all refugees and asylum seekers to safety and freedom now.

End offshore detention.

Dear Prime Minister,

Today was the 15th day of peaceful protest by refugees on Manus Island. Imran Mohammad has published a new article on the refugees' plight. He reminds us that:

The cave that we have been stuck in for over four years is beyond an ordinary person’s comprehension because their minds have never come across of the type of sufferings that we face on a daily basis on Manus Island.
— Imran Mohammad, Manus Island

We cause this suffering. Yet there is no end in sight. Why, Prime Minister? Why do we force these people to suffer? As Imran says:

An asylum seeker and a refugee is a real person, with a real body, a real heart and a real consciousness. We are as human as you are. Regardless of how we have been introduced to you all, we are just asking for safety. Please raise your voice in hopes that a long term solution can be found for our lives soon instead of abandoning us here with no hope, help and future.
— Imran Mohammad

Bring all the asylum seekers and refugees from Manus Island and Nauru to safety and freedom.

Australia is responsible.

Dear Prime Minister,

UNHCR renews its call for Australia to urgently find viable, humane solutions outside of Papua New Guinea and Nauru for those remaining under offshore processing arrangements.
— http://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2017/8/598c5ca54/unhcr-warns-escalating-crisis-manus-island.html
George Newhouse says the family want an urgent independent autopsy to determine the cause of death for which PNG police have ruled out foul play.
Meanwhile protests at the detention centre on Manus Island continue with inmates calling for an investigation into the latest death.
”There is a paper trail in this case that leads all the way up the line in Border Force, IHMS [International Health and Medical Services] and in the government, and the family want to know how they could allow their son to remain without proper medical care and in such awful conditions when they knew his vulnerability.” - George Newhouse
— http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201854300/lawyer-aus-govt-to-blame-for-latest-refugee-death-on-manus

End offshore detention and bring all refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru to Australia now.

A deal is a deal

Dear Prime Minister,

Last week we were not surprised to learn that the refugee resettlement deal with the US has no substance and is purely for appearances.

Turnbull: ‘... there is nothing more important in business or politics than a deal is a deal. Look, you and I have a lot of mutual friends.’
Trump: [rage] ‘... Suppose I do not take any?’
Turnbull: ‘That is the point I have been trying to make.’
— Analysing Trump-Turnbull Phone X-change: http://netipr.org/saorg/node/49

You used the façade of a deal to buy time to do nothing. All the while, the October 31 deadline in PNG for closing Manus RPC came closer and you could find no other solution. Now we have the men trapped on Manus Island in fear for their lives, without power and water, while Wilson security refuse to do their job because even they are too scared, and yet another predicted and preventable death has happened.

RIP Hamed Shamshiripour. Killed by Australia's violent anti-refugee policy.

On Nauru, the refugees are also trapped in a hostile place with no resources and when they peacefully protest they are beaten and arrested

You have tried to distract us with the Marriage Survey but we will hold you to account. A deal is a deal. Australia co-wrote and signed the Refugee Convention. Keep to the deal and bring all refugees on Manus Island and Nauru to Australia now.

Letter from Manus

Dear Prime Minister,
The United Nations high commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi, has taken the unprecedented step of directly criticising Australia’s offshore detention of refugees. Australia has been shown to have lied in our negotiations with the USA over resettling refugees there. After four years of illegal detention and torture by Australia the men detained at Manus RPC and in East Lorengau are now in dire circumstances. They are Australia’s responsibility. What steps are you taking to end offshore detention immediately and bring all men, women and children on Manus Island and Nauru to Australia now? Please respond directly to the contents of the attached letter, signed by 586 men on Manus Island.

To the Australian government, the Labor Party, The Greens, the Independents and all who exert some power in Australia and to who are in some way involved in relation to the US deal concerning refugees on Manus Island.
Please take this letter seriously before it is too late.
We the refugees detained on Manus Island are giving you and ourselves the last the most sensible option for all.
You gave us 159 days count down on detention prison camps notice boards that we have to leave this place and move to the transit centre and into the town of Lorengau on Manus Island.
We know that the transit centre can only house 280 people and just mentioning the refugees alone we are 700+ not including the 50 that are already living in the transit centre.
Your words are not true and we know this after four years’ experience. Almost all of the words you wrote on the notice paper is not true.
You say there is medical services available but there is no medical facility in the transit centre. The local hospital in the town also can’t handle and treat their own people. Forget about refugees demanding their medical assistance. 
There is no safety and security for us in the town as we have experienced time and time again. We have been beaten up, robbed, humiliated and insulted by locals almost every single day.
(END PAGE 1)
We give you 159 days just like you have given us!
In this 159 days you can find a safe country for us and send us out of this country directly from this detention prison hell or we are not moving anywhere.
We are not going to fight and we are not going to cause any unrest. We are powerless and weak. Our souls and bodies are destroyed under your cruel regime of your of torture and trauma by your offshore detention.
You have the army, the police and all of the necessary manpower and equipment.
Bring them here and we will line up so you can shoot us to end our misery if you want to force us out. 
Please and we repeat again Please, do not scapegoat and use the argument that PNG is responsible for us. You are Australians, and we are not cattle.
Australian citizens and the world are very well aware of this and they know that PNG will not drink a sip of water without Australia’s permission. You are funding this cruel inhumane system and your money is giving the orders here.
From all of us on Manus who you are using as ununiformed soldiers to so called protect your borders. 
(END PAGE 2)
— https://www.facebook.com/events/1954616424824358/?active_tab=discussion

End offshore detention now and bring all refugee children, men and women on Nauru and Manus Island to Australia.
 

Full responsibility

Dear Prime Minister,

What is your response to the statement made by United Nations high commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi, which is a direct and unequivocal criticism of Australia's refugee policies? Do not forward this letter to Minister Dutton or DIBP. Australia has been criticised at the highest level and we need your response.

There is a fundamental contradiction in saving people at sea, only to mistreat and neglect them on land. ... I urge Australia to bring an immediate end to the harmful practice of offshore processing, offer solutions to its victims, for whom it retains full responsibility, and work with us on future alternatives that save lives at sea and provide protection to people in need.
— Filippo Grandi, high commissioner UNHCR
Somali refugee Sabah holds up photos of her three children at a detention centre in Nauru, in 2014. Sabah, 28, had not seen her children since they became separated fleeing extremist violence in Somalia three years earlier.   © Panos/ Vlad Sokhin

Somali refugee Sabah holds up photos of her three children at a detention centre in Nauru, in 2014. Sabah, 28, had not seen her children since they became separated fleeing extremist violence in Somalia three years earlier.   © Panos/ Vlad Sokhin

End offshore detention immediately and bring all men, women and children on Manus Island and Nauru here now.