UNHCR

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.

UNHCR report on Manus

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.

Where are the Human Rights?

Dear Prime Minister,

How can Australia produce a 'final departure bridging visa' when we are attempting to be elected to the UN's Human Rights Council? The 'bridging visa' has already put 63 people at risk of homelessness and destitution unless they can find support from charities or State Governments. A further 400 people, all in Australia for medical treatment due to injuries or illnesses sustained in detention on Manus Island and Nauru and including 100 children, are terrified that they will also be issued with the new visa.

'Excoriating' reports are currently being made to three UN special rapporteurs: on the right to adequate housing, on extreme poverty and human rights, and on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. How can Australia make any claim to upholding human rights?

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.