death

On behalf of the 432nd man on Manus Island, Rajeev. RIP

Dear Prime Minister,

This is letter is to put on the record the voices of some of the friends of Rajeev, who was killed by Australia yesterday. These are voices from Manus, from men who are suffering physical pain, mental anguish and the unimaginable torture of not knowing when their suffering will end.

We have lost another brother because of a cruel government’s lack of heart and compassion. We feel alone and rejected by the world, as we see many of us deteriorating. But we must remember that to honour you and the ones we lost before, that we stay United. That we don’t let the powerful divide us. That we don’t lose ourselves in anger and grief. We will honour you and those before him, by keeping our dignity and honour, we will fight, with no violence, we will never give up on each other. Their memories are burnt into our heart and soul. We will carry them alive in our thoughts. Dear brother, we list you today, we feel empty. You are now with the brothers that also were taken from us. We love you. And honour you. You were too good for this pain. You are with us forever.
— Shamindan
they called us queue jumpers and now we are in the queue to be killed one by one so please tell us how many more lives do you need from us
— Aziz
Another death on Manus today. 

A Sri Lankan refugee, whose life had been filled with anguish, unspeakable trauma and insufferable hardships for more than four years at the hands of the Australian government, finally took his last breath on this Death Island. 

Being a refugee meant his life didn’t matter to this world, just like the other five men who have died on Manus. I know the media will hold a few interviews with the officials and write some articles and then he will be forgotten.

All he asked for was his freedom, in a place where he could breathe safely. The same wish as that of the rest of the refugees on Manus Island. It doesn’t matter how the world labels his death, we all know that he was a victim of a deliberate torturous and inhuman policy. What more can I say? Nothing really.

Rest in peace my brother.
— Imran
You are a murderer!
How much wrong are we willing to do in the name of right?
Blocking the sea to prevent deaths with human flesh as an obstacle is not a policy. It is criminal.
You are killing innocent men, women and children intentionally. By taking their liberties and incarcerating them in your concentration centers offshore. 
How many more of us should be sacrificed and murdered by this asylum seeker ‘policy’?
May the people who vote for humanity judge you and your misdeeds.
— Omid
Another friend died in Manus Island today. Like Hamed he was tortured by medical neglect. He died because the Australian government didn’t care. His body was found near Lorengau hospital this morning. He had suffered with mental illness for a long time but was not able to access appropriate care because there are no mental health facilities in Manus Island, and authorities offer no assistance. He had been living in the transit centre in East Lorengau for about three months. Three days ago he attempted suicide but his friends were able to help him and send him to Lorengau hospital. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, he was found hanged this morning. It is clear he was very unwell, but his death remains suspicious as his body was found in exactly the same way as Hamed who died two month ago. Whatever happened in his last moments, his death is a great tragedy and a great injustice. Manus Island is not a safe place for refugees and asylum seekers. Lorengau hospital is very basic and not equipped to treat this kind of illness. All of the refugees in Manus today are feeling very heavy with this news. There is a feeling of deep despair for this man’s suffering, anger at the circumstances of his death, and a sense of powerlessness that such a barbaric system is allowed to continue torturing and killing innocent people despite the overwhelming evidence of its cruelty. This man should not have died. He should have been in a safe place with access to appropriate medical care. Our peaceful protest is cancelled today and we will hold a vigil for our friend. We are calling for an independent investigation into his death. We will prevent violence because we know the fascist Australian government would try to use it against us. We won’t allow Australia to kill any more people.
— Behrouz

These men are not 'they', but part of us, of 'we'. What are your answers to the questions we ask?

How many more lives do you need from us?
How much wrong are you willing to do in the name of right?
How many more of us should be sacrificed and murdered by this 'asylum seeker' policy?

We are calling for an independent investigation into Rajeev's death. What is your response, Prime Minister?

Just as dead

Dear Prime Minister,

Stopping refugee boats arriving is not a self-evident good. It might stop people drowning inconveniently in view of Australians at Christmas Island. But if they do not get on a boat and are, instead, killed by the Taliban they are just as dead as if they drowned. The real difference is that our conscience is not troubled by their un-noted death somewhere else.
— Julian Burnside

Australia's policy towards boat arrivals is a sham, is illegal, is immoral, is exorbitant and is lethal. Bring all detainees on Manus and Nauru to safety and freedom now.

Rest in Peace

Dear Prime Minister,

What are you doing? Why is Dutton still in office? Today, Hamed Shamshiripour's body was met at Iran's airport by his grieving family. And yet you will oversee the building of another centre for torture and detention on Manus Island for the refugees from Iran and other countries which won't allow refugees to be forced to return. You want to continue the suffering?

Eight people have been killed by Australia already. Isn't that enough for you? Do you want more blood on your hands?

https://www.facebook.com/tally.how.1/posts/1663486907056813

https://www.facebook.com/tally.how.1/posts/1663486907056813

Remember Hamid Kehazaei

Dear Prime Minister,

I draw your attention to the words of Michelle Bui, written on behalf of Walid Zazai

Today marks 3 years since 24 year old Hamid Kehazaei had his life support turned off after being evacuated from Manus Island after a treatable infection paired with systemic medical negligence left him on the brink of death. His Mother described him as a “very sensitive, harmless, lovable” son, she stated “Of all my three boys, he was the most gentle and loving...When all his friends found out what had happened they were devastated. No one can believe this happened to such a gentle soul.”

The moment that Hamid entered Australia’s territorial waters, his body was marked, weaponised and subjected to repeated acts of state sanctioned violence in the name of Australia’s so-called policy of ‘deterrence’. He was interned in the Australian run immigration prison on Manus Island in unsanitary and unsafe conditions where political concerns were ultimately prioritised over his life.

In the days prior to his death, medical staff warned of a ‘life-threatening systemic infection’ and stated that available treatments on the island had been exhausted. The Immigration Department didn’t approve Hamid’s medical transfer to Port Moresby until a week later and subsequently failed to approve a medical transfer to Australia until almost 24 hours after the request was made. These fatal delays killed Hamid Kehazaei. His agonizing screams were ignored and he was denied treatment that could have saved his life.

The systemic violence that Hamid was subjected to has been reproduced in the cases of Faysal Ishak Ahmed and Hamid Shamshiripour who were both denied life-saving care.

Our thoughts are with Hamid’s friends and family who continue to mourn his loss. We stand in solidarity with those who continue to seek justice for Hamid and all those ruthlessly killed by Australia’s immigration system.
— Walid Zazai, with Michelle Bui

How do you respond to the statement: "The moment that Hamid entered Australia's territorial waters, his body was marked, weaponised and subjected to repeated acts of state sanctioned violence in the name of Australia's so-called policy of 'deterrence.'"?

Every man, woman and child on Manus Island and Nauru are in danger of death like Hamid's. We know it. We see it. We see that you endorse this torture and violent use of life for your own political ends. We demand that you end the agony of Manus and Nauru immediately and bring all asylum seekers to safety and freedom now.

Australia is responsible for Hamed Shamshiripour

Dear Prime Minister,

Why was Hamed Shamshiripour prevented from going home to Iran despite making at least four requests?
Why have his claims of death threats not been investigated?
Why hasn't there been a full inquest into his death?
Why did Australia not provide psychiatric care for Hamed Shamshiripour despite both the ABF chief medical officer and the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby receiving urgent requests from Mr Ronnie Knight, MP?
Which Australian official decided to prevent Hamed Shamshiripour's body from being returned to his family in Iran for burial? Is it, as they claim, to prevent them from taking legal action against Australia to try to find out what happened?

How does any of this comply with Australia's obligations under the UN Refugee Convention?

Our only crime is not dying at sea

Dear Prime Minister,

On 11 August 2017, the men in Manus Island Refugee Processing Centre gathered for peaceful protests for the eleventh day. Some men have been in Manus Island detention centre for more that 1500 days.
Since Hamed’s death, the protests have been silent - a sign of their respect and great sadness over losing their friend and brother in suffering.
The Manus men’s messages to the world included:
~ Why don’t you feel our pain?
~ What will you lose if we live with people who love us?
~ 1380 days in detention.
~ Wake up UN 4 your duty
~ Our only crime is not dying in the sea.
~ Killing our hope is Australia’s goal.
~ Our goal is not to get killed in PNG
— Lynne Murphy: https://www.facebook.com/lynne.murphy.148/posts/10154862141341769?pnref=story
The 11th day of peaceful protest in Manus RPC.

The 11th day of peaceful protest in Manus RPC.

What is your answer, Prime Minister, to their questions? What will you lose if the refugees live with the people who love them? End offshore detention now and bring all asylum seekers to freedom.

End offshore detention now. Manus and Nauru crisis.

Dear Prime Minister,

The Lorengau bus service has been cancelled because Wilson Security refused to go on the bus to town with us. They scared they will be attacked if they come with us. The canteen services also stopped since this morning as well. We don’t know what’s going on here. Please help us. Pray for us this situation is deteriorating.
— Voice from Manus
Resettlement in PNG is not a humane option. The US now looks out of reach. If the government forces us out of the camp and into more danger we will continue to protest peacefully, but no-one should be surprised if these weeks are punctuated by violence against refugees.
— Behrouz Boochani, http://www.theage.com.au/comment/this-point-scoring-and-deal-making-with-our-lives-is-absurd-20170808-gxrix6.html

Australia's responsibility

Dear Prime Minister,

Australia is responsible for what happens to the refugees on Manus Island. Why was Hamed Shamshiripour beaten up by guards at Manus RPC when he needed support for his severe mental health problems? Why was he left to die even after his friends gave warnings about his mental condition and made formal complaints to Broadsprectrum at Manus RPC about his beating? Who in DIBP failed to act? Why is the Minister of Immigration and Border Protection not taking responsibility for what happens on Manus Island?

Bring all refugees in offshore detention to Australia now. End Australia's shame.

Another refugee dead on Manus Island

Dear Prime Minister,

This letter is on behalf of the 374th man on Manus Island, Hamed Shamshiripour aged 31, a refugee who fled persecution in Iran and asked Australia to help him find safety and freedom. He was locked up by Australia on Manus Island for four years. He has been found hanged, dead.

Refugees on Manus Island and Nauru are our responsibility. Are you waiting for them to die, one by one?

Bring all men, women and children to safety and freedom now.

except by force.

Dear Prime Minister,

The pressure on the refugees is increasing day by day. Today they cut the water in Foxtrot, the largest compound in Manus detention centre, and they are planning to cut the power soon. Immigration officers and Wilson security are threatening refugees right now to leave. The government is determined to close the detention centre and the refugees are determined to resist. It seems there is not any way to close the detention centre except by force. The Australian government is blatantly violating human rights at the same time that it is competing with other countries to get a seat on the UN Human Rights Council in October. This government wants to take the refugees out of the detention centre before October so they can tell the world they closed this prison camp. I am asking all of those advocates who are fighting for change to Australia’s illegal and dangerous refugee policies to be with the refugees in this historical period.
— Behrouz Boochani

How far will you go, Prime Minister? How many more people will you allow to be killed?

For the 203rd man on Manus Island

Dear Prime Minister,

Remember Hamid Kehazaei.

Iranian asylum seeker Hamid Kehazaei died in 2014  after he became critically ill from a leg infection he contracted on Manus Island that developed into sepsis. Photograph: Refugee Action Coalition

Iranian asylum seeker Hamid Kehazaei died in 2014 after he became critically ill from a leg infection he contracted on Manus Island that developed into sepsis. Photograph: Refugee Action Coalition

He was only 24 years old when we killed him. DIBP and IHMS are now bickering about who is to blame for his death. Australia is to blame. We are mistreating, torturing and killing the refugees on Nauru and Manus Island. Six have died already. Some are close to death right now.

The moronic equation, that the thousands of arbitrarily imprisoned refugees must stay on Manus and Nauru for ever as a kind of nightmare fairytale spell against more desperate refugees trying to reach Australia by boat is as unintelligent as it is brutal. A well-connected, richly-resourced and highly educated country like Australia has plenty of resources to find a humane and effective solution to the trickle of refugees who attempt to reach Australia.

Mr Turnbull, your entire career has been built on intelligent risk-taking. Why are you defending this unimaginative, wasteful, shoddy regime of offshore detention? Use your brains, and those of some of the best minds in Australia who have already devoted much energy to finding solutions, and get on with it.

For the 196th man on Manus Island

Dear Prime Minister,

On 17 August 2016 'J.C.', Director ABF Ministerial Correspondence Section Support Group - ABF wrote to me about conditions for refugees on Manus Island:

All transferees at the Manus RPC receive clinically indicated health care, broadly consistent with Australian public health standards.
— https://www.ruthhalbert.com.au/dear-prime-minister/2016/8/24/letter-from-tyranny-1

Yet in this week's Senate committee inquiry into abuse, self-harm and neglect in offshore detention it is revealed that the clinical opinions of doctors are regularly overruled and that refugees wait months for medical treatment. Most tragically, Faysal Ishak Ahmed was refused medical treatment at least thirteen times before he collapsed and died.

'J.C.' and other staff of DIBP lie about Australia's offshore detention regime. Minister Dutton lies. People are dying because of these lies. Sack Minister Dutton, end offshore detention and end the lies and the deaths.

For the 174th man on Manus Island

Dear Prime Minister,

The negligent, inadequate health care on Manus Island and Nauru has been brought to light again since the death of Faisal Ishak Ahmed. In the coronial inquest in the death of Hamid Kehazaei, also a refugee who had been imprisoned on Manus Island, evidence has been presented that:

medical facilities were inadequate, doctors' clinical instructions were ignored and critical medical equipment was not working. Requests to urgently transfer Kehazaei from the island were ignored, then refused, before he was finally flown in an air ambulance, first to Port Moresby and then to Brisbane.

Behrouz Boochani, also a prisoner on Manus Island, writes "Australia is killing us one by one."

Stop the deaths now, Mr Turnbull, close the camps, and bring them here.

For the 173rd man on Manus Island

Dear Prime Minister

For the last 32 days I have been using these daily letters to you to bring to your (and my blog's readers) attention to the words and images made by some of the refugees on Manus Island and Nauru as part of Penny Ryan's 'The Confined Hearts Project'. Meanwhile the torture and inhumanity inflicted on the refugees continues.

Today I want to remind you of the brave man we killed on 24 December 2016. Mr Faisal Ishak Ahmed died in Brisbane after months of being denied health care for his increasingly serious symptoms. On 21 December a complaint form was written by Mr Ahmed's fellow prisoners outlining the mistreatment that Mr Ahmed received from staff of IHMS (the medical services provider on Manus Island).

What is the full content of that complaint? How do you propose to ensure that justice is done for Mr Ahmed? I suggest you start by punishing those responsible for his death. by ensuring it never happens again and by giving compensation to his widow and child.

Close off shore detention and bring them here.