violence

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?

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.

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?

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.'

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?

PNG is extremely unsafe

Dear Prime Minister,

On the 24th September a message came from Manus Island:

Refugees in transit in Port Moresby, heading for US, were told not to leave the hotel as it is extremely unsafe.
It is interesting that Australian authorities are still coercing refugees who are remaining in Manus Island Detention Centre to get resettled in PNG.
— Manus Alert

Prime Minister, there is no safe resettlement for the refugees in PNG. End the torture and bring all men, women and children on Manus Island and Nauru to safety and freedom now.

Manus Crisis Alert

Dear Prime Minister,

Sr Jane Keogh is a Brigidine Sister from Canberra. She has worked with and for refugees in detention since 2002 and is coordinator of Manus Lives Matter. What is your response to this Crisis Alert from Sr Keogh?

MANUS CRISIS ALERT as I see it right now:
The situation on Manus for the refugees:
500+ men have kept calm for weeks now facing forced removal to life threatening situations.
Their calmness is striking given their fragile mental health in escalating stressful situations.
They now see more Australian Police joining and training PNG police “in case of a riot.”
The men believe their lives are in danger within the camp- from police coming to force removal.
They believe their lives are in danger outside the camp evidenced by almost daily attacks in town.
They are lucky the Australian police are there as they see PNG police as armed and dangerous.
They know once in town they will only have PNG police and thus no protection, only more danger.
They have proved and stated their commitment to peaceful protest and nonviolence.
The safest choice to an objective outsider would seem to be to resist being moved.
Many are worried about how to contain those among them who are most at risk of breaking.
They cannot guarantee their own safety.
The situation on Manus for Turnbull, Dutton and Border Force. Know you have a choice.
Option 1:
Leave the men there with facilities and with security and wait out the time when many will go to the US or be found alternative safe settlement. Call it a Transit Centre but provide for security and daily needs. Reopen the gym and medical services. No law says this cannot be done.
Option 2:
Force the removal. Create more stress and drive some men to breakdown and violence. Risk another death and severe injuries.
Traumatise all those who still are strong enough to remain peaceful.
Blame the men for the violence and get away with this temporarily.
Accept responsibility for the foreseeable outcome of the decision and rejection of available options.
Lose the dwindling support in Australia for offshore detention.
Face unending and hugely costly law suits into the future.
— https://www.facebook.com/janeikeogh/posts/1094795947320928?pnref=story

What is your decision? Safely resettle all the detainees on Manus Island? Or provoke violence and more deaths?

Protests continue on Manus

Dear Prime Minister,

Today's news:

Just now a Fork Lift truck came inside the Manus detention centre to close the gate that separates Oscar and Delta compounds from Foxtrot. There were police with the truck. The refugees did not allow them to close the gate, and the truck and police left the detention centre. Their plan was to separate the compounds to limit our ability to peacefully protest. We, the refugees in Manus, are protesting peacefully and do not want to make any violence. Immigration is provoking the refugees to try to get us to react with violence. At the same time, Australian Federal Police have arrived in Manus but I don’t know how many officers are here.
— Behrouz Boochani

How many AFP officers are on Manus island? Why are they there?

End offshore detention and bring all men, women and children to Australia now.

Violence on Nauru

Dear Prime Minister,

The refugees on Nauru are also in danger. 

More shame on Nauru. This Sri Lankan asylum seeker was beaten by security guards after trying to take food from the mess. His head injuries resulted in hospitalization. Two weeks ago a Bangladeshi man was given the same treatment. This is appalling and unwarranted! And apparently ok with Australia!
— Eyes on Offshore: https://www.facebook.com/eyesonoffshore/posts/1892379244365012

Bring all detainees on Manus Island and Nauru here now.

End offshore detention #325

Dear Prime Minister,

Refugee Week starts today, with the violent assault of a sick refugee by guards at the Manus Island RPC. Behrouz Boochani reports that the man has been asking for medical care for more than one year after having an unsuccessful operation in Port Moresby.

'IHMS is the main tool in Manus for torturing people.' - Behrouz Boochani

Close the camps and bring them here.

End offshore detention #309

Dear Prime Minister,

While the men on Manus Island are subjected to disruption and torture that is deliberately worsened every day the men, women and children detained on Nauru also continue to suffer. Documents and internal emails obtained from DIBP under freedom of information laws show that Australia Border Force lied to parliament to hide that major incidents of violence, sexual assault and self harm were ignored and misclassified as 'information'.

The DIBP insists that it "rejects any assertion that it attempted to mislead or hide pertinent information from the Senate inquiry" (which was in response to the leaked Nauru files last year). Prime Minister, here is yet more evidence of DIBP acting illegally and lying. Sack Minister Dutton, close the camps and bring them here.

Bring all in offshore detention to Australia #302

Dear Prime Minister

I am writing to you on behalf of the 302nd asylum seeker held by Australia on Manus Island. The situation at the Reprocessing Centre (concentration camp) has dramatically worsened this week. Some men have been forced to move out of their accommodation and into one of the other already overcrowded buildings. Demolition of the buildings has started. Is it a coincidence that it is the start of Ramadan? After the well-documented year-long program by ABF, Transfield and Broadspectrum to make conditions for the men more and more draconian this violent disruption to the camp amounts to torture. As Imran Mohammad reported, the detainees have not been properly informed of what is happening, the rules keep changing so even those who try to make decisions are thwarted, and all this after four years of incarceration have damaged their bodies and their minds.

The majority of Australians (72%) support bringing the refugees here. Many of us are in direct contact either with the detainees, or with advocates who are. So we know that the statements made by Minister Dutton and his department are lies. For example, in the letter I received from DIBP yesterday, the first paragraph of page two reads:

People transferred and accommodated at the Manus Regional Processing Centre (RPC) are treated with respect and dignity and in accord with human rights standards. The Australian Government has contracted appropriately trained and experienced service providers to ensure that residents’ needs are adequately met, including the provision of health and welfare services.
— https://www.ruthhalbert.com.au/dear-prime-minister/2017/5/27/the-4th-reply-from-dibp

It is astounding how many lies have been crammed into those two sentences. All meaning of the words 'respect', 'dignity', human rights', trained', 'experienced', 'adequately met', 'health', 'welfare', 'services' has been completely degraded.

This is why I write to you, Prime Minister. There is no honesty, morality, or legality in the dealings, writings or announcements of Minister Dutton and DIBP. After 302 letters to you, I expect you to reply. And to act to bring the asylum seekers here now.

On behalf of the 273rd person in offshore detention

Dear Prime Minister,

Manus island police commander David Yapu, local politician Ron Knight and the refugees themselves all contradict Minister Dutton's fabrication about what happened on Good Friday at the Manus Island detention centre. Who is taking responsibility for the safety of the Australian employees and the refugees there? Why have you not sacked Minister Dutton yet? 

End the lying. Close the camps

Dear Prime Minister,

It is urgent that you hold Minister Dutton to account. His statement about the cause of the PNG navy firing shots into the Manus Island detention centre on Good Friday totally contradicts all statements made by the people who were there including PNG police and navy, as well as the refugees themselves. Minister Dutton's statement is calculated to inflame relations between the Manus people and the refugees and is sickening in its implications.

As Behrouz Boochani has said:

Local people and refugees are both victims under this harsh Australian policy.
— Behrouz Boochani, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/apr/20/dutton-alleges-manus-shooting-rampage-sparked-after-refugees-seen-with-boy

Prime Minister, if you condone Minister Dutton's statement then you are provoking violence between two disadvantaged groups to play to the worst racist tendencies in Australia. Why? To save your sinking popularity? Surely we can not go any lower than this. Close the camps. Bring them here.

An Easter Sunday message from Manus Island

Dear Prime Minister,

What would you write to the people of a country who falsely imprison you for 4 years, deprive you of basic rights like medical care and food and then allow you to be shot at? This is what MD Imran wrote:

Although I am struggling to write a happy word on this blessed Easter Sunday, I hope all of you have had a beautiful day with your loved ones. Last year we were gifted with the news of death on Christmas and on Good Friday we were gifted with a murderous attack. The whole camp was filled with bullets and we all could have died on Friday. It was utter madness and an obvious criminal act, however, all the politicians and the police are just playing with words. We know for sure that none of the attackers will be charged, even though the evidence is in front of us. I don’t know how the Australian politicians can sleep in their beds knowing we are dying and it’s on their hands. I can’t believe that I came to a country to seek protection and landed in a place that tortures refugees to such a horrendous extent and makes them feel they are not human beings. I do understand now that we are refugees and don’t deserve to live. Our lives are don’t matter to this world. I felt like someone squashed me with their boots until I stopped breathing, particularly when one of the Australian workers said to me this morning I hope you are Ok. The Australian employees have started working again this morning and the centre is running like nothing has happened. What a world we are living in.
There is no more hope from this life but I am wishing you all the best blessings on this Easter Sunday.
— https://www.facebook.com/md.imran.5688476/posts/1300602926693615?pnref=story

What do you say, Prime Minister? What will you do, now, to end this?

The day after gunshots on Good Friday

Dear Prime Minister,

This is Behrouz Boochani's report on what happened yesterday at the Manus Island detention centre:

Three refugees and some Australian officers have been injured seriously. A refugee from Sudan has been injured in his head and another Sudanese man injured in his chest. A Pakistani refugee has been injured in his stomach and is urinating blood. Also some Australian officers have been injured seriously and did not come to work today. All of these injuries were caused by stones thrown by local people and not because of gun shots. I don’t know how the local people are now because I don’t have access to them. What really happened last night? The problem started when some of the refugees were coming from a soccer game to the centre, and a man from the Navy who the refugees claim was drunk started to argue with them. They started to fight each other and then a lot of young local people and refugees got involved in the fight. After a while the refugees ran away to the centre and the local people followed them throwing stones. When the refugees reached the centre both groups started throwing stones and other hard things at each other. Some of the locals started to beat the Australian guards who were outside of the centre and beat them very seriously. They even beat some police officers who were there. At this moment the Navy started shooting and all of the locals, officers and refugees ran away. The Navy shot about 100 times and some of their bullets hit and entered the rooms in Mike and Foxtrot. Australian immigration put out a statement that the Navy only shot into the air but it’s not true because some of the bullets made holes in the fences and the walls of rooms and that is clear in the photos and video that have been published in the media. Last night police were around the centre all night to protect the refugees and Australian staff. On the other side of the fences, in staff accommodation, the Australian non-security staff like case managers, interpreters, and immigration were scared too. I talked with some of them and they were in an unsafe place like the refugees. Some of those staff did not come to work today. Last night proved that Australia cannot ensure safety not only for refugees but for its citizens too.
— https://www.facebook.com/behrouz.boochani.7/posts/725709184267858?pnref=story

Gunshots on Good Friday

Dear Prime Minister,

Today, Good Friday, the detainees on Manus Island are being shot at. Behrouz Boochani reported:

This evening some of the refugees and local people fought each other near the soccer ground. The PNG navy started firing shots and all of the refugees came back to the centre to their rooms and tents. The Navy shot more than 100 times and some of the bullets hit rooms. The refugees and Australian officers are extremely scared and are in the centre now in the rooms and tent. I have not heard that anybody is injured. In the past hour no shots fired.
— https://www.facebook.com/behrouz.boochani.7/posts/725333864305390?pnref=story

Prime Minister it is horrifying that people who have fled war, violence and threat of death are now trapped by Australia, unprotected, and today being shot at. It is urgent that Australia 

  1. brings all people in offshore detention to Australia;
  2. establishes a Royal Commission into Australia's regime of indefinite detention including the effects it has had on the people of Manus Island and Nauru who have also suffered;
  3. compensate the asylum seekers, refugees, Manusians and Nauruans.

 

End offshore detention #222

Dear Prime Minister

Ms Mina Taherkhani is a refugee from Iran. We have imprisoned her on Nauru since January 2014. These are her words:

I am Mina Taherkhani. I’m 35 years old. I escaped from violence to seek peace and freedom. I’ve been in the detention centre in Nauru for over three years, where Australian people wouldn’t even keep their animals.

I was yearning for justice in a country which claims to uphold women’s rights but all I have experienced is terror and panic. Systemic violence keeps us in Nauru and it seems our pain has become very good business. We just asked for support and a safe place from the government but what they gave us was a hell called Nauru.
— Mina Taherkhani

Ms Taherkhani and the other women detained in Nauru are at daily risk of sexual assault and rape. Women who have been raped are denied medical care and punished for seeking help. That is your misogyny in action, Prime Minister.

Close the camps and bring them here.

For the 134th man on Manus Island

Dear Prime Minister,

On behalf of the 134th refugee on Manus Island I protest the detention and torture of all asylum seekers by Australia, in Manus Island, Nauru and Christmas Island, and in the onshore centres such as Villawood. 

Safdar Ahmed, an artist and academic, has illustrated the harrowing and repressive conditions at Villawood in "Villawood: Notes from an Immigration Detention Centre." Dr Ahmed won a Walkley award in 2015 for this zine.

End detention of asylum seekers and give them permanent refuge in Australia.