UNHCR report on Manus

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?

Let them go

Dear Prime Minister,

Today's report from Refugee Action Coalition (Vic)

Today, local land owners blocked the road to East Lorengau Transit Centre in protest against ABF, IHMS, ICSA and JDA. One of the refugees who attempted to leave was threatened with a knife. 
All medical care, ability to buy medicine, buy food and all other services has been put on hold.
The ill will the Australian government has generated in PNG has a long history. The Australian man who helped murder Reza Berati and all other Australian personnel involved in the assaults and attacks on people over the 17th and 18th of February 2014 have never faced justice. The three Australian guards allegedly drugged and gang raped a local employee in June 2015 were spirited away despite the request of local police to interview them. Local employees were/are paid a fraction that Australian employees were/are paid. The reputation of Manus has been tarnished by Australia’s detention regime. Despite the ruling of PNG courts that detention was illegal, Australia maintained the fiction that it was PNG’s responsibility to close the detention centre while simultaneously controlling any chance of third country resettlement. 
The Australian government not only holds refugees in contempt, they hold smaller or poorer countries such as PNG and Nauru in contempt and have shown themselves prepared to actively corrupt, destabilise and interfere in the democracies of our nearest neighbours.
— Refugee Action Coalition (Vic)

Amnesty now for all asylum seekers and refugees detained on Nauru and Manus.

End offshore detention #442

Dear Prime Minister,

After stopping access to cigarettes, coffee, tea and sugar Australian immigration has ordered IHMS on Manus to give the refugees one month's supply of their medications.

What risk is there to a person suffering from mental illness who is given a month's worth of pills?

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.

Reunite the families

Dear Prime Minister,

The news in today's Guardian about the impossible position of Arash, an Iranian refugee on Nauru, is yet another reminder that Australia's harsh policy has immediate and terrible consequences which will impact on people for the rest of their lives.

Which ABF officials wrote the "release of custody" form to get Arash to give up his daughter to go to the USA? How can such personal cruelty contribute any benefit to Australia's security? Arash and his wife Mariam were forced to go to Nauru by Australia. Mariam had to be sent to Australia to give birth to their child because the healthcare on Nauru is 'rudimentary'. Arash was forced to stay behind on Nauru. He has never held his daughter. He says:

I feel like I am being held hostage, and for no reason, this is all just a nonsense. I see my baby on my phone, and I miss her every day. I need to hold my baby, I need to hug her. They have kept us apart for no reason, only to be cruel.

If I ring Minister Dutton's office about this issue I will be told that it is a a breach of privacy to discuss an individual's situation. This is how Australia hides its cruelty. But the consequences of this policy are felt, bitterly and tragically, as deeply personal by Arash and every other detainee on Manus Island and Nauru. The ABF employees who write forms to enact torture, the bureaucrats who devise harsher and harsher conditions to force the refugees to choose refoulement rather than die in detention, and Mike Pezullo who builds his career on magnifying the suffering of vulnerable people are the only beneficiaries of maintaining this privacy. This toxic system must be ended now.

Bring all detainees on Manus Island and Nauru to safety and freedom.

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?



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.

Silence Land. A poem by Mohammad Ali Maleki

Dear Prime Minister,

The peaceful protests continue on Manus. The children on Nauru still have never walked on grass, only poisonous gravel. Men on Manus are handcuffed and flown to Port Moresby. An elderly, sick Rohingya man was told he must sign papers to go back to Myanmar or he will not be given any water or food. In Myanmar the Burmese army are burning Rohingyas alive. Ronnie Knight, MP of Manus Island, tweets that Toll are going to build a new detention centre on Manus. PNG police arrest any refugees they find unless they are paid cash. Women on Nauru cannot get terminations for their pregnancies while their rapists go unpunished. You are Prime Minister. This is done in your name. This will be your legacy.

Mohammad Ali Maleki fears he is losing his mind now that he is in his fifth year in Manus hell. He writes:

Silence Land

I have doubts about my sanity:
not everyone can bear this much.
They stole all my feelings;
there’s no wisdom left in my mind.
I am just a walking dead man.
I am just a walking dead man.

I yelled for help so many times –
No one on this earth took my hand.
Now I see many mad things and imagine
how the world would look if it collapsed.

Perhaps it would be good for everything to return to the past;
for nothing to be seen on the earth or in the sky.
It would feel so good to be a child
again and go back to my mother’s womb.
For there to be no sign of me,
for me never to have gone crazy in this place.

What if the woollen jacket I am wearing unravels
and begins to fall apart?
Or the butterfly flies back to its cocoon,
or the autumn leaf grows green and returns
to its branch on that old tree?
What if the tree becomes a seed in the soil –
I sound crazy speaking this way!

It’s the outcome of being detained for four years
after seeking asylum on the sea.

What if that sea returned to its source
and flowed back to the river mouth?
If that river receded back up into its spring?
What if only the sun and the moon remained in the sky?
If I saw even the sun’s birth reversed,
watched it dissipate into space?
Witnessed the moon implode upon itself?

All things returning to their starting place…

How beautiful, to live in a colourless world,
everywhere silent and still.
The earth would be calm for a moment,
free of even one miscreant.

But what do you make of my vision –
am I sane or mad?
— Mohammad Ali Maleki trans. Monsoor Shostari ed. Michelle Seminara

No health care

Dear Prime Minister,

Why haven't you sacked Minister Dutton yet? We have lost count of the lies, the illegal actions, the waste of money. We remember with despair every day the people on Manus Island and Nauru: the dead, the permanently injured, the raped, the mentally ill - all done by Australia.

When Minister Dutton was asked how medical care will be provided to Australia's refugees on PNG when the current contract with IHMS ends he said "ask IHMS." IHMS said "ask Dutton's department" who said "ask PNG." PNG's chief medical officer said, in an understatement, that the situation is "worrying" and that he was waiting to hear from Australia. He has not been able to brief PNG's new health minister because of lack of information from Australia.

Four years of torture, of blocking resettlement and now destruction of the detention centre leaves the detainees on Manus and the majority of Australians, who are horrified at the worsening situation, waiting in fear of Minister Dutton's next unspeakable act. Bring all detainees to safety and freedom.

Set on fire

Dear Prime Minister,

I intended to write today's letter encouraging you and the government to take advantage of the offer from the ACT to house and support some of the refugees from Manus and Nauru. But news has just come from Nauru that another refugee has set himself on fire. The message from Nauru concludes:

'When asked if the family of the young man would mind the information being shared I received this answer: "No coz their kid is in hell."'

Prime Minister, this is not politics, not security, not strength. This is people in agony. Bring them all to saftey and freedom.

Forced removals

Dear Prime Minister,

The forcing out of refugees from the relative safety of the detention centre on Manus Island continues. RadioNZ reports that a second group of thirty men has been forcibly removed by plane from Manus to Port Moresby under the pretence of accessing medical care. However, they have been left at a motel, with no support. They are in danger of being arrested and jailed for being illegally in PNG. Another thirty men in the Manus detention centre have been told that they will be moved to Port Moresby next week.

Meanwhile yesterday at the detention centre the phone room was demolished so that refugees cannot contact their families or their supporters in Australia. And equipment and supplies meant for the refugees have been taken by Broadspectrum and donated to a local school.

Please show leadership and end this. Sack Minister Dutton, bring all offshore detainees to safety and freedom immediately and establish a Royal Commission to ensure that this never happens again.

Show leadership

Dear Prime Minister,

Emeritus Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill (UNSW) was interviewed on Radio NZ today. He reminds us that Australia was integral to solving the Indo-Chinese refugee crisis of the 1970s and 1980s by working closely with other countries in our region. But when Australia's current 'Stop the Boats' regime started there was no resettlement plan for the detainees. Neither Nauru nor Papua New Guinea have the social, political or cultural resources to take refugees detained there. They are not viable options for resettlement. This four-year-long deadlock is due to the mistake of making 'tough' policies which have removed all options. Australia has painted itself into a corner therefore no other country will negotiate with us because we have nothing to offer in return.

Professor Goodwin-Gill challenges Australia to take the opportunity for leadership, in the local region and globally, in the interests of refugees, migrants and countries. There will be no progress unless we co-operate with other countries and obey international law. We must stop playing tough and being arbitrary.

Prime Minister, last week you claimed to be a strong leader. The issue of Australia's refugee and migrant policy gives you an even bigger role for leadership than the Marriage postal survey. Please demonstrate your leadership and find a humane, immediate solution for the men, women and children trapped by Australia on Manus Island and Nauru.

Suffering on Nauru

Dear Prime Minister,

In the four letters of reply I have received from 'JC' of ABF Ministerial Correspondence Section Support Group he/she writes that 'all transferees receive clinically indicated health care broadly consistent with Australian public standards' . This is a lie.

Dr Paddy McLisky said in The Guardian today that

the Australian immigration department had deliberately created a cumbersome, complex, and bureaucratic process for medical transfers, that appeared as though it was designed to fail.
— https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/aug/21/three-pregnant-refugees-and-nearly-50-others-denied-medical-transfers-from-nauru?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

There are nearly 50 refugees and asylum seekers held on Nauru - including at least three women seeking to terminate their pregnancies - who are refused, or not considered for overseas medical treatment. This is in defiance of doctors' recommendations.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has designed a system to block all medical transfers while presenting a pretence of medical care. As Greg Lake, former Detention Centre Director, Nauru, said last year 'Our system depends on making detention worse than the place people are fleeing from. Worse than Syria under ISIS. It depends on taking away people's hope and dignity.'

As a matter of government policy and of Australia's reputation and standing, I ask you to immediately end the torture and indefinite detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru and bring them all 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?

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.

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.