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Home > News > 2017 > November > IEU speaks on Manus Island situation

IEU speaks on Manus Island situation

Bars_web_qual.pngIEU calls upon the Federal Government to take immediate action and provide access to food, water, electricity and medical supplies to those men remaining within the detention centre located on Manus Island.  

On 31 October 2017, the Australian Government closed Manus detention camp and removed support and food, water and medical supplies to the remaining 600 refugees and asylum seekers held on the island.  

The last food ration was delivered on 29 October and was only sufficient for less than two days. 

The refugees have resorted to storing water in garbage bins and building make shift rain catchment systems.  

While there is significant NGO support ready to provide supplies, a PNG military blockade is currently stopping further supplies or independent observers from accessing the centre.

Fears For Safety Validated 

The UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, reports that 606 men currently remain at the Regional Processing Centre due to their fears for their security if they are forced to move outside.   

A history of violent encounters validates the men’s fears for their safety. Reza Barati was murdered by guards inside the compound in 2014. Early this year, soldiers shot at refugees inside the compound. Several refugees who have gone outside the compound have been beaten and attacked with machetes.

Lack Of Alternative Services And Durable Solutions

If all 600 men were to leave immediately, many would not find adequate or sufficient accommodation elsewhere.  

Despite the claims by MP Peter Dutton, the UNHCR reports that East Lorengau Regional Transit Centre has insufficient capacity. There is no security fence at Hillside Haus and the construction of the West Lorengau Haus facility has been significantly hampered by the rain and container accommodation is surrounded by mud and water and electricity connections have not been completed.

Tension With The Local Communities Are On The Rise

While many of the Manusians in the Lorengau community are sympathetic towards the refugees’ situation, there is growing resentment at the imposition of hundreds of young men on their small community.  

There is growing disenchantment with Australia’s actions in Manus and a resentment at a richer, more powerful country simply abandoning people on the island without concern for their, or the local people’s, welfare.

Australia’s Responsibility To Act.

It is imperative that the Australian Government act to de-escalate this increasingly tense and unstable situation. Under the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention, Australia remains responsible for the well-being of all those transported to Papua New Guinea until adequate, long-term solutions outside the country are found. 

IEU Federal Executive Action

The IEU Federal Executive has endorsed the following resolution and urges all IEU members to call upon Australian politicians to take responsibility for these vulnerable human beings by providing immediate access to the water, food and electricity, medical supplies and protection and safety

The IEU Federal Executive; 

  • Expresses grave concern at the current situation in Manus Island detention centre where the remaining 600 refugees and asylum seekers have been denied access to food, water, electricity and medical supplies. 
  • Notes with concern the UNHCR provided evidence that the alternative detention facilities on Manus Island are not ready for occupation,  not able to provide necessary security and/or have insufficient capacity.
  • Condemns the federal government and the opposition for their lack of compassionate action in the serious matter of the refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island.
  • Calls upon the federal government to comply with the United Nations 1951 Convention regarding the Status of Refugees and ensure the immediate supply of food, water, electricity and medical supplies to the 600 men on Manus Island.

Further, the IEU Federal Executive calls upon the Federal Government to permit immediate resettlement in those countries which have humanely offered assistance.

IEU Member Action

IEU members are asked to

More information on the situation at Manus Island or Nauru can be located at: 

http://www.unhcr.org/en-au/

https://www.asrc.org.au/

https://www.amnesty.org.au/act-now/ref803-bring-them-here/