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    November 07, 2017
    The current situation on Manus Island amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment Lives are at risk unless PNG authorities restore essential services As Australia continues to flout international law, all refugees and vulnerable persons should be resettled to third countries

    Critical services - including food, water and medical treatment - must be restored to the more than 600 refugees and vulnerable men inside the Lombrum detention centre on Manus Island before a major tragedy occurs, Amnesty International said today as researchers returned from Manus Island.

    Refugees and vulnerable men should not be forcibly relocated until such time as their dignity and safety can be guaranteed.

    “Today, Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court rejected a last ditch attempt by refugees to have these essential services restored and their rights protected. The decision is an abhorrent attack on the right to life,” said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher.

    November 03, 2017

    Photo Credit: © Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship via Getty Images

    Download PDF of most recent update to UA 184/17 Australia

    October 18, 2017

    The civil engineering company Canstruct International Pty Ltd (‘Canstruct’) has taken on a toxic contract to run facilities on Nauru where the Australian government has trapped refugees in a system that amounts to torture, Amnesty International said today.

    Canstruct, an Australian family-run company, has signed a contract to run refugee processing centres on the island, where hundreds of people have been forcibly transferred after trying to seek asylum in Australia. Australian officials have admitted this system is intentionally harsh.

    “What is so deeply shocking is that Canstruct has taken on this contract despite a mountain of evidence which shows that Australia’s whole offshore processing system is inherently abusive,” said Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Issues.

    “The company will provide the very services that sustain a system that keeps women, men and children trapped in a cycle of cruelty and desperation.”

    October 02, 2017

    On learning of the reported death of a refugee who had been held in the Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island, Kate Schuetze, Pacific Researcher at Amnesty International said:

    “This tragic and avoidable death is the sixth death related to the Manus Island centre, and the ninth overall connected to Australia’s offshore processing regime.

    “Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has blood on his hands. This death proves, yet again, that offshore processing is untenable, and must end immediately.

    “This death comes only a few days after a small number of refugees were offered asylum in the United States, making the situation increasingly desperate for those who are left behind in Australia’s offshore processing centres.

    “Australia must immediately ensure the safety of all people held on Papua New Guinea and Nauru. The fairest and quickest way to ensure safety for all remains bringing them to Australia to process their asylum claims, and welcome refugees into our community.”

     

    September 26, 2017

    Responding to the news of the arrival of the first refugees into the USA from the Australian-run offshore detention centre on Papua New Guinea, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Research, Anna Neistat, said:

    “While it is heartening to see refugees who have endured so much uncertainty, pain and misery find safety in the USA, we cannot ignore those still mired in Australia’s cruel offshore detention system. There are hundreds of people, almost all of whom are recognized refugees, who still languish on Nauru and Manus Island. They, too, must be immediately moved to a safe country.

    “Australia cannot shirk responsibility. It is principally responsible for the harm it has inflicted on these people and has a duty to bring them to safety. However, if there are other countries who can step up where Australia is failing, then there may still be hope for the victims of an inherently abusive policy that has denied these people dignity for so long.”

     

     

    September 24, 2017

    It’s great to find businesses that support refugees and refugee issues. But that is certainly not how all businesses behave.

    For more than 1,000 refugees and people seeking asylum, the small pacific state of Nauru is an island of despair they’ve been deported to simply for seeking refuge in Australia. But for Spanish multinational Ferrovial, Nauru is a treasure island from which it is making millions of dollars.

    The system that Australia has set up on Nauru for refugees and people seeking asylum, including children, involves deliberate cruelty and amounts to torture. They are subject to humiliation, neglect and abuse, leading to poor physical and mental health.

    Ferrovial is the sole shareholder of Broadspectrum, the Australian company that runs refugee “processing” centres on Nauru as well as Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, and facilitates this abusive system.

    Please take action today and tell Ferrovial to end its operations on Nauru.

    July 27, 2017
      Spanish multinational Ferrovial continued to make millions from the abuse of refugees and people seeking asylum on Nauru and Manus Island in the first half of 2017, despite attempts to distance itself from Australia’s deliberately cruel refugee “processing” system, Amnesty International said today.   Financial reports released today show that between 1 January and 30 June 2017 Ferrovial reported revenues of €1.326 billion from Broadspectrum, its wholly-owned Australian subsidiary which operates Refugee Processing Centres (RPCs) on Nauru and Manus Island. Ferrovial also reported a 40.1% increase in revenues compared to the first half of 2016, largely due to Broadspectrum. Secrecy around the contract for running the RPCs allows Broadspectrum and Ferrovial to hide the exact profit they make from this abusive system.  
    June 14, 2017

    A landmark settlement that forces the Australian government to pay more than AUS $70m in compensation to nearly 2,000 refugees and asylum seekers for illegally detaining them on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island amid horrific conditions must lead to their safe resettlement, Amnesty International said today.

    “While the compensation deal is important, it does not remedy the injustices visited upon the refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island or change their present circumstances. The Australian government must finally face up to the inescapable reality that their offshore detention policies are unsustainable and bring all of the people trapped by them to safety in Australia,” said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher.

    “While this settlement is long overdue, it is a welcome recognition of the harm that refugees and people seeking asylum have endured on Manus Island. Now, the Australian government must dismantle its illegal offshore detention centre and safely resettle these people.”

    April 04, 2017

    Released 00:01 BST on 05 April 2017

    A major corporation responsible for running the Australian government’s refugee “processing” centre on Nauru is making millions of dollars from a system that amounts to torture of refugees and people seeking asylum, Amnesty International said today.

    A new briefing, ‘Treasure I$land’, exposes how Spanish multinational Ferrovial and its Australian subsidiary Broadspectrum are complicit in, and reaping vast profits from, Australia’s cruel and secretive refugee “processing” system on the Pacific island.

    “The Australian government has created an island of despair for refugees and people seeking asylum on Nauru, but an island of profit for companies making millions of dollars from a system so deliberately and inherently cruel and abusive it amounts to torture,” said Lucy Graham, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Business and Human Rights.

    “By knowingly enabling the continuation of this system, which is specifically designed to cause suffering and deter people from travelling to Australia by boat to seek asylum, Broadspectrum and Ferrovial are unequivocally complicit in this abuse.”

    November 14, 2016

    Today’s announcement by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on third country resettlement is an extreme step in shirking responsibility by the Australian Government, said Amnesty International.

    Prime Minister Turnbull today announced that the Australian Government is in discussions with the United States for some of the refugees warehoused on Nauru and Manus Island to be settle in the US via a process administered by the UNHCR.

    “It is absolutely shameful that the Australian Government has first sent several thousand people to languish for three years on Nauru and Manus Island, set up an offshore processing regime on Nauru that amounts to torture and is now passing the buck when it comes to offering them protection,” said Dr Graham Thom, Refugee Coordinator at Amnesty International Australia. 

    “Australia is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and should be leading by example at a time of global record high levels of people forced to seek safety. Yet our Government is failing to play a fair part in providing sanctuary for those fleeing conflict and persecution, and this urgently needs to change.

    November 01, 2016
    Children playing near the Refugee Processing Centre on Nauru.

    By Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Research

    There was a time when Australia led the way on refugee protection.

    Following World War II, Australia came second only to the United States on resettling European refugees. Its signature brought the Refugee Convention into force a few years later. And, in the 1970s, it resettled the third highest number of Indochinese refugees following the wars there.

    Sadly those days are a distant memory. After earning global notoriety for the cruelty it continues to inflict on refugees and people seeking asylum on Nauru and Manus Island, the Australian government has shown it is capable of worse.

    Not only is the government refusing to shut down its centres on the two Pacific islands, it is now planning to introduce a law to permanently ban the people trapped there from getting a visa to Australia.

    October 18, 2016

    By Anna Shea: Amnesty International Researcher/Advisor on Refugee and Migrant Rights

    In an out-of-the way, dingy watering hole, a young woman I’ll call Jane told me: “I picked this place because it was very noisy, so there’d be less chance of being monitored.”

    Up until that point, we had only communicated by encrypted messages, so that the local authorities wouldn’t know about our meeting. I was in a country that had recently enacted legislation  allowing it to prosecute and imprison people who disclosed information about offshore government operations. By meeting with me, Jane was demonstrating real courage. Many other people were too scared to meet with me—or even speak on the phone.  At the bar, Jane spoke for hours about the human rights abuses she had witnessed. At several points, she broke down in tears. 

    As a human rights lawyer with Amnesty International, I’m used to making elaborate arrangements to ensure the safety and anonymity of the people I interview in authoritarian countries. I’m also accustomed to hearing traumatic stories of abuse.

    October 17, 2016

    Released 17 OCTOBER 2016, 09:30 GMT

    The Australian government is subjecting refugees and asylum seekers to an elaborate and cruel system of abuse – brazenly flouting international law – just to keep them away from its shores, a new Amnesty International report says today.

    Based on months of research, including interviews with more than 100 people in Nauru and Australia, Amnesty International’s report ‘Island of Despair’ exposes the government of Australia’s policy of “processing” refugees and asylum-seekers on Nauru for what it is: a deliberate and systematic regime of neglect and cruelty.

    “On Nauru, the Australian government runs an open-air prison designed to inflict as much suffering as necessary to stop some of the world’s most vulnerable people from trying to find safety in Australia,” said Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Research, one of the few people who managed to enter the remote and secretive island to investigate human rights abuses.

    August 31, 2016

    Major reforms must be undertaken by the authorities in the Australian state of Queensland to protect the rights of Indigenous children from a youth justice system that criminalizes them out of all proportion to the general population, a new Amnesty International report says today.

    The report Heads Held High: Keeping Queensland kids out of detention, strong in culture and community will be launched at Parliament House, Brisbane today.

    “While the Queensland authorities have recognized the need for reform, much more needs to be done. In particular, a shift to supporting Indigenous-led initiatives could make a significant difference to prevent another generation of Indigenous children from being lost behind bars,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Senior Research Adviser for South East Asia and the Pacific.

    August 25, 2016

    By Anna Neistat, Senior Director for Research at Amnesty International

    “I have lumps in my breasts, in my throat, and in my uterus…” – Halimeh spoke softly, but as she quickly uttered these words, I noticed an immense sadness in her dark brown eyes. We were sitting on the rocks near the ocean, wary of wild dogs barking nearby, and melting in the scorching heat of this remote Pacific island. I could feel her fear, so common for any woman in her 30s who checks her breasts in the morning and knows something isn’t right. 

    Halimeh fled Iran three years ago, after she said several of her friends got executed there, because they converted to Christianity, something that she wanted to do as well. She aimed for Australia—a country where she was hoping to find peace and freedom from religious persecution.  

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