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Australia

    August 04, 2017
      Responding to reports of protests on Manus Island, where Papua New Guinea (PNG) immigration officials, implementing a policy set by the government of Australia, are attempting to force refugees and asylum seekers out of an immigration detention centre, Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Campaigns Director for Southeast Asia & Pacific, said:   “Until there is a safe place for them to go, forcing refugees and asylum seekers out of the detention centre will cause even more suffering. Reports that police are attempting to forcefully clear the compound by cutting off water and electricity are alarming, but sadly typical of the policies of the Australian department of immigration, whose conduct on Manus Island has been marked by human rights abuses and deliberate cruelty.  
    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.  
    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.

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