Australia/ PNG: Refugees forcibly removed from detention centre
Photo Credit: Amnesty International
Download PDF of most recent update to UA 184/17 Australia
There are ongoing concerns for hundreds of refugees as authorities forcibly relocated men from the Lombrum detention centre on 23 November, three weeks after all essential services were shut down. These refugees and asylum-seekers remain at further risk of violence from members of the local community and security forces.
Around 8am on 23 November, Papua New Guinea authorities sent police and immigration officials, armed with sticks and knives, into the Lombrum detention centre on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea (PNG). Officials announced that the estimated 420 remaining refugees and asylum seekers had one hour to prepare for relocation. However, after several hours of peaceful resistance by the men, the officials destroyed their food and rainwater supplies and forcibly moved some refugees onto buses to transport them to other detention facilities on the island.
PNG officials arrested refugee Behrouz Boochani and detained him for more than two hours. He is a leading human rights activist and journalist. Around 40 men were forcibly removed from Oscar Compound on 23 November, with some refugees saying they witnessed others being beaten or injured in the move. Police are threatening to forcibly move the hundreds of men still at the centre.
On 31 October, the Australian government withdrew all personnel and services from the Manus Island detention centre at Lombrum, where refugees and asylum-seekers were sent as part of Australia's cruel and illegal “offshore processing” policies. The more than 600 men were told to move to so-called “transit” centres closer to town, increasing risks to their safety. The new facilities at Hillside Haus and West Lorengau are not yet complete and do not have secure fences or a proper power supply.
The refugees and asylum-seekers have peacefully resisted moving as they fear for their personal safety. Locals have previously attacked refugees in the town of Lorengau, sometimes with machetes, and left several individuals badly injured. No action by the authorities has been taken to adequately protect the refugees from such violence.
Please send a letter, email, tweet or fax without delay.
* Start with a sentence about yourself to make your message unique.
Call on the PNG and Australian authorities:
* to ensure the safety and security of all refugees and asylum-seekers, including from violence by local communities, security forces or private security contractors and for police to refrain from arresting peaceful activists;
Here is the contact information you need:
Minister of Immigration and Border Protection (Australia)
Mr Peter Dutton
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Canberra ACT 2600, Australia
Fax: 011 61 2 6273 4144
Salutation: Dear Minister
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (PNG)
Mr Petrus Thomas
Port Moresby, NCD
Papua New Guinea
Salutation: Dear Minister
Please send a copy to:
Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
Fax: 011 61 2 6277 8522
His Excellency Tony William Negus
High Commissioner for Australia
50 O'Connor Street, Suite 1301
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 6L2
Fax: 1 (613) 786-7621
His Excellency Rupa Abraham Mulina
High Commissioner for Papua New Guinea
1779 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Suite 805
Washington, DC 20036, USA
Fax: 1 202 745 3679
Since Tuesday, 31 October, all water, food and power supplies have been cut off from the centre and the men have resorted to digging for ground water and catching rain in bins as their supplies run low. With severely limited access to medical care, and a rapid deterioration of sanitary conditions, these men have faced serious risks to their health and well-being. Amnesty International has called for the refugee detention centre on Manus Island to be closed and all refugees and asylum-seekers to be brought to safety in Australia. The closure of the detention centre only to move refugees to other so-called transit centres on Manus Island increases the already grave risks to their human rights. The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has publicly expressed its concerns over the deteriorating situation and has said that “the planned closure of the Manus Centre must only take place in the context of continued critical services and in line with Australia’s ongoing responsibility for the refugees and asylum-seekers it has transferred to Papua New Guinea and Nauru”.
Press Release: 11/07/2017
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.
If authorities don’t act immediately, there is a real risk that the situation will catastrophically deteriorate. The lives of these men, who are only asking for their rights to dignity and safety, are at serious risk.
- Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher.
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READ - article: 'The breath of death on Manus Island: starvation and sickness' - The Guardian
READ - article: 'Remaining Manus Island refugees fear attacks' - Sky News
READ - article: 'Staff desert Manus Island detention centre' - Radio New Zealand
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