With Australian news coverage concentrating on the Covid-19 outbreak so extensively, it is of grave concern that the many crucial issues related to the plight of people seeking asylum and refugees are disappearing from public and political discourse.
The conditions for people in immigration detention are only getting worse, yet we hear almost nothing about it. People in detention, and those in the community waiting for their claims to be heard, are desperate. They are living under extremely harsh, unsafe and cruel conditions.
Last month the International Criminal Court (ICC) found that the conditions of immigration detention on Nauru and in PNG constitute cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and would seem to put Australia in breach of the ICC’s foundation statute. Australia was a signatory to the ICC when it was established in 1998.
Two UN bodies, 1) the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and 2) the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, will be visiting Australia soon for inspection visits to all places where people are deprived of their liberty. This will include immigration detention facilities. These visits are part of a regular systems of inspections aimed at preventing torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Read more
Please help to refocus attention on Australia’s cruel treatment of refugees by writing a letter to the editor, to the PM, the Home Affairs Minister, and to your local MP today. See ‘Materials for Letter Writers’ link at top of page for contact details.
- Demand that all those still stranded in offshore detention be immediately moved to safety.
- Demand that the Australian Government take responsibility and find safe, long-term resettlement solutions for all those still on Nauru and PNG, as well as those now in Australia after having been transferred from offshore detention for medical treatment. (The Australian government has declared that this is a matter for PNG and Nauru, no longer the responsibility of Australia, and that no further action was being taken by Australia to pursue resettlement arrangements.)
There are currently believed to be more than 460 people in offshore detention, many of whom have been there for over 7 years.
They need our help. They have no hope without us. If we don’t help, who will?