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MANUS ISLAND: REFUGEE PRISON December 12, 2013

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, Human Rights.
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Amnesty International reports the conditions experienced by refugees on Manus Island represent systematic cruelty. The deterrence policy seems to be working.

If true it is a disgrace – and it is the primary responsibility of the current Federal Government, whose leader recently attended the funeral of Nelson Mandela.

Micheal Gordon writes the Amnesty report advises the treatment goes beyond failure to provide adequate sanitation, drinking water and medical care. The Australian and PNG Foreign Ministers have denied the accuracy of the report which are based on a visit from 11 November to 16 November. The report attests:

■ Asylum seekers are referred to by boat number not their names, a practice that added to the impression that they were prisoners.

■ Detainees complained of staff bullying and being told to go back to where they came from when they complained about conditions.

■ Medical staff were inadequate to deal with requests for around 110 appointments a day and the long queues at meal times meant detainees had to choose between keeping appointments or eating.

■ Toilets had no soap and doors that could not be locked.

■ Requests by detainees for shoes were denied, yet they were ineligible for outside excursions without shoes.

Conditions, as reported fall short of the standards of the Nazi Concentration Camps, but one thing can lead to another. Note the dehumanization of referring to people by boat number, and the mix of violence and deprivation of human dignity. And inhumane cruelty seems to be working. So why would the Government stop?

Who would have thought any Australian Government would be party to the treatment reported? Apparently 109 refugees have voluntarily chosen to return from the conditions they were fleeing. That makes sense: it would be far better to die at home than in some godforesaken hell hole in the Pacific. Pacific Solution indeed. Still better than the accommodation provided by Norfolk Island, or Sydney Cove since it is possible to return home. Things have improved after more than two hundred years.

The detention centres on Manus and elsewhere are not generally open, and it seems exception to allow Amnesty International entry and to report. The findings of the report are then denied. However, what can be said is that is not sole report that has surfaced. For example:

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