Refugee group condemns transfer of asylum seekers to Manus Island

| December 29, 2012 | Reply

The Refugee Action Coalition condemns the Immigration Department’s new announced transfer of 25 single male asylum seekers to Manus Island.

“The government doesn’t even have the courage to say how many of the 25 are unaccompanied minors, although the use of children’s services officers suggest there are minors among those expelled,” said spokesperson Ian Rintoul.

“That the Immigration Minister who is the guardian for all under-age unaccompanied asylum seekers would send a minor to Manus Island simply beggars belief. He can’t even say how long they will be on Manus Island, although the experience will cruel their education opportunities and potentially scar them for life,” Rintoul said.

“Like a broken record, the government keeps insisting that the transfer of minors ‘…reaffirms the strong message of deterrence’, although everyone knows it is no such thing. Over 8000 asylum seekers have arrived since 13 August, yet the government continues to select a tiny number to be especially mistreated on Nauru or Manus Island. No amount of references to the Expert Panel can excuse the government for its deliberate mistreatment of people on Manus Island. The recommendations of the Expert Panel were rendered obsolete months ago.

“Chris Bowen has turned the ‘no advantage test’ into a positive disadvantage test. Instead of one rule for all asylum seekers who have arrived since 13 August, he punishes a tiny minority for no reason at all. Other asylum seekers who arrived after 13 August will be released on bridging visas to live in the Australian community.

“The single men will be housed in tents and shipping containers in a camp that has totally inadequate education facilities. The Minister is imposing a life sentence on them.”

Meanwhile, other asylum seekers on Manus Island have rejected the Immigration Department’s reply to their letter of complaint.

“‘It [the department letter] has made us disappointed and sad. We did not get an answer to our questions,’” one Manus Island asylum seeker told the Refugee Action Coalition. “One lady collapsed from the stress after she was told about the letter and had to be carried to the medical centre. We will have other protests.”

The Department’s letter admits that there is no refugee processing arrangements in place but they may “…commence in early 2013”.

“Rather than maintain the farce of the Pacific Solution 2.0, the government should close the costly and inhumane hell-holes of Manus Island and Nauru,” said Ian Rintoul.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

Category: Press releases

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