Pre-election rally: Close Manus, Close Nauru, Bring Them Here

| May 13, 2016 | Reply

1pm Sunday 19 June, Sydney Town Hall

Nauru protest_web

It’s time to raise our voices to make sure refugees are an issue in the coming election. The government’s offshore detention regime is in crisis. The PNG Supreme Court has found that detention on Manus Island is illegal. The PNG government has said it will close the centre, and considers the asylum seekers Australia’s responsibility.

Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton are vowing they will never come to Australia. But their options are narrowing. The government has already said they will not be sent to Nauru.
On Nauru, two refugees within a week, Omid and Hodan, set themselves on fire in despair, and became the latest victims of offshore detention. Another refugee, Rakib, has also died from swallowing pills. There have been numerous other suicide attempts. It is the government’s detention policy that is directly responsible for their deaths.

Some refugees have been on Nauru for almost three years now. The protests by men, women and children in the family camp have put the lie to the government’s claim to have children out of detention. The horrors on Nauru continue—with rapes, bashings and robbery of refugees common.

But amidst the horror, the tide is starting to turn. The wave of support through the “Let them stay” campaign calling for the 267 refugees from Manus and Nauru to remain in Australia has meant that not a single one has been returned.

If we build the pressure on the government through demonstrations and campaigning, we can force detention on Manus to end and strike down one half of the government’s offshore detention regime.

But neither major party is going to end the war on refugees. Malcolm Turnbull is continuing to defend “border protection”, and has spread fear by claiming refugees might be terrorists. Labor’s Bill Shorten is also committed to maintaining offshore detention and the bulk of the anti-refugee policies.

We need to turn the support for “Let them stay” into a stronger movement to “Bring them here” from Nauru and Manus, to bring all the asylum seekers to Australia and close the camps for good—up to the election and beyond.

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