“Where’s Behrouz?” Refugee protest to march to Manus film world premiere

| June 8, 2017 | Reply

Refugee supporters will march from Town Hall to the world premiere screening of “Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time,” on Sunday 11 June at the Sydney Film Festival, to call for the closure of Manus Island detention centre.

The film was secretly recorded on a mobile phone in the Manus Island detention centre over many months by Kurdish refugee, Behrouz Boochani. Boochani was found to be a refugee despite never having made an application in Papua New Guinea and has been adopted by PEN International as a political prisoner.

The screening of the film will bring world attention to the torture of daily life inside Manus Island detention centre and the Australian government’s on-going responsibility for their illegal detention.

For almost four years, refugees and asylum seekers have been illegally held on Manus Island. Despite a PNG Supreme Court order in April 2016 that the detention centre be closed, people are still held there with no future.

Boochani has become well–known as the ‘refugee correspondent’ of Manus Island, documenting the lives and conditions in what he calls “the Manus Prison.” Boochani himself has been held in the original Chauka, a brutal isolation punishment unit attached to the Manus detention centre (see photo).


Australia Border Force has recently announced that they intend to close the detention centre by October and that Foxtrot compound will be closed at the end of June. Their latest attempt to force people out of the detention centre is a decree that the number of points that can be used at the detention centre canteen has been reduced from 50 to 39 (see photo of notice).

“Cutting the number of points that people can use is a disgraceful attempt to squeeze people out of the detention centre,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “There is nowhere for people to go. Refugees fear they will be in a worse situation if they are forced to move to East Lorengau where mugging and robberies are common and where food has to be brought in each week, because they cannot even buy enough food each week to survive.”

“Behrouz’s request to attend the film opening at the Film Festival was rejected by the Australian Border Force. We are protesting on Sunday to pose the question, “Where is Behrouz?” It says it all that the co-director of the film, Arash Kamali Servastani, an Iranian film director who lives in the Netherlands will be at the premiere, but not Behrouz.

“Justice and safety for Behrouz and all the asylum seekers and refugees on Manus and Nauru will only come when the government brings them all to Australia.”

“Where’s Behrouz?” protest, and call to bring all asylum seekers and refugees on Manus and Nauru to Australia: Sunday 11 June, 10.15am, Sydney Town Hall Square; march to premiere film screening of “Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time,” in George Street.

Speakers will include RAC, Wendy Bacon, fellow-journalist, and Women in Support of Women on Nauru.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713


Category: Press releases

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