Four years too many: July 19 vigil

| June 26, 2017 | Reply

6pm Wednesday 19 July, Hyde Park north

Close Manus and Nauru, #BringThemHere
Vigil 6pm Wednesday 19 July Hyde Park north

Invite your friends to the Facebook event here

July 19 marks four years on Manus Island and Nauru for the refugees dumped there. This was the day then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s PNG solution began, aimed at preventing refugees who arrived by boat from ever resettling in Australia.

In the four years of hell in offshore detention, four refugees have lost their lives: Reza Barati, Hamid Khazaei, Kamil Hussain and Faysal Ishak Ahmed. Another 2000 have had their lives destroyed.

They have bravely resisted, with 240 consecutive days of protest on Nauru last year and a massive hunger strike on Manus in 2015. And the tide has started to turn. Last year the #LetThemStay campaign stopped the government sending 267 refugees and asylum seekers back to the offshore camps. The level of public opposition to the abuse and torture on Manus and Nauru had become too great.

Four years on, there is still no plan on where or how to resettle the refugees so they can get on with their lives. Some may get to the US under the resettlement deal with Donald Trump has said he will honour. But at a minimum hundreds will be left behind.

Manus closure?

The government says the Manus detention centre will close by 31 October. Parts of it are due to close by the end of June. But the refugees would simply be dumped in the community on Manus Island. This would make attacks on the refugees, like that which saw Reza Barati murdered in 2014, inevitable.

On Good Friday in April PNG navy officers fired gunshots into the detention centre, leaving bullet-holes in the accommodation blocks. Incredibly, no one was shot. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton tried to blame the refugees, implying they had sexually assaulted a young boy. But his lie has come unstuck with PNG police, the PNG defence force and MPs all contradicting his story.

The crises on Manus and Nauru—the deaths, the self-harm, the rapes and assaults—will continue. Each new outrage makes it harder and harder for Turnbull to keep the camps going. A clear majority now think refugees on Manus and Nauru should be brought to Australia. The campaign to #BringThemHere needs to continue, until we close Manus and Nauru for good.

Category: Past actions

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