Today members of the Refugee Rights Action Network and Whistleblowers Activist Citizens Alliance Western Australia (WACA WA) have barricaded the doors to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in Perth in solidarity with the men on Manus who have barricaded themselves inside the detention centre on Lombrum Naval Base in PNG.
We have been inspired to act by the courageous and disciplined non-violent resistance of men in the camp during 106 days of peaceful protests. We echo their calls for freedom, safety and justice.
Behrouz Boochani, a Kurdish journalist incarcerated on Manus, recently wrote, “When the refugees engage in discussions, all their dialogues have one thing in common: We won’t put up with being incarcerated anymore. We have no energy left to go from this prison to another prison. We haven’t committed any crime and we can’t tolerate prison any longer. All the conversations are driven by one thing, and one thing only, and that is freedom. Only freedom.”
From October 31, the Australian government, with the assistance of Border Force, Wilson Security and local PNG authorities cut off food, water and power in the Manus Island camp. The demolition of fences has left the men vulnerable and exposed; they do not feel safe inside the Detention Centre but fear they would be at greater risk if they are forced to relocate to Lorengau where there have been several serious robberies and assaults against refugees.
Yesterday Australian Border Force ordered PNG Immigration to drill holes in the water tanks at the camp and filled in the wells the men had dug in order to survive. Starvation and the denial of access to water is being used as a tactic to compel the men to move. Yesterday they were issued with 48 hour notice warning them to relocate.
The men have put out an ‘SOS’ and have been appealing to the International community to rescue them. Despite persistent claims that Australia is not responsible for the men, Prime
Minister Malcolm Turnbull continues to decline offers from New Zealand to provide safe resettlement. We call on Labor leader Bill Shorten to save lives by urging the Government to immediately bring all the men in Manus here while safe resettlement options are finalised.
RRAN spokesperson Sally Thompson stated, “All people who were taken by force to Manus Island and Nauru must be immediately brought back to Australia. Border Force have created a humanitarian emergency on Manus Island and we should not wait for Nauru to reach the same level of catastrophe before action is taken. We call on the government to evacuate people from the islands now while safe resettlement options are finalised.”
The torture of refugees is business as usual for the Australian Immigration Department, however concerned citizens nationwide do not accept these punitive policies and are prepared to rise with the men on Manus until their voices are heard.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/397613927323994/
Our mailing address is:
WACA - Whistleblowers, Activists & Citizens Alliance
Melbourne, Victoria 3000