Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Clearing out the gulag

Back in April, Papua New Guinea's Supreme Court ruled that Australia's concentration camp on Manus Island was illegal and ordered Australia to come up with a plan for resettling its victims. Instead, Australia appears to be planning to clear out the gulag and dump its refugees in Papua New Guinea with nothing, while starving out those who refuse to move:

Australia and Papua New Guinea are escalating efforts to clear the Manus Island detention centre, telling refugees they must settle elsewhere in PNG, while warning they are preparing to deport asylum seekers whose protection claims fail.

“There is no future for you here,” detainees have been told by PNG immigration officials. Processing at the detention centre “will end soon” and all those held within forced out. The police will be sent in to forcibly move those who refuse to cooperate.


The document hints at “changes to the services and conditions” for the different groups.

Those inside the detention believe those found not to be refugees will have their conditions significantly worsened in an effort to encourage them to leave. Their rights to limited movement, and their ability to access cigarettes, phone credit at the internal store, are expected to be cut.

“We will give you further information about these changes soon,” the document says.

Why wouldn't people want to move elsewhere? Because Papua New Guinea is not safe for refugees. Refugees who have left the camp have been beaten and abused; others have been left destitute and homeless due to the lack of any real planning or support for them. Australia's plan seems to be to ignore all this, dump them on the streets of PNG, and let them be brutalised and die. Its just another example of their callous and inhumane approach.

But the refugees are Australia's responsibility, and Australia should be providing a home for them. They can not be allowed to refuse to do so.