Another refugee held by the Australian Government on Manus Island has been found dead. He was one of over 900 men who came to Australia seeking safety but have been held on Manus for four years. His is the ninth death in the Australian run offshore detention centres and the second on Manus Island in just two months.
Daniel Webb, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, who has visited Manus Island three times to inspect conditions and meet with the men held there, said:
“This man was a proven refugee. He deserved the chance to rebuild his life in freedom and safety. But instead our Government chose cruelty. Instead our Government chose to lock him up for 4 years in awful conditions on a remote island,” said Mr Webb.
“So this man lost his freedom, then he lost his hope, and now he has lost his life. It is an absolute tragedy."
Last week 25 refugees detained by the Australian Government on Manus Island left for the US via the resettlement deal, but 2000 other innocent people remain trapped in limbo on Nauru and Manus islands with Australian and US authorities unable to confirm if, when or how many others will follow.
“After four years of fear, violence, suffering and death, safety for a handful isn’t good enough. Every single man, woman and child imprisoned on Manus and Nauru has had four years of their life ripped away from them. Every single one of them deserves a future,” said Mr Webb.
“It becomes more and more clear, with every death and with every violent attack against innocent people in our care, that the only humane and responsible way forward is to immediately evacuate everyone trapped on Nauru and Manus to safety in Australia. Otherwise, further tragedy is inevitable,” said Mr Webb.
“If our Government then wants to prowl around the globe trying to find safe third countries — fine. But after four years of suffering and death, it is cruel and irresponsible to leave innocent people in danger any longer.”
The refugee is the sixth man held on Manus, and the ninth in total, who has died since the current offshore regime started on 19 July 2013. His death comes at a dangerous and tense time on Manus Island. The Australian Government is closing the Manus RPC facility around the men it has detained there for the last four years — recently cutting water and electricity to the major compounds — but the men have nowhere safe to go.
Over 2000 people remain warehoused on Manus and Nauru, 1783 of whom have already been assessed to be refugees. Among these 2000 innocent people are 169 children.
For interviews or further information please call:
Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519