The Human Rights Law Centre has welcomed a scathing Senate Committee report which finds that conditions inside the Nauru and Manus camps are unsafe and are causing severe harm for which the Australian government is responsible.
The HRLC’s Director of Legal Advocacy, Daniel Webb, who gave evidence in person to the Committee and has travelled to Manus three times to investigate conditions on the ground, said the findings confirmed that both the Nauru and Manus camps needed to be evacuated immediately.
“For the last four years we’ve seen report after report confirming that these centres are harmful and fundamentally cruel. How much more evidence do we need? Enough is enough. Every single man, woman and child suffering at our government’s hands on Nauru and Manus must be evacuated immediately and brought to safety in Australia,” said Mr Webb.
“After four years of fear, violence and limbo, people are completely exhausted. Most were found to be refugees years ago. It’s well and truly time our government allowed them to get on with rebuilding their lives in safety.”
The Report comes just days after a terrifying incident on Manus Island, in which drunk PNG soldiers opened fire on the Manus camp leaving refugees fearing for their lives.
“These attacks show just how urgent the situation is. Even if the US deal eventually provides a lifeline for some it’s clear that it won’t be enough to ensure safety for all. It becomes more and more clear with every passing day that the only safe and viable way forward is to evacuate the people on Nauru and Manus to safety in Australia,” said Mr Webb.
The Senate Committee report also calls on the government to take steps to reunite families who have been separated by offshore detention.
“There are some absolutely heartbreaking cases of families being ripped apart by these policies. I met a father who has been stuck in detention on Manus for four years while his wife and children are rebuilding their lives in the community in Sydney. His daughter is doing her HSC and hoping to study pharmacy at university next year, yet he has no idea whether our government will ever let him see her again. It’s completely senseless – these families should be reunited immediately,” said Mr Webb.
For further comment contact Daniel Webb, Director of Legal Advocacy, 0437278961.