Reports that three refugees were attacked and robbed in three separate incidents on Manus Island overnight show the serious, imminent and increasing dangers faced by refugees being held there by the Australian Government.
According to media reports and information from refugees on the island, in three separate attacks and robberies over the weekend:
- A Sudanese refugee received a bad gash to his leg after being robbed with a machete;
- An Iranian refugee had his wrist badly slashed with a bush knife after being the victim of an armed hold up; and
- Another refugee was held up and robbed of his phone and possessions while walking down the road.
Two of the men were taken to hospital with serious injuries. The attacks occurred in Lorengau town, where the Australian government is pressuring refugees on the Island to move before the detention facility closes in October.
Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian journalist held on Manus by the Australian government for the last four years, said:
“The government is deliberately making conditions worse to pressure us into Lorengau. They are doing things like cutting off the water and threatening us that we have to accept to live in PNG or go back to our home countries.”
“We are seeing a chain of attacks against refugees. The local police can’t protect us. We are being forced to live in constant fear,” said Mr Boochani.
Human Rights Law Centre Director of Legal Advocacy, Daniel Webb, who has travelled to Manus three times, said:
“It is cruel, irresponsible and incredibly dangerous for our government to force innocent people into a place they know is unsafe.”
“After four years of fear and violence and shootings and death, our government must immediately evacuate every single man on Manus to safety. Otherwise, further tragedy is inevitable,” said Mr Webb.
For interviews with Daniel Webb and Behrouz Boochani:
Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications: 0419 100 519