Transcripts released overnight of the conversation between US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull reveal that the deal to resettle the men, women and children warehoused on Manus and Nauru by the Australian Government has always been full of holes and is now looking shakier than ever.
The transcript reveals Trump’s disdain for the deal and Turnbull’s desperation to maintain its facade, with Turnbull pleading with Trump that the deal “does not oblige you to take one person” and that someone detained on Manus or Nauru might be a future “Nobel Prize winning genius”.
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:
“Turnbull was clearly more concerned with appearances than reality - totally preoccupied with maintaining the facade of the deal irrespective of whether or not anyone will actually find safety under it.”
“The best proof is in the pudding. It's nine months since this deal was announced and not one single person has received safety under it. Hundreds haven't even had an initial interview. It looks highly unlikely anyone will find safety and freedom in America anytime soon and most seem unlikely to ever go at all.”
The transcript comes at a dangerous and tense time on Manus Island, where the Australian government is closing the camp around the men it has detained for four years and forcing them out into an environment where they have experienced frequent violence and attacks.
“It's not good enough to just sit back and hope for the best from Trump.These lives are in Malcolm Turnbull’s hands, not Donald Trump’s.”
“2000 innocent people - 169 children - have had four years of their lives ripped away from them by our government. They deserve a future.”
“All they want - all they have ever wanted - is a chance at life in freedom and safety. It is cruel and irresponsible for our government to leave them in danger any longer. They must be evacuated to safety immediately.”
For interviews or further information please call:
Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519