Six years on: cruel anniversary for the men and women still detained on Manus and Nauru

Six years on: cruel anniversary for the men and women still detained on Manus and Nauru

This week marks six years of suffering for around 800 men and women still detained indefinitely by the Morrison Government on Manus Island and Nauru.

Abdul Aziz Muhamad, a refugee and human rights defender, who was detained on Manus Island, said he fears for the lives of the vulnerable people still stuck in limbo.

"I came to Australia seeking safety. Instead I was forcibly taken to Manus Island and detained for almost six years in inhumane and cruel conditions. Now I am finally free. But I will not rest while my brothers and sisters are still imprisoned indefinitely by the Australian Government,” said Mr Muhamat.

Mr Muhamat was allowed to travel from Manus Island to Geneva to receive a prestigious human rights award in February 2019. He lodged a claim for asylum in Switzerland and in June his claim was approved.

19 July marks the six year anniversary of the Rudd Government’s announcement that anyone arriving by boat seeking safety would be deported to indefinite offshore detention. Six years on, the Morrison Government continues to detain around 450 people on Manus and around 350 on Nauru.

Hugh de Kretser, Executive Director with the Human Rights Law Centre said the Morrison Government’s sustained cruelty to refugees and people seeking asylum was unconscionable.

“All these people want is a chance to rebuild their lives in safety and freedom. They’ve had six years of their life stolen from them. Twelve people have died. The Morrison Government’s continued cruelty to innocent people must end.”

The men and women in Australia’s offshore camps, are experiencing a wide range of serious health conditions ranging from people who are acutely suicidal, to people with serious heart conditions that cannot be treated on the islands.

“For six years the Australian Government has played politics with the lives of innocent people in our care on Nauru and Manus. After so much suffering, the Morrison Government must act now to allow these people to rebuild their lives in safety and close the camps permanently,” added de Kretser.

Media contact:

Michelle Bennett, Communications Director, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519