MEDIA ALERT – PRESS CONFERENCE
Human rights groups including the Human Rights Law Centre, GetUp, the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, the Refugee Council of Australia and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre respond to the Turnbull Government’s announcement of a refugee settlement deal.
Date: Sunday 13 November 2016
Location: Level 17, 461 Bourke St, Melbourne.
The Human Rights Law Centre says that reports of an imminent announcement of a third country settlement deal reveal that the Turnbull government has finally conceded that the Manus and Nauru detention arrangements are unsustainable.
Human Rights Law Centre Director of Legal Advocacy, Daniel Webb, said that such a concession would be a step in the right direction but that serious questions remain about who the deal will apply to and what will happen to the innocent people left behind.
“After three years of fear, limbo and harm, it looks like the government is finally acknowledging that Nauru and Manus are dead ends. That concession is important and long overdue,” said Mr Webb.
Mr Webb called on the government to urgently clarify the details of any proposed deal and how the government would ensure that every person currently languishing on Nauru or Manus will be able to rebuild their lives in safety.
As of 31 October 2016, there are 941 people on Nauru who have been accepted as refugees, and 675 on Manus Island. This leaves around 500 people whose refugee status hasn’t yet been confirmed, plus another 320 people who are already here in Australia after being brought back from offshore detention for medical treatment.
Mr Webb also raised concerns about those on Nauru and Manus with immediate family in Australia and same-sex attracted men who may not be safely resettled in certain third countries.
“Every single man, woman and child who has suffered at our government’s hand on Nauru or Manus needs a humane resolution. This dark chapter does not close until each and every person who has been detained on Nauru or Manus is rebuilding their lives in safety. Today’s announcement may be a starting point, but there is an awfully long way to go.”
For further comments or queries please contact:
Daniel Webb, Director of Legal Advocacy, Human Rights Law Centre, 0437 278 961
Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519