Wednesday 19th July marks the four-year anniversary of the reopening of the immigration detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.
In the four years since offshore processing commenced, six people have died in Australia's care, and more than 2000 refugees and asylum seekers, including 169 children, still languish in offshore camps.
Despite ongoing revelations of physical violence, sexual and psychological abuse, medical neglect leading to death and catastrophic damage to mental health, the future of those trapped on Nauru and Manus remains uncertain.
The report, Four Years Too Many, shows that this cruelty and suffering continues. The report, released today by the Human Rights Law Centre, draws on statistics from the Department of Immigration that reveal a critical or major incident in the Manus Island camp or surrounding community has taken place almost every day in 2017.
The report argues that the Department’s own statistics “make crystal clear that conditions on Manus remain truly desperate, harmful and abusive”.
The people warehoused on Manus and Nauru cannot wait a moment longer for a humane solution. Australia’s treatment of people seeking asylum ought to reflect our collective values of solidarity, compassion, respect for human dignity, and our desire to do good – not harm.
On this four-year anniversary, the St Vincent de Paul Society reiterates its calls for the Australian Government to immediately evacuate the men, women and children on Manus and Nauru. Offshore processing centres are unsafe and the only humane option is to bring them to Australia where their claims can be properly assessed and they can be offered resettlement.
#Evacuatenow candlelit vigils
Vigils, organised by a diverse range of community organisations, are being held across the country, in every state and territory, as concerned people gather to highlight the ongoing plight of people who are now entering their fourth year of indefinite detention in offshore camps.
The Society urges people to join us in this important act of solidarity, and to demonstrate support for a more just and compassionate response to people seeking protection from harm and persecution.
To find the details of vigil locations and to RSVP, visit the vigil website here.
Australia cannot walk away from its responsibilities
As people gather for vigils to mark the four-year anniversary of offshore processing, the Society holds grave concerns about the rapidly deteriorating and oppressive conditions for asylum seekers and refugees trapped on Manus Island.
In recent months, Australian Government officials have stepped up coercive measures to force detainees to relocate to East Lorengau. The PNG Government has declared the detention centre will close by 31 October, and contracted services for security, healthcare and social support - all funded by the Australian Government - will cease.
Refugees and asylum seekers on Manus have expressed fears about relocating to East Lorengau, saying that Australia will withdraw services and place their safety and welfare at risk.
The Government has a duty of care for the people they put on Manus Island. Increasing punitive measures can only make an already intolerable conditions worse. Leaving them in danger is not an alternative, and the Society urges the Australian Government to evacuate the men to safety and to ensure they have access to appropriate medical care and support.