Australian government gives green light for violence against refugees at Manus Island


Australian government gives green light for violence against refugees at Manus Island

Oscar Grenfell

11 November 2017

The Liberal-National Coalition government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has unconditionally backed a Papua New Guinea (PNG) government ultimatum that refugees leave the Manus Island Detention Centre today, or be attacked by heavily-armed PNG police and naval personnel.

Refugees have reported that the camp has been surrounded by police and military forces, while helicopters are flying overhead. PNG officials are dismantling shelters and destroying bins that the asylum seekers have used to collect rainwater to survive.

The entire Australian political establishment, including the Coalition government, the Labor Party opposition and the Greens, are responsible for the desperate plight of the 600 men in the detention camp.

Over the past two weeks, the Coalition has created the conditions for a potential bloodbath at the Australian-operated facility. On October 30, it moved to close the centre, after a ruling by the PNG Supreme Court last year that the camp was illegal, because it denied asylum-seekers their liberty without charge.

Australian contractors proceeded to shut-off water and electricity supplies, and PNG authorities have blocked food shipments, in a bid to starve the refugees out of the centre.

The Coalition government has demanded that the refugees move to “alternative accommodation” at Lorengau on Manus Island, despite those facilities being damned as unfit for human habitation by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The Coalition has rejected every proposal for a resettlement of the refugees elsewhere, including the UNHCR’s demands that the asylum-seekers be transported to Australia immediately.

On Thursday, PNG…

Read more