Australian government starves refugees on Manus Island
4 November 2017
Six hundred refugees are suffering dehydration, hunger and worsening mental health problems at the Manus Island Detention Centre in Papua New Guinea (PNG), after the Australian government moved to close the facility last Tuesday. The shutdown followed a ruling by the PNG Supreme Court last year that the centre was “illegal” because it deprived the refugees of their freedom without charge.
The asylum-seekers are threatened with an attack by heavily armed PNG military and police personnel. Begsy Karaki, a senior officer in charge of the Lombrum naval base where the centre is located, declared on Thursday that his troops were prepared to remove the asylum seekers with force if they received an order.
Australian contractors, hired by the Liberal-National Coalition government of Malcolm Turnbull, cut pipes and emptied water tanks before leaving the centre Tuesday morning. The final shipment of food, which arrived on October 29, contained less than two days of rations.
The remaining electricity to some sections of the camp was shut-down on Wednesday. Many refugees at the facility are unable to charge their mobile phones, which they have relied upon to maintain contact with the outside world.
On Friday, PNG naval and immigration forces blocked a boat of local residents that was transporting food to the centre. The day before, they prevented a church group from bringing emergency supplies.
These measures are line with the Coalition government’s strategy of forcing the asylum-seekers out of the centre by starving them, depriving them of water, communication and every other necessity of life. The Australian government is demanding they go to other facilities on Manus and the Pacific…