Refugee advocates with contacts on Manus Island are reporting witnesses saw PNG police and locals attacking refugees after security employees were withdrawn from the detention centre.
One asylum seeker is dead and another two have been sent to Australia for treatment…. many more are injured while others are also unaccounted for.
Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison continues to peddle the lie that an internal “riot” was the cause of the injuries and mainstream media are perpetuating the minister’s lies.
The incident is another in a long line of human rights breaches and international relations disasters for the Abbott government.
The Refugee Action Coalition’s Ian Rintoul spoke the the ABC this morning and told them reports he’d heard from staff at the centre, detainees and others’ who had been in touch with detainees.
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre has published transcripts of messages from asylum seekers on Manus Island.
“The asylum seeker says detainees were forced to leave the detention centre on the night of February 17 in fear for their lives.”
Greens and refugee advocates are calling for the closing of Manus Is. and the sacking of Minister Morrison.
Senator Hanson-Young says…
“Scott Morrison’s attempts to blame the victims of this incident are sickening.
“Responsibility for this policy failure falls directly at the feet of the Abbott Government and the Immigration Minister.
“The Government was warned about the toxic environment on Manus Island repeatedly by organisations like Amnesty International and the UN but those warnings were ignored and dismissed.”
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre is calling for the removal to Australia of the 1300 refugees currently on Manus Is.
ASRC says witnesses have told them:
“asylum seekers tell us they ran from compound to save their lives not to escape, guards not protecting them when locals attacked.”
“”injured many of us, lots of people bleeding..we are not here by choice..who is responsible for our lives?” asylum seeker on Manus”
Social media is awash with reports from witnesses such as this one:
“My friend on Manus spoke to me today and said that he’d been hit in the head by a rock and was covered in his own blood. He has described the scenes in Manus as a battlefield. All the staff have left their compound, now it’s the asylum seekers versus the locals – the locals comprising most of the G4S staff. There is no one left to protect them. When he phoned he said everyone had gone from the compound except 4 or 5 people and after the phone call he would run away too. We’ve had reports that the PNG locals are standing outside of the centre with guns, knives and rocks and have probably gone inside the centre by now.
This is hugely concerning because it sounds as if people are SERIOUSLY injured and there’s no way for them to receive medical treatment, they wouldn’t know how to find the hospital and there is no staff to take them there.
Now we have silence. And we wait.”
The Refugee Action Collection of Queensland had issued a media release yesterday stating that asylum seekers feared attacks by local vigilantes who were armed with machetes, knives and guns.
A spokesman from Mr Morrison told Fairfax Radio that any information about a second attack on Monday was ”completely untrue” and they should be ”more sceptical of stories coming from activists”.
On Sunday there has been an uprising after asylum seekers were stonewalled by immigration officials who had promised to give them answers about their future.
This was the first report I saw on Sunday night. From refugee advocate Sarah Ross
‘There’s currently a riot on Manus Island. I just spoke to someone in the centre on the phone. They were in tears, and there was an indescribably shrill panic and desperation in their voice. He kept saying “just listenjustlisten. I don’t have long”… ”we will die, we will die”. There was yelling and noise in the background, he said that people were fighting with G4S guards and the PNG Police, that people were injured and had “broken arms and legs”. They said that everything was destroyed and that people had “run outside the camp”. Everyone was running and he kept saying ”I have to go, I have to go…please tell everyone, please tell human rights”‘
Despite the Australian governments plans to settle asylum seekers who arrive by boat in Papua New Guinea, PNG has not yet agreed to do so.
The Refugee Action Collective in Queensland has called a protest for 12noon Wednesday 19th February outside the Department of Immigration, 299 Adelaide Street, Brisbane.
Commentary from Guardian Australia Australia’s Sick and Proud Message to the World: Refugees are going to Suffer]