Amnesty International accuses Australia of continued refugee abuses at Manus Island
Amnesty International accuses Australia of continued refugee abuses at Manus Island

Amnesty International (AI) [Official Website] released a report [Text] on Thursday detailing continued abuses by Australia against refugees being held on Manus Island [JURIST news archive].

In October 31, 2017, Australia withdrew support services for the refugee detention center, including shutting off power, water, food and medical supplies to the center. AI claims this was done to force the refugees to move to a new center. On November 23 and 24, police and immigration officials raided the center and forcibly moved inhabitants to newly constructed centers. The new centers are alleged to be poorly resourced with interrupted supplies of electricity and water.

AI claims that the refugees face continued violence from local residents with many reporting robberies and assaults to police that are rarely investigated. There has also reportedly been inadequate support for integrating the refugees in the community.

Currently over 600 refugee and asylum seekers remain on Manus Island. AI states that these refugees have substantial restrictions on their liberty and freedom. This includes restrictions on where they can live, having most of their movements are monitored, being restricted in their travel, and having identification documents disregarded by authorities. The refugees also have difficulty accessing health care and physical and mental health care needs are not met.

AI has called upon Australia to end its practice of offshore processing of refugees and asylum seekers, ensure the highest attainable medical and mental health care, and adequate security. AI has also called upon Papua New Guinea to investigate crimes against the refugees and asylum seekers and ensure they are offered meaningful work opportunities.

Australia’s offshore processing has been an ongoing source of criticism since it was first started in 2013. In June, Australia agreed to a $90 million settlement [JURIST report] in a class action lawsuit by the Manus Island refugees. Human Rights Watch released a report [JURIST report] in October detailing Australia and Papua New Guinea’s failure to protect the refugees from physical violence. Australia had announced [JURIST report] that they plan to close the detention center on Manus Island in August 2016, but no final date of the closure was given.