Updated 14 April 2017: Tonight’s shooting incident is another example that Manus island detention facility is not a safe place for people seeking asylum. According to witnesses, members of the PNG Defence Force stationed at the Lombrum Naval Base, next to the detention centre, opened fire at 6:30 pm after the camp came under attack by locals following an altercation between a refugee and a local man. Multiple shots were fired, but it is unclear how many people may have been injured.
The 2,200 people that the Australian Government has trapped on Nauru and Manus Island cannot wait for safety any longer. With the US/Australia settlement deal still uncertain and ongoing injuries to people seeking asylum, the Government and Opposition must put people before politics and must immediately bring people to safety here in Australia.
Last year Amnesty’s most senior researcher, Anna Neistat, visited Nauru and was recorded the great lengths the Australian Government is going to to deliberately inflict suffering on people seeking safety and to hide these abuses from the world. She said the Government had “designed a system of deliberate abuse” to deter people seeking safety who arrive by boat.
Many people trapped on Manus Island and Nauru suffer from serious mental health problems which are inadequately treated and exacerbated by the appalling conditions in which they’re forced to live. Anxiety, self-harm and suicide attempts are frequent, with children as young as nine speaking openly about wanting to end their lives.
“People here don’t have a real life. We are just surviving. We are dead souls in living bodies. We are just husks. We don’t have any hope or motivation.”
– A woman interviewed by the researchers