In response to the official statement by Filippos Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that the Australian Government has refused to reunite families despite an understanding with UNHCR, Dr Graham Thom, refugee coordinator at Amnesty International said:
“Amnesty International, along with others, has been asking what will happen to split families from the very moment the US resettlement deal was announced.”
“For eight months, families separated between Australia and Nauru and Manus Island have been in even more distress, due to uncertainty around what the deal will mean for their future. This has only added to the trauma they have already suffered.
“Now UNHCR has confirmed that the Australian Government is choosing to deliberately separate families, refusing to reunite them despite having the power to do so. This is clearly punitive – another measure designed to punish people, including parents separated from their children. Family unity is key to successful resettlement and some of these families have been separated due to Australia’s cruel policies for four long years.
“This latest decision by the Australian government speaks volumes on the extreme measures of cruelty it is willing to meter out on people who came here seeking protection and safety.”
“This latest decision by the Australian government speaks volumes on the extreme measures of cruelty it is willing to meter out on people who came here seeking protection and safety.
“The right thing to do, the humane thing to do, would be to immediately bring those trapped in Nauru and Manus Island to Australia to be reunited with their family members here.”
Amnesty International is calling on the Australian Government to act with common sense and compassion. The camps must be evacuated immediately, and all those warehoused on Nauru and Manus Island must be brought to Australia.