“Peter Dutton’s comments are not only extremely irresponsible, they also show a complete lack of understanding of the refugee convention,” said Graham Thom, Refugee Coordinator at Amnesty International Australia.
The Immigration Minister made the incorrect comments on a Sydney radio station today in reference to the 52 people who have finally arrived in safety in the US after spending up to four years trapped in Australia’s offshore detention system.
“These men, women, and children fled the horrors of war in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia, or torture and repression in Iran, Pakistan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka,” said Graham Thom.
“Instead of offering them safe refuge, Australia subjected them to another four years of suffering in its abusive offshore facilities. They were recognised as refugees under international law and Dutton’s outrageous allegations are demonstration of either ignorance or continued intent to harm them further.”
“They were recognised as refugees under international law and Dutton’s outrageous allegations are demonstration of either ignorance or continued intent to harm them further.”
“The opportunity for safe resettlement in the US is the only thread of hope that has been offered to the vulnerable and traumatised people on Nauru and Manus Island, and it is absolutely despicable that Peter Dutton would risk that by downplaying the acute vulnerability of these refugees at a time when the US is looking to cut its humanitarian program to its lowest level in over a decade.
“What Peter Dutton failed to mention was the fact that eight people have died in Australia’s offshore detention, including most recently a young man named Hamed. Anyone who has seen the pictures of that young man’s body hanging from a tree would not be making comments about people out “enjoying themselves”.”
On 14 April this year the PNG military fired into the centre on Manus Island injuring 9 people. To date the Australian authorities have refused to release any photos from this attack.
“Amnesty International acknowledges the US for giving people a genuine chance at settling and restarting their lives in a safe place and for the sake of those still living in the harmful conditions on Nauru and Manus we are urging the US to take as many people off these islands as possible,” said Graham Thom.
“The fairest and quickest way to ensure safety for all those remaining is to bringing them to Australia immediately.”