Real bipartisan action urgently needed for all people in offshore detention

While discussions over the proposed ‘lifetime ban’ legislation and New Zealand deal must prioritise those most vulnerable – children and families – the negotiations must be a first step to moving the 1278 men, women and children from Australia’s abusive offshore detention regime, said Amnesty International today.

“All sides of Australian politics must agree to protect the children, women and men in immediate danger in the Manus Island and Nauru detention regimes,” said Tim O’Connor, Campaigns Manager at Amnesty International Australia.

An Iranian man on Manus Island is reportedly in a critical condition after being attacked on the weekend with a piece of wood, a day after another man on Manus reportedly self-harmed with a razor and attempted hanging. 52 children are still being held on Nauru, many suffering severe psychological conditions.

“The Bills before parliament, and the amendments being discussed, are a crisis measure. Restricting people’s freedom of movement, only because they are refugees, is a further denial of the human rights of people who have already survived horrific abuses.

“While we welcome the possibility of reprieve for these children and families, the fact is, no Bills need to be passed, or political stalemates negotiated, to move all people to safety.

“Refugees need and deserve protection and respect. The basic human right of every person to seek asylum from persecution is not diminished by their mode of arrival.

“Every day that Australian politicians spend discussing this or that legislation is another day of suffering for all people in offshore detention. The decision lies in the hands of Prime Minister Morrison: he could act this morning to move all children, women and men to Australia or to be settled in third-party countries,” said Tim O’Connor.