Displaced From One Tragedy To Another

PNG authorities report that they have removed the 328 men left from the decommissioned Manus Island detention centre to new camps, the last of them being cruelly removed.

Peter Dutton, Australia’s Immigration Minister, has confirmed that the centre has now been emptied.

Focus points:

  • It is reported that the refugees have been attacked, detained and forcibly removed from an already unfortunate turn of events
  • Peter Dutton reported that all men have no left the centre; whether by force or voluntarily it has not been reported

50 men were removed from the centre in the previous two days, drawing the Australian public’s attention to the methods of removal used by the PNG authorities. ABC reports that at least 12 buses have entered the East Lorengau transit centre. However, whether the 328 men have been transported out in those exact buses is not yet clear.

Journalist, Behrouz Boochani, tweets that 4 buses are full and on their way to the new camps whilst the other 8 were carrying their belongings, or what was left of them, to the new site.

Contrasting reports were made public in the previous days as Police Commissioner Gari Baki stated that the relocations were done “peacefully and without the use of force,” especially compared to what they saw in the past. This brutally contrasts the reports of asylum seekers in the centre who state that they are leaving the prison camp merely because of the threat and use of police violence.

Manus is a peaceful island and I am sure it is a walk in the park compared to what they left behind in their respective countries.

In a contrast to the ‘peaceful’ appearance is an undertone of a threatening consequence if the refugees were to become defiant. Baki mentioned that, “we are doing the best we can and the refugees cannot continue to be stubborn and defiant.” He justifies his insubmissive stance by highlighting, “The fact is that we are not moving them into the jungle … they are being relocated to two centres where there is water, electricity, food and medical services.” One would speculate as to whether these conditions are a privilege for the already suffering refugees.

Tim Costello, chief advocate for World Vision Australia has spoken out about the inferior sites when he had the opportunity to see the facilities for himself. He notes that West Haus was still a “construction site” and “not finished.”

Boochani has mentioned that the ‘accommodation’ is a “real prison.” It is difficult to see the end of this torment for those who have risked their lives in hopes for a better life only to be displaced in centres where the bare necessities of modern life is considered a privilege.

Karen Cheung