19 July 2023
Today the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) has released a new report marking ten years since Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made the choice to send over 3,000 men, women and children who sought asylum by sea to offshore detention centres and deny them permanent resettlement.
The report, entitled ‘Finish this Crisis’: Stories exposing the horrors of offshore detention, touches on the stories of seven people subjected to offshore detention since July 19, 2013.
The people interviewed and ASRC calls for the immediate evacuation of the 80 people remaining in PNG, permanent resettlement for all and a Royal Commission into offshore detention.
The Albanese Government evacuated refugees from Nauru, however, people are still trapped in PNG and thousands have been denied the ability to rebuild their lives in Australia. The cruelty must end.
Ogy Simic, Director of Advocacy at the ASRC, said: “Men, women and children were traumatised and humans held against their will because politicians decided they would rather try and pick up a few votes in swing seats than respect the rights of all people. The only way to correct this is to listen to the refugees that resisted this system, evacuate people still held offshore and provide permanent resettlement.
Human rights are not something you have, they are something everyone agrees to respect. In the case of offshore detention people did not simply lack human rights, they had their rights denied to them by the Australian Government. It was a choice, one that threatens the very foundation of what we expect from our Government and how people should be treated. The Albanese Government now has the choice to maintain this cruelty or ensure all people are treated equally and humanely”
Zohreh Mirzaei, human rights advocate formerly held in offshore detention currently in Australia, said: “What has been done is enough. I want a good and bright future for my family, not only my family but for everyone’s family. Whoever comes here, they want to build their future and they just want to be brighter in their life.”
Abdi Adan Muse, human rights advocate held in PNG, said: “When I wake up, I try and keep myself busy. It is difficult, the only thing to keep myself busy with is my Smartphone but the internet connection is poor. It has an impact on you psychologically – always thinking and constantly worrying. When you don’t have a family with you, it is difficult to keep yourself busy.”
Qudratullah Qhausi, human rights advocate formerly held in offshore detention currently in the US, said: “Stop this policy. Take all those people that remain in PNG out. Respect the international convention for refugees. Rebuild the value of Australia again. Because people do not trust Australia anymore. But we want to.”
Mardin Arvin, human rights advocate formerly held in offshore detention currently in Canada, said: “The offshore detention policy is a massive human disaster. Even if, in the future, I find myself enjoying the best life, I cannot, nor will I, forget those eight years, during which they destroyed my youthful energy and passion; something so completely unimaginable.”
Mohammad, human rights advocate formerly held in offshore detention currently in Canada, said: “I am here in Canada. I am very happy. You may have broken many people, but not me and not others.”
Abdul Aziz Adam, human rights advocate formerly held in offshore detention currently in Switzerland, said: “I think the world needs to know the reality, the truth about offshore detention… I mean they designed, actually designed a system based on torturing and destroying psychologically people like us. The world needs to know the reality.“
An anonymous refugee, held in PNG, said: “Many people were there and they were going through a lot of difficult times and difficult circumstances and then some people who were able to endure it they stayed, and some people who couldn’t take it anymore they didn’t have any other choice but to return to their countries.”
Image credits: Artist: Mastaneh Azarnia
Media contact: Sam Brennan firstname.lastname@example.org or 0428 973 324
Artist: Mastaneh Azarnia
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