Abandon all hope: President of Nauru echoes Australian government's message to world
(A mini overview of resistance to, and the struggle for justice and freedom from, Australia's concentration camps)
Omid Masoumali, the 23-year-old Iranian had been recognised as a refugee. [Guardian - 3/5/16]
The refugee protests on Nauru have been taking place for over a month.
They are well organised, peaceful and resolute gatherings which occur at the end of the day, and are keenly followed by activists in Australia who wish to express solidarity with their calls for freedom and justice.
President Waqa's latest remarks about advocates will be dutifully amplified by the media and partisan human rights establishment - who have ignored these remarkable protests, and have no interest in conveying the refugees' explicit demands.
In the meantime, Dutton is revelling as the death toll rises and he is portrayed as a demon.
But he - and Waqa - are small, expendable cogs in this global game of life and death.
In the past few weeks, representatives from the UNHCR - lead by Thomas Albrecht - undertook secretive missions on Manus and Nauru.
After being pressed by the media what they were up to, they said their mission was to "monitor" conditions of the camps, and the mental health of the refugees.
During the UNHCR visit to Nauru, refugees were told to expect to remain on the island for "another ten years".
Immediately after they conveyed this message to the refugees, Omid Masoumali covered himself in flammable liquid and set himself alight shouting at the delegation "We're sick and exhausted! You've destroyed our lives! Did you come just to gape at our misery? We lead miserable lives! You've been torturing us for three years!"
After more than 24 hours without adequate medical attention he was airlifted by private contractor to Brisbane, where he died on 29 April 2016 from his burns.
Up until last week, the UNHCR Australia branch has deflected any queries about the plight of refugees and asylum seekers in South East Asia to the "Bangkok office".
Their only recent publicised activity in the region has been to assist the Australian government in its subversion of the right to seek asylum by "welcoming" its lies about the "release" of refugees on Nauru in October 2015.
Their fundraising and publicising the plight of refugees anywhere but in our region - especially those imprisoned in Australia, and on Nauru, Manus and Christmas Island - has never been scrutinised.
That the UNHCR are only calling for the "immediate movement" of refugees, rather than urging Australia to immediately close offshore camps and resume meeting its international obligations under the refugee convention, is telling.
The UNHCR are helping Australia with its abandon hope anti-refugee policy, and twisted interpretation of "resettlement".
The role of the UNHCR in supporting Australia's anti-refugee policy should be investigated.
FREE THE POLITICAL PRISONERS!
Australia stopped accepting refugees in July 2014.
... Prior to taking up this assignment in early 2014, Mr. Albrecht served as Head of the UNHCR Regional Support Hub in Nairobi ... [UNSW Kaldor Centre]
Australia's Minister for Immigration: I am protected and unaccountable. Here I am at my refugee death camp on Manus Island basking in the glow of a demented, lying ideology.
With OSB Commander MAJGEN Andrew Bottrell at Manus RPC yesterday ...
Image: @PeterDutton_MP [31/3/15]
600 refugees in Australian detention centre write open letter demanding assisted suicide [Independent - 2/12/15]
Chairman of Australia for UNHCR awarded an AO and no-one asks him about the plight of refugees on Manus Island, Nauru or in onshore concentration camps [Sydney Morning Herald - 26/1/15]
The great achievement of this movement was to send a message of freedom to people all around the globe. Message from #Manus via @shanebazzi:
Hello dear Australians,
Thirsty Manus has been quenched after fourteen days.
To every single person who is concerned about human rights and freedom:
What you are reading is our message from Manus. Manus is a place that has many similarities with Guantanamo prison. As a matter of fact, it is known as Australian Guantanamo.
More than nine hundred people, nine hundred champions, carried out the largest hunger strike in the history in order to inform the world about the oppressed sound of their innocence.
Today, 27th of January 2015, after more than fourteen days of struggle between oppressor and oppressed, between black and white, wrong and right, rich and poor, the hunger strike is ended while it has indicated the willpower and determination of the oppressed people who had fled from persecutors of their countries and sought asylum in Australia.
But it is unfortunate that these days Australia does not bear signs of having commitment to human rights.
Australian people, what you were told about the situation of Manus Island by the Liberal government during these fourteen days was an absolute lie. Similar to previous movements, this movement was also a peaceful one without any type of violence from our side.
In order to solve problems, we strongly believe in negotiating principles.
It is unbelievable that people from every walk of life and different civil societies such as High Court of Australia remain silent in regards to this cruelty in the name of national interest. This unequal struggle has been finished today while the United Nations does not make any comments on this incident at all.
The great achievement of this movement was to send a message of freedom to people all around the globe.
A message of freedom which has been only a dream and a desire for us so far, however, we are hoping to celebrate the fulfilment of our deisre in the not too distant future with the assistance of Australian people, human rights organisations, lawyers, journalists, refugee advocates, reporters, politicians, various political parties including The Greens, Nationals, Palmer United, Labor, and at last, those members of Liberal party who still care about humanity and are concerned about the future of Australia.
At the end I would like to express my gratitutde to those people, either in Asutralia or other parts of the world, who commiserate with us and who support us in different ways during this period. In fact, your support gives us a lot of encouragement and develops our ability to continue our efforts in this rough and difficult path.
Guardian [VIDEO - 23/1/15]:
... Video footage obtained by Guardian Australia shows dozens of asylum seekers and refugees held in a single, windowless prison cell.
There is no furniture in the cell. Almost all the men lie close together and motionless in tight lines on the floor.
A man speaking on the video – whose voice has been altered to avoid identification – alleged the men were beaten by security guards employed by Wilson and by police while in custody.
“They have beaten everyone in this camp. We are totalling 58 people, they beat the shit out of all of us,” he said.
The video shows marks on some of the men’s bodies.
It ends abruptly when a noise is heard, apparently outside the cell. ...
Pleas from #ManusProtest ...
Image: @rranwa [16/1/15]
... "TO AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT. STOP TORTURING US. IF YOU THINK WE DON'T DESERVE AUS. THEN HAND OVER ALL OF US TO THE UN. WE DON'T WANT YOUR HELP!" ... [CNN - 21/1/15]
Women and children continue to peacefully protest today at the Anibare refugee accomodation. [Refugees on Nauru - 17/3/15]
... According to a statement released by Australia’s Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on Friday, following a one-day visit to meet with government officials in Phnom Penh on Thursday, arrangements for the first group of refugees to be relocated “are expected to be finalized in coming weeks.” ... Cambodia Daily [14/3/15]
Nauruan refugees’ protest defies police ban [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 11/3/15]
Nauru refugee women celebrate International Women’s Day with protest [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney – 10/3/15]
05MAR2015: Women were dragged into the jail by Nauruan police and corrections. Image: @refugeesonnauru
This is a jail cell some of the female refugees were imprisoned for 30 hours and given only one bottle of water to share. ... [Refugees on Nauru - 5/3/15]
Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [5/3/15]:
Almost 200 refugees including up to 80 women have been held in detention overnight after mass arrests on Nauru, throughout Wednesday, 4 March.
The underage children being held by police, including one 7 year old who had been arrested early Wednesday morning, were removed from police cells by case workers, yesterday. However, many then spent the night without their parents who remained in custody.
More information emerged about Wednesday’s draconian police action, including that the police had arrested refugees inside the family compound as early as 4.00am.
The police action continued throughout the day with a further 50 refugees being arrested outside the police station at Yaren, in the afternoon, as they waited for news of those arrested and demanded their release. ...
".... One of the protest organisers who talked to the ABC was arrested. ... " A Voice From Nauru [VIDEO - Rez Nez - 4/3/15]
"We are dying. Don't be spectators." Photos, video from Nauru refugee protest [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 27/2/15]
So, please we beg you to use your privilege ... use your rights to bring justice to this unjust crisis.
Please get up and speak up, so tomorrow there will be no place on this beautiful earth for evils doer to make this kind of crisis elsewhere.
Statements from Rohingya refugees incarcerated on Manus Island read out at Perth rally [Refugee Rights Action Network WA - 22/5/15]
Here Comes The King!
Immigration minister concedes most events – including the death of one asylum seeker – took place inside compound’s perimeter ... [Guardian - 23/2/14]
Scott Morrison arrives on Manus Island [Humanitarian Research Partners - 16/12/14]
This #asylumseeker's throat was cut in Feb17  attacks.
Govt pressuring him to say he attempted suicide ...
... This week it will be 100 days since the violence
Some #asylumseekers being held in Moresby before deportation are pleading to be allowed to go to embassies to ask for protection ...
Image: @HRP_org - humanitarianresearchpartners.org [25/5/14]
Humanitarian Research Partners lodges appeal to UN on behalf of asylum seekers imprisoned in Australia's concentration camp on Manus Island [Guardian - 14/5/14]:
... Ben Pynt, a director of the human rights research organisation Humanitarian Research Partners, lodged the appeal on behalf of asylum seekers on Manus Island.
The appeal, a copy of which has been seen by Guardian Australia, contains a summary of events during the Manus unrest in February as well as details of conditions inside the centre garnered from multiple sources.
“Speaking to people at Manus Island, I feel I am bearing witness to crimes against humanity. Not only are the physical and environmental conditions at the centre deeply oppressive, but there is also severe mental stress placed on asylum seekers to coerce them into returning to their home countries,” Pynt writes.
“The men are being effectively broken to the point where some see return to places like Syria as a legitimate option.”
Day 3 of Senate Inquiry into the "incident" on Manus Island [June, 2014]
Former Salvation Army employee Nicole Judge being questioned by Senator Ian McDonald [AUDIO via Paul Farrell]
It seems everyone except the Department of Immigration is under the impression the Department of Immigration controls Australia's detention centre on Manus Island.
Giving evidence to the inquiry, former G4S guard Martin Appleby said he believed the asylum policy of both parties is responsible for what happened on Manus.
Two former Salvation Army workers Nicole Judge and Christopher Iacono spoke of their experiences working on Manus where they say asylum seekers were "treated like animals", and the main threat to their safety was that they were being detained.
They dismantled many of the talking points the political and media establishment has used to draw attention away from atrocities being committed in the name of the Australian government.
If you still believe what happened on Manus was a "riot" (it was a violent and brutal attack which the media dishonestly describe as a riot), read the Hansard.
Ms Judge referred to a "Here comes the King!" protest against Minister for Immigration Scott Morrison during his visit to Manus in September 2013 which highlighed the asylum seekers acute awareness of their predicament and that our politicians are to blame for it.
Migration Agent Liz Thompson told the inquiry that what she was instructed to do during her time on Manus was contrary to her professional obligations.
It was made clear to migration staff on 5 February that there was no intention to conduct RSD interviews - only CAPS (which is the first stage of refugee assessment).
The lengths to which the Australian immigration department has gone to facilitate the repatriation of traumatised Syrian asylum seekers detained in offshore detention centres has been extensively revealed in departmental emails obtained under freedom of information laws.
The emails support reports from Guardian Australia in March, showing that Syrians detained offshore told Australian immigration department officials they would be killed if they returned to Syria, but the department facilitated plans for their repatriation nonetheless.
This included sharing asylum-seeker identity documents with the Syrian consulate in Australia, booking flights via Jordan, and endeavouring to issue an “ultimatum” to force them into a decision on repatriation, despite a number of them being severely mentally ill.
At no point in any of the disclosed emails is conflict in Syria, which has seen more than 100,000 people die and 2.56 million refugees flee the civil war, discussed. And at no point are concerns about the asylum seekers’ safety back in Syria articulated. ... [Guardian - 14/8/14]
... [Adam] Bandt asked, then added: “Can’t we do better than this Labor-Liberal policy of not drowning, but burning?”
It was Manager of Opposition Business Tony Burke who jumped up to declare this was deeply offensive to all MPs.
Bandt had to withdraw his “burning” line. ...
Nothing seems able to make Nauru asylum seekers an issue [The Conversation - 4/5/16]
Minister Tony Burke listens to asylum seekers during his tour of facilities in Nauru.
[DIAC - 26/7/13]
Australian Immigration Minister Burke Visit to Nauru [Dexter S Brechtefeld - 27/7/13]
The Nauru district court heard bail applications for the asylum seekers facing charges of riot and unlawful assembly following the July 19th riot at the Australian-run detention camp on the island.
152 asylum seekers were arrested over the riot at the camp which caused damages estimated at 55-million US dollars.
On Thursday, the court heard applications from twenty asylum seekers defendants seeking bail. ...
Joint media release with Kevin Rudd - Prime Minister, Mark Dreyfus - Attorney General and The Hon Tony Burke MP - Australian Minister for Immigration, Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship [19/7/13]
... I was a Staff Sergeant in the South African Police during and after the Apartheid era and I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I have never witnessed the injustice and ill-treatment of human beings that I witnessed at Bravo Camp, RPC Nauru. ...
Not a single Australian journalist went to Nauru to report on the 2013 riot trials.
Image: Displaced Peoples Organisation Limited via @CSerow [23/8/13]
Nauru Senate Inquiry, Submission 98:
... I soon noticed that the most vague witness statements were written by security personnel within a few days of the riot.
The more incriminating statements were dated up to four months after the event.
I asked myself “How can anyone remember in such detail and with such clarity months after the event when the statements written only days after the evidence were so vague?”.
As a seasoned investigator I suspected fabrication and collaboration of evidence.
After making a few unofficial enquiries I learned that officers present at the riot were told to implicate more suspects as someone was to be made responsible for the riot.
It was then that the Bravo Camp detainees were randomly pointed out by officers.
Most claim they had had previous run-ins with the witnesses and believed thats why they were singled out. ...
Asylum seekers' convictions for July 2013 riots overturned by Nauru court [ABC - 24/8/15]
Former guard on Nauru details allegations against 'corrupt and incompetent' Wilson Security [ABC - 5/6/15]
ABC, World Today [AUDIO - 5/9/13]:
This morning the Immigration Department announced that dozens more asylum seekers have just been sent to be processed on the tiny pacific island nation of Nauru.
A lawyer who has just returned from Nauru [and is representing asylum seekers on riot charges] says asylum seekers are being kept in cruel and inhumane conditions.
Sam Norton says asylum seekers he spoke to are desperate and some are suicidal. ...
This photograph of the Nauru Police Force was taken by Clint Deidenang when he was told to leave the area outside the court house during the 2013 riot trial.
... Immigration Minister Tony Burke says those responsible will be subject to the criminal laws of Nauru and could face severe penalties.
He has hinted that he could cancel or refuse a visa for those involved in the riots on the grounds of character.
"And now I can't prejudge that test before individual applications come to me, if I do it simply creates a legal problem with the possible overturning of my decision," he said.
"But I don't think it would take much guessing for people to work out how incidences like what we've seen overnight in Nauru reflect on character." ...
‘Guards brag openly about waterboarding at Nauru’ – Former immigration centre guard [RT - 21/8/15]
... Thomas Albrecht told AAP it was difficult to verify whether such claims were an exaggeration or had real substance because of secrecy surrounding the centre's operation. ... [SBS - 19/8/15]
Nauru Senate Inquiry Public Hearing [20/8/15]:
... Senator HANSON-YOUNG: In relation to the issue of zipping, can you explain to the committee how you know about that? You have described it in quite a bit of detail. Did you see that occur yourself?
Mr Nichols: I did not actually see the action occur but I have had numerous conversations with people known to me with regard to it: that members of the ERT had secured asylum seekers to their beds with zip ties, cable ties, and thrown them into the air.
This occurred after the riots. Personally, I believe it to be retribution.
Senator JOHNSTON: My last question, Mr Nichols—and I do thank you for your cooperation seriously; it is obviously not easy revisiting these things. What was the building where you saw the person wet and coughing up water?
Mr Nichols: This is a tent in Bravo compound.
Senator JOHNSTON: A tent—
Mr Nichols: Yes.
Senator JOHNSTON: in Bravo compound. Whereabouts in Bravo compound?
Mr Nichols: The actual compound is comprised solely of tents.
Senator JOHNSTON: Does this tent have an identification?
Mr Nichols: It would be tent 11.
Senator JOHNSTON: Tent 11. So you saw someone wet and coughing up water coming out of tent 11?
Mr Nichols: That is correct. …
Nauru Senate Inquiry - August 2015 - Supplementary Submission [Mr Jon Nicholls No. 95.1]:
... Despite what one may find on the internet, at no time has Mr Nichols suggested waterboarding etc was part of some organised intelligence gathering for whomever - he says it occurred in a modern day 'Lord of of the Flies' - 'Stanford Experiment' type situation - the guilty parties did it for mere enjoyment and human nature is what it is.
There is no protection on Nauru from this behaviour because there is no Rule of Law, just arbitrary, crude and evil behaviour. ...
Refugees settled [exiled] on Nauru woke on Monday to find an ominous letter, signed “Youth of Republic of Nauru”, had been delivered overnight.
Copies had been left at shops, homes, workplaces employing refugees… [Manifesto for a pogrom: hostility to exiled refugees grows on Nauru - The Conversation - 20/11/14]
The High Court has been told former immigration minister Chris Bowen did not carry out mandatory steps before designating Manus Island for processing.
Papua New Guinea did not have a legal framework for refugees nor had it fully committed to the UN refugee convention when Australia approved Manus Island for offshore processing, the High Court has been told.
An Iranian man is fighting his detention on Manus Island, arguing the government has no power to send asylum seekers to PNG.
If his case is successful it could end processing on Manus Island - the site of recent violence including the murder of detainee Reza Berati - and throw the government's offshore processing policy into disarray.
Lawyers for the man behind the legal challenge on Friday argued against his detention on several grounds, one being that Manus Island was illegally designated as a processing centre by then-immigration minister Chris Bowen.
Lawyer Mark Robinson told the court that advice from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees should have been considered before the minister designated Manus Island and before it was passed by parliament.
That advice raised concerns about PNG for offshore processing, detailing "several crucial challenges" which rendered the country "not fully appropriate".
It also said PNG had no legal framework to address refuge issues and its government had reservations regarding seven sections of the UN refugee convention which impact social, economic and political rights of refuges.
Mr Bowen had asked for the UNHCR advice, a document the Iranian man's lawyers argue is a mandatory requirement in designating an offshore country, six days before he made the designation in October 2012.
It was tabled in parliament after the designation was passed, the High Court was told on Friday.
"Parliament never saw this," Mr Robinson told the court.
Mr Robinson also argues power attributed under the constitution does not extend past the arrival and deportation of a person.
Offshore processing goes "far beyond" those powers, Mr Robinson told the court.
The former Labor government opened the Manus detention centre in late 2012. ...
Plaintiff S156/2013 v The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and Anor  HCATrans 98 (13 May 2014)
Plaintiff S156/2013 v The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection & Anor  HCATrans 96 (9 May 2014)
Women and children, including unaccompanied minors, will be among those sent to Nauru and Manus Island for processing under a hardline approach aimed at sending a message to people smugglers that there will be no exemptions.
With the first batch of about 40 asylum seekers to be flown this week to Nauru, where a temporary tent city has been erected, the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, said he would not be issuing any blanket exemptions to people sent offshore because these would be exploited by the people smugglers. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 12/9/12]
The Immigration Department developed its new, highly restrictive policy on media visits to detention centres with reference to US military arrangements governing media access to the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention centre.
Documents released under freedom of information show the ''deed of agreement'' that Immigration insists journalists and media organisations visiting detention centres must sign was ''informed by … the current US Department of Defence media access policy for its detention facility at Guantanamo Bay''.
The department also justified extremely tight media control and censorship to the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, as ''the right balance'' in circumstances that included ''the current climate associated with media ethics, media 'phone hacking' [in Britain]''. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 14/3/12]