1,000 signatures reached
To: Jacinda Ardern - Prime Minister, Iain Lees-Galloway - Minister for Immigration
Bring Them Here: NZ should urgently welcome 700+ refugees in danger on Manus Island
More than 700 refugees are in an urgent situation on Manus Island. The detention centre in which the Australian Government has held them for months or years is set to be closed on 31st October. Although the detention centre has been a nightmarish experience for all held there, closing the centre leaves these people extremely vulnerable and without any support in a hostile environment where local people have threatened violence against them.
Australia has washed their hands of these refugees. New Zealand should stand up for what's right and bring them here. Sign to ask Jacinda Ardern and Iain Lees-Galloway to bring them here now.
Why is this important?
Dear Ms Ardern and Mr Lees-Galloway,
On 31st October 2017, the Australian Government will close its Manus Island offshore detention centre, abandoning over 700 asylum seekers and refugees, some of whom have been held there for many years. In doing so, the Australian Government leaves these refugees in an extremely precarious situation, where local people have threatened violence against them if they remain on the island outside of the detention centre [https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/10/25/australia/png-refugees-face-unchecked-violence].
This situation is unacceptable for both local people and refugees being held on Manus. Local people on Manus Island were never consulted about the offshore detention centres and although the Papua New Guinea government has received huge payments from Australia, little of this has trickled through to local villagers - causing unrest, as their lives have been disrupted by the centres [https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/27/manus-island-closure-faces-local-opposition-and-legal-challenge]. The Papua New Guinean Supreme Court ruled the detention centre illegal in 2016 because it breached the asylum seekers’ fundamental human rights [http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-26/png-court-rules-asylum-seeker-detention-manus-island-illegal/7360078], which is why it is now being closed.
Refugees, who attempted to flee terrible situations in their home countries have now been thrust into a new nightmare. Some have been held in the offshore detention centre in Manus for years [https://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/getfacts/statistics/aust/asylum-stats/detention-australia-statistics/]. Conditions have been horrific in the detention centre and many experience psychological trauma due to their uncertain future. Many have taken their own lives in desperation and others have died in unclear circumstances [http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/thebordercrossingobservatory/publications/australian-border-deaths-database/]. Some have been forcibly repatriated to their home countries where they are unsafe [https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/21/asylum-seeker-on-manus-forcibly-returned-to-iran-amid-court-challenge].
The Australian government, as a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, should be responsible for these refugees, regardless of how they entered Australian territory to seek asylum. Instead, the government brought them to Manus Island as part of their ‘Pacific Solution’ policy of preventing any people fleeing war or persecution reaching safety in Australia if they seek asylum by boat. It is very clear that Australia is washing their hands of these people, in the same way that they washed their hands of the refugees who tried to reach Australia on the Tampa. On 31st October, they will shut off water, electricity and sewage systems to the detention centre and give the people the choice to either be moved to Nauru, another of their offshore prisons, or to remain in a nearby town where they will be extremely unsafe [http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/food-water-power-to-be-cut-at-manus-island-centre-as-refugees-forced-to-depart-20171020-gz51r9.html].
We demand that the New Zealand government do what the Australian Government will not. We should show manaakitanga, take a strong stand for justice and welcome these desperate people to Aotearoa New Zealand immediately.