The more than 600 men at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre must be spared further emotional and physical harm and resettled in Australia or suitable third countries, says Jesuit Social Services.
“More than 600 men are directly impacted by the closure of the Manus Island detention centre today, and are now unreasonably expected to relocate to another situation of danger,” says Jesuit Social Services Acting CEO Sally Parnell.
“The Federal Government has subjected these vulnerable people – many of whom have escaped trauma and persecution in their home countries – to needless punishment at the expense of finding a durable solution, despite the men being in Australia’s care”.
With only a small number of people (25 as of early October) resettled under the Australia-US refugee settlement deal, the remaining residents are expected to relocate to other sites on Manus Island or elsewhere in Papua New Guinea.
“We know that these people have already been subjected to inhumane treatment and inadequate conditions in the detention centre, and that many people fear violence in the alternative facilities offered to them,” says Ms Parnell.
“By cutting off access to food, drinking water, medical treatment, education programs and electricity from today, the Federal Government is just treating these people as political pawns; it shows they are fixated on making their lives miserable”.
Ms Parnell says that Jesuit Social Services and the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA), of which the organisation takes a lead role, urges the Federal Government to treat all people in Australia’s care in offshore detention facilities humanely.
“We join millions of Australians in saying that these people’s lives have been kept on hold for long enough.
“These men must be given the opportunity to resettle in Australia or a suitable alternate country.
“It is time for our political leaders to show genuine leadership by guaranteeing the safety of these men, giving them a chance to rebuild their lives and facilitating durable solutions that support this.