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Monday, 28 April 2014

What’s being hidden on Manus and Nauru?

What’s being hidden on Manus and Nauru?

What’s being hidden on Manus and Nauru?

Everyone knows that asylum seekers detained on Manus Island and Nauru
face poor living conditions, every day. Why are they so bad, and what’s
being hidden from the public?

In February, visa prices for journalists wishing to travel to Nauru
increased from $200 to $8000. What could be the reasoning behind this?

Amnesty International has been denied access to visit the Nauru
detention centre by the Nauru government, based on ‘the current
circumstances’. Nauru is refusing to allow any form of independent
review of the conditions inside the detention centre.

The conditions on Nauru are so bad that journalists and human rights
activists are being barred access, and shut out of entering the country.
This is something we should be concerned about.

There are few photos of the facilities on Manus Island and Nauru.
Staff aren’t allowed to take photos, and journalists find it very
difficult to gain access. The few photos we do have paint a shocking

After photos were taken of detainees up against the wire fence, a
black screen was put up to prevent us from seeing the faces of those on
the inside.

An Amnesty International report in 2012 found that detainees in the
Nauru detention centre were living in cramped conditions, and suffered
from both physical and mental ailments. It also found their human rights
were routinely being violated. We can only assume things have been
getting worse since then.

But it’s not just Amnesty International concerned about conditions.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has raised concerns
about the living conditions of asylum seekers in these facilities. It
described the Nauru detention centre as rat-infested, cramped and very

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison now says he cannot guarantee the
safety of detainees inside Australia’s detention centres, contrary to
his statements earlier in the year.

If we are forcing these people to be locked away in our detention
facilities, the least we can do is guarantee them safety and basic human

We can only ask ourselves, what don’t we know about Manus Island and Nauru, and what’s being hidden?

Following the tragic death of Reza Barati on Manus Island in
February, candlelight vigils were held nationwide, drawing in thousands
of supporters.

It seems regular, everyday Australians have more concern and care for
refugees and asylum seekers than our government and those being paid to
look after them.

The right thing to do would for Manus Island and Nauru to allow
independent oversight of the detention facilities. We need to make sure
that refugees under our care are being treated with the utmost of care.

Torin is a political campaigner,
technology enthusiast and writer. He is a member of the Australian
Labor Party. You can follow him on Twitter, @torin.

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