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Issue #1671      February 4, 2015

Manus reprisals continue

Wilson security guards have again carried out reprisal raids on asylum seekers in Mike and Oscar compounds this (Friday January 30) morning.

Hunger strikers in Mike compound in the Manus Island detention centre.

Increasingly Manus resembles a prison camp with arbitrary raids, threats against individuals remaining on hunger strike, and the arbitrary kidnapping of anyone thought to be “of interest”.

“It is obvious that the Immigration department is desperate to silence the voices of the asylum seekers and stop the truth getting out of Manus. The photos and testimonies have exposed the brutality of Manus Island to the Australian public and to the world,” said Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition.

“The tactic of silencing the critics is typical of the dictatorships from which the asylum seekers are fleeing. Freedom of speech is reserved for the Minister of Immigration.”

Mike compound was also raided yesterday on January 29. “Aussie” guards with a handful of PNG police in support occupied the compound for five hours, systematically going from room to room, while the asylum seekers were corralled in the mess area.

More than 20 mobile phones were confiscated during the raid on Mike compound. One asylum seeker was “taken away”, presumably to Chauka or Charlie compounds where up to 35 people are being held in isolation.

The immigration minister, Peter Dutton, says that Wilson are confiscating “contraband”. It begs the question of why mobile phones are “contraband”.

But in Mike compound, the raid also removed large amounts of personal items – clothes, MP3 players, nail clippers, washing powder, sheets, blankets. Political banners were confiscated and asylum seekers warned not to make more banners and to keep away from the perimeter fences, on pain of arrest.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the ending of the mass hunger strike, a “message to the Australian people” (translation attached) has been released from the Manus Island detainees. In part it reads, “More than 900 people, 900 heroes, carried out the biggest hunger strike in history to deliver their oppressed voices to the ears of the whole world.

“Fourteen days of struggle between the tyrant and the oppressed, between right and wrong, between the rich and the poor, ended today on January 27. More than anything it showed the willpower and determination of an oppressed collection of people, every single one of whom has fled from the tyrannies of their own countries and sought refuge in the free country of Australia.”

Concern is also growing for the welfare of the 60 people in Lorengau jail. The 60 are being held in the one crowded area.

Two asylum seekers who have swallowed razor blades in prison have not received medical attention. Lorengau hospital has refused treatment saying that the asylum seekers are not their responsibility.

Message from Manus Island

To the respected people of Australia

Thirsty Manus has been quenched after 14 days. To all those who care about freedom and human rights, may you hear our message from Manus, a place that bears so much similarity to Guantánamo prison and has become known as the Australian Guantánamo. More than 900 people, 900 heroes, carried out the biggest hunger strike in history to deliver their oppressed voices to the ears of the whole world.

Fourteen days of struggle between the tyrant and the oppressed, between right and wrong, between the rich and the poor, was ended today on January 27. More than anything it showed the willpower and determination of an oppressed collection of people, every single one of whom has fled from the tyrannies of their own countries and sought refuge in the free country of Australia. But alas, today Australia shows no signs of a country with a commitment to human rights.

Respected people of Australia, what the Liberal government told you during the last 14 days was nothing but lies. Just as before, our movement was peaceful, free from any sort of violence and we believe in discussion and discourse in order to solve our problems. To our astonishment, different groups of Australian people and institutions, including the High Court, have chosen silence in the name of the national interest.

This unequal struggle finished today, while the United Nations failed to show any support. The great achievement of this movement was to send the message of freedom to the people of the world: the freedom that up to now, for us, has been only a dream.

But we are hopeful that with the help of different groups of Australian people – human rights institutions, lawyers, journalists and the media, refugee supporters, politicians and political parties, including the Greens, the Nationals, the Palmer United Party, the Labor Party and all of those from the Liberal Party – who still have a sense of humanity and are concerned about Australia’s future, we can celebrate this old dream together, in the not too distant future.

To conclude, we would like to thank and show our appreciation for the help, support and sympathy of all the people in Australia, and other parts of the world, who stood by us and supported us during this time in every possible way. Your support and sympathy encouraged us and doubled our strength when going through this very rough and difficult path.

Viva freedom.

Next article – Unions’ Day of Action

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