Contributed from Victoria
The apparent suicide death of a Tamil refugee at the Manus refugee detention centre in Papua New Guinea should be a matter of grave concern for Australia.
More so, given reports that more of the people incarcerated there are considering taking a similar course.
This provides evidence that the situation there is intolerable and that an ongoing violation of basic human rights is going on. The Australian government has blood on its hands and it is committing this crime in our name.
This is a good reason why we have a duty to stand up.
The 32-year old victim was found hanging in the early hours of 2 October. He is the second death by suicide in less than two months. Both had been mentally distressed for some time and instead of being given help, were just left to rot. There are no facilities there to cope with these situations and their absence can only be through deliberate policy.
Australians have been left to believe that the Manus inmates were going to be resettled in the US. The reality is that they have been put in limbo and remain locked up in that should be called a concentration camp.
“Slowly but surely, Dutton’s policy is killing people on Manus Island. Four years of illegal detention on Manus is taking a terrible toll. The responsibility for this death lies with Peter Dutton and the policy of offshore detention,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“Dutton has been given so many warnings. This death is criminal neglect. The evacuation of Manus and Nauru is now a more urgent priority.”
Regardless of all appeals for human decency, the Australian government continues to fail to act properly to safeguard the lives and health of those it has under its control. There is absolutely no excuse. Responsible ministers should be held to account for this.
In a just world, they would be charged with human rights violations and brought to trial. Maybe this will happen one day. But first, the political consensus of the past to incarcerate and mistreat refugees seeking asylum in Australia needs to be broken.