Evidence is clear - Australian Government must take responsibility, evacuate centres and immediately bring people to safety

22 April 2017, 00:00 UTC | Australia
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A Senate Committee report released overnight lays bare the horrific abuses committed against refugees and people seeking asylum on Nauru and Manus Island, further demonstrating the urgency of getting people to a place of safety, Amnesty International said.

Amnesty International gave evidence at the Senate Inquiry last month. The report highlights a failure by the Australian Government to take responsibility for its actions and a disturbing lack of accountability for abuses.

“The evidence couldn’t be clearer. The Australian Government has set up a deliberately cruel and inhumane system that is intended to make desperate and vulnerable people suffer,” said Claire Mallinson, National Director of Amnesty International Australia.

“With the release of this Senate Committee report the Government cannot possibly ignore the evidence of abuse. Ultimately there is no safe and humane way to administer offshore processing. It is designed to be cruel and to break people - and it must be shut down." 

Claire Mallinson, National Director of Amnesty International Australia

“With the release of this Senate Committee report the Government cannot possibly ignore the evidence of abuse. Ultimately there is no safe and humane way to administer offshore processing. It is designed to be cruel and to break people - and it must be shut down."

“No more excuses. What we need to see now is Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull immediately committing to get these people off the islands and bring them to safety.”

Amnesty International welcomes a number of the Committee's recommendations - including adopting alternative policies such as increasing Australia's annual refugee intake and working with Australia's Asia-Pacific neighbours to establish a regional framework for the processing of peoples' claims of asylum.

Amnesty International also supports the committee's recommendation that Australia should ensure any refugees who have been transferred to Australia for medical treatment are able to participate in the US refugee resettlement arrangement without having to return to Nauru or PNG.

Amnesty International released an investigation into conditions on Nauru in October 2016, entitled ‘Island of Despair’.
"It’s been six months since our investigation into conditions and treatment of people held on Nauru revealed a system of abuse tantamount to torture. There has still been no change,” said Claire Mallinson.

“That's six more months of men, women and children being trapped in an open prison. Six months of violent attacks, sexual violence, inadequate medical care and harassment involving mothers, fathers and children as young as six."

“The Australian government can end this cruelty today by closing the centres on Nauru and Manus Island and bringing people to safety.”

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