A report released by the UNHCR today has corroborated what Senator Sarah Hanson-Young saw when she inspected the Manus Island detention centre last week.
The profoundly unsatisfactory conditions on the island are unacceptable for adults, let alone children, and the government needs stop dehumanising and punishing refugees, the Australian Greens said today.
“The detention centre on Manus Island is robbing these children of their childhood,” the Greens immigration spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
“The UNHCR says that no more children should be subjected to the traumatic conditions offshore and the Greens have long been urging the government to bring all of the children who are already on the island back to Australia.
“The government has to listen to the UNHCR’s report which contains a number of recommendations, including the immediate processing of claims for asylum and drastic improvement of conditions in the centre.
“When I visited the detention centre last week I had my camera and phone confiscated so I couldn’t take photographs of the terrible conditions that people are being held in.
“The government is deliberately hiding from the Australian people just how bad conditions in the camp are.
“The dehumanising treatment and appallingly cramped accommodation, which lacks basic privacy, air-conditioning and even doors to keep out mosquitos, are unacceptable for adults and torturous for children.
“I spent a lot of time with the children in the detention centre last week and some of them gave me terribly sad drawings that show the appalling conditions on the island."
“The UNHCR report is correct; this is indefinite, arbitrary and mandatory detention and it has to be stopped.
“The Labor Party has chosen to parrot Tony Abbott’s hard-line on immigration policy, but I urge them to think about the impacts their choices have and to bring these vulnerable people to Australia so they can have their claims processed.”
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