AUSTRALIA STRANDS REFUGEES ON REMOTE ISLAND W/ HOSTILE LOCALS
A common narrative is people washing up on tropical island after their boats have become lost at sea.
The refugees on Manus Island did embark on a dangerous voyage by boat but that is not why they are now in this predicament, at least not directly.
Fleeing their home countries for security reasons they arrived on Australian shores and asked for protection.
Unfortunately for those on Manus the Australian government had just implemented a policy to send all people who arrived by boat to offshore processing centres.
These centers are in developing nations who this colonial power can bully and bribe with money.
Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island fits the bill for this policy which seeks to send a message to other refugees that Australia is not a welcoming humanitarian country (as many believe).
After some three years of locking refugees in the derelict centre on Manus the PNG supreme court ruled this incarceration unconstitutional.
A series of events have lead to the current situation where detainees feel safer in the cage they have so longed to escape from than outside.
Even when not surrounded by wire on Manus they are still held captive by the ocean and the administrative chains which deny them the freedom we take for granted.
Fearful for their lives if they leave the center and move to the new accommodation closer to town they are now isolated.
Gradually all staff and nearly all services have been withdrawn from the center.
The 615 men have stockpiled water and food preparing for what now is an unknown future.
As October 31 draws to a close some areas of the center still have services – power, unpotable water.
Unable to record an interview about of poor reception Farhad sent me some voice clips explaining the situation at the center.
Terrified some men are now sleeping and others are keeping watch, ever fearful of attacks by locals.