This should surprise no-one: Australia’s offshore detention centres are intended to discourage applications for Australian refugee status.
“The conditions of detention at the Manus Island Offshore Processing Centre appeared to be calculated to break the spirit of those detained in the Manus Island Offshore Procession Centre.” So says the affidavit of a Medical Doctor formerly employed there, who “was considerably distressed at what I saw, and I recall thinking that this must be similar to a concentration camp.” (Those opposed to recognising the rights of refugees should realise this is precisely what they are supporting).
The detainees at the Manus Island OPC are detained behind razor wire fences, in conditions below the standard of Australian maximum-security prison… the minimum medical requirements of the detained population were not being met…
The conditions of detention at the Manus Island OPC appeared to be calculated to break the spirit of those detained in the Manus Island OPC. On a number of occasions the extreme conditions of detention resulted in detainees abandoning their claims for asylum and returning to their country of origin…
When asylum seekers arrived, they were usually badly sunburned, starving, and incontinent of urine and faeces. Often they had vomited on one another. … it was standard procedure to strip these asylum seekers of their belongings on arrival.
Bathroom routines used to break spirits and medical care is routinely withheld.
Bathroom facilities are rarely cleaned … no soap is provided to detainees for personal hygiene … toilet paper is available only upon prior request from the guards’ station before each and every visit … womens’ sanitary pads are considered a ‘fire hazard,’ and so the detainees are forced to ask for them often.
Medical care is desperately needed, and requests for medical are systematically ignored.
A large number of detainees continue to be in need of urgent medical attention.
Forms for requesting medical attention are only available in English. Many of the detainees do not have a workable understanding of English and the guards will not provide assistance.
I witnessed this on a number of occasions, and understood it to be common practice.
Medical treatment is often used as bait for removing detainees from their compound where a particular detainee has complained about conditions. Once removed, and prior to the provision of any form of acceptable medical attention, the relevant detainees are transported to the local prison as a form of punishment for agitation.(Emphasis mine.)
Another employee explains how (and why) detainees are transported:
Wilson Security guards often wake the relevant detainee early in the morning, around 3am. The guards will stand around his bed to intimidate him once he is woken…
On the morning of the 20th of December 2014, I witnessed a detainee being handcuffed with zip-ties and forcibly transported to the local prison. He was visibly in extreme pain, and complained that the zip-ties were too tight. In response, the attending guards held him down and tightened the zip-ties. On arriving at the local prison, the guards could not remove the zip-ties because they were too tight to be cut off.
I do not know how the zip-ties were removed.
The detainee suffered long-term nerve damage.
The detainee asked why he had been detained and he was informed that it was for “being a smart-arse and trying to contact a lawyer.”
These are just a few of the stories from these offshore concentration camps. There are many more supporting affidavits at lawyer Julian Burnside’s site.
Every detainee I saw was broken … cried … and beyond despair. They just looked to be completely deadened. One said to me “It doesn’t matter what happens ….. I’m already dead”.
This is how Australians treat human beings who have committed no crime, and sought only the freedom to breathe free.