Oxfam shocked by GetUp footage of horrific living conditions on Manus Island

Campaigns and Advocacy, Humanitarian Advocacy, Media Releases, News article written on the 10 Nov 2017

Oxfam is shocked by the footage released by GetUp this morning of the horrific conditions inside the closed immigration detention centre on Manus Island.

The release of the footage comes on the back of a scathing new report released last night by the UN Human Rights Committee, calling on the Australian Government to evacuate the men held on Manus and bring them to safety. It also follows a statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights earlier this week, in which the situation on Manus Island was described as a ‘humanitarian emergency’.

Responding to the new footage and to the Human Rights Committee Report, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said:

“The conditions in the Manus Island detention centre have been described as uninhabitable and this footage confirms that description.

“The Australian Government has sent these people to Manus Island, and many of them have now been there for years and have suffered severe psychological damage.  They are extremely vulnerable, and the Australian Government is responsible – not only under international law but as a basic moral obligation – for their safety and wellbeing.

“It was less than a month ago that Australia was elected to the Human Rights Council, the world’s peak body for protecting human rights. Welcoming the announcement, our Foreign Minister said that Australia would work towards protecting and advancing human rights around the world, to upholding the international rules based order, and to respecting fundamental human rights and freedoms. She said that Australia would build human rights into the fabric of society, making Australia and the world safer and more secure.

“These lofty commitments ring hollow in light of the human rights and humanitarian crisis unfolding under the watch of the Australian Government on Manus Island right now.

“We implore the Australian Government to immediately evacuate the men on Manus Island, to ensure they are supported and assisted to recover, and to offer them the future they deserve.

“Longer term, we call upon the Australian Government to once and for all end its damaging offshore processing regime and to ensure that people seeking asylum in Australia are never again subjected to indefinite detention.”

For interviews or more information, please contact Dylan Quinnell on 0450 668 350 or dylanq@oxfam.org.au