Two asylum seekers on Nauru have committed acts of self-immolation less than a week after the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea held that the Manus Island detention centre is unconstitutional. In a disgusting response, the Government of Nauru issued a press statement suggesting that the self-harm incidents were “politically motivated” and asylum seekers were “not distressed”.
“Self-harm incidents as extreme as self-immolation cannot be dismissed by claims that asylum seekers on Nauru are not distressed. This — along with other reports of self-harm and the denial of any wrongdoing by the Governments of both Australia and Nauru — shows a complete lack of humanity towards those seeking asylum. Not only that, but the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees has condemned Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers and yesterday demanded that they be moved to humane conditions. It is clear that evidence has given way to political grandstanding and the censoring of information,” said Deputy President Michael Keating
“Seeking asylum is not illegal under international law, yet Australia’s current immigration policy, a rare example of almost total agreement between the Coalition Government and Labor Opposition, treats asylum seekers worse than criminals. Mandatory offshore detention of those seeking asylum is not a solution; it is simply creating more problems, including the significant expenditure required to maintain these camps and damaging Australia’s international reputation.
“The ruling from Papua New Guinea is consistent with international law. Australia’s international reputation continues its rapid decline due to the petty politics and fear-mongering of the Government and Opposition. The Pirate Party is among the many voices demanding an end to the inhumane conditions and process asylum seekers with dignity. There is no need to treat asylum seekers as subhuman, and no need to waste taxpayers’ dollars on what is a disgraceful policy that clearly is not working,” Michael concluded.
In 2013 the Pirate Party adopted a policy that would share responsibility for asylum seeker processing across the region. Under this policy, asylum could be easily sought in any of the participating countries, reducing the incentive for maritime arrivals and encouraging on-shore processing, fair treatment of asylum seekers, and compliance with international law. The Pirate Party believes there is a way to offer asylum without having people resort to dangerous boat travel, and without treating them as criminals. It is time for a fair, balanced and evidence-driven approach to asylum seeker processing.
The Pirate Party offers it’s condolences to the family and friends of Omid Masoumali and we join many fellow Australians in fervently hoping Hodan Yasin can recover from both her injuries and the trauma inflicted upon her by the Australian government.