These three important stories (click on the links above to read the details) have been released by Radio New Zealand over the last two weeks … and now the Australian media are reporting on the crisis continuing on Manus Island that has led those not free to leave PNG to approach world leaders :
Nauru has taken the public consciousness recently – which is important – but we cannot forget the men of Manus for whom health issues for many may also be fatal. The age of some of those affected on Nauru can pull at our heartstrings – young children in despair are difficult to ignore even for the hardest of hearts and smallest of minds. But what must be at the forefront are the characteristics shared by those left offshore in limbo:
- They came to Australia seeking help and refuge
- They are innocent human beings being punished having committed no crime
What happens to those men on Manus and in the areas of PNG, to which they have been relocated – as is the case with the people held on Nauru – is happening because of Australian policy. Because of the Australian parliament’s decision-making. Those who don’t agree with those decisions and their outcomes can respond. Democracy means that we can all say what we think. And that the opinions of Australian citizens should matter* to those who say they represent us.
Tell the parliamentarians what they should be doing to adhere to international law, to do what is both logical and economical and to demonstrate the values of decency and moral fibre they continue to say they represent.
* [It’s worth noting too that the insights of experts on immigration law and human rights offences should matter as should the perspectives of anyone who cares about a government committing crimes against humanity.]