Inhumane Conditions

Conditions in detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru are such that a United Nations report has stated that the Australian Government has violated the right of asylum seekers to be free from torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment.

The conditions include:

  • severely overcrowded living quarters

  • a serious lack in drinking water, adequate toilet and shower facilities, and basic essentials such as shoes and clothing

  • inadequate health services

  • uncertainty due to the indefinite nature of the detention, prolonged processing times, and fears over their futures leading to significant depression, stress and anxiety

  • violence and abuse from tensions between asylum seekers and locals (including staff working for the centre) that has led to permanent trauma and fatal injury

The effects of this indefinite imprisonment are undeniable.
No one will be left unaffected by their incarceration, a significant number will experience lifelong negative repercussions and people who have been forced to leave war and tyranny HAVE DIED as a result of being placed in offshore detention.

(Click on the links in the synopses below for more details on each tragedy.) 


In February 2014, 23 year old Iranian Reza Barati was murdered when Papua New Guinea police entered the Manus Island detention centre and G4S guards ran riot, attacking asylum seekersBarati, who was not involved in any rioting or protest, was fatally injured when he was allegedly attacked by detention centre staff with a wooden pole and then had a large rock dropped on his head.


In August 2014, 24 year old Hamid Khazaei died in an Australian hospital from severe sepsis of an infected leg 13 days after presenting to the medical clinic on Manus Island with a fever and chills. Staff at the detention centre’s medical clinic admitted that detainees suffering with conditions such as hypotension/fever needed to be treated urgently and at a higher level than could be provided in the facility.


In August 2017, 31 year old Hamed Shamshiripour, who had been suffering acute mental health crises for more than a year(and who had displayed no mental health issues in his native Iran), was found dead in the forest near Manus Island’s Australian-run East Lorengau refugee transit centre. It remains unclear if he died as a result of self-harm or violence. However, although fellow refugees and asylum seekers have said that he had already made several attempts on his life, they CONTEST that suicide was the cause of Shamshiripour’s death. 14 fellow asylum seekers had already lodged acomplaint that he was beaten instead of receiving treatment (see right) when, in June 2016, he appeared in the detention centre compound, naked and yelling in an incoherent, distressed state. He was then arrested and taken to Lorengau prison before being taken to the detention centre “managed accommodation area“. Then again in January 2017, Shamshiripour was jailed following an acute mental breakdown. He was released from prison, only to be found wandering the streets of Lorengau half-naked, “hungry and homeless” according to refugees, police and politicians on the island. A Manus MP who had arranged for Shamshiripour to be released from prison so he could access mental healthcare, said he was receiving none because “there is none for him here.”


In October 2017a Sri Lankan Tamil man – who had been formally recognised as a refugee and was legally owed protection – became the second person to commit suicide on Manus Island in less than two months.


Daniel Webb of the Human Rights Law Centre has said:

“It becomes more and more clear, with every death and with every violent attack against innocent people in our care, that the only humane and responsible way forward is to immediately evacuate everyone trapped on Nauru and Manus to safety in Australia. Otherwise, further tragedy is inevitable.”


There is more information referring specifically to the inhumane conditions on the following pages:

Personal Stories

Nauru Detention

Manus Island Detention

However if the devastating toll indicated above has already motivated you to EMAIL EMPATHY, please take the next 10-15 minutes to


Thank you.