Subject: Climbers unfurl Manus solidarity banner over Melbourne Cup celebrations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Climbers unfurl Manus solidarity banner over Melbourne Cup celebrations
[ See also WACA on Twitter: "The amazing women currently on top of a crane at #MelbourneCup @TurnbullMalcolm #EvacuateManus now! https://t.co/Pk9rXPzbcD #auspol #manus https://t.co/W15Oqrr6Fi"]
Two women have abseiled off a crane at Flemington Racecourse with a banner that reads “SOS: Evacuate Manus Now!”. As over 600 asylum seekers and refugees remain stranded on Manus Island, the climbers, a qualified rope access technician and a qualified arborist, climbed the crane and unfurled their banner above Melbourne Cup celebrate. Hannah Patchett, 24, and Katherine Woskett, 27, plan to remain suspended off the crane indefinitely, calling for refugees and asylum seekers abandoned by the Australian Government on Manus Island to be evacuated immediately from unsafe and inhumane conditions.
“We are joining with others across Australia to demand that the government evacuate the men on Manus immediately and bring them to safety for processing,” WACA spokesperson Charlotte Lynch said. “This is an emergency. This is an humanitarian crisis. We refuse to sit by whilst the Government, with the complicity of the Labor Party, puts over 600 men’s lives at risk”.
The climbers were sent a statement from a Sri Lankan Tamil refugee on Manus Island, K. Shaminda: “We have always been indirectly forced and intimidated to return back to where we come from. If it's safe to return we would have returned back to our countries years ago.
“When we heard we will be settled in PNG, it may take three to five years. It is clear we cannot resettle in PNG,” he said. ”Why should we be trapped here because you detained us here with no hope for the past four years?”
Kurdish-Iranian journalist, writer and film-maker Behrouz Boochani has been held on Manus Island for four years and sent through this statement about the current situation on Manus:
“We are peacefully resisting being imprisoned for longer. We have lived in this prison camp for more than 4 and a half years. The Australian government have cut water, food and medication to us and are even stopping local people from bringing food, water and medicines to us. From Manus camp I am asking people around Australia to say no to fascist thinking. What's happening in Manus is under your name. We are asking the international community to make a stand also. We will never settle for anything less than freedom. Only freedom.” - Behrouz Boochani.
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A week ago, the Australian Government, with the assistance of Border Force, Wilson Security and local Papua New Guinea authorities, cut off all food, water, electricity, medication and medical care to the men on Manus Island Detention Centre. PNG military are now preventing food and medical supplies from being taken into the centre. Many of the men on Manus Island have serious medical conditions and the withdrawal of basic services and medication constitutes a breach of international human rights laws. Refugee advocates are calling on the domestic and international audience to rise in solidarity with the refugees to demand their immediate evacuation to safety. The Australian Government must act immediately in accordance with international law or face a global sanctioning of Australia via a boycott campaign.
“On Sunday, PM Turnbull again refused the offer of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to take 150 men off Manus. The men on Manus have stated many times that they do not wish to come to Australia anymore, given the treatment they have suffered. Turnbull’s reasoning that accepting Ardern’s deal will encourage people smugglers is completely out of touch, given the worldwide outrage at the inhumane conditions imposed by Australia on people seeking asylum.”
“The UNHCR has condemned the Australian Government for its treatment of refugees on Manus, calling the situation ‘a humanitarian crisis.’ For 4 years the men incarcerated on Manus Island have suffered daily torture and abuse at the whim of the Australian Government. We will not be silent while the LNP and ALP continue to play politics with human lives. The men on Manus, and all refugees and asylum seekers imprisoned by our government, must be resettled safely immediately.”