We all know that Australia has a partnership with Nauru which allows the government to export all our unwanted asylum seekers into a prison facility on the island. The Detention Centre was first opened under the Howard Government in 2001 and has continued to operate as a “processing” centre since. The fact that we are still sending people there 13 years on might indicate to any reasonable person that it is not the deterrent many lauded it to be in stopping desperate people boarding leaky fishing boats to reach Australia.
The history of how Howard exploited the dire financial situation of Nauru to establish a detention centre, is best documented in The Economist…http://www.economist.com/node/884045
Conditions within the detention centre have been severely criticised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The UN agency found conditions in the detention centre fail to meet international standards. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/un-refugee-agency-condemns-nauru-detention-centre/story-fn9hm1gu-1226536984103 The fact that Australia fails to meet our obligations and responsibilities under United Nation Conventions, hardly raises an eyebrow in Australian media.
I don’t know of any other country that moves their responsibility for managing asylum seekers to another independent third world country. So much secrecy surrounds the partnership with Nauru and PNG who also has a detention centre on Manus Island. How much is the Australian Government “paying” these countries to be the dumping ground for our unwanted?
Current Crisis on Nauru
If Nauru was considered to be unsuitable by the United Nations in past visits, they must certainly be alarmed at the current situation on Nauru. At present the entire judicial system has broken down.
Resident Magistrate Peter Law, an Australian, was deported post haste, earlier this month. Chief Justice Geoffrey Eames also an Australia who was visiting Melbourne at the time, has had his visa cancelled and cannot re- enter Nauru. Following this, the government of Nauru has hurriedly amended the Immigration Act to allow for the immediate expulsion of Rod Henshaw also an Australian who was a media advisor to the former government. .http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21595508-problems-australias-pacific-solution-aussies-out?zid=306&ah=1b164dbd43b0cb27ba0d4c3b12a5e227
Now reports that the government of Nauru is drafting laws to impose emergency rule. They are being assisted by lawyers from Fiji, hardly the epitome of democracy. Against this backdrop, Nauru has increased the visa application fee for journalists to $8000, payable whether the application is successful or not. Hardly an enticement for any journalist to apply.
There are approx 900 asylum seekers imprisoned on Nauru. They were sent there by the Australian government and I believe remain our responsibility. Minister Scott Morrison has stated the internal politics of Nauru are not our concern. I beg to differ.
We have had 3 highly regarded Australians thrown out of Nauru and the government say nothing…that is a major concern right there.
Questions need to be asked about how much involvement Australia has had in this entire sorry saga? Is our government complicit in a veil of secrecy descending on Nauru to protect our own agenda of inhumane treatment of asylum seekers? If we have nothing to hide, then don’t hide it. If the Australian government is opposed to the current situation on Nauru with emergency rule then they need to articulate this strongly, terminate the partnership and bring the asylum seekers and their children back to Australia. 900 lives depend on us doing the right thing by them.
We either stand strongly for democracy or we all lose.