MANUS has many victims


The information debacle in immigration which has seen 10,000 names and details of refugees exposed online has many faces. The first families who were taken to Manus are still in mainland detention centres becasue of lost Documentation. This has left the first victims of the harsh Manus solution in long term arbitrary detention by a department which just ignores the problem. Medical documentation has also been lost which has placed health at risk.

These families were sent to Manus Detention Camp in November 2012. They lived there in primitive conditions with no information as to their future.
Three of the six pregnant women lost their babies. Other people became so sick that they were airlifted off. Eventually the failed experiment ceased and the families and their traumatised children were flown back to Christmas island in July 2013. After a few months in the overcrowded camps there, they were flown to yet another camp- this time to Darwin.

After more months around fifteen families were told that they were to be sent to the MITA at Broadmeadows for ONE MONTH and then they would be be released to the community. That was six months ago and now they are broken hearted and feeling betrayed and confused by unkept promises and lies.

Last Friday two of the children from different families broke down as they asked- why us? Why were we sent to PNG when others came to Australia to the community? Why must we keep suffering? When will we ever get out of detention? It is a hard thing to hold a child whose body is shaking with sobs and not be able to give her honest comfort.

The reason for this distress is that after 19 months these families are still in detention because Off-shore Processing Operations lost their “dossiers”. OPO are the section of Immigration charged with runnning the off shore detention and they lost these dossiers in July 2013 when the families were sent off to Christmas island. What is worse no one bothered about this loss even though the families are falling apart in detention. Case managers kept telling the people to be” calm” and “patient”. These “dossiers” are like detailed report cards of the families behaviour while they were on Manus Island. The Minister will not release them without the REPORT CARDS and so they sit in indefinite detention with their kids crying and distressed and asking their parents night after night – why us? Finally a case manager told one family so now they all know why they are waiting. This only compounds the sense of injustice after the hell they have been through.

If this sounds like some Kafkaesque nightmare it is. The Victorian Immigration staff can do nothing about it because the OPO mob in Canberra run this disaster. A reasonable Minister might be persuaded to say -well they have been in detention on-shore for twelve months – I will accept these report cards – but we do not have a reasonable Minister. There may be other Manus families in other detention centres still waiting and wondering. There is no one overseeing detention or holding them to account so these rank injustices keep proliferating.

Some members of these families were vaccinated up to 19 times. This is extraordinary when we consider that the standard vaccination for Manus was 7 injections. Investigation uncovered the reason. The medical documentation was supposed to go with the people from Christmas to Manus electronically. The systems did not work so some men women and children arrived on Manus with no record of vaccination. The medical solution was to double dose them to make sure. Just like sheep through the dip- if unsure dip them again. Some of the women were pregnant – no one has asked if this is the reason for the 50% miscarriage rate because after all they are all asylum seekers and they shoot them don’t they?

Please ring Minister Morrisons office and ask them politely to ask the minister to release the Manus Families.

Pamela Curr

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