Tension, fear and despair on Manus as Trump/Turnbull transcript exposes gaping holes in US deal

Tension, fear and despair on Manus as Trump/Turnbull transcript exposes gaping holes in US deal

Transcripts released of the conversation between US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about the US resettlement deal have further dashed the hopes of men on Manus and left them fearing for their safety and their futures.

Imran Mohammad, a refugee held on Manus Island for almost four years said:

“I just cried as I was reading the transcripts of the most two powerful leaders in this world. Their words made me feel like I am just a product to them and I can be traded for anything.”

Related: Australian Government misleads the UN, High Commissioner for Refugees calls for camps to be evacuated immediately

“I am just a human being and there is no need to play with my life. All I want is to respect and love others and be loved and respected in return. All I need is a sense of belonging to a safe country so that I can live a life that every human deserves.”

Over 2000 people remain warehoused on Manus and Nauru, 1781 of whom have already been assessed to be refugees. Among these 2000 innocent people are 169 children.

The Trump/Turnbull transcript comes at a dangerous and tense time on Manus Island. The Australian government is closing the Manus RPC facility around the men it has detained there for the last four years - recently cutting water and electricity to the major compounds - but the men have nowhere safe to go.

Ahead of the slated October 31 closure of the RPC the men are being pressured to move into the East Lorengau Transit Centre, a facility on the outskirts of the main town on Manus. The facility currently holds about 60 men but at a Senate hearing in May the Australian Government revealed plans to ‘double-bunk’ the East Lorengau facility and increase its capacity to 440.

However, a series of recent violent attacks against refugees near the centre and the surrounding town - including three attacks in one night just last weekend - have left the men terrified.

Daniel Webb, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, who has visited Manus Island three times to inspect conditions and meet with the men held there, said:

“These are tense, frightening and desperate moments on Manus. It is cruel, irresponsible and incredibly dangerous for our government to be forcing innocent people into a place it knows is unsafe.”

“The Government is scrambling to maintain the façade of the US deal. But what’s important to the 2000 innocent people on warehoused on Nauru and Manus for the last 4 years is an actual future – not political posturing but a real future in freedom and safety.”

“2000 innocent people - 169 children - have had four years of their lives ripped away from them by our government. They deserve a future. Every single man on Manus and every single family and child on Nauru must be evacuated to safety immediately. Otherwise, further tragedy is inevitable,” said Mr Webb.

For a timeline of critical incidents during the four years of this regime, see pages 6 and 7 of ‘Four years too many: offshore processing on Manus Island and Nauru'.