Guided by Justice and Compassion

  • Friday essay: the Chauka bird and morality on our Manus Island home

    Friday essay: the Chauka bird and morality on our Manus Island home

    Michelle Nayahamui Rooney grew up on Manus Island and returned to her home in November 2017. Here is the story of her childhood, what Manus island means to her as she tries to explains what the detention centre has done to this community.

    “My poem Chauka, yu we? started as an angry reaction to the appropriation of the Chauka and the inhumane treatment of asylum seekers. As a scholar and as a Manus Islander, I have tried to reason through the historical, political, social and moral issues that gave rise to the detention centre. At the same time I am left angry, sad and guilty…”Read more

  • The increasingly deranged diary of a detention centre visitor

    The increasingly deranged diary of a detention centre visitor

    If the Department of Home Affairs was trying to stop detention centre visits with its new, punitive visitation procedures, then it may have worked.
    Last month the Department of Home Affairs changed the visitation protocols for Australian detention centres, provoking outrage and hunger strikes among detainees.
    Here, Rebekah Holt attempts to navigate the new system for her weekly Sunday visit.Read more

  • Update on situation in Villawood over visitor restrictions

    Update on situation in Villawood over visitor restrictions

    An update from one of the BMRSG visitors after going into Villawood on 24 January. “Everyone is upset about the authoritarian and rigid rules about visitors, no games allowed in, no cooked food 7 days notice for visitors and only one detainee per visitor plus random strip searchers after meeting a visitor. Only 3 of our detainees came out to visit with us this week out of 6 but we did invent some fun games and had a good time, Very few families came into the compounds this week as the processes and forms are complex and hard for people for whom English is a second language.”
    Also some background information as to who is in Villawood. Who are 501s?Read more

  • Hunger strike starts over immigration detention visits restrictions

    Hunger strike starts over immigration detention visits restrictions

    Over two hundred detainees at two detention centres, Villawood in Sydney and Maribyrnong in Melbourne, have declared a hunger strike in protest at visiting restrictions recently announced by Border Force. The detainees have been on hunger strike for more than 24 hours, since the morning of Monday 15 January.

    Posters declaring the changes would apply after 22 January went up unannounced in the centres, last week. Detainees only found out about the policy when told by their visitors.

    Under the restrictions, visitors will have to give five days’ notice of any visit, fill in a five-page form, with actual visits restricted to one on one. Visitors will also be required to have 100 points of ID when they attend the detention centre to visit.Read more

  • BRING THEM HERE OFFSHORE DETENTION: THE SUFFERING CONTINUES

    BRING THEM HERE OFFSHORE DETENTION: THE SUFFERING CONTINUES

    While the Detention Centre on Manus Island was forcibly closed by the PNG Government there are still more than 600 men detained in unsafe conditions on Manus Island.
    There are approximately 340 people – men, women and children – held in the Nauru detention centre, including 43 children. A further 750 people have been released into the tiny Nauruan community, including more than 100 children. They have temporary visas, very limited rights, and they cannot leave the island.
    Read this concise update of what is continuing to happen on Manus Island and Nauru by the Bellingen and Nambucca District RAR. Jan 2018.Read more

  • Australia built a hell for refugees on Manus. The shame will outlive us all – Richard Flanagan

    Australia built a hell for refugees on Manus. The shame will outlive us all – Richard Flanagan

    So this is what we have come to as a nation.
    The wretched of the earth, because they were no longer safe where they lived, sought to come here. With a determined cruelty, we kidnapped and imprisoned them in Pacific lagers. These lagers became synonymous with the idea of hellholes because it was important to our government that they be – ­and be known as – hellholes.
    On this policy of deterrence, as it was called, which had as its declared purpose to make innocent human beings suffer indefinitely, we spent billions of dollars. To this end we had truck with vile regimes such as Sri Lanka’s. And to this end we began forsaking our democratic rights.Read more