Good Friday, and there are reports that hundreds of refugees detained illegally by the Australian Government on its offshore refugee detention centre on Manus Island (Papua New Guinea) are being attacked by PNG navy and police.
Reports of more than 100 bullets have been fired at the refugees, who are now in fear of their lives. Reports, too, that Australian employed security guards have fled the scene.
According to Iranian refugee and journalist Behrouz Boochani, who is held at Manus:
One refugee said:
Refugees were beaten by police, navy and locals. After that police and navy started firing in air, but after 10 minutes they started shooting at the detention centre.
One report says that the refugee camp was attacked at around 6.30 pm, not long after a fight broke out between locals and refugees at a football match. And live rounds were fired.
The Australian government meanwhile has issued no formal response. The Australian Government organises and pays for the detention of the refugees and funds the security arrangements. It is ultimately responsible – legally and morally – for the well being of all refugees held on Manus Island.
If any harm comes to any of the refugees, it is the Australian Government that is legally liable.
The most sensible action that can now be taken, is for all refugees and asylum seekers held on Manus Island, or onshore at PNG, to be immediately evacuated by the Australian RAAF and navy. To delay further could see a major tragedy unfold.
To see more on Manus Island, click here.