Wednesday, 17 August 2016

103 Nauru, Manus gulag staff demand end to offshore detention centres

Children in offshore detention draw pictures of their grief
Greens show pictures of despair in senate
You can read the whole lot here including a long list of 103 qualified professionals who've worked in the offshore detention gulags. They've gone public and issued a statement demanding the offshore detention centres be shut down and the refugees bought to Australia. 

Here's the statement in it's entirety:
EMBARGO - 12:01AM 17TH AUGUST 2016 

THIS IS CRITICAL: An unprecedented 103 current and former workers speak out 

An unprecedented one hundred and three former staff previously and currently employed in offshore processing centres on Manus Island and Nauru have today issued a statement warning that the only way to secure the safety of refugees and asylum seekers in these locations is to bring them to Australia immediately. 

Those who support this view include doctors, teachers, case workers, managers and social workers from Broadspectrum (formerly Transfield), Save the Children, IHMS, Salvation Army and other contracted workers with first-hand experience across both Manus Island and Nauru Regional Processing Centres. 

They strongly believe that the establishment of another Senate Inquiry in response to the release of the Nauru files is quite simply not enough. 

“This has reached crisis level and requires an immediate response.” said Toby O’Brien, former Child Protection Officer with Save the Children. “The evidence is already overwhelmingly clear.” 

Many of the former staff have already made submissions and given evidence to a number of inquiries, investigations and reviews. 

’’We’ve given evidence and it’s been ignored.’’ said Natasha Reid, Case Manager with Broadspectrum until February 2015, ‘’No change has occurred for the men we worked with since the last Senate Inquiry. The camp is not safer, conditions have not improved, the physical and mental decline of those held continues.” 

Charlotte Wilson, who worked in case management on both Nauru and Manus Island over a period of 1.5 years, said “The Nauru files are damning in their truth, and they are not exclusive to Nauru. The men on Manus are being harmed just as frequently and severely.” 

“I watched these children’s lives being destroyed by these camps,” said Katie Price, Former Child and Youth Recreation Officer, was employed on Nauru with Save the Children for almost two years. “They went from energetic, cheeky, normal kids to completely devoid of all emotion. I recall one 7-year-old child towards the end having a complete breakdown. She collapsed, screaming and kicking and crying for 20 minutes, completely incoherent and would not let go of me. “ 

Shivani Keecha, who was the Coordinator of Save the Children’s Child Protection team on Nauru until October 2015, wants to see immediate action taken. “This cannot continue. I worked on Nauru while several previous investigations and inquiries were held. Nothing changed. It was already too little too late. We don’t need more evidence. We know these centres cause unacceptable harm. We need to bring these people to Australia and start the process of rebuilding their lives.’’ 

Hayley Ballinger, Unaccompanied Minor Residential Worker and Child Protection Caseworker with Save the Children until April 2015 said ‘’I implore the public and the Government to remember these are people. Kind, ambitious, strong, imaginative, clever, nurturing, loving, real people who are being systemically broken.” 

“They are truly the bravest souls I have ever met, and they deserve a future free from further harm.” said Ms Ballinger. 

Chris Lougheed, Deputy Education Manager with Save the Children, who personally reviewed and submitted a great many incident reports such as those published in the Nauru files, condemned the Minister’s claims that the reports were ‘hype’ and demanded he took responsibility. ‘’These reports are accurate observations written by experienced professionals.” 

“People are in immediate danger. Too much time has already passed. The Australian government must take responsibility and bring them here immediately.” said Mr Lougheed. Scribd 
This all started with the Tampa and Howard's "Pacific Solution", or to put it more bluntly Howard's demonisation of refugees using race to hold on to power. Both major parties used the politics of race, a race to the bottom if you will, to each be more tough than the other on these innocent people. 

Culminating in Rudd when trying to re-elect Labor declared nobody coming here by boat would be settled here, with the Lieberals then taking power, turning back refugee boats, and leaving those that arrived to rot in offshore detention as a deterrent against more coming. 

And making laws where it's now an offence for professionals to speak out about what's going on in those camps. The above professionals are now breaking that law and technically could face 2 years jail under that law for doing so.

The lives of these people are worth more than the politics of power in Canberra. They're real people, not ideological cannon fodder.