If you were to believe the spin coming from the department of Home Affairs [a division of Dutton’s Ministry for Deception] you would have to believe that the asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru have adapted well to their new island home and that in no sense are they detained or restrained. Indeed, according to Dutton, they can walk freely around the island – it takes about ten minutes – whenever they like. They do, however, have to watch out for flying rocks thrown by locals but, what the hell, I hear that’s a problem for diners in Lygon Street Melbourne also.
We are told that on Nauru they have been getting jobs, some have opened restaurants and corner shops and all the kids are going to school everyday and absolutely loving their new life .
Those who have been living in tents for the past five years, are in fact camping out we are assured and on Nauru everything is hunky-dory and minister Dutton has done an amazing job and should really be prime minister in recognition of his endeavours, but let’s not go into that.
But, then we hear that during the Pacific Islands Forum currently underway on Nauru that a journalist from TV New Zealand – the ABC were banned – Barbara Dreaver had been apprehended by Nauru police because she was caught speaking to asylum seekers who evidently were out for their ten-minute walk. Ms Dreaver said she was detained for four hours and her phone was confiscated. She was later told that she had breached her visitors’ visa which only allowed her to report on the forum and not to talk to anybody else or engage in any other form of journalism.
Had she been in Australia and had a mate she could have sought ministerial intervention over her visa. It would only take a quick phone call to the minister for her to gain permission to undertake any activities that took her fancy including those of an au-pair or nanny, but no such freedoms existed on Nauru.
Then we hear that, the week before the Pacific Islands Forum asylum seekers were moved out of the detention centre and the mouldy, unhygienic tents were demolished : the tents at regional processing centre 3 (RPC-3) were erected five years ago, and at least 100 people have continued to live in them since the facility was opened in 2015.
Sources on Nauru say that contractors for Australian Border Force were seeking to ensure there were no asylum seekers and certainly no children living in tents behind the camp fences when foreign leaders and visitors arrived. Previous requests from families to be re-housed have repeatedly and consistently been ignored.
One observer on the island said “If it was right for people to live in mouldy, dirty, insecure tents for five years, why is ABF [Australian Border Force] so fearful to show it and be proud of itself? Why do they abolish the hell they made and hide it?”
In June a third asylum seeker or refugee died by suicide on Nauru, and comes only three weeks after a Rohingya refugee on Manus Island killed himself.
Twelve people have died from injuries or illness sustained in offshore processing centres since the facilities were reopened in late 2012.
A spokesman for Australian Border force said: “the department is aware of the death in Nauru today, 15 June 2018. Further enquiries should be referred to Nauruan authorities”. Nauruan authorities advised that : “it is Australia’s responsibility, it happened in their camp”.