While the Australian Government has walked away from Manus, those who remain inside do so without water, food or guarantees of their safety.
As it stands, the gates of Manus are unattended, picnic furniture abandoned in concert with a posted note that leaves no mystery to the fate of those still within the wire.
At 5pm #Manus Centre will be abandoned by Turnbull Gov, with refugees still there:
No more food
Electricity Cut pic.twitter.com/9Cl9jhZ7lV
— Kon Karapanagiotidis (@Kon__K) October 30, 2017
— RAC Victoria (@racvictoria) October 30, 2017
Those who remain have quickly launched legal action, claiming that shutting the water and power off is an impingement of their basic human rights, with lawyer Greg Barns disclosing to the Guardian: “(Their constitutional rights) would mean ensuring they have basic amenities and necessities of life – water, food, electricity, etc. Orders also being sought to ensure they are not forcibly sent to the new transit centre and that we want to ensure the PNG government facilitates them going to Australia or to a safe third country.”
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie echoed this statement, stating: “Make no mistakes – today’s botched closure of the Manus Island detention centre is not good news for the nearly 750 men imprisoned there…the Australian Government is cruelly cutting off electricity, water and food to the detainees and withdrawing medical care and trauma support. The Government would have us believe that these men will be transferred to other facilities and all will be well. But the other facilities are unsafe and lack basic medical facilities.”
From Tuesday, PNG authorities have informed refugees and asylum seekers must move into purpose-built accommodation in nearby Lorengau, but many of the 600 left are not keen to make the journey, due to concerns about their safety beyond the walls. According to Amnesty International, one site is not yet ready to hold residents. The other is mostly shipping containers.
Their options, according to the Australian Government, are limited. A release, dated the 27th October, states: “For those who have been found to be refugees but are reluctant to resettle in PNG, options are extremely limited. The Australian Government remains firm in its resolve that no refugees from Manus Island (or Nauru) will be resettled in Australia. A small number (25 so far) have been resettled in the United States, under an arrangement agreed between Australia and the Obama administration in 2016.”
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) October 30, 2017