Asylum seekers riot and escape

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A second incident has occurred at the Manus Island detention centre. During the first incident on Sunday night 35 asylum seekers escaped from the centre after a violent clash with security staff.

Protests had been building during the day, but reports indicate that the unrest came to a head following a meeting on Sunday evening, in which asylum seekers were told by immigration officials that, if the asylum seekers were not found to be legitimate refugees, then Australia and Papua New Guinea would not help them find countries in which to resettle.

Following the meeting asylum seekers tried to shatter windows, and several bunk beds were broken to create weapons before 35 detainees left the compound via destroyed fences.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday during a press conference that all escapees had been “accounted for”, and that 19 asylum seekers had been treated for “non-life-threatening” injuries.

When asked if any asylum seeker on Manus Island had yet been found to be a refugee, he answered “Not yet, no”, which could explain the distress of the centre’s residents after the Sunday night briefing.

Of the incident, Mr Morrison said, “If you don’t want to be in immigration detention, don’t come illegally to Australia … It is impossible not to feel sorry for people who want a better life and are living in a horrible country and I guess it’s good they think Australia is a beacon. We are a beacon of decency and generosity but we cannot allow people to take advantage of our generosity in this way.”

After the events of Sunday night Labor immigration spokesperson Richard Marles said the Government need to ensure this kind of incident never happened again. “This is now the second serious incident which has occurred at the Manus Island detention facility since the Abbott Government came to power.”

His comments came just hours before another bout of violent riots took place at the centre last night. Asylum seekers have once again escaped from the centre, and Mr Morrison said in a statement this morning that the incident was more serious than Sunday’s violent protests.

Non-essential staff have been evacuated from the facility and the asylum seekers who escaped may still be missing. It is not yet known how many have escaped. “The extent and nature of the subsequent events and perimeter breaches is still being verified. However, I am advised that all staff have been accounted for, our service providers are in control of the centre and there has been no damage to critical infrastructure or accommodation at the centre,” explained Mr Morrison.

To find out more visit The Age website

 

Opinion: Rioting was inevitable

Last year the United Nations (UN) found that Australia was guilty of almost 150 violations of international law regarding its treatment of asylum seekers. Earlier this year the UN warned Australia that ‘boat push-backs’ may again breach international law. Twice in the space of six months we have been told that our treatment of asylum seekers is so abhorrent as to be illegal behaviour.

With this in mind I have difficulty agreeing with Mr Morrison’s statement that Australia is “a beacon of decency and generosity”.

Last night’s riot and subsequent break out was the third serious incident to occur at the Manus Island detention centre since September last year. The people in that detention centre are waiting for Australia’s Government to grant them entry into Australia, because they fear for their lives in their own countries. They wouldn’t riot and risk that chance unless the situation on Manus Island was truly desperate.

I find it difficult to believe that not a single person at the Manus Island detention centre is a legitimate refugee. And yet Mr Morrison stated that nobody had yet been given refugee status. To me that says either we are turning people away who deserve our help, or nobody is being processed at all.

If you were imprisoned for months, even years, on end, waiting in limbo on the whim of a government which has been less than welcoming, I imagine you’d be getting frustrated and desperate to the point of rioting too.

These riots at the Manus Island detention centre are a symptom of a much larger problem, one which we have brought on ourselves through our treatment of those asking for our help. I think that Australia has the potential to live up to Mr Morrison’s statement – we could be a beacon of decency and generosity. It’s in our culture and in our blood to help the little guy, to offer our support to those who can’t help themselves. But right now Australia isn’t displaying any of its better qualities, and those who need our help the most are suffering.

What do you think? Has the Government brought these riots on itself? Or is it doing the right thing by holding a hard line against letting asylum seekers into Australia?

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121 Comments

Total Comments: 121
  1. 0
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    The government should hold the line; they were voted in to stop cashed-up people smuggler customers from forcing their way in. Australia has a generous immigration programme. Just because people can’t make governments do what they want, doesn’t mean they have a right to smash up their accommodation. Here’s some pictures Labor didn’t want us to see – poor, under-nourished country shoppers, for the last six years passing through several cultural, religiously compatible countries on their way to Centrelink Australia:

    http://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2013/08/paul-murray-on-2ue-right-now-131332.html#tpe-action-posted-6a0177444b0c2e970d0192acb30eeb970d

  2. 0
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    1….‘ 35 asylum seekers escaped from the centre after a violent clash with security staff.’

    2….’if the asylum seekers were not found to be legitimate refugees, then Australia and Papua New Guinea would not help them find countries in which to resettle‘.

    3…’ Following the meeting asylum seekers tried to shatter windows, and several bunk beds were broken to create weapons before 35 detainees left the compound via destroyed fences’.

    4… When asked if any asylum seeker on Manus Island had yet been found to be a refugee, Mr Morrison answered “Not yet, no”,

    5…. Mr Morrison also said, “If you don’t want to be in immigration detention, don’t come illegally to Australia … It is impossible not to feel sorry for people who want a better life and are living in a horrible country and I guess it’s good they think Australia is a beacon. We are a beacon of decency and generosity but we cannot allow people to take advantage of our generosity in this way.”

    6… “This is now the second serious incident which has occurred at the Manus Island detention facility’.

    What part of ‘illegal immigration’ do you not understand Rachel – and you also cast dispersions upon Australia’s commitment of being a decent and generous country? In consideration as to what I believe Australia has come to mean to me – as an immigrant – I think you have a damn cheek to suggest otherwise!

    • 0
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      Hi Ductape,

      It is worth noting that according to both Australian and international law, asylum seekers are not illegal, nor can they be classed as illegal immigrants.

      “Asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat are neither engaging in illegal activity, nor are they immigrants

      The UN Refugee Convention (to which Australia is a signatory) recognises that refugees have a right to enter a country for the purposes of seeking asylum, regardless of how they arrive or whether they hold valid travel or identity documents.

      The Convention stipulates that what would usually be considered as illegal actions (e.g. entering a country without a visa) should not be treated as illegal if a person is seeking asylum. This means that it is incorrect to refer to asylum seekers who arrive without authorisation as “illegal”, as they in fact have a right to enter Australia to seek asylum.

      In line with our obligations under the Convention, Australian law also permits unauthorised entry into Australia for the purposes of seeking asylum. Asylum seekers do not break any Australian laws simply by arriving on boats or without authorisation.”

      This excerpt from the SBS website explains the legalities of asylum seekers. You can read the full article here: http://www.sbs.com.au/goback/about/factsheets/4/are-asylum-seekers-who-arrive-by-boat-illegal-immigrants

    • 0
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      Oh Rachel, you can’t put brains in statues. People may listen but they do not always hear and understand. Your comments are so very right. Sometimes it really hurts my heart to hear my fellow Australians being so cold and vicious to those who have endured such violence and terror and have attempted to flee for their life again facing terror and violence. THEN … they nearly arrive in Australian waters and safety only to be tossed into worse conditions and terrors they fled. To use an old Australian colloquialism ” The poor buggers, they don’t have a snow-flakes chance in hell””

      I go to a warm bed every night. I am safe and secure. I wish others could be like me.

      Some of the posters have said what you said, and it’s the same response … silence : )It’s very easy to twist the truth but the truth is not twisted.

      Personally I feel we not only have a legal obligation to refugees/asylum seekers but we also have a moral obligation too. Unfortunately there are Australian who have ice in their veins.

  3. 0
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    If they don’t like the facilities provided for them, who are supposed to be escaping a war torn country, then they should ask to be returned. Surely the help provided must be better than where they are coming from. I think we provide far too much for refugees ,we should be looking after our own here first. I have heard, but cannot swear to it, that they get provided far better than our pensioners. This is wrong, most of the pensioners here have worked and paid tax all heir lives, . Why do they not go to Islamic countries for help. ? We would not go to an Arab nation if we were in similar situations I,m sure….and if we did, I could not imagine getting the VIP treatment they get here.

    • 0
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      Agreed, Bella.

    • 0
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      Bella, Love your momment……….they would never go to the Islamic or to an Arab country ………….because they receive far too much from the Australia government…………. and they know damm well how to play the game to their advantage……………regardless the damages they do to the home their been set up in with all the perks………….send them back home and star giving back to the seniors in our country.

    • 0
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      Put Itching Powder in their Undies !!

  4. 0
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    There may be some genuine refugees amoung the group on Manus Island, but there are many economic refugees who employed people smugglers in order to enter out country illegally. They now break the law again by rioting. Are these the sort of people we should welcome to Australia? I think not. The bleeding heart brigade needs to stop bleating about cruelty and consider the dangers that these people are to our long term security.

    • 0
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      you say ….

      They now break the law again by rioting.

      PNG laws???

      As for our ‘long term security.’ I’m sure the Mad Monk is more of a danger to Australia by the way he, and his cabinet, treat Indonesia!!

    • 0
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      Yawnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn, student’s comments are so predictable. What’s the bet at the last election they voted for the Greens. Here we have a prime example of a brainwashed uni student, thinks they know it all but really only know what has been drip fed them. Literally “drip” fed – information passed on by drips.

  5. 0
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    “We are a beacon of decency and generosity ” sorry Scott the comments so far are far from that

  6. 0
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    People smugglers must be stopped. They make great profits from people for whom they have no consideration. A clear message that employing people smugglers will not lead to resettlement in Australia must be maintained.

  7. 0
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    All the more reason not to extend assistance to ‘boat people’. Australia has become a soft target of criminals (and these people are when they incite violence after being given hospitality when Australia has no obligation to do so). These people should have been left in the high seas to return where they come from. They enter our country illegally and demand what is not their right , given accommodation and food, when we have Australians who are deserving of assistance. Good on Morrison for being consistent and not succumbing to media and UN criticism. Australia is a sovereign country and no UN should dictate who should be allowed to settle in Australia.

    • 0
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      Clap Clap Clap CHEER !!!

    • 0
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      As above Carmencita,

      It is worth noting that according to both Australian and international law, asylum seekers are not illegal, nor can they be classed as illegal immigrants.

      “Asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat are neither engaging in illegal activity, nor are they immigrants

      The UN Refugee Convention (to which Australia is a signatory) recognises that refugees have a right to enter a country for the purposes of seeking asylum, regardless of how they arrive or whether they hold valid travel or identity documents.

      The Convention stipulates that what would usually be considered as illegal actions (e.g. entering a country without a visa) should not be treated as illegal if a person is seeking asylum. This means that it is incorrect to refer to asylum seekers who arrive without authorisation as “illegal”, as they in fact have a right to enter Australia to seek asylum.

      In line with our obligations under the Convention, Australian law also permits unauthorised entry into Australia for the purposes of seeking asylum. Asylum seekers do not break any Australian laws simply by arriving on boats or without authorisation.”

      This excerpt from the SBS website explains the legalities of asylum seekers. You can read the full article here: http://www.sbs.com.au/goback/about/factsheets/4/are-asylum-seekers-who-arrive-by-boat-illegal-immigrants

  8. 0
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    Imagine if they were our neighbour – every time they did not get what they wanted they may destroy yours or my property. Most have grown up with violence and it stays with them. Look after our own first.

  9. 0
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    “waiting in limbo on the whim of a government which has been less than welcoming,”

    Everyone seems to forget that these people are queue jumpers. What about the genuine refugees in camps around the world waiting for the spaces to come free so they can be admitted as “real refugees”.

    • 0
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      Roy, they are NOT queue jumpers. They come to Australia as asylum seekers.

    • 0
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      I agree 100% Roy, they are QUEUE JUMPERS. Genuine refugees are left huddled in refugee camps because governments like ours are too busy sorting out just who these people are who come to our shores illegally, whether it be by leaky boat, jammed into a shipping container or in the back of truck .

      Everyone is entitled to their opinion, that’s the beauty of living in Australia but wouldn’t you think some people would get some life experience behind them before they try to tell others the way things should be done?

  10. 0
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    I agree with all the previous comments except ballgameskeith. Australia is not the first port of call, plenty of other places on the way, including muslim countries where these people could have claimed “asylum”. Though at the rate of arrivals, this will be a muslim country soon. Those responsible for the riots and destruction need to be deported and with no access to appeal process using our law system which is also costing a fortune.

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