Tuesday, 7th of November 2017
(Time: 14:45 – 18:45 hours EST Australia )
RISE:Refugee Survivors and ex-detainees call on our supporters to join a Twitter Storm by tweeting about the escalating crisis faced by Refugee detainees held hostage by the Australian government in Manus Island Papua New Guinea using the hashtag #MelbourneCup a corporate event that gets a lot of media attention in Australia. We are carrying out this action in response to an SOS call out by our ex-detainee members asking supporters around the world to carry out actions on Melbourne Cup day to inform the world about the Manus Crisis and to #SanctionAustralia for their evil refugee detention regime.
Right now hundreds of our community members are on Manus Island under siege with no food, water or medicine. There are reports that around 85% of detainees held hostage on this island are on medication. Australia is coercing the PNG military to block people including local Manusians from giving the detainees humanitarian assistance. The Australian government refuses to evacuate the detainees from the island and bring them here to provide them with permanent humanitarian protection – a bare minimum that will never compensate for the torture they have suffered in their hands. Australia even refused to let New Zealand to immediately provide them with permanent protection. Australia has bipartisan support to push back refugee boats into the sea and for over two decades has had a mandatory and indefinite administrative detention policy where refugees and asylum seekers (both adults and children) who arrive by boat are indefinitely and administratively detained, outside the law.
Currently hundreds of refugees who arrived by boat in Australia are being held hostage in the pacific islands of Nauru and Manus (in Papua New Guinea) after being abducted and trafficked there by the Australian government since 2012. There have been 10 refugee deaths so far on these islands in addition to many incidents of rape, sexual abuse and torture, with no end to the suffering and abuse in sight. There are some refugees in Manus and Nauru who have been brought to Australia for medical assistance but they too are living in a nightmare of detention limbo, without proper freedom of movement, any right to work or study, with no proper welfare support and the threat of again being refouled by Australia.
Who are we?
RISE: Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees is the first entirely self-determined refugee advocacy and welfare organisation in Australia. We seek direction from the RISE ex-detainee group in carrying out this action.
Melbourne Cup Day a public holiday on 7th November 2017, is a day of horse races in Melbourne for the rich which will be attended by rich celebrities, the corporate elite and politicians from across the world to promote corporate interests. Mainstream corporate media in Australia are likely to provide more coverage for this event with a potential viewership of 3 million, than Refugees and Asylum seekers languishing in Australia?s onshore and offshore concentration camps. The prize money for the 3 minute Melbourne cup horse race at 3pm is in itself worth $6.2 million.
The refugee detention industrial complex in Australia also extends to the Melbourne cup with MSS Security sponsoring a race that lasts about 1 minute called MSS Sprint at 4:45pm on the day, with Prize money of about $150 000. MSS Security has a contract worth about $23 million with the Department of immigration and Border protection over 3 years. Ex-detainee RISE members have seen MSS Security coming into onshore detention camps with construction workers. Note: Ferovial (an Italian company which took over ?Broadspectrum?, an Australian company formerly called ?Transfield Services?) has profited from contracts with the Australian government worth about $2.5 billion to run Australia?s offshore refugee torture camps on Manus and Nauru. British Security company G4S also had a contract with the Australian government to run the Manus detention camp when a refugee detainee Reza Barati was bludgeoned to death by detention staff in 2014. The list of of profiteers from the torture of our community is extensive.
Australia has one of the highest concentration of media ownership in the world and therefore less likely to expose the torture, abuse and murder of our community who are fleeing wars and conflicts that mainly serve capitalist interests. If we do not act, refugees in Manus will continue to be starved to death by the Australian government to force them to either self-deport or accept resettlement in Papua New Guinea, a country that is far less wealthy than Australia and has limited resources to even look after its own citizens. Detainees in Australia?s Manus torture camp have begun digging holes in the ground for water and are in immediate danger – surrounded by PNG military who are being pressured to act on behalf of the Australian government rather than on behalf of the local Manusians who are themselves being threatened by the military. The Australian government is using food, water and medicine as a weapon of war against Refugees to force them to move to another form of detention on the island with no end to their suffering in sight.
For more information on this disgraceful situation see the diary of Behrouz Boochani, a refugee and journalist caught up in this seige against our community in Manus.
Links to SOS call from the RISE ex-detainee group and their #sanctionAustralia campaign: http://riserefugee.org/urgent-request-by-rise-ex-detainees-for-protests-and-actions-on-melbourne-cup-day-to-bring-to-the-worlds-attention-the-escalating-crisis-faced-by-refugees-held-hostage-by-australia-on-manus/
More information including instructions will be added closer to the time