Amnesty International has just released worldwide our full findings of our investigation entitled 'Island of Despair': Australia's "processing" of refugees on Nauru. Our global head of research, Dr Anna Neistat, who visited Nauru in July has just flown into Australia for this release.
Please find below a summary of our report and of Amnesty's campaigning at the global and Australian level.
7 main global & Australian objectives / messages of this detailed report:
1. Provide international validation by bringing together further revelations of abuse with existing accounts to reveal the full scale of the Australian Government’s system of intentional cruelty.
2. To expose worldwide that the Australian Government has deceived the public that it is 'saving lives at sea' by failing to admit their border control policy depends on the deliberate abuse of thousands of people who are seeking safety.
3. Amnesty International's assessment that the combination of refugees’ severe mental anguish, the intentional nature of the system, and the fact that the goal of offshore processing is to intimidate or coerce other refugees and people seeking asylum to achieve a specific outcome, means that Australia’s offshore processing regime fits the definition of torture under international law.
4. Emphasis, especially for the global audience (governments/media/public), on the deliberate and systematic nature of the Australian Government's treatment of people seeking asylum who it has trapped on Nauru. The current model minimises protection and maximises harm.
5. Emphasis, especially for the global audience (governments/media/public), on the great lengths the Australian Government has gone to hide the abuse of people seeking asylum who it has trapped on Nauru.
6. Humanise the many adults and children and share their personal stories of trauma and resilience across the world.
7. Make it a mainstream fact that there exist humane solutions – that both reduce deaths at sea and eliminate abuse – one shouldn’t come at the expense of the other. The Australian Government should both protect the human rights of people seeking asylum and prevent avoidable deaths – twin goals which should be the bedrock of any asylum seeker policy. Finding alternatives is a matter of political will.
Campaigning this week and beyond
Anna / Amnesty has been interviewed by Australian & international outlets - including interviews shown on Mon 17th evening on 4 corners 'Forgotten Children', Lateline (episode 186) and articles in Newsweek Europe, Sydney Morning Herald, ABC, news.com.au, Guardian Australia, Huffington Post, SBS and others. A number of international outlets will soon be releasing their coverage.
Further media coverage will be generated from our briefing for journalists on Tue 18th October morning with a panel including Anna as well as a guest whose identity will be shared on the day, Dr Barri Phatarfod (Doctors for Refugees) and Dr Peter Young (former IHMS).
Anna will then be meeting with Australian politicians, bureaucrats and influencers over this week.
We will continue our social media coverage in Australia and globally and encourage people to sign our online petition targeting the Australian Government.
As some of you may know, Amnesty International kicked off our new Global Refugee Campaign in September which runs til at least end 2018. Although the Australian office of Amnesty has been campaigning to improve rights for refugees for 15 years, we now have our global movement backing efforts in Australia in order to markedly step up the momentum for positive change. I will continue sharing more information in coming months.