Friday, November 02, 2012

That didn't take long

Back in August, the Australian government took a backward step and reintroduced its "Pacific solution" of dumping refugees on Nauru. Fast-forward two and a half months, and we're already seeing self-harm, suicide attempts, and an indefinite hunger-strike:

Asylum seekers in the Nauru detention centre say they have begun an indefinite hunger strike after another suicide attempt and two incidents of self harm in the camp yesterday evening.

Four hundred asylum seekers are awaiting processing in Nauru after Australia re-established offshore processing to deter those trying to reach Australia.

A Pakistani asylum seeker in the camp Aya Tullah says all the detainees are refusing food.

“All the guys they are just quiet. They are lying on the ground because from today they didn’t take breakfast and all the asylum-seekers, they announced that they will continue their hunger strike until they are shifted to Australia and process their cases (sic).”

This is what happens if you dump people in camps, detain them indefinitely, deny them access to the law, deny them hope. And next we'll be seeing riots and people sewing their lips together.

But then the whole point of this exercise is that the Australian people won't see the consequences of their racist, inhumane policy - it'll be "foreign news", happening somewhere else, not in Australia. Its as much about politicians avoiding accountability as it is about cruelty and violation of human rights and international law.