UPDATE NOVEMBER 2018
As we pass the anniversary of the forced removal from the Manus RPC, and as the #kidsoffnauru campagin domainates the news, the mental health of the men on Manus continues to deteriorate at a frightening pace, with daily reports of attempted suicides.
Your help at this time has never been more important. We are now providing more and more men with a daily allowance, and need to make sure we have enough funds to cover this as well as ongoing requests for phones, clothing, and medical help.
In the last few months this is where we have spent the funds:
* providing fortnightly allowance of 100 kina (currently we have 30 men on the list)
* buying replacement phones for men who currently don't have one
* Emergency dental treatment (some men had severe teeth problems for months) totalling $8000
* paying towards hospital and operating costs of emergency appendectomy
*other items such as TV antenna; clothing such as boxers and shoes, basic medicines
Currently the fortnightly allowance costs us $3000 per month. we need to keep this going as it is the only access these men have for personal essentials such as underwear, toothbrushes or shoes. These funds provide a tiny bit of autonomy.
Every little bit helps. If you can't give money please help spread the word and share.
It is now more than 5 years since Australia's refugee processing regime locked up innocent men on Manus Island rather than processing their claims to Asylum here in Australia. After the forced 'closure' of the Manus Regional Processing centre last year, conditions continue to worsen with men still housed in in adequate accomodations across three camps.
Those who are most vulnerable are the men without confirmed refugee status - those who refused to be processed in PNG, or have in many cases been wrongly denied refugee status by a flawed refugee determination process. All of these 'negative' men are housed in Hillside Haus which has been deemed by the UN as highly inadequate - there continues to be water leaking from pipes causing mould and electrical dangers, waste water leaking into lower floors and living areas, no appropriate outdoor communcal space, the indoor communcal space closed since a recent fire, and total lack of any fire alarms, smoke detectors and safety equipment.*
Crucially the UN as well as other agencies have warned that there is no adequate medical facilites to provide appropriate care, and no psychological assistance whatsoever to men who are severely traumatised after 5 years of detention.
Cuts to services
Since the forced closure of the RPC, when many men lost all their posessions, there has been a massive cut to the allowances provided and services available. Men in Hillside receive only 3 packs of cigarettes a fortnight, a 10K ($2.50) phone card; and only basic toiletries (toothpaste soap shampoo shaving cream – no razors).
Many men have almost no posessions left, and no means of replacing urgent necessities like underwear, basic clothing, glasses, sunglasses, or standard medications like asthma medication, painkillers, topical creams etc. The food provided continues to be woefully inadequate and the men have no means of purchasing healthier food such as fresh fruit and vegetables, or any means of cooking for themselves.
Those men who were not part of the Slater and Gordon compensation case have NO access to any money. Many of these men chose to opt out of the case for compensation as they wanted a chance for a legal appeal: to get justice, not money.
Help Provide a lifeline
Using funds from a previous project,** we have been sending money to provide those men who have no access to money a basic allowance to help them buy urgent personal supplies. The men in the other two accomodations receive 100K per week, but so far we can only afford to send 100 kina a fortnight if we are to maintain this as a regular payment they can rely on. The number of men we are helping keeps growing, and we need about AUD$2200 per month to cover the allowances. We also need more funds to be able to respond to urgent medical needs.
There is now only a baisc outpatient service easily available to the men and the Public Hospital in Lorengau has limited service, staff and equipment and can barely deal with the local population.
In the last few months we have helped pay for urgent dental emergencies, such as serious ongoing toothaches and teeth needing removal that had been untreated for up to a year, causing serious pain and inability to eat properly. We also paid for an emergency appendectomy when the man was turned away from the hosptial without treatment.
As the condition of the men in Hillside continues to deteriorate one of the few practical things we can do- other than continue to petition both political parties to end offshore detention - is try and provide a bit of comfort and access to basic necessities.
Any help you can give is greatly appreciated.
* See the UN report for details about accommodation and concern about the lack of medical and psychological treatement and counselling available: https://reliefweb.int/report/papua-new-guinea/unhcr-fact-sheet-situation-refugees-and-asylum-seekers-manus-island-papua-1
** Our previous campaign focussed on raising funds for a legal challenge to the refugee status process - this is now being worked on pro bono by a respected Human Rights law firm, so we are foucssing on trying to provide relief on the ground wherever possible.
For most recent news and report on Manus Crisis see https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/pacific/376442/refugees-in-png-being-pushed-to-the-brink-report-says
and Amnesty report: "Until when? The forgotten men on Manus Island" https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa34/9422/2018/en/