Urgent plea to protect Manus detainees

Sister Patty Fawkner, Congregational Leader of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, has written to the Australian Prime Minister and the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection with an urgent plea for them to respond to the unfolding humanitarian crisis on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, where over 600 asylum seekers remain at the now closed Manus Island Immigration Detention Centre without food, water, electricity and health services.

“We are deeply concerned about the decision of your Government to close the Manus Island Detention Centre, a decision that is causing the detainees incredible distress,” Sister Patty Fawkner said in her November 2, 2017 letters to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.

“You would be aware of the 2015 United Nations Report which stated that nearly all the men on Manus Island were suffering from mental health issues. The current punitive actions of your Government are only adding to the detainees’ anguish and suffering.

“My Sisters and I urge you to act with integrity and simple humanity to protect vulnerable people in our region now and into the future. We have an obligation to be a good neighbour to those seeking asylum and also to the Government of Papua New Guinea. You are asking a poor country to do what we in Australia are not prepared to do.”

Sister Patty’s letter to Minister Dutton concluded: “Please, for the sake of common decency, make the necessary decisions to protect the detainees on Manus. We cannot blithely nor callously abrogate our international and humanitarian obligations.”

Download a copy of Sister Patty Fawkner’s letter to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton here.