Refugee advocates, led by Christian advocacy group Loves Makes A Way, are gathering outside Federal MP offices around the country this week to tell the Government it’s time to shut the Nauru and Manus Island Detention Centres.
The protests come in the wake of last week’s revelations from 2000 leaked incident reports from the Nauru Detention Centre of alleged assault, sexual abuse and self harm attempts, particularly of children being held at the centre.
Hundreds of people gathered this morning outside over 30 Federal MP and Immigration Department offices, mainly in Sydney, to lay down paper dolls symbolising the victims of the alleged abuse outlined in the reports. More events are planned on Tuesday and Wednesday in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
The refugee groups, which include Love Makes A Way, ChilOut, Mums4Refugees, Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children, and People Just Like Us, are encouraging the public to display their own paper dolls in visible locations and on social media.
“The government wants to sweep abuse in detention centres under the rug, to hide away the cruelty that’s being perpetrated, but we won’t forget what’s happening to these men, women and children,” said Peter Catt, the Dean of St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane, who is part of the vigils in Brisbane this week.
“It’s time to remove the shroud of secrecy over our detention camps.”
Jarrod McKenna, one of the founders of the Love Makes A Way movement told Eternity last week when the leaked reports emerged, that increasing public pressure on the Government about the treatment of asylum seekers was the only thing that would change current policy. He said it was time for churches, in particular, to stand up on the issue.
“It’s time for us to end it,” he said.More