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(01/07/21) update: As we approach eight years of this policy, approximately 230 people remain detained offshore in PNG and on Nauru. Over 100 people who were brought to Australia to receive medical treatment are detained in APODs or detention centres. More than 1000 people are living in community detention or on limiting visas, still with no certainty regarding their futures. New Zealand's offer of resettlement still stands. In May, Amnesty travelled to New Zealand, hoping to raise the issue of refugee resettlement with Prime Minister Scott Morrison directly while he was in Queenstown to meet New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Just two days after our return, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews’ acknowledged that Australia is now in talks with New Zealand to resettle refugees. While this is a promising sign, no more details have been given. We're asking that the Government finalises negotiations with New Zealand to ensure refugees are resettled as a matter of urgency and expands any deal reached to include all refugees trapped in Australia’s offshore detention regime that are not in another resettlement pathway.  

"We are suffering here. Every second. Please... give us our freedom."

Samad, cricketer stranded in Port Moresby

In October 2019, Craig Foster and the Amnesty team traveled to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, where we met with many of the refugees and people seeking asylum sent to Manus Island nearly eight years ago by the Australian Government.

Just a handful remain on Manus Island now. The rest are stranded in Port Moresby, recognised as one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Over one hundred more people remain on Nauru. 

But this isn’t just happening offshore. It’s happening right here in our cities. In March 2020 we visited the Mantra Hotel in Melbourne, but this is not a hotel as you and I know them. A whole floor of the Mantra had been transformed into what is referred to as an Alternative Place of Detention (APOD). Many of those who had been Medevaced to Australia to receive urgent medical treatment are now being held in locations like this around Australia. Yet what was meant to be a refuge has become just another nightmare. Locked in their rooms for 19 hours a day, for months on end, they have nearly no access to the outside world, yet alone the proper treatment they were brought to Australia to receive. They’ve gone from one form of detention to another, and simply traded barbed wire for keycards.

Nothing prepares you for the damage and trauma these young people have endured.

It’s a human crisis that shocked us to the core, renewing our urgency and resolve to get these people to safety, so they can rebuild their lives

Some of the refugees we've met came seeking safety as teenagers, in the prime of their lives. Their youth, hopes and dreams have been stolen. They can't work, go to university, send their kids to school or access healthcare and basic services. 

They are doctors, musicians, marketing executives, social workers and even athletes. 

These people are suffering through a lack of proper medical care, living each day in the shadow of trauma inflicted on them in detention.

Thirteen people have lost their lives to Australia's offshore detention regime. Five have been lost on Manus Island, four on Nauru, and four more after being medevaced to Brisbane. 

These people urgently need our help, and there are options.

Amnesty has worked to get people to Switzerland, Canada and the US. New Zealand has offered to resettle 150 refugees a year, for the past eight years. That alone would be enough to see all refugees detained moved to safety.

Call on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to get people to safety. As we have heard time and again from all we have spoken to: “eight years is too long to suffer. We want our freedom.”