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(04/04/22) update: Australia has *officially* accepted New Zealand’s resettlement offer for refugees detained in Australia’s offshore detention regime!

Together, you’ve stood with us for justice, freedom, hope and dignity. You supported us to travel to Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and all around the country, meeting decision makers and people with lived experience, advocating for change.

You’ve consistently raised your voices against consecutive Australian Governments who have treated refugees with nothing short of contempt, and together, we’ve won. This is a huge win for people power, and highlights that when we stand up collectively and demand change, we can make a difference.

We currently know that the deal will see 450 refugees resettled over three years. If all those spaces are filled, it still leaves a shortfall of approximately 500 people who will still require permanent resettlement solutions. We welcome this deal, but it can and must be expanded.

(03/03/22) update: Because you didn't stop raising your voices, the Australian Government has now agreed ‘in principle’ to New Zealand's offer to resettle refugees from Australia’s offshore detention regime. This is a real and tangible solution for people who have faced nearly nine years of injustice and uncertainty. Currently the ‘in principle’ agreement is back with the New Zealand Government and needs to be signed off by the New Zealand Cabinet before we start seeing any movement. The reality however, is that we’ve taken the Australian Government from outright refusal concerning the New Zealand offer, to consideration, negotiation, and now to acceptance.

The #GameOver campaign will continue to call for any deal reached to be as expansive as possible, and for it to be expedited as a matter of urgency. Of the utmost importance is that those still detained in Australia are released into the community while they await permanent solutions, and those still offshore are brought to Australia and released into the community under the same conditions. We will also be advocating for the New Zealand Government to ensure any deal reached is retrospective in size. 

(02/02/22) update: More than 200 refugees and people seeking asylum still remain trapped offshore in PNG and Nauru. In Australia, approximately 80 refugees are detained in detention centres and APODS, whilst more than 1000 people are living in the community, with no certainty regarding their futures. In PNG, Covid-19 spreads unabated through towns and cities, more than 20 refugees and people seeking asylum have tested positive to the virus, with many fearful to even seek the required medical attention due to community reprisals. Despite the Australian Government's announcement last October that it would be ending its offshore processing agreements with PNG at the end of this year, over 100 men still remain there, many without permanent resettlement solutions.Their safety is at risk everyday. In Australia, the situation is no better. An outbreak at the Park Hotel APOD has led to more than 20 refugees testing positive to Covid-19. With no ability to isolate and trapped in rooms with poor ventilation for up to 23 hours a day, the virus spread like wildfire. Through first-hand conversations with refugees and people seeking asylum detained at the Park Hotel, people were fearful for their lives. The New Zealand Government's offer to resettle refugees from Australia's offshore detention regime still stands. In the most recent round of Senate Estimates, the Department confirmed it was 'in negotiations' with the New Zealand Government regarding the offer, but no further details were given.

(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 (now at the Park Hotel in Melbourne). 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.

Fourteen people have lost their lives to Australia's offshore detention regime. 

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. 

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.”