Refugees held by Australia languish in a world beyond suffering and suicide
  • Refugees held by Australia languish in a world beyond suffering and suicide


    I am writing from Manus Island. I am writing from where I am held against my will. I am writing while isolated here with 700 individuals on this remote island in the north of Papua New Guinea.To get more World news, you can visit shine news official website.
    The Australian government has kept us hostage here for five years. A great distance across the sea from us is Nauru, an island nation in the middle of a silent ocean. Almost 1,000 women, children and men are held there as hostages; just like us, they were exiled by the Australian government.We are victims of what I have defined as state-sanctioned hostage-taking. The use of this particular strategy has been acknowledged by many who have been examining our situation, whether they are people from among the general public, the media or human rights advocates.

    They highlight the fact that the Australian government refuses to accept us and that they also reject New Zealand's generous offer to take us. New Zealand announced publicly that it is willing to offer some of us a free and safe existence.Recently, a Rohingyan refugee named Salim took his own life. He was a 50-year-old man with a wife and three children aged seven, nine and twelve. A friend of his, another Rohingya, told me Salim had fled genocide and hoped that by risking his life he could eventually provide his family with a safe future.
    In 2013, Salim was successful in crossing a dangerous ocean on a rotting boat. According to his friend, Salim set foot on Australian soil after 19 July 2013; this date marks the implementation of a policy that involves exiling people (arriving to Australia by boat)to Manus Island and Nauru. The Australian government incarcerated him for five years, first in a prison deep inside the Manus jungle, and for the last six months in a prison camp close to the island's only town. And it is from this same prison camp that I write about the death of Salim and the fate of the other refugees.
    Salim suffered from epilepsy, the friend said. And during all these years in prison he was never adequately treated for his illness; in fact, he was humiliated by the prison system's cruel techniques of psychological, emotional and physical torture. After enduring this pain and affliction for five years he died a gruesome death.
    He had told his friends that he could not take the anguish and suffering any more, he said that he was weary of this life. Salim was the third person in a year to die tragically of a suspected suicide. He was the eleventh person to lose their life in the Australian-run prison camps situated on isolated islands, according to Amnesty International.
    These days the refugees exiled to these places ask themselves this question: "Who will be the next sacrifice?" The reality is that the refugees have been asking this question over and over again throughout all these years. With the death of another refugee we feel the shadow of death looming over us with even more terror. Death calls and its sound becomes louder every day.The incarceration and death of Salim stands as a symbol for the hundreds of innocent human beings suffering as a result of the Australian government's political games. For years, we have been stripped of our rights and dignity here in these forlorn and horrific prisons.
    Many have ignored the fact that the same government that inflicts this violence on us has recently won a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. Distinguished human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and UNHCR have accused Australia of human rights violations on many occasions. But the Australian government continues to defend its policies and insists on continuing its strategies of exile and torture.

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