No Advantage: Inside Australia’s Offshore Processing Centres

ABC News Australia [April, 2013] |

Next on Four Corners, we go inside Australia’s offshore refugee processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island. What you see will shock you. Protests, evidence of self-harm and testimony of suicide attempts.

Last year, when two boats sank off the north coast of Australia killing over 90 men, women and children the Federal Government responded by re-opening offshore processing centres, abandoned after the defeat of the Howard Government in 2007.

The centres were unashamedly brought into service to deter anyone thinking of coming to Australia by boat. At the same time the Government has strictly limited media access to the camps. Workers servicing the facility in Nauru are threatened with the sack if they reveal what’s going on inside.

So what are conditions really like? Reporter Debbie Whitmont tries to answer this question and the results are deeply disturbing.

The evidence she finds confirms what many refugee advocates and human rights officials have alleged: that the centres breach the human rights of those being held there. Furthermore, she finds the cost of offshore processing now runs into hundreds of millions of dollars – raising questions about the financial efficiency of the policy.

As one of the medical staff working with asylum seekers in the camps told the program:

“…for the first time in my life I felt ashamed to be an Australian up there seeing this squandering of money and this treatment of these poor, without exception, lovely people that I met.”

“No Advantage” reported by Debbie Whitmont and presented by Kerry O’Brien goes to air on Monday 29th April at 8.30 pm on ABC 1It is replayed on Tuesday 30th April at 11.35 pmIt can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00 pm, on ABC iview or at abc.net.au/4corners.

 

Note: This story is partially reported here.

 

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