As much as I admire and support the female MP’s for confronting John Key’s hideous, callous disregard for the intricacies of polite, fair debate on real issues that matter to the people he claims to represent, I feel that they allowed themselves to be used and were emotionally manipulated into ignoring the real issue of the Serco run concentration camp on Christmas Island and what it is used for.
The Detention Centre on Christmas Island was opened in late 2001 for the specific purpose of housing people who had no valid visa for Australia or who had their visa revoked and who where no longer welcome in Australia. At the moment there are around a 1000 detainees.
The centre is run on behalf of the Australian government by Serco. The name itself should set off alarm bells as their management of the Eden prison in Auckland has been the cause for alarm and worries about prisoner abuse after two prisoners died under suspicious circumstances.
The current unrest in the detention centre is not the first. The detention centre has been the scene of many episodes of unrest.
The people locked up in the camp have on several occasions tried to share their plight with the world. In one case there were several people who sewed their lips together, when together with hundreds of other people in the camp they held a hunger strike to protest their conditions and the fact that they were kept prisoner indefinitely. These people were not criminals. They were asylum seekers. People who had to leave their homes for fear of persecution.
Christmas Island is one of the remotest Island of the Indonesian archipelago and under Australian rule. The people kept in the camp are isolated from their families and have no control over when they get out of the camp or were they are going next. Some of them have been there for years and some of the Kiwi’s detained there were lifted off their beds in the middle of the night to be transported to the camp without any court proceedings or legal assistance. They were for want of a better word: Disappeared!
This is a huge breach of human rights. Not just for them but for all the other refugees and asylum seekers too. Some of these people have had convictions for a crime they committed for which they had been punished. But really that is neither here nor there.
To be transported to an Island thousands of miles from where your family lives or your home and social network is without knowing what will happen to them, not knowing how long you will be on this Island in a detention centre or where you will go next is inhumane and cruel. To refuse to address this is what is really the problem here.
This is not a bout rape, paedophilia or murder. This is about locking human beings up far away from their families with only an unknown insecure future to look forward too. This is about human rights being made redundant. It starts with a small group but if you allow human rights to be suspended for a small group of individuals you open the door to human rights being suspended for all of us!