Open statement calling for immediate action on offshore detention

FEBRUARY 3, 2017

We, as a coalition of organisations and community groups from around Australia, are writing to express our concern regarding the humanitarian crisis that Australia has created.

Successive Australian governments have managed and funded offshore detention camps on Manus Island and Nauru. The people detained there are clearly Australia’s responsibility. This situation has reached crisis point, and immediate action must be taken.

Beyond the reports of physical and sexual abuse, including of children; inadequate medical attention; suicides and attempted suicides; even a murder; the extinguishment of hope has pushed people to the edge.

Many of these people have been recognised as refugees. We owe them protection and safety now.

Meanwhile, politicians are spending years engaged in lengthy negotiations as to the fate of these men, women and children. With the US resettlement deal in serious doubt, the most obvious and humane solution is to clear the camps and bring these people to Australia until a safe long term, appropriate outcome for them can be guaranteed.

We do not have years. Australia cannot allow another person to die or suffer because of our actions.

This is a crisis. We are calling on both major parties to form a bipartisan commitment to immediately evacuate the camps and bring these people to safety.


The Refugee Council of Australia


Academics for Refugees
ActionAid Australia
Advocacy for Oromia
Aireys Inlet Rural Australians for Refugees
Amnesty International
APS Refugee Issues and Psychology Interest Group
Asylum Circle
Asylum Seeker Advocacy Group
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
Australian Catholic Social Justice Council
Australian Centre for Corporate Responsibility
Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce
Australian College of Midwives
Australian Council For International Development (ACFID)
Australian Council of Social Service
Australian Council of Trade Unions
Australian Education Union
Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS)
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights
Australian National Committee on Refugee Women
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation
Australian Women in Support of Women on Nauru
Ballarat Community Health
Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group
Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project
Campaign for Australian Aid – Up To Us
Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum
Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees
ChildFund Australia
Children Out of Immigration Detention (ChilOut)
Doctors for Refugees
Edmund Rice Centre WA
Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria
Free the Children Nauru
Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children
Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children Newcastle
Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children NSW
Healthy Cass Creations
House of Welcome
Human Rights for All Pty Ltd
Human Rights Law Centre
Human Rights Watch
Hunter Asylum Seeker Advocacy
Immigration Advice & Rights Centre IARC
Independent Education Union of Australia
International Alliance Against Mandatory Detention
International Social Service Australia
Jesuit Social Services
Jubilee Australia
Justice for Refugees SA
Labor for Refugees
Liberty Victoria
Loreto Sisters Australia & S.E. Asia
Love Makes A Way
Macarthur Diversity Services Initiative
Melbourne Catholic Migrant & Refugee Office
Mercy Foundation
Montmorency Asylum Seekers Support Group
Multicultural Youth Affairs Network NSW
Mums 4 Refugees
New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties
NSW Teachers Federation
Oxfam Australia
Pax Christi Queensland
Pax Christi Victoria
People Just Like Us
Plan International Australia
Queensland Council of Unions
Queensland Nurses’ Union
Queensland Teachers’ Union
Refugee Action Coalition
Refugee Action Collective Eurobodalla
Refugee Action Network Newcastle
Refugee Advice & Casework Service
Refugee Advocacy Network
Refugee Rights Action Network WA
RESULTS International Australia
Rural Australians for Refugees
Rural Australians for Refugees, Queanbeyan, Inc.
Sanctuary Australia Foundation
Save the Children Australia
St Vincent de Paul Society National Council
St.Macartan’s Social Justice Group Mornington
Stand Up
Supporting Asylum Seekers Sydney
Sydney Multucultural Community Services
Tasmanian Asylum Seeker Support
Teachers For Refugees
Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia
The Australia Institute
The Bayside Refugee Advocacy and Support Association
The Catholic Justice Justice & Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane
The Friends of HEAL Foundation
The National Justice Project
The Tasmania Opportunity
The Unitarian Church of SA
Together Branch of the ASU
Townsville Multicultural Support Group Inc.
UBelong Here
Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA
Uniting Church in Australia
Victorian Council of Churches
Welcome to Australia
West Wagga San Isidore Refugee Committee
Whistleblowers, Activists & Citizens Alliance
World Vision Australia

Media Contacts

Refugee Council of Australia: Laura / 0488 035 535

Oxfam Australia: Amanda / 0411 449 653

Save The Children Australia: Lily / 0416 355 851

GetUp! : Adrian / 0401 726 476

Amnesty International Australia: Anita / 0423 280 658

Human Rights Law Centre: Michelle / 0419 100 519

Australian Churches Refugee Task Force: Matt / 0408 634 373