The Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT)
Statement regarding the situation of people seeking asylum who were transferred by Australia to Nauru and Papua New Guinea
Recent disturbing events on Manus Island underscore the pressing need for the Australian Government to act promptly to alleviate the plight of people seeking asylum who were transferred by Australia to Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
The evidence of significant physical and mental harm is indisputable.
In the view of the Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT), such harm to men, women and children must not continue.
The government has not provided evidence to demonstrate that the policy of not permitting any transferred people to settle in Australia is necessary to deal with the risk of a resumption of large-scale movement of people by sea, and the tragic numerous deaths that previously occurred.
Implementation of the agreement between Australia and the USA to resettle people found to be refugees in Nauru and Papua New Guinea is very welcome but other options – including settlement in Australia – are urgently required:
- FASSTT believes that the Australian Government should immediately accept the offer by New Zealand to receive 150 people.
- Critically, it is apparent that in order to achieve a comprehensive and timely resolution of the situation the Australian Government must change its present position and permit people transferred to Nauru and Papua New Guinea to be settled here.
- Australia should intensify its efforts to secure the agreement of other countries willing and able to ensure the health, wellbeing and rights of people seeking and needing protection.
- To avert the recurrence of such circumstances, it is essential the Government greatly increases its work with countries in the region to build a system that ensures people seeking asylum are properly protected in countries of first asylum or transit, are processed fairly and that those found to be refugees are afforded timely settlement outcomes.
Pending a sustainable and proper resolution, the Australian government must ensure that the basic needs of the people affected are met, including torture and trauma counselling for those who require it.