This was the reaction from Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Research, to the shooting incident in the Australian Government-run refugee detention centre on Manus Island.
“More incidences like this are inevitable unless the refugees and asylum seekers are relocated to safety,” she said.
“We call for measures to ensure the immediate safety and wellbeing of all asylum seekers and refugees, including adequate medical care to those who may have suffered from damage or injury, and a prompt and independent investigation of this incident.
“Amnesty International reiterates its call on Australian authorities to immediately halt its unlawful policy of offshore processing. Those trapped on Manus Island and on Nauru must be brought to Australia, or a third country where their rights and safety can be assured.”
According to witnesses, members of the PNG Defence Force stationed at the Lombrum Naval Base, next to the detention centre, opened fire at 6:30 pm after the camp came under attack by locals following an altercation between a refugee and a local man. Multiple shots were fired, but it is unclear how many people may have been injured.
In 2016, Amnesty International investigated conditions in Nauru and in November 2013, their team of investigators visited Manus Island.
“We found patterns of deliberate abuse at the hands of the Australian Government,” said the organisation.
“The Australian authorities promised to close Manus Island detention before end of October, but it is unclear what this means for the 888 refugees and asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea.”