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RAR Call to action - leading to a concerted action on 18 October 2017

Regional Communities say Enough
Manus and Nauru
Not Safe for Refugees
Bring Them Here!

Concerted action 18 October 2017 

details below

The crisis on Manus: a call for urgent action
·      The situation for asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island is worsening and now potentially life threatening.
·      There are 900 men currently in the existing camp and of these 730 have had positive refugee assessments.
·      With the announcement that the Manus Island camp is to close by 31 October, the authorities are putting enormous pressure on the men to move to a so-called “transit centre” in East Lorengau – about half an hour away from the existing camp.
-       Lorengau was built and insured for 298. If the authorities have their way it will be filled with 800 men.
-       There is no medical facility there; people must attend the local hospital.

·      It also means that they will be living among the local people many of whom are very hostile to the refugees and asylum seekers.
-there have already been a significant number of attacks on the refugees with muggings, beatings and attacks with knives now documented.

·      In the meanwhile the existing camp on Manus is being progressively shut down, forcing the people there into overcrowded and makeshift accommodation in other parts of the camp. Water and power is being turned off in some sections. The exercise area has been closed, English language classes ended, most things removed for sale from the small canteen and case managers no longer given access. Officials simply repeat that the men have the possibility either of returning to their home country or settling in PNG.
·      As Behrouz Boochani recently wrote: This whole situation targets the mental wellbeing of the refugees on three levels. First, living conditions within the prison camp are deteriorating daily. Second, it has been made perfectly clear there is no favourable future for refugees in PNG; no one feels safe. And third, the process to transfer them to the US is still up in the air.

RAR and the Australian Refugee Action Network (ARAN) will shortly be sending you resources and we will let you know what others are doing to inspire your action.

Zali Nash the RAR Social Media convenor is developing a social media strategy to be released next week.

It would be great if you send us information including photos for putting on our website and facebook and of course ‘your suggestions’ that we have not thought of.

Following is a program for action for RAR across Australia.

RAR Call to Action:
The situation has now gone well beyond any justification by the Australian Government. The situation is unsafe, the Papua Guinea government has admitted that it cannot protect the refugees and asylum seekers and we fear that as the closure of the camp approaches even more tragic outcomes may eventuate.

It is important to make sure that our elected representatives cannot claim that they “don’t know what is happening”. We need to ask them to demand information from Government and expect change.
We also want to let the media know we expect reporting from them on this as an issue of significance for our community values and democracy.

Recommended Action
Manus to be a priority in our activities leading up to the closure of Manus at the end of October. Other networks will be doing this too.

We recommend
1.     Use the theme: of ‘regional communities say enough’ and the ARAN slogan Manus and Nauru etc.
Regional Communities say Enough
Manus and Nauru
Not Safe for Refugees
Bring Them Here!
2.     Focus on parliamentarians and media.
3.     Make this part of your ongoing activities eg vigils, churches etc.
4.     Brief your local member and ask them what they can do to ameliorate the human costs for the detainees
5.     Make appointments with your local MP now, involve a small group of locals and advise the MP that you will return again in 6-8 weeks for the MP to report b ack to you and make an appointment for your return visit.
6.     Take photos of the visit or the meeting if possible so that you can use for media releases and Facebook posts
7.     Involve your local media about your activities – papers, community radio and of course your local ABC regional outlets (we hope to provide you some media formats if you need them).
8.     Plan a regular/continuing presence outside your MP or Senator’s local office and/or join with other RAR groups in your region to organise weekly vigils outside the local MPs office.
9.     Organise letter writing meetings, phoning MPs office, contact talkback radio and encourage members of your community to be involved
10.Plan a concerted action (along with other groups in Australia) for October 8, 2017.

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