May 18, 2018
Dear distinguished guests, fighters for freedom and supporters of justice. Greetings to you all. I would like to acknowledge everyone and thank you for attending tonight.
This is a wonderful opportunity. It gives me great pleasure to communicate with you from Manus Island and present at this event.
I wish to extend a special thank you to Daniel Webb and the Human Rights Law Centre for giving me this valuable opportunity.
The situation on Manus Island and Nauru over the past five years should be no secret to anyone.
The aim of my talk tonight is to add a new dimension to the debates pertaining to punishment, debasement and dehumanisation of individuals held within these sites.
I will not repeat how Australian politicians have inflicted pain and suffering on the innocent refugees locked up in these prisons. The incarceration of people seeking asylum, in particular the children on Nauru, is remarkably cruel and has been exposed in many compelling ways.
All of the documentation, witness testimonies and other evidence that have been discussed and published until now have proven conclusively that innocent people have been enduring extraordinary forms of physical, emotional and psychological torment. The fact that ten people have lost their lives on Manus Island, Nauru and Christmas Island since 2013 is a despicable crime that needs to be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.
No one can ignore the fact that people have been killed and thousands of lives destroyed as a result of political power plays.
The use of exile as a political tactic against vulnerable refugees is based on the construction of two concepts: national security and the national interest.
Without a doubt, Australian governments have enacted an extensive propaganda campaign which centres on a perverse account of these two notions. What should be a debate about people – about human beings, about children and families – has been deliberately poisoned to become a debate about borders and security. As a result, the governments playing this game have been able to manipulate and dictate the majority of public opinion, they have been able to strengthen their support base and galvanise others in support of their policies.
Read the rest of The Human Rights Dinner Keynote Address.