Iraqi asylum seekers protest on Manus Island

For most of the day, yesterday, Friday, 20 June, Iraqis in at least two compounds in the Manus Island detention centre held peaceful protests calling for “Freedom”.

The protests come the wake of Immigration Minister Scott Morrison’s rejection of calls by the Greens and refugee advocates for Iraqi asylum seekers in Australia to be allowed to apply for protection visas and for a moratorium on deporting Iraqi asylum seekers.

“There is war in our country,” one asylum seeker said from Manus Island, “We cannot go back. Why are we being kept on Manus Island?”

The Iraqi protest also follows the increased amounts that the government is paying asylum seekers on Manus Island, if they will agree to return to their home countries.

“There are over 100 Iraqi asylum seekers on Manus Island,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition,”They are not
safe in Iraq; they are not safe on Manus Island. It is obvious that
these asylum seekers are refugees. They, and the Syrians similarly
trapped on Manus Island should immediately be brought to Australia as
the first step to closing that detention centre.”

Scott Morrison has claimed that the government is making voluntary
removals of Iraqi asylum seekers from Australia. But on 7 June, the
Australian government forcibly deported an Iraqi man from Brisbane to
Iraq. The man was accompanied by four Australian guards on the flight
to Basra.

Refugee supporters will rally in Cronulla and march on the electorate
office of Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison, 12 noon, Saturday, 21

The rally will begin in Monro Park (opposite the Cronulla railway
station) and then march on Morrison’s electorate office.

Speakers at the rally will include, David Shoebridge (Greens MLC NSW), Genevieve Kelly, NSW state secretary NTEU, Matt Anslow (one of the Christians arrested at the prayer vigil in Scott Morrison’s office), Alexander McRae (St George/Sutherland Shire Refugee Support Group), and Afghan and other refugees.

The rally and march will call for justice for Reza Barati, the asylum seeker killed on Manus Island on 17 February, and for an end to offshore processing.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul mob 0417 275 713

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