18/09/2012 11:35

Nauru and Manus a recipe for disaster

The Gillard Government has created a recipe for disaster, warns Father Jim Carty as between 40 to 50 male asylum seekers landed in Nauru last weekend, the first arrivals under the Gillard Government's version of off-shore processing, reports the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney newsletter.

Father Carty, Coordinator of Marist Asylum Seekers and Refugee Services, says putting men who are already traumatised into crowded non-air conditioned tents on Nauru where they will sleep on a palliasse, or straw-filled mattress, on a duckboard floor enduring oppressive heat, tropical storms combined with the island's remote isolated location makes for a toxic cocktail.

Although the initial group that arrived in Nauru today numbers less than 50, within a few months more than 1500 asylum seekers will be detained on Nauru with a further 600 detained on the reopened detention facilities on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.

While women including those who are pregnant along with their children and unaccompanied minors are expected to be housed in another part of Nauru until permanent accommodation can be built, for at least six months male detainees sent to the Island will be housed in army-issue tents.

Fr Carty describes tents as "incubators for disease" and predicts outbreaks of fungal infections and tropical diseases for those forced to live in tents with no air conditioning and subject to constant heat, humidity and muddy wet floors from the rains.

"The Government may think it is solving a problem by putting asylum seekers out of sight on a remote island, but it is also creating a multitude of other human-related issues as well as breaking United Nations Conventions on Refugees and the Rights of the Child.(Cathnews.com 16 Sept. 2012)