PRESS RELEASE: Nauru whistleblowers to speak out at Wellington protest

Nauru whistleblowers due to speak out at Wellington protest for refugees held in Australian offshore detention

For immediate release 24th August 2016

Peace Action Wellington and Changemakers Refugee Forum have called for a protest against Australia's treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. The demonstration will start at Parliament at 12.30 on the 25th August, followed by a march to the Australian High Commission. Speakers will include whistleblowers who have worked in the detention centre on Nauru.

With the release of the Nauru Files, abuse and inhumane conditions on Nauru are once again in the spotlight. The release of the files as well as news of deaths in Australia's offshore detention centres clearly demonstrate that mental health issues are rife within communities being held there against their will.

One former support worker for Save The Children on Nauru said "During my time in Nauru I attended the daily Mental Health briefing, where we were given the long list of asylum seekers who were on watch. The rest of my day would be following up with each of them, who were suffering the torment of indefinite detention in horrific conditions."

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru have been protesting for months. Australian activists and civil society are working to turn the tide of opinion and have called for global demonstrations in solidarity. Kiwis need to stand in solidarity, speak up and take action for asylum seekers.

The end of August 2016 also marks 15 years since the 483 refugees rescued by the Tampa were refused by Australia and taken to Nauru, starting the 'Pacific Solution' and Australia's use of offshore detention to avoid taking in refugees. 150 of the Tampa refugees were eventually granted citizenship by New Zealand.

History repeats itself again as there is offer from the New Zealandgovernment to take 150 people from the centres, which Australia has so far refused to take up. It's time for the NZ government, as Australia's neighbour, to put pressure on them to end mandatory offshore detention policy and accept refugees, as required under international law. NZ accepts far fewer per capita refugees than Australia each year; we can and should do more.

Speakers will include:

- Two former Save the Children staff in the Nauru detention centre
- Nureddin Abdurahman, a Wellington Oromo Community member of a refugee background
- A speaker from Peace Action Wellington on the links between the military industrial complex and refugees
- Carsten Bockemuehl, Amnesty International NZ, who recently released a report on abuse & neglect of refugees on Nauru
- David Shearer, Labour MP with the shadow portfolio on Foreign Affairs who has spoken out about the NZ government's lack of action for offshore detainees
- Kelvin Davis, Labour MP who has visited Kiwis in detention on Christmas Island and has spoken out against offshore detention
- Marama Davidson, Green Party MP who supports refugees and asylum seekers
- Denise Roche, Green Party MP with the portfolio for immigration

ENDS

Press release by: Peace Action Wellington