Manus Island: Alleged Human Rights Violations.
As tensions escalate within the Manus Island Detention centre following the ongoing hunger strikes, it has been reported that four men have been escorted to the highly notorious “Chauka” solitary confinement unit on Saturday. Two of the men who have made a visit for the second time since July claim that they were “tied to chairs and beaten” as reported by The Guardian.
Ben Pynt of the advocacy group Humanitarian Research Partners told the Guardian Australia that reportedly two men were removed from their compound mid-Saturday morning following their medical appointment. The same circumstances surround two other detainees who were removed from Foxtrot compound later that night.
Overnight, refugee advocates made an urgent petition to the UN special rapporteurs on human rights which details multiple reports from both staff and detainees who verify the claims that the men were taken to Chauka.
Officially known as the Managed Accommodation Area, Chauka is the title given to a solitary confinement unit within Manus Island detention centre. The unit consists of three shipping containers which are arranged in a triangle formation. The containers are furnished with a single bed and have no windows. There are claims that detainees are sometimes forced to sleep on muddy ground, and have a restricted diet of bread and water. According to the ABC the unit also does not appear on any official maps of the centre which adds to the secrecy of the unit and the acts conducted within.
One report claims that a man that was detained seven times in the past six months had to be medically evacuated to Australia due to his life-threatening condition.
Two of the four men who were taken to Chauka on Saturday allege that during their previous stay in July they were tied to chairs with cable-ties and beaten. They were also pressed to sign documents which nullified their witness accounts of Reza Barati’s death during the February 7 riots.
Australian federal police have declined to investigate, claiming that this is an issue for the PNG police.
The two men believe they were escorted to Chauka because they witnessed Barati’s death and because they were seen as the catalysts for unrest within the centre. Yet they claim that only one of them was involved within the current hunger strike.
As the protests continue within Manus Island, it is becoming evident that there are multiple issues surrounding detainee treatment. Primarily, detainees are protesting against the length and conditions of their stay, as well as the perpetual threat of being forced to live in PNG where fears are that they will be attacked.
Bill Shorten, the opposition leader for Australia has stated that most Australians “are sick and tired of the culture of secrecy surrounding Manus Island”. Shorten believes it is the duty of care of the Australian government to take part in ensuring the proper treatment of detainees as well enlightening the Australian public on circumstances occurring on Manus Island.