REFUGEES in their hundreds are refusing to leave the Manus Island immigration detention centre, that closes next week.
Relations between refugees and the Manus community have grown hostile, and across the Coral Sea – residents of Armidale are taking a stand.
The Bring Them Here Vigil will cast a light on the suffering and fear of asylum seekers and their families, Rural Australians for Refugees member Bar Finch said.
“We have at least one member who has worked on Manus Island who is deeply disturbed by what’s happening there,” Ms Finch said.
We have at least one member who has worked on Manus Island who is deeply disturbed by what’s happening there.Bar Finch.
“We had a local doctor who has been a medical officer in Nauru, it’s so unjust that people feel they have to speak out about how wrong it is.”
Access to drinking water, medical treatment, food, electricity and sewage will be denied from next Tuesday.
The refugees on Manus Island will then be moved to accommodation centres closer to Lorengau, where they will wait for resettlement in Papua New Guinea or elsewhere.
Families have spent up to four years detained on the island.
The Australian Government previously imposed secrecy laws that threatened detention centre staff with two years jail if they spoke out about abuse or neglect.
WATCH The head of The Department of Immigration Michael Pezzullo and Greens Senator Nick McKim have had a fiery exchange during a Senate hearing over asylum seekers on Manus Island:
Ms Finch said she believes the treatment of asylum seekers is morally wrong.
“We are very conscious of the injustice of the offshore processing,” she said.
“There are people who have been there for four years, they haven’t committed a crime and they’re under Australia’s care.
“They are being psychologically persecuted by not having any future they can guarantee.”
RAR member Patsy Asch said she feels the detention centres are counter to the foundations of the Australian legal system.
“We don’t punish people who have done nothing in order to prevent other people from doing it,” Ms Asch said.
The vigil invites people from both sides of the debate to bring a candle and talk about the issues.
It is on Sunday, October 29 at the Central Park Rotunda from 7pm.