From Manus prison:
Yesterday the evidence of shocking abuse of teenage prisoners in the Northern Territory juvenile detention shook Australia. Straight away the Prime Minister announced a Royal Commission and the Northern Territory Corrections Minister was sacked. That is important and valuable that a big part of the society has a strong reaction about human rights abuses in juvenile detention.
But there is a big question and that is, why Australian politicians and people don’t care about those reports that international organisations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, UN committee against torture, and also the Australian Senate inquiry published about abuse, assaults, rapes and torture in Australian prisons in Manus and Nauru.
I give you an example. George Brandis says the Royal Commission about juvenile detention should ask many important things. Why was such brutal mistreatment of detainees allowed to happen? Is there a culture of abuse? Why was earlier evidence of serious problems not acted on enough? And did those people who did the abuse even understand they had a duty of care? These questions are so important and I have a question for this man and other Australian politicians.
Why do you never ask these questions about Manus and Nauru?
It shows that you don’t believe in human rights, and only use this concept for political aims. I mean that the human rights concept is only a cover for your political games and I wonder why Australian people don’t think deeply about the political actions of their politicians.
Human rights is a global value and we don’t have this right to discriminate between people. I know Aboriginal people in Australia are so discriminated against and that must change. They are human, and refugees in Manus and Nauru are human, and there is not any difference between people everywhere. I think that this discrimination shows us that moral values are completely collapsed in Australia and western countries.
We can not say that we believe in human rights and principles, and make discrimination between people. This kind of discrimination directly affects global values and it is dangerous for our civilization. Abuse of any person is wrong, and we need Australian governments to stop abusing people in juvenile detention, and in Manus and Nauru too.
Another point is that this is the best time for Australia to think deeply about the prison concept and find an answer for this question – why is prison a big part of Australian culture?
This a big moment when people and media should continue to ask this question because I know that the politicians are only trying to hide that this is happening under some moral words, and be sure that if Australia does not find an answer this kind of abuse and violence will happen again and again.
Behrouz Boochani is a Kurdish refugee who fled Iran, in danger of his life. He sought protection in Australia but has been incarcerated on Manus Island in immigration detention since 2013.