Wellington Scoop

BBQ blockade at Aust High Commission to support Manus refugees

News from Peace Action Wellington
A BBQ Blockade on Thursday is being planned for outside the Australian High Commission in Wellington.

“The more than 600 refugees still detained on Manus Island only have one wish – freedom in a safe country,” said Peace Action Wellington spokesperson Gayaal Iddamalgoda today. “After more than four years of illegal detention, the refugees only want one thing – to be free.”

“The media spotlight may have moved on since the refugees and asylum seekers were violently moved to a new detention centre three weeks ago, but the problem remains – these people urgently need freedom.

“So, in the spirit of Christmas (you know, that holiday about Middle Eastern people seeking refuge), Peace Action Wellington and the International Socialist Organisation are hosting a fair dinkum Aussie-style BBQ blockade outside the Australian High Commission from 4.30pm – 6.30pm on Thursday. We invite the public to join us in writing solidarity holiday cards to send directly to the men, singing alternative carols and writing new years’ resolutions for the Australian government.”

Australia’s border policy – and in particular the situation on Manus – has been condemned by many organisations, including the UNHCR. This latest protest marks a continuing show of solidarity from Aotearoa, following many protests against the treatment of these refugees and asylum seekers by the Australian Government. A November protest saw activists locking themselves to the gates of the High Commission.

“We said that we would be back, and on Thursday we will be,” said Iddamalgoda today. “At least five refugees have died whilst being detained on Manus Island, one on Christmas eve last year. Those who remain continue to suffer all in the name of Australia’s border security. Australia’s offshore detention centres are inhumane and illegal and need to be shut down, never to reopen again.

“They need to be evacuated immediately and taken to a safe country. On Sunday, one of the refugees sent a message: ‘PNG doesn’t want to keep us here. Why can’t we go to NZ?’ – and that is exactly what needs to happen,” Iddamalgoda said. “’Tis the season to demand justice for refugees. Let’s bring them here now.”

WHAT: Peace Action Wellington & International Socialist Organisation BBQ Blockade

WHEN: Thursday, 14 December, 4:30-6:30pm

WHERE: Australian High Commission, 72-76 Hobson St, Wellington.