Twenty years ago, in August 2001, a fishing vessel in distress became a catalyst for Australia’s offshore processing regime and hardline border protection measures. The Tampa Affair On August 24, 2001, a Norwegian cargo ship, the MV Tampa, was en route from Fremantle to Singapore. It answered a call from the Australian Coast Guard to…
For two decades, Australia has subjected asylum seekers who arrive by boat without a valid visa to “third country processing” or “offshore processing”. This policy has endured through multiple governments and although billions of dollars have been spent, hundreds of refugees are still in limbo. Offshore detention is designed to be brutal; the evidence of poor conditions, abuse, harm and inadequate treatment suffered by those in detention is documented and clear.
The Manus Regional Processing Centre, located on a former PNG and Australlan naval base on Manus Island, PNG, was one of 2 offshore processing sites opened in 2001 under the Howard government’s “Pacific Solution”. After falling into disuse it closed in 2008, but reopened under a Labor government in 2012.
In 2001, the Nauru Regional Processing Centre was opened in 2001 under Australian Prime Minister John Howard’s government. It was closed in 2008 but reopened in 2012 under Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Labor government. Since 2013, over 1,000 asylum seekers have been imprisoned on Nauru. Conditions on Nauru have received international condemnation, as facilities on the impoverished island are not sufficient for the processing and resettlement of asylum seekers.
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