Deterrence 3b - 'Why?': Arbitrary Divisions


‘Why’?: Arbitrary divisions as weapons of deterrence

A child's painting shows a boat travelling across the ocean. There boat appears overcrowded with passengers. A cloud in the sky bears the Nauruan flag. Another cloud bears an Australian flag. One lightning bolt from the Nauruan cloud covers a section of people in the boat. Two lightning bolts from the Australian cloud covers the other two-thirds of the boat passengers.[imagecaption] Some people who arrived on LEL boat were sent to Nauru, while others remained on Christmas Island and were eventually released into the Australian community, 2016. Artwork: Yousef, 10 year old child detained by Australia on Nauru. A handpainted banner is strung up on a detention centre fence. It reads 'We came on same boat but some are free & we are in prison'.This issue has been frequently raised in protests including those on Nauru in 2014 in response to Cambodia Deal, and on Manus Island during protests in 2016. The poem ‘Nightmare‘ written by Kaveh, a poet detained on Manus, speaks of the shattering effects of this arbitrary policy. [/imagecaption]

The arbitrary divisions and enforced transportation of refugees to offshore camps link the Pacific Solution to other forms of necrotransport.


According to political rhetoric, no one who arrived post-19 July would make it to Australia; in truth, people who arrived on the same boat were arbitrarily divided between Manus, Nauru and Christmas Island.

[imagecaption] ‘Why? Malcolm. Why?’ campaign, Manus, 2015. International Alliance Against Mandatory Detention. A question raised in Senate Estimates revealed that 1414 of the 4533 people who arrived in Australia by boat between 19 July 2013 and 27 July 2014 were never sent to Manus or Nauru, have been granted bridging visas and are eligible to apply for Temporary Protection Visas (TPV) or Safe Haven Enterprise Visas (SHEV). A photo of 4 palms with the words 'Why?' written on them. One has the hashtag #Manus accompanying the question. Photos: Manus.A row of adults and children face with their backs to the camera. The word 'why' is written on paper and attached to all of their backs. They stand with their arms crossed above their heads in a demonstration of resistance. Lush, green vegetation can be seen in the background.Photo: Nauru. [/imagecaption]

The majority of people detained on Christmas Island were eventually granted bridging visas to live in the Australian community. Questionable assessments of the age of young asylum seekers resulted in some being deemed minors and sent to Christmas Island, while others, deemed adults, were banished to Nauru or Manus. At least one young woman sent to Nauru group later attempted self-immolation.


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