Reza Barati 11e - Privatised Killing


A Privatised Killing: The role of contractors

A handdrawn illustration shows 5 silhouettes of various people involved in the detention system. The figure on the left side is labelled 'asylum seeker', this figure is crouched on the ground with hands up in a protective stance. The figure beside them is 'PNG G4S' with a weapon raised above their heads, preparing to strike the asylum seeker. The next person in the line up is 'Aussie G4S' who indifferently looks at a clipboard as if monitoring the assault. The next person is a politician who points towards the figures to their left and appears to be lecturing to the person on their right. The person on their right is 'Aussie' who stands idly with a no entry symbol on his shirt and beer in hand. The 'Aussie' has a beer belly and wears a singlet, shorts and thongs. They appear unmoved by the assault perpetrated against the asylum seeker.[imagecaption] Artwork: Domenic Golding (member of RISE). A witness stated that on the night of 17 February, G4S officers broke the fence down and encouraged local people to enter the camp and help them attack asylum seekers. G4S denied these allegations, while an Australian G4S officer claimed that PNG police did nothing to prevent community members from entering the camp.  Two witnesses who returned to their country of origin, alleged that Australian G4S officers incited the violence between asylum seekers and Papua New Guinean employees and community members. The same companies are contracted to work on Nauru and similar power dynamics and tensions have been fostered. In 2017, Amnesty International released a report detailing how private contractors, particularly Broadspectrum (who subcontract to companies like Wilson Security and G4S) profit from the abuse of refugees on Nauru. [/imagecaption]


Accounts by asylum seekers highlight the central role of G4S officers in the violence on the night of Reza Barati’s murder. Audio recordings leaked by an Australian staff member reveal that protests staged by asylum seekers had been peaceful in the lead-up to 17 February.  A report by Tara Moss further clarifies details of what happened, while video footage obtained by The Guardian showed a makeshift hospital set up to treat dozens of injured asylum seekers.

Joshua Kaluvia, a local man employed by the Salvation Army, played a central role in Reza Barati’s murder. In its submission to the Senate Inquiry, the Salvation Army denied this allegation and attempted to portray Kaluvia as an ally of the asylum seekers. A whistleblower, however, claimed that he had alerted the Salvation Army that two of their employees intended to participate in the imminent violence but this warning was not taken seriously by management.

Talking to SBS Dateline, Migration Agent and whistleblower, Liz Thompson revealed that staff on her team were sent back to work only days after Reza Barati’s murder to demonstrate that everything was ‘business as usual’.


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