AFIC Statement Regarding Manus Island Refugees

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) condemns in the strongest terms the treatment of Asylum seekers currently on Manus Island.

To subject people who have fled war, persecution and oppression to treatment such as we have seen in recent days is a blight on this country and something which shames us all.

AFIC President, Dr Rateb Jneid stated, “If a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable then how will history judge Australia? We are better than this as a people and a nation and all Australians of good will need to speak out against this injustice and oppression of innocent people.”

We note that options for some, or all of the refugees, to be accommodated in New Zealand have been rebuffed by the Government. The reasoning provided is unacceptable and nothing more than a façade to cover a callous policy that is driven by political interests rather than humanitarian ones.

Dr Jneid stated “There is no genuine reason for the current policy and it must be changed immediately. These are innocent people who are seeking refuge and safety. We owe it to them to treat them in way that upholds their dignity and provides for their basic needs.”

AFIC calls on the Australian Government to immediately cease its current policy and provide urgent relief to the refugees. Further AFIC calls on the Australian Government to bring all the refugees detained in off-shore detention centres to the Australian mainland and to meet its obligations under international covenants laws relating to refugees.