Having been shunned far too long by their government, refugees on Australia's Manus Island have taken to Twitter to try an extricate themselves from their dire situation.
Australia's offshore detention centers have long been a disgraceful secretive, heavily guarded operation. For those who remain confined, smartphones and social media have been the only way to share stories of their harrowing plight, as the governments remain silent on who is responsible for them and journalists struggle to gain access to the grounds.
The camp is home to some 400 asylum seekers which has been a target of attacks from the local community and is still under construction.
This past week Twitter was overrun with updates from refugees inside the center, especially from Kurdish Iranian refugee and journalist Behrouz Boochani.
So many police mobile squad and immigration officers came inside the prison camp. They are shouting at us to leave the prison camp. Some of the refugees are gathering in Delta compound and some are on the roof.— Behrouz Boochani (@BehrouzBoochani) November 22, 2017
Photos and video from inside the site detail a horrifying reality.
A volunteer-run charity called Gifts for Manus and Nauru has assisted with sending phone credit to refugees.
Ali Murdoch from Bega in New South Wales owns the charity, and has been involved in supporting the men in the Manus Island detention center since 2014.
However the public outcry has led to issues for the detainees as police raids have become common to confiscate devices.
Immigration & police broke many phones of ppl trying to take photos. The refugees are gathering in Oscar compound, police & immigration are around them. Some officers destroying Delta compound. The ppl are waiting for buses to take them, 4 buses are full and on way to new camps.— Behrouz Boochani (@BehrouzBoochani) November 23, 2017
Australian Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton has stated that the situation is not dire and much of the reports thus far are exaggerated.
Yeah that doesn't really seem to gel with the photo proof. Much of Twitter is still ablaze with the story.
Like a scene from the Jewish ghettos in WW2 with the gestapo.— Joe Carli (@JAYSEE423) November 23, 2017
We are closely following our government's actions and we will hold them to account on your collective behalves. Please take as much care as you possibly can but know that you are not unheard nor unacknowledged today, or any day. The sane people of Australia stand with you all.— Elle (@elliesweb) November 22, 2017
Please Beh. Tell everyone to film and post. And tell them to be safe, don't answer back, don't make themselves a target.— Evacuate Manus Now (@SarahRubyWrites) November 22, 2017
An open letter signed by 18 current & former heads of peak medical bodies and royal colleges of medicine states they are ‘deeply concerned’ about the physical and mental health of refugees on #Manus Island. See the letter in full here: https://t.co/flmVb0uMS9 #SOSManus pic.twitter.com/QbbI5FndIq— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) November 27, 2017
One publication in particular posted a Tweet that gives incredible insight into the people suffering and the tale of Australia's refugee crisis.
We have launched a series of short stories that provide some insight as to some of the root causes that push #refugees to move irregularly and how smugglers and traffickers mislead #refugees with false promises. #withrefugees #realstories https://t.co/ISPEzMetaC pic.twitter.com/CyNbOFPTRE— Real Story (@tellingthereal) November 15, 2017