With little else to rely on, refugees turn to Twitter to detail harsh treatment

Australia’s offshore detention centres have long been a secretive, carefully guarded operation.

For those who remain inside them, smartphones and social media have been the main way to tell stories of their plight, as governments remain reticent on who is responsible for them and journalists struggle to gain access to the sites.

SEE ALSO: How one tech initiative helps Syrian refugee kids learn new skills

The situation has come to a head lately with the closure of the Australian-run Manus Island Regional Processing Centre in Papua New Guinea at the end of October.

Home to more than 400 asylum seekers, the facility saw many refusing to leave for a new centre which is prone to attacks from the local community and is still under construction, as documented by the UNHCR.

On Thursday, with media still restricted from the site, Twitter was abound with updates from refugees inside the centre, especially from Kurdish Iranian refugee and journalist Behrouz Boochani. That day, Papua New Guinea police and immigration arrived to try and remove the remaining refugees in the compound.

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.

Other refugees from the centre also took to Twitter to tell the world what was happening, including Abdul Aziz Adam‏, Hass Hassaballa, Ezatullah Kakar, Walid Zazai and Ghulam Mustafa.

Photos and video from inside the centres paint an ugly picture. Much of the media’s reporting has cited first-hand accounts of these men, who’ve used smuggled phones and credit that’s been donated.

This picture is enough to wake up Australia and show how a cruel politician like Peter Dutton is using Australian people for his own political benefit. pic.twitter.com/vpLH5G9Jrz

 

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Australia’s offshore detention centres have long been a secretive, carefully guarded operation.

For those who remain inside them, smartphones and social media have been the main way to tell stories of their plight, as governments remain reticent on who is responsible for them and journalists struggle to gain access to the sites.

The situation has come to a head lately with the closure of the Australian-run Manus Island Regional Processing Centre in Papua New Guinea at the end of October.

Home to more than 400 asylum seekers, the facility saw many refusing to leave for a new centre which is prone to attacks from the local community and is still under construction, as documented by the UNHCR. Read more…

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