27 March 2013


With a total media ban and severe restrictions on NGO visits, it is near impossible for the Australian public to know what’s going on in overseas detention facilities. The detainees feel isolated and unsure of their futures. In response to this situation Chilout has initiated a campign to bring the stories of the children and adults on Manus Island into the public eye and and build public pressure on both parties towards a fairer asylum policy.

Out of Sight is a collection of images, drawings and audio from inside detention on Manus Island. There are also videos of reflections of ChilOut Youth Ambassadors reflecting on the children detained today along with interviews with experts in the field.

According to the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship as of March 1, 2013 there are currently 998 children held in secure detention facilities: 34 children are detained on Manus Island and 281 children are detained on Christmas Island with the rest in mainland facilities. A further 985 are held in community detention.

Meanwhile the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) has completed its annual submission on Australia's Refugee and Humanitarian program. The recommendations include:
reconsideration of the removal of eligibility to the Special Humanitarian Program for refugees who arrive by boat; ending the numerical link between the onshore and offshore components of the program; progress through the Bali Process to build regional refugee protection in the Asia-Pacific region; abandonment of offshore processing of asylum seekers; using detention as a last resort for children in detention and; better support for asylum seekers to secure work. The full submission is available at the RCOA website.

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