After Food Riot, Manus Island Refugees Being Fed Through Hole In Fence

Amnesty International says if barrier limits acces to food it could be considered torture

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, March 21, 2017) – Asylum seekers at the regional processing centre on Manus are now receiving meals through a square hole in a fence after a riot broke out at a mess on Saturday night.

Kurdish-Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani said a fight between asylum seekers and security guards erupted at the mess located in the Mike Compound after a fence was placed for asylum seekers to queue up.

“It’s unacceptable that they are treating me and others like criminals,” Boochani said.

[PIR editor's note: On March 21, 2017 RNZI reported that 'Amnesty International says a barrier installed at Manus Island's detention centre in Papua New Guinea could be tantamount to torture if it is making it difficult for detainees to access food.']

“We are not criminals.

“We left our countries because of war and discrimination.

“It’s so disrespectful that they are giving food behind the fence.

“They had already made a wall between the refugees and kitchen in Oscar Compound, so they could only give food to refugees from small holes in the wall, just like for criminals.

“This will also make a long line and anybody who wants food has to stand in line for about an hour for lunch and dinner.”

According to Boochani, the riot occurred after staff at the centre placed a fence between the kitchen and refugees to manage the lines.

“But this fence slowed everything down and made the line long,” Boochani said.

“The company (Broadspectrum) claimed that they put up this fence because some refugees take more food than they should, but the refugees think this fence is disrespectful and makes the line too long.

“The tension over this fence erupted into a fight and the refugees and officers beat each other with plastic chairs and water bottles, and pushed each other.”

Boochani said no one was seriously injured in the riot.

He said the situation at the centre was tense.

Broadspectrum is the company contracted by the Australian government to manage the regional processing centre.

Wilson Security provides the security.

There are four compounds at the centre – Mike, Oscar, Foxtrot and Delta.

The National
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