Refugees detained in Nauru must be urgently evacuated as for-profit US prison company’s contract is made public


Press release

September 21, 2022

Refugees and rights activists are calling on the Albanian government to immediately evacuate detained refugees offshore, after a contract to provide “facilities, garrison and reception services” to refugees detained in Nauru was made public on Monday.

There are currently around 100 refugees detained in Nauru who are in urgent need of evacuation after a decade of inaction and cruelty by successive governments. Conditions in Nauru are dire, with a recent COVID outbreak, many seriously ill people and inadequate medical care.

The new contract awarded in a limited tender to the for-profit prison company, Management and Training Corporation (MTC), will run from August 9, 2022 to September 30, 2022 and will cost more than $4.5 million. dollars. This follows the previous and similar award of a limited tender contract to Canstruct in 2017, which by 2022 had risen from a cost of $8 million to $1.8 billion.

The MTC has no experience in dealing with refugees living in the community. Instead, he has taken advantage of the United States’ private prison system and operates five notorious detention centers for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Conditions in MTC-run ICE migrant detention centers have been criticized by government agencies and human rights organizations, with reports of poor health services, inadequate mental health care and poor conditions.

A refugee formerly detained by MTC is currently suing the company after being held in solitary confinement for 14 months, with the lawsuit describing MTC as “a private company that traffics in human captivity for profit”.

The MTC also runs Parklea Correctional Center in Sydney, where a June 2022 report from the NSW Custody Inspector found serious problems with conditions at the centre. These include the highest rates of assault in the nation, 75% of people on a ‘priority’ medical waiting list and over a 12 month period there were 183 incidents of self-harm reported in total , compared to 8 and 19 in other NSW centres.

Parklea is run in partnership with Broadspectrum, a company previously responsible for offshore processing in PNG and Nauru from 2013 to 2017, when the infamous Nauru files were released.

Betelhem Tebubu, human rights activist and survivor of offshore treatment in Nauru, said: “It’s shocking, I expected good news, we were excited about this new government and now we get this destructive news. It’s very sad, I expected things to be better. I’m very sad, sad meaning for those detained in Nauru.

“Conditions in Nauru are horrible, we lost our future, our dreams were stolen, and now this contract. People should sign resettlement papers, not contracts. It’s been ten years and the people are still there. They should be free and not hire a new company. Give people a decent life and provide them with medical care.

Scott Cosgriff, acting legal director of the Human Rights Law Center, said: “Thousands of lives have been destroyed by the cruelty, violence and neglect that has taken place in offshore detention, overseen by a series of security companies who have received billions from the Australian public.

“Two hundred people remain stranded in PNG and Nauru, nine years after arriving in Australia. What they need now from the Albanian government is the chance to finally be able to live their lives in safety, not another contract of multi-million dollar designed to slowly crush people on a remote island.

Ogy Simic, Acting Director of Advocacy and Campaigns at the Asylum Seekers Resource Center (ASRC), said: “The rotten and cruel system of indefinite arbitrary detention of people seeking asylum by sea and offshore treatment has denied rights and destroyed lives, it should come as no surprise that the only company willing to run it is a for-profit prison society that ‘deals with human captivity for profit’.

“The current system is a moral and financial black hole. To spend even a dollar to keep someone like that for a day would be a national disgrace. But the Australian government has kept thousands of the world’s most vulnerable people in these conditions for a decade, shelling out billions of dollars to do so. Enough is enough, evacuate people now and let them reside in the Australian community with a clear resettlement pathway.


Media contact: Sam Brennan 0428 973 324 or [email protected]

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