2 March 2018, United Nations, New York, USA
We just delivered a big statement to the UN Human Rights Council about the 1800 innocent human beings who are still suffering on Manus and Nauru.
I think it’s probably the one thing that our Government doesn’t want to talk about here on the world stage. But it is so clearly the massive elephant in the room whenever they want to talk about human rights.
I mean, I’ve been to Manus myself three times, and I have seen firsthand the suffering.
I have seen the exhaustion, and the fear and the hopelessness on the faces of those men who have had five years of their lives ripped away from them in that place.
And then I come here, and I’ve heard our Government day after day talk about how important human rights are, and how all people are equal and deserve fairness and respect, and I’m sorry, but I just can’t reconcile the two.
I can’t reconcile their compassionate words here at the UN and the cruelty that I’ve seen them inflict on Manus.
And the fact that there are still one hundred and fifty children languishing in limbo on Nauru.
And I think there are governments here who just attack the very concept of universal human rights head on. But there’s also a really insidious threat that’s posed by governments like ours, who sit on the Council gnawing away at the very foundations of human rights with their own hollow words and unprincipled actions.
So we have, in the strongest terms, urged the UN and the international community to hold our government to account for its cruelty to refugees.