Deported activist feared prison

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Dawn Barrington with one of the Manus Island refugee, Farhad Bandesh.
Camera IconDawn Barrington with one of the Manus Island refugee, Farhad Bandesh. Credit: Dawn Barrington

Denmark musician and human rights activist Dawn Barrington said she was deported from Manus Island after talking with one of the island’s refugees.

While she said it was not illegal for her to have spoken with refugees, Papua New Guinea officials confronted her after she had been in the island for a week and spoken with several refugees.

“It took three days for us to get properly deported,” she said.

“They threatened to put us in jail.

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“They took our passports and took us to the airport but we missed the first flight so we just wait around inside our hotel.

“We were really scared because we were not sure what was actually happening.”

A Department of Home Affairs spokesman said it was matter for the PNG Government.

Ms Barrington said she went to Manus Island to listen to the refugees’ stories and share their experiences back in Australia.

“I saw how sick some of the men were,” she said.

“Everyone had serious health problems that needed attention.

“Our Government put them there six years ago and they are losing their minds.”

Ms Barrington has since fought for the refugees in Manus.

She said she had been asked to present evidence to the Human Rights Commissioner in Geneva.

She has also produced a documentary on the refugees with Denmark filmmaker Tim Maisey to shed a light on refugee conditions on the island.

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