Refugees detained indefinitely on Manus Island and Nauru have caught the world’s attention in the wake of the disastrous Trump-Turnbull phone call. The BBC ran the story on the detained pregnant woman with complications who has finally been allowed to come to Australia.

Reuters UK ran with the story of the Iranian man who was sent back to PNG after he managed to get to Fiji. The agency said he was terrified he would end up back in a PNG jail, which he probably will.

The Times (London) took a more long-term approach to familiarise its readers with the reality of the life of an Australian detainee in Papua New Guinea:

“Every afternoon for 3.5 years Walid Zazai, 23, has stood at a chain-link fence and stared at the ocean beyond. ‘I wonder what we have done wrong,’ he said. ‘Are we animals to be held in a cage all this time?’

“One of 900 asylum seekers being held illegally on the island of Manus in Papua New Guinea, Zazai is almost 6,000 miles from his home in Afghanistan, which he fled in 2013 after the Taliban threatened to kill him for working on an American military base.

PBS reported on the story with a picture of Reclaim Australia protesters.

Euro News expanded on how this situation has come to pass:

“Australia’s own immigration policy has been condemned by many as harsh and excessive, and it makes little distinction between refugees and migrants.

Invoking the need to fight against people traffickers and save the lives of those wanting to make perilous ocean crossings, Australia has imposed a hardline policy, pushing back boats packed with people that manage to get anywhere near Australia’s shores …

“Until the 1960s, Australia gave a preference to white immigrants and it was in that decade that the Australia’s indigenous peoples were finally classed under the law as people and not part of the continent’s flora and fauna.”

In the Middle East, opinion writers took the opportunity to shine a light on Australia’s immigration history but also on the racism in Australian society.

Even Turkey found time to condemn Australian offshore processing.

Closer to home, Radio New Zealand took the line that all this political back and forth over the fate of the refugees could lead to riots and violence if they were kept in limbo much longer. — John Martinkus

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey