End Offshore Slavery

Friends, we have been running the #EvacuateNow campaign in a while. For my part, I had written in February 2017 to my local Federal MP, the Hon. John Alexander, Senator for NSW Marise Payne, both of them from LNP [#1]. In addition, I had communicated to Andrew Wilkie MP (Independent, Tasmania) and Adam Brandt MP (Greens, Melbourne), asking the motion to be set at Australian House of Representative to evacuate asylum-seekers held offshore detention centres (Haven't seen anything being done on that front).

I think, this is about-time we make another approach at our Federal MPs and Senators for the action on evacuation. This time, the Australian Senate should also be asked to make the parallel motion re: evacuation. We all remembered that Senator McKim had made a similar motion last year, only being blocked by the Labour Party and LNP Government. For my part, I shall be communicating to the MPs and Senators who are on my sight, with the new information on enslavement as Australian Government's crime against humanity.

Perpetrators, Co-perpetrators and Aiding and Abetting

I hope you all have seen the submission to ICC on Australian government's enslavement of asylum-seekers [#2]. My submission focuses only at the government level (State responsibility) violations of Rome Statute Article 7(1)(c). The ICC cannot prosecute, of course, a State (Government as a whole) for the crime against humanity. The ICC can only put a trial on and prosecute a "natural persons" who may have perpetrated that crime. Therefore, we surely will need some more work on the ICC as to supplying proper information about who are the responsible persons for this crime. The crime against humanity is a particular type of political crime which can only be conducted by persons more than one.

When we look at recent ICC related documentations from the Stanford University [#3], there are three ways in which a person may commit such crime: (1) by directly perpetrating, (2) by co-perpetrating and (3) by aiding and abetting (See detail on pp. 96-101 of Stanford report, section on "Article 25 Liability for Public Officials and Corporate Actors"). For example, you can see aiding and abetting of a person in the commission of the crime as:

“.... acts specifically directed to assist, encourage or lend moral support to the perpetration of a certain specific crime [with] substantial effect upon the perpetration of the crime.” The law also requires “knowledge that the acts assist the commission by the principal.” Standing near victims armed and preventing them from escaping, for example, has been understood as abetting. So has the allowing of resources under one’s responsibility to be used for the commission of crimes. "

As you can see, whilst Australian Government officials at the top levels may be categorised of the 'perpetrators' status, those who sit-around and do-nothing whilst the crimes have been taking place will be in the category of "aiding and abetting". Say, if the Australian Parliament proceeds with a motion for evacuation which, the purpose is to end the enslavement, those members of parliament who vote "no" or abstaining from voting may be charged with aiding and abetting on the crime of enslavement.

Laws Prohibiting Enslavement

Australia already have the laws enacted against enslavement, the most recent one would be when Australia ratifying the ICC Rome Statute. For example, the Section 268.10 of ICC (Consequential Amendments) Act 2002 has already defined enslavement and the penalty [#4]. In this particular case of enslavement, the Australian nationalities are committing the crime against humanity of enslavement on another sovereign country (Nauru and PNG). There are some obscurity about the role of Attorney-General as regards to cooperating with ICC on proceeding of case, say the surrendering of an Australian nationality to ICC who may have perpetrated the crime against humanity. I, however, believe that the prohibition against enslavement, which Australia now had embedded in Rome Statute as Article 7(1)(c), has been descended from much earlier Treaties, such as Geneva Convention and the other Humanitarian Laws. As such, a State "must" comply with strict legal requirements to prosecute perpetrators of the crime. A State "must" also make immediate effort to end the enslavement. In this way, the Attorney-General "must" cooperate with ICC when it comes to case relating to crime against humanity of enslavement.

Separating Sheep from Goats

Friends, as you already know, there has been parliamentary motion set last week in ACT regional government to welcome refugees from Manus and Nauru [#5]. At the Federal level, some brave Liberal members reported to be saying something on the treatment of asylum-seekers [#6]. We, the activists, need to push up that momentum and encourage our MPs and Senators to take appropriate action. At the same time, I would say, you may voluntarily appoint yourself as a truthful witness to the ICC in separating of the "goats" from "sheep" in this crime of enslavement. Here are simple steps:

(i) First, target your local Federal MP and Senators for your action. I for one will be focusing on the Federal Member for Bennelong, where I live.

(ii) Write a letter (not email) telling him/her that you believe the confinement of asylum-seekers on Nauru and Manus Island tantamount to slavery. Tell that it is the Members of Parliament's responsibility to end that enslavement. You may use, if you wish, a copy of the report [#2] to persuade your target MPs/Senators (pdf on that URL).

(iii) Tell that it is up to him/her to agree with you about the enslavement; but assert that his/her responsibility is to end the enslavement.

(iv) Tell your MP/Senator if he/she is not voting in favour for evacuation, you shall consider him/her as perpetrating in the crime of enslavement. And said you will be reporting him/her as the criminal to the ICC. I

Please be courteous conveying those messages. I'll put out more information later on about the filing at ICC.

No incentives for perpetrators

The cold & hard reality for #EvacuateNow campaign is that there will be no electoral incentives for LNP Government. For perpetrators of the enslavement, the crimes have already been committed. It is immaterial now whether the perpetrators have changed their minds; withdrawn their involvement or politicians conduct proper evacuation, the crimes of enslavement still remained and they must face the justice. The perpetrators did have several opportunities to end offshore detentions before things turned ugly. In any case, the asylum-seekers on Manus Island and Nauru must be evacuated in priority. For perpetrators, things will never be the same again.

In Solidarity, U Ne Oo, Sydney.

[#1] http://www.netipr.org/saorg/node/42
[#2] http://www.netipr.org/saorg/node/48
[#3] https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3461339/Communication-Regardi...
[#4] http://www.netipr.org/saorg/docs/static/icc-consequential-amendments-act...
[#5] https://www.amnesty.org.au/parliamentary-motion-resettle-refugees-manus-...
[#6] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/video/2017/aug/16/enough-russ...