Help Kiwis caught up in Australia’s own Guantanamo Bay

Imprisoned. Isolated. Abused. Terrified. It’s time Prime Minister John Key stands up for the Kiwis in Australia’s infamous Christmas Island detention camp.

You've probably heard a lot over the years about Australia’s abusive treatment of refugees – but did you know that hundreds of New Zealanders are also caught up in our neighbour’s violent detention regime?

Australia claimed it was cracking down on big-time criminal activity, but its shiny new powers to cancel visas are being used against any Kiwi who has been in prison for even just a year, and some who have committed no crime at all.[1] Many of them are young men with families in Australia.

An estimated 40 Kiwis are currently locked up in one of Australia’s most infamous detention camps, on Christmas Island. Reports out of this camp are appalling – including claims of guards bashing detainees, and denying them medical treatment.[2]

Many of the New Zealanders on Christmas Island were transferred there with little or no warning, access to information or legal support is difficult, and there's no clear time limit for how long they will be there. On a remote island far from their families, many develop mental health problems and some are said to be suicidal. [3]

And that was before Monday, when the situation reached crisis point.

On Sunday night, a Kurdish refugee named Fazel Chegeni was found dead on Christmas Island. Monday, the detention camp is in meltdown. [4] Official reports confirm fires being lit, buildings damaged, and guards abandoning the camp altogether. [5] 

The New Zealand Government owes these people protection, and we deserve to know the truth about what’s happening on Christmas Island. Can you sign this urgent petition calling on Prime Minister John Key to send consular support and help get journalists to Christmas Island?

The Prime Minister can do two things right away to help the Kiwis stuck in terrible conditions on Christmas Island. Australia’s detention regime doesn’t take notice of human rights – but if we send consular support, these New Zealanders will have access to our legal system for protection. And if Mr Key can help get journalists access to the island, they can shine a light on what’s really going on.

This week John Key has attacked people expressing concern about the wellbeing of New Zealanders in the Australian detention camps, accusing them of 'backing rapists and murderers.' [6] This is nothing more than a jaded and cynical tactic used by Governments all over the world to undermine human rights defenders, generally to distract from the Government's own failure to protect the basic rights of its citizens. 

Some of the Kiwi men and women in these Australian immigration camps have committed no crime at all, others have committed very serious crimes (although it seems none on Christmas Island are rapists or murderers). [7]

But whatever their crimes, this much is clear: something very bad is happening on Christmas Island, and a group of Kiwis are in the middle of it. Our government must step in. Add your name to our petition.


  1. ‘Raised in Australia, he's among a wave of Kiwis held on Christmas Island as visas revoked’, Sydney Morning Herald, 29 September 2015
  2. ‘Kiwis Locked Up On Christmas Island Say They Are Being Abused By Guards’, Buzzfeed News, 8 November 2015
  3. 'Kiwi detainees deserve humanity, dignity and respect', One News, 11 November 2015
  4. 'Riot' at Christmas Island migrant camp as detainee dies’, BBC News, 9 November 2015
  5. 'Operational update #2 - Disturbance at Christmas Island Detention Centre', Australian Government Newsroom, 9 November 2015
  6. 'Key accuses Labour of 'backing rapists', New Zealand Herald, 10 November 2015
  7. 'NZ Christmas Island detainees sent to Western Australia', RNZ News, 11 November 2015 



Dear Prime Minister John Key,

Immediately send consular support and help journalists get access to Christmas Island, to help the New Zealanders imprisoned in Australia’s detention camp.

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