Refugees on Guantanamo Bay: A Blue Print for Australia’s ‘Pacific Solution’?

December 9, 2006 marked the 5 year anni versary of the detention of Australian Citizen David Hicks in the U.S. naval base of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The images of Adelaide born David Hicks and other ‘enemy com batants’ dressed in orange jump suits, have become synonymous in popular consciousness with the territoryo fG uantanamo Bay today.T he image ofG uan tanamo Bay that is often forgotten is that of Haitian and Cuban asylum seekers and later Chinese nationals detained behind razor wire in the U.S. naval station.

Guantanamo Bay was used as a processing centre for asylum seekers and a camp forH IV positive refugees under George HW Bush and Bill Clinton in the 1990s. The detention of refugees and asylum seekers inG uan tanamo Bay strongly influenced Australia’s policy of processing asylum seekers on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Manus Island. Australia’s so called ‘Pacific Solution ‘ has more in common with the U.S. policy of detaining ‘enemy combatants’ in Guantan amo Bay than initiallym eets the eye.


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