The never-ending struggles of cartoonists Eaten Fish, Musa Kart & Zunar Ifex/Cartoonists Rights Network International 7 July 2017
Manus Island made headlines again in June 2017 when the Australian government settled a class action lawsuit with detainees to the tune of $90 million (Australian). Despite the appearance of progress we understand this news was greeted with despair in the centre and is interpreted as an attempt by the Australian government to wash its hands of the entire affair. The camp is set to close in a matter of months and those who have no official status as a refugee, of which our latest Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award winner Eaten Fish is one, face homelessness at best and imprisonment in Papua New Guinea at worst. The detainees continue to be subjected to violence at the hands of locals. As ever the reporting of Behrouz Boochani from within the centre has been invaluable for all monitoring the final days of this shameful chapter in Australia’s history, industrial scale human rights violation in an era when the plight of displaced people should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
In that spirit the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival will pay tribute in August, exhibiting the shoal of cartoon fish created by contributors from around the world as an expression of solidarity. Our UK colleagues the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation have continued to lead the way in this effort, constantly reminding Australian ministers of their obligations.