Australian Christian leaders Pastor Jarrod McKenna and Anglican Parish Priest Father Dave Smith have just returned from Manus Island.

While they were there, they met Manus church leaders – and spent 25 hours in the detention camp with the 340 men then detained there.

Here is what they saw:



The religious leaders spent five days on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, and were smuggled into the camp by supportive locals.

Father Dave, priest of Holy Trinity in Dulwich Hill, spent seven hours in the camp, while Mr McKenna, pastor of Perth's Cornerstone Church, remained there for 25 hours after the navy disrupted his first attempt to leave.

The pair heard why the men in the camp fear to leave it and filmed interviews with many refugees and asylum seekers.

This is what Father Dave said about his time in the camp:

"I have enormous respect for the brave men we met in the camp. They find their strength in community, in supporting each other, and I would be proud to have them as neighbours.

"But the Australian government is attempting to break up their community, destroy their support structures, in order to force them to endure years more of indefinite detention. It is absolutely inexcusable.

"Churches across Australia have been deeply concerned for a long time about what's happening on Manus. But because of government secrecy and misinformation, they did not know the truth.

"I went to Manus so I could show Christians in Australia what is really happening there. Now, I believe we will see a very strong and unified response. Churches will demand safety and justice for these people."


The situation in the Manus camp is critical, and only the Australian Government has the capacity and responsibility to ensure the refugees and people seeking asylum are safe. All international and Australian observers agree that the only safe thing to do is evacuate these men to Australia.