Is Facebook a human right?
If you stage a hunger strike on a remote Pacific island and no one can “like” it on Facebook, has it really happened?
It sounds like an indulgence doesn’t it. They’re still living in tents but the asylum-seekers on Nauru have set up a Facebook page.
It’s unlikely the 400 residents of the tent city that has sprung up on Nauru are using their allocated Facey time to “like” wry graphic illustrations of the creative process or swap selfies captioned: “kicking back on my own tropic island… wonder what the other half is doing today…”
They’re using their half-hour per person every two days of internet access to lobby for their return to the Australian mainland.
Activists have lauded the page as an opportunity for Australians to get a better understanding of what the asylum-seekers are going through, and for detainees to get their message out.
The Australian government has an obligation to make sure detainees’ human rights are met.
You would expect the basics to be covered. Shelter, food, health care, education, mental health services, access to legal advice, something to take your mind of the excruciating tedium.
But in a world where one of the biggest issues facing those New Yorkers who were not in immediate physical danger was their ability to communicate after phone batteries went flat, electronic communication has crossed into the “must have” list.
It would be unthinkable for the Nauru camp to be cut off from the traditional channels of communication such as a postal service.
The world-over your “one phone call” is afforded even the most reviled criminals.
While for most of us Facebook is an indulgence, for some people it’s a life-line. Denying them the modern day equivalent of a phone call could be a human rights about face.
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