A file picture dated dated 21 March 2014 shows asylum seekers behind a fence at the Manus Island detention centre, in Papua New Guinea

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EPA

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Media entry to Manus Island or Nauru is uncommon. Right here asylum seekers line up alongside a fence at Manus camp

A retired decide in Australia has supplied to swap locations with a refugee and reside the remainder of his life in one of many nation’s offshore detention camps.

Jim Macken, who’s 88, stated he had written to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to supply a “physique swap”.

“I perceive that is an uncommon request however I provide it in full sincerity,” Mr Macken wrote.

Australia processes migrants and refugees on the Pacific island of Nauru and on Manus island, Papua New Guinea.

The federal government has confronted heavy criticism over circumstances on the detention centres, each of that are run by non-public corporations.

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Getty Photos

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Nauru, the world’s smallest republic, holds one among Australia’s migrant camps

Within the letter, seen by Australian media, Mr Macken stated: “My cause for making this proposal is easy. I can now not stay silent as harmless males, ladies and youngsters are being held in appalling circumstances on Manus Island and Nauru.

“It’s even worse that they’re being held in these harmful and inhospitable circumstances with a view to guarantee no different asylum seekers and refugees try to come back to Australia for cover.

“The Australian authorities is actually treating refugees in these camps as human shields and that is totally immoral. As that is being accomplished in my identify I can’t stay silent.

“I provide this proposal as a approach ahead for not less than one refugee. This may enable one particular person at the moment held on Manus Island or Nauru the precise to be an Australian citizen. I’d take into account it a privilege to reside out my closing years in both Nauru or Manus Island in his or her stead.”

Media captionLife within the Nauru detention centre

Mr Macken reportedly supplied to relinquish his Australian citizenship if obligatory.

A spokeswoman for Mr Dutton stated the minister’s workplace was checking to see if it had acquired the letter, which was despatched a month in the past, and declined to remark additional.

Mr Macken additionally wrote to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Labor celebration chief Invoice Shorten, urging them to “err on the aspect of compassion and justice” and finish offshore processing.

A spokesman for the prime minister declined to remark.

Talking to the Guardian, the retired decide stated he had “nothing to lose” by making his provide.

“If it will get only one refugee off a type of islands, and provides them an opportunity at a life in Australia, I am ready to do it,” he stated.

He stated he wasn’t in search of publicity and can be blissful to undertake the trade with out notifying the general public.

Mr Macken is a former barrister and union organiser till his retirement in 1989. He was appointed a member of the Order of Australia in 2003.

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Amnesty Worldwide

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A photograph taken by Amnesty Worldwide exhibits the within of a tent housing asylum seekers in Nauru

  • The variety of asylum seekers travelling to Australia by boat rose sharply in 2012 and early 2013. Scores of individuals have died making the journey.
  • To cease the inflow, the federal government adopted powerful measures supposed as a deterrent.
  • Everybody who arrives is detained. Beneath the coverage, asylum seekers are processed offshore at centres on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.
  • The federal government has additionally adopted a coverage of tow-backs, or turning boats round.

Learn extra: Why are asylum seekers so controversial in Australia?