Culture

A Refugee Cartoonist Has Won An International Award For His Grim Work About Life On Manus Island

Eaten Fish has spent more than three years living in the offshore detention centre.

A 25-year-old Iranian asylum seeker who has spend more than three years imprisoned on Manus Island has won an international cartooning award for bringing to light “the human rights abuses and excruciating agony of daily life in this notorious and illegal prison camp.”

Ali, better known by his pen name Eaten Fish, has been named the recipient of the Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning by Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI), an organisation that strives to defend “the creative freedom and human rights of political cartoonists under threat throughout the world.”

In a statement that accompanied the announcement, the group commended Eaten Fish for his cartoons “documenting the unspeakable abuses and excesses of the guards and administrators of the camp. For this he has been the subject of beatings, deprivation of food, and even worse degrading treatment by the guards.”

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“The importance of the work of human rights defenders, artists, cartoonists and writers, such as Eaten Fish, within the prison camp cannot be overstated,” said the CRNI. “His work pushes through the veil of secrecy and silence and layers of fences in a way that only a talented artist speaking from the inside can.”

“We hope that this award will help shine a brighter light on the excesses of this camp. His work is addressed to the critical eyes of the world while exposing the xenophobic and racist policies of the Australian government in their dealings with immigrant refugees.”

Since arriving on Manus Island in 2013, Eaten Fish has reportedly been the victim of assault and sexual harassment. In communications with The Guardian’s cartoonist First Dog on the Moon, he also revealed that he suffers from severe OCD and panic attacks. A number of prominent cartoonists have drawn cartoons in support of Eaten Fish, and are petitioning the government to bring him to Australia so that he can receive the medical treatment he requires.

h/t The Guardian

Images via Save Eaten Fish