Protests at PNG consulates call to close Manus Island detention camp

| February 11, 2013 | Reply

There will be protests held in Sydney and Brisbane tomorrow (Tuesday, 12 February) to coincide with the first court sitting in Papua New Guinea to consider the constitutional challenge to the Manus Island detention camp.

The legal challenge has been initiated by the PNG Opposition leader, Belden Namah.

It is expected that the lawyers at the hearing will apply for an interim injunction to prevent any further transfers of asylum seekers from Australia to Manus Island until the constitutional challenge is finally determined.

“This legal challenge will hopefully bring about the closure of one half of Julia Gillard’s Pacific hell-holes,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“There have been constant protests against transfers and the conditions on Manus Island since the detention camp was opened in November. The evacuation of the detention camp (which holds 34 children and around 200 adults) in the recent tsunami alert is just the latest indication that Manus Island is no place to hold asylum seekers. Some asylum families were left to walk from the detention camp to the highest land they could find.

“Worse, it seems some of the male Iranian asylum seekers were prevented from leaving the camp at all. Bottled water is the only source of fresh drinking water in the camp which is constantly plagued by power failures, and where the single males have nothing but tents.

“The arbitrary selection process has seen the transfer of people who have immediate family members in Australia as well as sick people who need medical care that can’t be provided on Manus Island.

“The Labor government has successfully drawn the PNG government into an agreement that violates the rights of asylum and may well violate PNG law. We will be calling on the PNG government to uphold the law, terminate the agreement and close Manus Island.

“Julia Gillard’s latest anti-refugee offensive has also roped-in the New Zealand government into aiding and abetting her Pacific Solution. But a successful constitutional challenge in Papua New Guinea would be a major blow to Gillard’s regional attempts to undermine the Refugee Convention and trash refugee rights.”

For further information contact, Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

Protest details:

Sydney: Tuesday, 12 Feb, 1pm, Papua New Guinea consulate, 222 Clarence Street (behind Town Hall).

Brisbane: Papua-New Guinea Consulate, 12 noon – 1pm, 320 Adelaide St, Brisbane (near Wharf St); speaker, former Qld senator, Andrew Bartlett (ph 07 3392 3842 fro further info)

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