We urgently need to raise $20,000 to ramp up a major PNG legal challenge to offshore processing on Manus Island. Please donate – see below for details.
Last week, the Liberals and the ALP combined to change the law in an attempt to thwart a constitutional challenge to offshore processing in the High Court of Australia.
Fortunately, there is another major challenge underway in PNG, where the Supreme Court has been asked to declare that the Manus Island detention centre is unconstitutional. (You can read more about it from ABC news here)
If successful, the PNG Supreme Court will issue orders to release all asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island and for the Manus detention centre to be closed.
The signs are good: the PNG Chief Justice has just allowed another 277 asylum seekers locked up on Manus to become parties to the case. This means we urgently need funds to allow lawyers to go to Manus to prepare affidavits from each of the new applicants. The statements have to finalised and submitted to the court by 17 August. We expect the case proper to begin in the August sittings of the Supreme Court.
Even if the case doesn’t succeed, these affidavits will help us to build pressure against offshore processing. They will further break the secrecy of Manus and expose crucial details of detention there.
On their own, courts can’t deliver a political solution to Australia’s shocking treatment of refugees. But they can help: a win in this case would be a major blow to the government, and provoke a serious crisis for both major parties’ refugee policies.
You have the opportunity to help make this happen. We need to raise $20,000 urgently. This will be spent on the travel, accommodation, vehicle hire and interpreters that the team of lawyers need to get to Manus and obtain the statements.
$20,000 should be easily achievable. It means 20 people giving $1000, 40 people $500, 80 people $250…
We need to raise as much as we can in the next week. The first part of the team will be leaving Port Moresby for Manus on 7 July. Please contribute, and please share this message via email and social media. Your concrete gesture of solidarity is vital to closing Manus.
Account name: Refugee Contingency Fund
BSB: 062212 (Commonwealth Bank account)
Account Number: 10373429
Cheques can be sent to Refugee Contingency Fund, PO Box 433, Newtown NSW 2042.
Ian Rintoul for Refugee Action Coalition