PNG Supreme Court dismisses Manus case on technicality

| October 23, 2018 | Reply

The PNG Supreme Court has dismissed the case of Behrouz Boochani and 730 other Manus detainees for the constitutional enforcement of their rights.

The Supreme Court ruled that the case was essentially a compensation case for the breach of their human rights prior to the Supreme Court orders in 2016 that the Lombrum detention centre be closed.

As a compensation case, the Supreme Court ruled that the case should have been pursued in the National Court.

But far from being free, the refugees on Manus are still detained – subject to a curfew between 6.00pm and 6.00am, and unable to leave Manus Island.

“It is a disappointing and convenient ruling, that avoids making any legal assessment of the remedy, beyond money, for the human rights breaches involved in them being held unlawfully on Manus Island,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “It resolves exactly nothing. It maintains the myth that the refugees were freed in 2016.

“The judgement says they were ‘relocated’ in 2016, but they were relocated to other detention areas.

“The responsibility for their on-going detention and lack of medical care lies with the Australian government. The medical crisis that has engulfed Nauru, is every bit as bad on Manus, although there have only been two cases so far where the Australian federal court has ordered the government to bring sick refugees to Australia.

“We will consider initiating proceedings in the PNG National Court. The PNG government is still holding asylum seekers and violating their human rights at the behest of the Australian government.

“There will only be justice, when the Australian government brings all the asylum seekers and refugees from Manus to Australia.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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