Yes, Prime Ministers, the refugees are still detained on Manus Island

| July 22, 2019 | Reply

A press conference at Parliament House, held by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and PNG Prime Minister James Marape, has seen both leaders repeated the myth that refugees and asylum seekers are not detained on Manus Island.

In April 2016, the PNG Supreme Court found that the refugees had been unlawfully transferred to PNG by Australia and that they were being unlawfully detained in the Lombrum detention centre. The court ordered that the Australian and PNG government close the detention centre.

They were held in Lombrum until November 2017, before being forcibly removed from Lombrum to three other detention facilities where they are held under a form of house arrest.

There is a 6.00pm – 6.00am curfew, and they are not free to leave Manus Island or PNG. Manus remains a prison island. A court case has already been filed with the PNG Supreme Court seeking orders to enforce their constitutional rights, and free the refugees who are still being held on Manus and in Port Moresby.

“It is time for Scott Morrison to end the lies,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “The fact is that the Australian government continues to deprive hundreds of people of their liberty even though they have been found to be refugees in need of international protection.

“The Australian government has effective control over the lives of the people they transferred to Manus and Nauru; something that has been legally demonstrated by numerous court cases where judges have issued orders to the Australian government to bring sick children and adults from Manus and Nauru to Australia.

“It is demonstrated in practice by the Medevac Bill, which is one of the reason that the government is so desperate to have the Bill repealed. Thousands of people demonstrated in 27 cities across Australia over the weekend because six years is too long.

“We welcome the announcement by Prime Minister Marape that there is a timeline to end the detention and find safe resettlement for all those who do not want to stay in PNG. But the refugees need to know the timeline includes secure resettlement and compensation for the six years they have lost.

“The Courier Mail today reported a ludicrous plan being considered by the Morrison government to fund ‘resettlement packages’ to try and ensure PNG continues to warehouse refugees that are Australia’s responsibility. The government has spent six years avoiding its responsibility, and torturing refugees while they have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of shonky contractors.

“It’s time Morrison faced up to his responsibility for the abuse and the human rights violation that is offshore detention. It is time to free the refugees.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

Tags:

Category: Press releases

Leave a Reply