Fears for 52 refugees being held incommunicado in Australian detention centre in Port Moresby

| August 21, 2019 | Reply

There are growing fears for the welfare of the 52 Manus refugees who have been held incommunicado in the Bomana detention centre for the last eight days.

The 52 were taken from their accommodation in Port Moresby in the early hours of Monday 12 August. Nothing has been heard from them since.

“We are growing increasingly concerned for their welfare,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “The families of the detained men have not heard from them. They have not contacted anyone. All our attempts to gain information or contact them through PNG Immigration, or the contracted security firm Controlled Outcomes, has come to nothing.”

“The Australian government is responsible for their welfare, and they still have a duty of care,” Rintoul said, “Yet many of the 52 already suffered mental health problems and are now refusing food. People who have self-harmed inside Bomana have been denied medical attention.

“They are being denied care and tortured, with the approval of Australia, to try and force them to return to their home countries.”

The Australian government has spent $20 million building the Bomana Detention centre and has contracted the Controlled Outcomes security firm (part owned by an ex Australian Federal Police agent) for an undisclosed amount. There is no information about medical staff or what medical facilities are available inside the detention centre.

The 52 are so-called “negatives” – asylum seekers who have been denied refugee status – yet many of them have never applied for refugee status in PNG. They have been deemed negative by a bureaucratic decree. Others have never been able to put forward their full claims because of fears of resettlement in PNG itself.

“Contact with the 52 must be immediately established. There needs to be independent oversight of the Bomana detention facility. The 52 must be immediately released from Bomana, and arrangements made for a review of their cases,” said Rintoul.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

Category: Press releases

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