MANUS INTIMIDATION STEPS UP; PHONES CONFISCATED, AS COURT DECISION LOOMS 0

> Refugee Action Coalition
> MEDIA RELEASE
>
> MANUS INTIMIDATION STEPS UP; PHONES CONFISCATED, AS COURT DECISION LOOMS
>
> Broadspectrum (formerly Transfield) and Immigration intimidation of
> asylum seekers and refugees at Manus Island, has been stepped-up in
> the lead up to Australian and PNG court decisions that could see the
> detention centre closed.
>
> The future of the detention centre, and the fate of 260 people from
> Manus and Nauru who are presently in Australia, will be affected by
> the Australian High Court decision to be handed down on Wednesday.
>
> A PNG Supreme Court challenge to Manus that will also determine the
> legality of Manus detention centre according to PNG law, will also
> have its next directions hearing tomorrow, 2 February.
>
> In the last few days, intimidating and violent raids by the Emergency
> Response Team have been carried out in at least two of the compounds
> in the Manus detention centre. The riot squad says it is ‘looking for
> weapons’ but seems to be more interested in seizing asylum seekers’
> phones.
>
> At least four phones were taken following raids on rooms Oscar
> compound last Friday night (29 January). In some cases the guards have
> removed racks from the rooms on the grounds they could be turned into
> weapons.
>
> The ERT is also openly marching around the compounds as an open show
> of force. The detainees have been told that the room searches and
> increased intimidation will continue to the end of February when the
> PNG Supreme Court Full Bench hearing of the constitutional challenge
> is expected to be convened.
>
> Detainees have been threatened that anyone who complains or resists
> will be sent to jail or isolation units in the detention centre
> itself.
>
> Meanwhile, Broadspectrum’s preparation for an adverse court decision
> is resulting in deteriorating food quality and out of date food
> products being used as the company runs down stocks of food. Some
> Border Force staff have also been told that their future employment
> contracts cannot be guaranteed.
>
> The PNG administration has also stepped up it refugee determinations
> ahead of the court cases. Around 400, almost half, of the Manus
> detainees have been found to be refugees, but are refusing to leave
> the detention centre to live in the transit accommodation at East
> Lorengau despite losing access to the canteen, activities and have
> restricted access to the internet.
>
> “There is no excuse for the raids on Manus or the mistreatment,” said
> Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “The use
> of the ERT, the searches and confiscation of phones just add to the
> tensions at the detention centre. Immigration and Broadspectrum only
> take the phones because they don’t want the truth getting to the
> outside world.”
>
> For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713
>
> The Refugee Action Collective has called a snap protest to follow the
> Australian High Court decision – “Don’t Send Them Back”, Thursday 4
> February, 5.30pm at the State Library (328 Swanston St, Melbourne), to call
> for the Immigration Department not to return any asylum seekers or
> refugees to Nauru or Manus Island.