Refugee Action Collective (Vic)

2017 Media Releases

MEDIA RELEASE 28/12 | MANUS ASYLUM SEEKERS EXPEL EX-WILSON GUARDS FROM HILLSIDE CAMP

Refugee Action Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE

MANUS ASYLUM SEEKERS EXPEL EX-WILSON GUARDS FROM HILLSIDE CAMP

Asylum seekers at the Hillside Camp, Manus Island have expelled all ex-Wilson Security guards from their camp area.

Former Wilson’s guards, who used to work at the detention centre, are now employed by Paladin, the company contracted to provide security for the new camps, since asylum seekers and refugees were forcibly evicted from the Lombrum detention centre.

But the Wilson guards are also among those who brutalised the asylum seekers and refugees during the 24 days of siege of the detention centre, when food, water and power was cut off.

Twice, yesterday (Wednesday, 27 December) afternoon, ex-Wilson guards turned up at Hillside. The first two left after being confronted. Later, that afternoon, when four ex Wilson guards turned up, all the Hillside detainees turned out to run them out of the camp.

“We have told them that they are not allowed to work at Hillside. We do not need them; we do not want them. All our security is local now. We don’t want the Australians who mistreated us in the detention centre. For four and half years, they tortured us,” one of the Hillside asylum seekers told the Refugee Action Coalition.

 

Around eight local police, accompanied by Paladin boss, Paul Hunt (photo attached) later came to the camp.

“We told them that any Wilson’s guys come here, they will be run out. It is as simple as that. If they want trouble bring the Wilson’s guards; if they don’t want trouble keep them away. We won’t let them work here,” the asylum seeker said.

The police and Paladin managers left the camp, without incident.

Paladin bosses have requested more discussions, but no ex Wilson’s guards have approached the camp, today (Thursday) .

 

The stand at Hillside comes only days after local leaders blockaded the East Lorengau camp in a dispute over local contracts for detention services on the island.

The clash with Wilson’s also comes after a protest in Port Moresby on 22 December, when refugees and asylum seekers again requested that they be paid their weekly allowance that has been withheld for months.

When confronted at their office in the motel, with demands that they pay the allowance or leave the motel; the Wilson guards left the motel.

Meanwhile the protests for a “safe, third country” also continue; with yesterday (Wednesday) protest being was the 147th day of protest on Manus. (Photo of East Lorengau protest attached.)

The lack of medical facilities for asylum seekers and refugees also continues to take its toll.  An Iranian asylum seeker was medically evacuated from Port Moresby to Australia, on Wednesday 27 December.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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MEDIA RELEASE 15/12 | PNG SUPREME COURT RULES MAJOR VICTORY TO MANUS ASYLUM SEEKERS

Refugee Action Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE

 PNG SUPREME COURT RULES MAJOR VICTORY TO MANUS ASYLUM SEEKERS

 The full bench of the PNG Supreme Court today (Friday) finally handed a ruling formally finding that the human rights of all those sent to Manus Island have been breached.

 The victory comes after almost two years of deliberate attempts by the Australian and PNG governments to stall and frustrate the case.

 The finding opens the way to a major compensation and also for consequential orders against both the PNG and Australian governments. Asylum seekers who missed out on compensation from the Salter and Gordon case will be eligible for payment for the breaches of their human rights.

 It is understood that the Australian government has undertaken to pay any costs and compensation arising from the case.

 “It is a major legal victory for the asylum seekers on Manus Island. Summary judgement and consequential orders are expected to follow today’s ruling in a February 2018 hearing of the Supreme Court. It goes beyond the Salter and Gordon case by providing a legal ruling that the asylum seekers were unlawfully detained. This will cost the Australian government, politically and financially,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

 “At the February hearing, the PNG lawyers will be seeking orders that the Australian and PNG government provide a safe, third country for the asylum seekers unlawfully sent to Manus Island.”

 In a separate (but related) application by Kurdish refugee Behrouz Boochani, the Supreme Court has set down a hearing on 5 February to consider the substantive issues of human rights breaches involved in the siege of, and forced eviction from, the Manus detention centre at Lombrum.

 “As suggested by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the PNG lawyers will be seeking damages for the human rights breaches associated with the eviction from Lombrum and the on-going beaches associated with the inadequate and inhuman conditions of the three detention areas on Manus,” said Rintoul.

 “Today’s finding is a belated legal ruling of what we all knew – and was established in the Namah case in April 2016 – that the agreement between PNG and Australia was unlawful and that the asylum seekers were illegally held there.

 “Now the government can no loner hide behind the lie that the Manus asylum seekers and refugees are PNG’s responsibility. The government must provide a safe third country to all the asylum seeker and refugees and brings all those who want to come, to Australia .”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

Forum: Can the International Criminal Court prosecute Australia’s leaders for crimes against humanity?

In Human Rights Week a Refugee Advocacy Network & RMIT Arts and
Labour & Working Life Collective forum this Thursday asks given the mistreatment of asylum seekers and refugees:
Can the International Criminal Court prosecute Australia’s leaders for crimes against humanity?
Thursday, 7 December 2017, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Building 80, Level 2, Lecture Theatre 2 RMIT University, City Campus
445 Swanston St, Melbourne
Speakers
Mohammad Ali Baqiri, Refugee advocate formerly detained on Nauru
Professor Gillian Triggs, Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow, University of Melbourne and former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission
Tracie Aylmer, Human rights advocate and 1st submitter to the ICC (2014)
Julian Burnside QC, Human rights advocate and submitter to the ICC (2016)
Moderator of the event and Q&A: Corinne Grant, lawyer & media personality
more details attached,
Media contact : speakers are available for media comment –
Contact Peter Farago for details 0409 866 414