Immigration tries first forced removal from Manus Island: Injunctions sought

Refugee Action Coalition

Late yesterday afternoon, Thursday 13 August, Immigration authorities
used a show of force by PNG police as the first phase of attempting
forced removals of rejected asylum seekers on Manus Island.

Up to six PNG police marched into Oscar compound to remove a 27
year-old Iranian asylum seeker from Oscar Compound. The man has been
placed in a newly built solitary confinement prison compound inside
the detention centre, and been given a notice that a PNG immigration
has completed a deportation risk assessment and found ‘there is no
legal barrier to your removal…’

It is expected that up to 10 other “double-negative” asylum seekers
could get similar treatment in coming days. The ‘failed’ asylum
seekers have been told they can still access financial incentives with
IOM if they voluntarily agree to return home.

Around two weeks, Immigration posted notices of “Departure Planning
information.” (photo attached.)

The very public use of the PNG police in Oscar is clearly an effort to
intimidate asylum seekers into voluntarily signing to return to their
homes countries.

Papua New Guinea has no arrangements with Iran to accept forced
removal of asylum seekers.

“There is no reason to believe that PNG is any more able to arrange
forced removals to Iran, than Australia,” said Ian Rintoul,
spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “The use of force is
designed to coerce people into signing to return ‘voluntarily’.”

The action against the ‘double-negatives’ also comes on the eve of
final directions hearings for Supreme Court challenge in Port Moresby,
scheduled for Monday 17 August.

“The Immigration Department is trying to preempt the Supreme Court
challenge, “ said Rintoul, “We will seek injunctions in the Supreme
Court to prevent any removals from Manus Island, before there is a
final consideration of the Supreme Court constitutional challenge to
the detention centre,” said Rintoul.

“The Australian and PNG government have been abusing asylum seekers
human rights since they were first moved to Manus Island. The
Immigration Department would like nothing better that to remove some
of the evidence by getting some of them to sign to return to their

“Immigration should halt any moves to forcibly remove asylum seekers
from Manus Island. They have always been Australia’s responsibility.
In the name of deterrence they have been the victims of the worst
offshore mistreatment. They should all be brought to Australia.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713