MEDIA RELEASE | MANUS REFUGEES CANNOT BE RESETTLED IN PNG

Refugee Action Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE

MANUS REFUGEES CANNOT BE RESETTLED IN PNG

Peter Dutton is desperately trying to avoid the implications of the PNG Supreme Court ruling in April that the agreement between Australia and PNG was unlawful.

No amount of huffing and puffing or repeating the tired phrase that ‘no refugee from Manus will be resettled in Australia’ can alter the fact the asylum seekers were taken to Manus unlawfully.

“Peter Dutton is shamefully trying to avoid the decisions of the PNG Supreme Court. He has to face up to the fact that Australia has responsibility for those people that Australia illegally transferred to Manus Island,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“The PNG Supreme Court hearing on Monday 22 August will determine the future of those who have been held unlawfully and systematically denied their human rights.

“Peter Dutton and Peter O’Neill will be required to accept the court’s rulings. People who were illegally taken to Manus Island cannot be forced to stay in PNG against their will.

“Lawyers acting for the asylum seekers and refugees on Manus will seek orders for the immediate, and unconditional release of all those on Manus, and for those who wish to go, to be retuned to Australia.

“There is no durable or secure settlement arrangement in PNG. It is a joke that Dutton keep referring to resettlement in PNG. He should stop providing gratuitous advice to the Australian media and start to implement the PNG Supreme Court decision. It is increasing obvious that Dutton has no grasp of the real situation that confronts the Australian government.

“People have been brutalised on Manus for over three years, and have been waiting since April when the court ordered that they be freed.

“For those who do not wish to go to Australia – some people have families in other countries –  PNG and Australia will need to secure safe, acceptable third countries and provide travel documents in order for them to travel to that third country.

“Peter Dutton also needs to act immediately to release all the Manus asylum seekers and refugees being held in Australia.

“About Nauru, Peter Dutton also knows that the government’s own Moss review established the truthfulness of the incident reports that were reviewed in 2015. It is the Minister who can no longer be taken seriously.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

MEDIA RELEASE | MANUS MUST BE CLOSED AND ALL MANUS PRISONERS MUST BE RETURNED TO AUSTRALIA

Refuge Action Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE

MANUS MUST BE CLOSED AND ALL MANUS PRISONERS MUST BE RETURNED TO AUSTRALIA

The Refugee Action Coalition welcomes the announcement from PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill that the Manus Island detention will be closed soon.

But the victims of the unlawful transfer and detention have already been waiting since the 26 April for both the Australian and PNG government to comply with the Supreme Court orders that Manus be closed.

“We are also concerned that the Australian and PNG government are trying to pre-empt the full-bench Supreme Court hearing that is scheduled for this Monday, 22 August. The Manus prisnoers have been brutalised and tortured for over three years, said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“At Monday’s hearing, lawyers for the Manus asylum seekers and refugees will be seeking orders for the unconditional release of all detainee and the return of all of them to Australia. Anything less than the unconditional release and return to Australia will be a denial of justice.

The PNG Supreme Court decision of 26 April found that the agreement between Australia and PNG to transfer asylum seekers from Australia to Manus, was itself, unlawful. There is no lawful basis that any of the prisoners taken to Manus by the Australian government can remain in PNG.

“We are also calling for the government to immediately release, and provide permanent visas to all the Manus asylum seekers who are being held in Australia’s mainland detention centres, or in community detention,” said Rintoul.

“None of the people brought from Manus to Australia can be sent back there. They should be released.

“One Syrian refugee is in Villawood has been held there over two years and have been unable to contact his family for over seven months. Immigration has told him he cannot be sent to Manus, and he cannot be sent to Syria.

“It is sheer bloody-mindedness by the Australian government that has kept these people in detention.

“It is time to free all the Manus refugees, in PNG and Australia, and to provide the protection they need in the Australian community.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

MEDIA RELEASE | PAKISTAN AGREES TO REPATRIATE MANUS REFUGEE BODY

Refugee Action Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE

PAKISTAN AGREES TO REPATRIATE MANUS REFUGEE BODY

The Australian Pakistan embassy has agreed to take responsibility to arrange for Kamil Hussain’s body to be repatriated to Pakistan.

A letter from the Pakistan embassy has been sent to the Australian and PNG immigration offices notifying them that they will organise for Kamil’s body to be sent home.

The embassy has also notified PNG immigration that they will cover the costs of flying the body home and will cover any costs associated with maintaining the body on Manus Island.

The offer from the embassy has been a big relief for the refugees on Manus Island who were initially told by PNG immigration that Kamil’s body would be buried on the island today, Friday.

A protest and memorial vigil for Kamil was held inside the Manus detention centre last night.

Even at the hastily called meeting this morning, Pakistani leaders had been told that neither the Australian nor PNG government would take responsibility returning Kamil’s body to his family in Pakistan.

Shamefully, no Australian immigration official has spoken to the refugees on Manus, despite the Australian government’s responsibility for those transferred and detained on Manus.

Angry Manus locals had also contacted PNG immigration on the island to insist that Kamil’s body was to be taken home and not buried on Manus.

The details of the transport of Kamil’s body is still to be determined, but preliminary arrangements for the preservation and transport of Kamil’s body to Port Moresby have already been made with the Lorengau hospital morgue.

“It is Australia’s shame that it did nothing to give the respect he deserved and provide the proper help for his body to be returned to his family. It was mean-spirited. It was despicable. It is to Pakistan’s credit that they have provided the assistance that the family and the refugees needed,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“All the asylum seekers on Manus were transferred illegally by the Australian government. Kamil was forcefully sent to Manus by the Australian government. He should not even have been on the island.

The government should give guarantees now that this shabby episode will not be repeated, and that in future they will take full responsibility,” said Rintoul.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713.

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