Refugee Action Collective (Vic)

Free the refugees! Let them land, let them stay!

Archives July 2017


Refugee Action Coalition

PNG Immigration has announced its intention to close Foxtrot Compound inside the Manus detention centre as of today, 26 July. The notice (attached) is the latest in the campaign of Border Force and PNG immigration to force asylum seekers and refugees out of the detention centre.

Refugees on Manus have been told they can be move to the East Lorengau Transit Accomodation but, it is dangerous,with even fewer services that the detention centre. Rations are delivered twice a week to East Lorengau because the refeugees there do not not get enough money to but enough food.

Refugees have been told that moving to East Lornegau will not affect any opportunity to be resettled in the US – but residents at East Lorengau have been pressured to sign to be resettled in PNG.

In any case, re-settlement in the US is entirely speculative. No-one has been told they have been accepted to go to the US.

It is doubtful anyone is going to move voluntarily; Oscar and Delta compounds that house refugees are already overcrowded. East Lorengau cannot fit all the refugees being held inside the detention centre.

“Threats cannot solve the crisis that the Australian governmwent has created for itself on Manus Island. The government has no resettlement arrangements for those they are holding unlawfully on Manus,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

PNG Immigration, Broadspectrum and Wilson’s Security officers have locked gates in areas surrounding Foxtrot in an attempt to prevent refugees occupying unused areas of the detention facility. Overnight the old IHMS buildings became the latest to be demolished.

Over 600 refugees signed and sent a letter to the Australian government and politicians on 24 July (attached) setting out their concerns at the lack of services and safety at East Lorengau as a result of the attempted forced closure of the detention centre.

“Refugees and asylum seekers have been unlawfully detained in PNG since July 2013. They should be unconditionally released and returned to Australia, instead of being subjected to increased threats of detention and deprivation,” said Ian Rintoul.


The Refugee Action Coalition has called for the government to release all minutes and emails relating to the undertaking by the Australian government to the UNHCR to restttle vulnerable and separated families on Nauru.

“The Minister can settle who is telling the truth about the undertaking by releasing all the information the immigration department has,” said Ian Rintoul.

“It would not be the first time that Minister Dutton has been caught telling lies. We are still waiting for him to release the CCTV footage from Good Friday on Manus Island. But that footage has not been released because it would put the lie to his allegations that refugees led a young boy was led into the detention centre. Dutton should be sacked, but instead this unreliable and incompetent Minister is being elevated by Prime Minister Turnbull.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713


Refugee Action Coalition
Charlie Compound, where ten Rohingya, Pakistani and Afghan refugees have been living for a month has been demolished after power and water was cut off and the refugees were evicted by PNG police and immigration officials last week. (Photos attached.)
The eviction and demolition demolition are the latest moves by an increasingly desperate government to try and force people out of the detention centre to meet the deadline for the end of the Ferrovial contract on 31 October.
The ten refugees have been living in Charlie since Border Force announced that the Foxtrot compound was being closed at the end of June. They have been forced to try to find accommodation elsewhere in the detention centre defying attempts by Border Force and PNG immigration to force them to move to the East Lorengau Transit Accommodation, closer to the Lorengau settlement on Manus Island.
But there are fewer places for them in an increasingly crowded camp.
The latest notice inside the detention centre days that there are 102 days until the detention centre closes. But only people determined to be refugees are allowed in East Lorengau but it is unsafe and has even fewer services than the detention centre. There are around 60 refugees presently living at East Lorengau, but, in turn, they are being pressured to sign agreements to be resettled in PNG. Although PNG has no resettlement arrangements. The few who have signed for PNG resettlement are living precariously in Port Moresby.
Refugees have again been told that Foxtrot compound is going to be closed ‘in the next few days’. But there is nowhere for them to go.
To make space within the detention centre, refugees will have to forced to move out of Oscar and Delta compounds to East Lorengau. Yet East Lorengau, has room for only around 280 and there are over 700 refugees in the detention centre.
There are around 60 refugees at East Lorengau, who are being pressured to sign agreements to be resettled in PNG.
Any forced closure of Foxtrot would create badly overcrowded and unsanitary conditions inside the detention centre.
Neither Border Force nor PNG immigration have any legal power to use force on refugees inside the detention centre.  In April 2016, The PNG Supreme Court found that all the Manus detainees are being held unlawfully.
“Withdrawing power and water, closing down accommodation areas, ending services and activities have become the method of choice for Border Force to pressure the refugees,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“They hope by creating intolerable conditions, they can force enough people out of the detention centre. This kind of coercion amounts to further human rights abuses of people the government has no right to imprison. Such abuses that have already cost them $70m million in damages for the years of unlawful detention.
“Things are coming to a head. Minister Dutton says he wants to close the detention centre but there is nowhere in PNG to put the asylum seekers and refugees and no third country. There is no prospect of refugees from Manus being settled in the US before the deadline.
“That leaves Australia – a choice the Minister, and the Labor opposition will find the decision hard to swallow. But it is a dilemma of their own making. The sooner everyone is brought to Australia, the sooner they will get the safety and security they need. “
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713
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