Yes, Prime Ministers, the Refugees Are Still Detained on Manus Island
A press conference at Parliament House, held by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and PNG Prime Minister James Marape has
seen both leaders repeated the myth that refugees and asylum seekers are not detained on Manus Island.
In April 2016, the PNG Supreme Court found that the refugees had been unlawfully transferred to PNG by Australia and
that they were being unlawfully detained in the Lombrum detention centre. The court ordered that the Australian and PNG
government close the detention centre.
They were held in Lombrum until November 2017, before being forcibly removed from Lombrum to three other detention
facilities were they are held under a form of house arrest.
There is a 6.00pm – 6.00am curfew, and they are not free to leave Manus Island or PNG. Manus remains a prison island. A
court case has already been filed with the PNG Supreme Court seeking orders to enforce the constitutional rights, and
free the refugees who are still being held on Manus and in Port Moresby.
“It is time for Scott Morrison to end the lies,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “The
fact is that the Australian government continues to deprive hundreds of people of their liberty even though they have
been found to be refugees in need of international protection.
“The Australian government has effective control over the lives of the people they transferred to Manus and Nauru;
something that has been legally demonstrated by numerous court cases were judges have issued orders to the Australian
government to bring sick children and adults from Manus and Nauru to Australia.
“It is demonstrated in practice by the Medevac Bill which is one of the reason that the government is so desperate to
have the Bill repealed. Thousands of people demonstrated in 27 cities across Australia over the weekend because six
years is too long.
“We welcome the announcement by Prime Minister Marape that there is a timeline to end the detention and find safe
resettlement for all those who do not want to stay in PNG. But the refugees need to know the timeline includes secure
resettlement and compensation for the six years they have lost.
“The Courier Mail today reported a ludicrous plan being considered by the Morrison government to fund ‘resettlement
packages’ to try and ensure PNG continues to warehouse refugees that are Australia’s responsibility. The government has
spent six years avoiding its responsibility, and torturing refugees while they have poured hundreds of millions of
dollars into the pockets of shonky contractors.
“It’s time Morrison faced up to his responsibility for the abuse and the human rights violation that is offshore
detention. violation It is time to free the refugees.”