PNG Court rejects Manus refugees case

A group of refugees from Manus Island and have reportedly left for the US. Source: AAP

PORT MORESBY, 24 OCTOBER 2018 (POST COURIER) – Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court has dismissed on a technicality a case brought by Manus Island detainees.

The refugees argued they had been subject to human rights breaches in being held unlawfully on the island, in breach of PNG’s constitution.

The court on Tuesday said the case should have been pursued in PNG’s National Court, as it was effectively a matter of compensation, the Refugee Action Coalition said in a statement.

Because the Lombrum detention centre had closed in 2016 there was no element of “constitutional enforcement”, the court found.

Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said it was a disappointing decision and advice was now being taken on whether to take the case to the PNG National Court.

“Far from being free, the refugees on Manus are still detained – subject to a curfew between 6.00pm and 6.00am, and unable to leave Manus Island,” he said.

“The case resolves exactly nothing. It maintains the myth that the refugees were freed in 2016.”

He said there would only be justice when the Australian government brought all asylum seekers and refugees from Manus to Australia.

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