Refugees

Discussion on Manus issue to be hosted

The asylum seeker issue continues even after the Supreme Court in April 2016 declared the Australian and PNG governments’ detention centre unlawful and unconstitutional.

The discussions will highlight the social issues in the country that the Catholic Church is concerned about.

Refugees’ class action dismissed

Ben Lomai, who acts for the 730 applicants, said his clients now have two options, either to file a case in the National Court seeking damages or file a slip rule application.

They believe the Supreme Court made an error.

The group of refugees and asylum seekers, led by Behrouz Boochani on 7 November, 2016, filed an application for the enforcement of their constitutional rights (section 57 of the Constitution) and unlawful transfer and detention in Manus, after the Supreme Court ruled on 26 April, 2016, that their detention since 2013 was unlawful.

Refugees attempting suicides worrying

The province received reports of three attempted suicide cases, two involving refugees.

Provincial Police Commander, Chief Inspector David Yapu said the reports of Refugees committing Suicide in Manus is worrying, and both PNG and Australian Governments should look into this situation or more deaths by suicide will take place.

On August 28 at the East Lorengau Refugee Transit Centre, an Iranian refugee poured petrol on himself and tried to set himself alight but his roommate intervened.

Another 35 Nauru refugees set to depart

Almost all are single men and are Afghan, Pakistani or Rohingya.

In a statement, the Refugee Action Coalition says there is one Sri Lankan family (with four children) and one Bangladesh refugee.

“This will bring the total to 84 people who have flown from Nauru to the US since resettlement began last September,” says Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“At least one more flight of refugees to the US is expected by the end of February.

Minister confirms departure of refugees

The 19 refugees left on February 13. They were the third group who were successful in their interview and the screening process carried out by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Minister for Immigration and Border Security, Petrus Thomas, said: “We are pleased to see significant progress in the US resettlement deal and thank the United States Government for supporting PNG’s regional effort with Australia to resettle genuine refugees.”

Manus refugees off to US

They were the second lot of refugees on Manus under the refugee resettlement arrangement with Australia, who left for the United States. The first 25 refugees departed PNG last September.

Minister for Immigration and Border Security, Petrus Thomas, thanked the United States Government for supporting Papua New Guinea and Australia to resettle refugees who were processed under the regional resettlement arrangement.

Refugees' claim against state stays

A three-man Supreme Court bench refused and dismissed an application by the state, which asked the court to dismiss the claim, alleging it was filed outside the required six month period.

On November 4, 2016, the 731 applicants gave the state notice of their intention to make a claim against it, pursuant to section 5 of the Claims By and Against the State Act 1996.

NZ aid for Manus refugees could benefit island's hospital

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised the money last the month after restating the offer to resettle 150 refugees from Australian offshore detention.

Deputy secretary Jeff Langley from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said there are a number of different ways the money could be channelled including to the Red Cross and other NGOs operating on the island.

He said the ministry is also talking to the Papua New Guinea government to identify needs created by the refugee population on the island.

Date set for refugees’ appeal hearing

The Supreme Court today fixed the hearing date for December 15, the week that will be the last Supreme Court sitting for the year.

This appeal was filed over the single Supreme Court judge's decision of November 7 that refused interim orders, sought by Boochani, for the restoration of services at the decommissioned Regional Processing Centre in Lombrum.

The court refused the order mainly because alternate facilities on Manus also provided the essential service which the refugees were seeking restoration of.

Church pleads for asylum seekers

Speaking on behalf of the Church, general secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG and Solomon Islands, Fr Victor Roche, says a well-off country like Australia should show compassion and welcome some of the refugees.

Fr Victor was recently in Manus where he was allowed into the Lombrum naval base.

He experienced firsthand how the remaining 300-plus asylum seekers were managing themselves after the closure.